What could have been

FRANK ZICARELLI

, Last Updated: 8:41 AM ET

The Raptors weren't the only team to overlook Danny Granger, who entered last night as the NBA's fourth-leading scorer.

Granger had the world-class athleticism and the necessary length to play on the game's biggest stage, but a troublesome knee raised red flags.

As a result, Granger fell to Indiana at the 17th slot in 2005, one pick after Toronto selected Joey Graham.

Raptors interim head coach Jay Triano helped work out Granger in Toronto when the small forward began to audition for NBA teams in the weeks leading up to the draft.

"He's playing with a lot of confidence,'' Triano said of Granger. "He's doing it all."

Jermaine O'Neal is well aware of Granger's talents.

Granger visited O'Neal at O'Neal's off-season home in Las Vegas and the former Pacers teammates have spoken on the phone a few times this season.

CENTRE OF ATTENTION

O'Neal attracted quite the media crowd, at least by Indy standards, as the one-time face of the Pacers franchise made his return.

The Pacers team website and a gaggle of print and electronic newshounds descended upon O'Neal.

The Raptors arrived in Indianapolis early Thursday evening and were greeted by bone-chilling temperatures.

When he arrived at Conseco Fieldhouse for yesterday's shootaround, O'Neal said it felt odd walking toward the visitors dressing room for the first time.

"I was looking around not knowing where to go,'' he said. "It was strange."

O'Neal became a household name in the NBA during his days as a Pacer.

"I appreciate everything the franchise has done for me and my family,'' he said. "Indianapolis will always have a special place in my heart."


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