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News » Indiana Pacers Getting Inside 2009-05-29


Indiana Pacers Getting Inside 2009-05-29


Indiana Pacers Getting Inside 2009-05-29
Forward Danny Granger capped off his breakout season by winning the NBA's Most Improved Player award.

"I can honestly say it really did come as a surprise," he said. "I really had it out of my mind for a while. I was on vacation, enjoying Italy, and all of a sudden I'm winning the award."

Granger beat out New Jersey Nets point guard Devin Harris, who many thought would finish first.

Winning the award finalized a season in which Granger got a $60 million extension, earned his first All-Star berth and finished fifth in the league in scoring at more than 25 points a game.

"He is the face of our franchise, and he handles himself well on the court and off," team president Larry Bird said. "I think going forward, he will continue to do the things he's doing and continue to improve. That's all you can ask for."

Granger isn't satisfied with being known as just a scorer. He wants to elevate his game to the level where he earns the reputation of being one of the league's best all-around players.

"I don't want to just get better; I want to be an elite player," Granger said. "I've really patterned my defensive game after Ron Artest, but I probably got away from it the last two years. So next year, I think that (defense) will be my focus. We scored a lot of points, but we gave up a lot. As a leader, it starts with me and I have to be better on the defensive end."

SEASON HIGHLIGHT: Swingman Mike Dunleavy's knee injury helped forward Danny Granger burst onto the scene this season. The fourth-year forward made his first All-Star appearance and finished sixth in the league in scoring. Granger became the first player in NBA history to improve his scoring at least five points a game three straight seasons.

TURNING POINT: Holding onto big leads was a foreign concept for the Pacers. They blew 15 double-digit leads. Most of those blown leads came early in the season when the seven new players were still getting use to coach Jim O'Brien's coaching style. The Pacers would have made the playoffs if they had won four of those 15 games.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 29, 2009

 

 
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