Consider this when evaluating Danny Granger as a player. Granger was drafted 17th in the first round of the 2005 NBA draft. He was drafted behind the likes of first pick Andrew Bogut, second pick Marvin Williams, third pick Deron Williams, fourth pick Chris Paul and tenth pick Andrew Bynum. The only player on that list that averages more points per game is Chris Paul, the fourth pick overall and he only averages 18.7 points a game where Granger averages 18.2 points a games, a mere .5 point difference. Many in the league would consider Chris Paul an elite player and a strong leader for the L.A. Clippers. Yet for some reason critics, the media and even Pacer fans have struggled to accept Granger as a leader and elite player. Granted Granger isn’t to the level of a Lebron James or Kobe Bryant but Granger has not only been an elite player for his team but an elite player compared to his 2005 draft peers.
To further my point Granger not only averages 18 points a game but 5 rebounds and 2 assists over his seven year career. Last year Grangers points per game dropped off by two points a game. Despite the drop in points per game the Pacers had their best season since the 2003-04 season. Many would say that with the improved staff around him Granger showed his true colors as an average player; even though he still averaged 18 points last year. The difference that isn't talked about is that last year was the first opportunity for Granger not to carry the team but to lead the team. On the surface it doesn't seem to be much of a difference but it is the difference between a winning team and an average or below average performing team. Instead of having to take 1,300 shoots Granger only had to take 950 select shoots. A more talented team allowed Granger to spread the ball, trust his teammates and take more meaningful shots.
So far this season, without the leadership of Granger, the Pacers have proven to be unbalanced, uncoordinated and playing down to their competition. The lack of Granger's leadership, scoring and passing ability has proven to hurt the consistency of play. Pacer fans have been complaining about not having an elite player since Reggie Miller - it is time to revalute. Having Granger on the bench for the next three months should change a lot of minds in indiana. Live, love and play like there is no tomorrow – thanks for reading!
The Marris Minute