Where is all this Danny Granger hate coming from?
It’s not because the Pacers are playing well without him…because he wasn’t ‘beloved’ even when healthy.
He’s a former All-Star, has averaged as high as 26ppg and no fewer than 18.7 since the 2007-08 season. He was drafted the year after the brawl and was the lone bright spot on a team that seemed doomed to dwell in basketball purgatory for years. Now the team is ascending to new heights and all of a sudden he’s (as one “fan” on twitter put it) a “bum.”
I’m no Granger apologist. I’ve been the first to criticize his shot selection in the past and joke that he leads the league in “Eff-it” shots (you know, when you have the ball in your hands – not sure what to do with it – then say to yourself: “Eff-it” and take the shot…).
But despite all that, Granger still gets an unfair rap…and that’s partly because many have tried to force him into a role he doesn’t belong in.
How many times have you heard the “He’s no Batman” line???
What’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with not being Batman? Is Pau Gasol Batman? Are Tony Parker or Manu Ginobili worthy of that title? The Pistons won the title in ‘04; Chauncey Billups was the Finals MVP…but were they a Championship team before Rasheed Wallace was picked up?
Why become disenchanted with a guy because he ISN’T Batman? That guy can’t have a role on a winning team? Is $13 million for a guy who is averaging 18.2 points for his career too much – when the aforementioned Gasol is making $19 mil this season to come off the bench?
But again…that’s the argument you hear: “He’s no Batman.”
Look, everyone can’t be the guy…and you can’t dump everyone who falls short of being the guy. Danny was forced into a role where he had to put up shots for a team that had little talent. We’ve always known he wasn’t the best ball-handler – or creator for others. His main strength has always been his jumper. Well, eventually teams game plan for you, and if the other areas of your game (again, ball-handling, one-on-one skills, etc.) don’t improve…well, then your numbers will eventually go on the decline.
Now…the opposing team game planning (defensively) for Danny is only part of the equation. The other part is that he actually started getting some talent around him in recent years, which led to his shot attempts going down (19 shots a game in ’08 to around 15 a game last season). You don’t need to take as many “Eff-it” shots with David West and (last year’s) Hibbert in the paint, or with George Hill and Paul George running with you on the wings.
Still, even with all that talent…it’s still incumbent on them to help take the pressure off of Granger.
That wasn’t the case in last year’s playoffs when Danny had his hands full with LeBron James and was looking to Paul George to be more assertive offensively…ESPECIALLY when he was hobbled by a knee injury in the final two games of the series.
Paul finished with 22 combined points in the final two games of the series.
To Paul’s credit, that performance ate away at him all offseason – and he’s rebounded with an All-Star year and will be among the front-runners for the Most Improved Player of the Year award.
Meanwhile…Danny has been waiting and watching. He’s watching Paul George embrace a prominent role in the offense. He’s watching defenses sag on Roy and David West in the paint. And for goodness sakes…he’s watching all the looks that Gerald Green and others have taken this season from three-point range that have clanked off the rim.
You don’t think a guy who has shot nearly 40% from deep his entire career isn’t licking his chops awaiting some of those looks???
You mean you’d rather trade a spot-up shooter who’s on a team with multiple slashers and effective big men…in exchange for what? Eric Bledsoe?
All this because he’s more Robin than Batman???
Yep…that makes perfect sense.
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