Danny Granger is one of the 10 best scorers in the league skill wise and ranks eighth in the NBA with 24.1 points per game average. And while that number is down from last season in which Granger averaged 25.8 PPG, it is worth noting that Danny missed a large chunk of the season with some injury problems and was clearly battling pain when he returned to the court.
Granger can get it done from any where on the floor, which is part of the reason he has been among the top scorers in the league for the past two seasons. You wouldn’t expect Granger to be a great athlete at first glance, but the guy can finish at the rim with both hands and is money from the foul line if you decided to foul him.
Danny doesn’t get as many opportunities at the rim like fellow small forwards Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James do which may seem odd considering how fast the Pacers play (second pace in the league behind Golden State with 99.6 possessions per game). However, when you consider Granger has T.J. Ford, Earl Watson and A.J. Price running fastbreaks for him, it’s easy to realize why he doesn’t get a lot of good looks at the basket in transition.
He does, however, get a good amount of three’s in run outs, which is where Granger does the majority of his damage. Granger’s three-point percentage has dipped below 40% for the first time in two seasons this year, but he still leads the league in three-pointers made per game with 2.6 with a 37% success rate. From the field overall, Granger is hitting 44% of his shots. While that doesn’t give the impression that Granger is one of the best gunners in the league, check out his “hot spots” on the court. He has one weak spot out of 17 zones on the court, with six hot spots (three of which are from deep), and is average from the other 10 spots.
Granger is so good in the flow of an offense. His style of play is just so fun to watch. Like I just mentioned, on the break, Granger is excellent at veering out towards the wing and nailing three’s when he gets the ball. He’s got a very quick release which fits in perfectly with his ability to hit shots when coming off screens or on any other play designed for him to just catch and shoot. Plus, Granger has that versatility that few guys in this league have. Though not nearly as well rounded as Kobe, Bryant is a good comparison because of the way he plays on offense. If the defense puts a smaller guy on him, he calls for it in the post. If they put a longer guy on him, he wants the ball at the top of the key in isolation. Granger has the ability to back smaller players down in the post and shoot over any big man that draws him on the perimeter.
Defensively, Granger isn’t terrible considering how awful his teammates have been, posting a defensive rating of 106 for his career. He is long and athletic, which is always a good base when evaluating a player defensively. He’s also a savvy guy, which is why he is able to post 1.6 steals and .9 blocks per contest. He uses his long arms to disrupt passes, particularly ill-advised bounce passes that are directed towards the opposing teams small forward, and generally has quick reactions when contesting jump shots. In fact, he’s one of the best shot blocking forwards in the league, ranking in the top five of blocks per minute for small forwards over the past two seasons.
From a franchise point of view, the Pacers are clearly all-in with this guy and there is little reason not to be. Earlier last season, there was a rumor going around that the Pacers were offered Al Jefferson by the Minnesota Timberwolves for Granger in a one-for-one deal and the Pacers declined it immediately. Yes, they do have Roy Hibbert developing downlow, making a deal for a center somewhat redundant, but I think it says something when you turn down a deal for a potential franchise guy because of how much they like Granger.
With Darren Collison now in Indy, Granger will have a top notch distributor to move the ball around the offense and swingman Paul George will give the Pacers another offensive forward to keep defenses from sagging towards him. Danny still has some improvements to make on the defensive side of the floor but in the direction the Pacers are going when it comes to style of play, which is an up-and-down transition based offense, lacking on that end may not be that big of an issue.