Thursday, January 25, 2007

Trade Impact Felt By Players Who Did Not Move

A week ago, the Pacers-Warriors trade analysis was in full swing. Some felt on raw talent alone, the Pacers were robbed. Others felt that adding outside-shooting role players and losing players with some drama baggage gave the Pacers a better deal. After a week and three games, there's no complaints on either side of the deal as both teams see a brighter future ahead.

The key to the Pacers' positive outlook is the impact felt by the remaining players on the roster. By moving Al, Jack, and Runi, the Pacers were able to unleash Danny Granger and to a certain extent Marquis Daniels. So in essence, the trade gave the Pacers Murph, Mike D, and Granger as starters along with solid bench contributors in Diogu and Daniels.

For the season, Marquis Daniels is averaging almost 17 minutes/game and 5.8 points/game, but since the trade his minutes have jumped to 28 per game with 14 points/game. Prior to the trade 'Quis' minutes were sporadic since he had to scrounge for time off the bench with Granger and Saras. Early in the season he was also adjusting to a new coach and team, so often looked out of sync with his teammates. With the logjam cleared, Daniels is first off the bench behind Dunleavy and Granger. He's taking advantage of the opportunity by playing much more aggressive and making his unorthodox mid-range game work.

Danny Granger has been the real beneficiary of the trade. Jermaine O'Neal is having a great season, but with his bud Al grumbling and Jack's dominating personality dictating the mood of the team, there seemed to be a constant simmering tension that occasionally bubbled up in some corner of the locker room. Al didn't want to be option #2, he wanted to be #1b with JO being #1a. Granger's growth in his second year was being stunted by sitting behind, and at times deferring to, Al and Jack. Now the lid has popped open on his opportunity and he is flourishing as a bona fide #2 scoring option to compliment JO.

So with 'Quis and Granger stepping up, the new faces are allowed to blend in and develop their role on the team without feeling pressure to fill the exact void left by Jack and Al. Thus far, Dunleavy and Murphy appear to enjoy the team game and moving the ball without regard to their stat line. Neither seem like they'll go "Artest" and create shots without regard to the offense. Looking at the absolute talent-for-talent aspect of the trade, Golden State certainly did well. But so far, the current Pacer team's value is larger than the sum of its parts which is evident by the style of play and the buzz of the crowd returning to the Fieldhouse.

(Photo DG/JO: Victor Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo MD: AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

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