Should Granger Bulk Up To Bang Inside?
Friday, May 12, 2006
OF THE DAY
Q. (Danny) Granger played the three and four spots this year and did a pretty good job for a rookie. He also defended players like Kobe (Bryant), Vince Carter, Richard Jefferson, and Paul Pierce, just to name a few. One analyst out here in Sacramento said that if this kid adds 10 to 15 pounds of muscle he could be a nightmare for other teams. I think if he adds the muscle it will improve his post-up game as well as make life much tougher on the guys he will defend next year. What do you think? (From Kirven in Sacramento, Calif.)
A. This answer hinges on how you view Granger's NBA future. If you believe he is best suited to play both forward spots, then it would seem reasonable for him to bulk up a bit in order to better contend with power forwards. My belief is he is better suited to shooting guard as a secondary position and not power forward.
At 6-9 and 228 pounds, Granger already has an ideal frame for a small forward. His primary physical attributes are quickness, athleticism and footwork. As you mentioned, he has defended shooting guards and small forwards with some effectiveness, showing potential to become a perimeter stopper as he learns the nuances of the game as well as the tendencies of his opponents. Offensively, he has the mid-range and 3-point shooting to blend with the abilities to either post up or drive. To my way of thinking, his skill set screams swingman.
He played semi-regularly as a power forward out of necessity his rookie season and struggled mightily against the bigger bodies. To add bulk could mean two things: it could slow him down, mitigating the advantages of his athleticism, as well as increasing the risk for injury because the extra load his legs must carry. I don't think it's a coincidence that Jermaine O'Neal's two injury-plagued seasons came after he bulked up from 250 to 265, and I'd expect to see him back at his former playing weight in 2006-07.
I understand your point, and do believe Granger should work to increase his strength – but not his bulk. To do the latter would be an attempt to turn him into something he is not, and those types of experiments generally fail.