I'm bored tonight and mad that I couldn't make the forum party, so I'm looking at stats.
I like Danny's progress. I've been critical of him because of his 3 point camping and his lack of ability to finish on the break, and how confused he looks at times offensively. But I also tend to forget what I liked about him that I noticed about him in his rookie season. He learns fast... And I mean FAST. In his rookie year he had to learn BOTH forward positions while getting used to the rigorous schedule of the NBA. By playoff time that same year he was coming in in Peja's absence and shooting 54% from beyond the arc (during the playoffs) and hitting some key shots for us.
Last season he polished his skills a bit and nearly doubled his scoring output, but admitted he wasn't ready to play more minutes when the trade happened. That's ok, this year he came in ready. Early this season he got Eastern Conference Player of the week, which even I thought was a fluke. He then started camping out at the three-point line and putting together some "ok" games, but nothing spectacular. But lately even on a bad shooting night, he's been playing some extremely aggressive defense, and has been extremely aggressive offensively and has started getting more of his points from the free-throw line.
Getting his points from the free-throw line make him a deadly weapon, especially being an 80% (and counting) free-throw shooter. This is something I think was holding him back. His ball handling has improved over the past few games, and at this point I think he's a crossover away from scoring 25 a game with ease. I think he sees the transition in progress. It's just a matter of time before he's the new man in town. The next face of the franchise. He's opening eyes across the league (most recently George Karl).
I'll admit that I said Shawne Williams ceiling is higher, and that Shawne is the better player. I don't know if I believe that to be true, but I'd love to see them both come into their own together. I think with Shawne's abilities, he's not a bad fit for a 4 man.
On to the Granger/Pippen comparison. I think Danny is the one to see Scottie Pippen when he see's himself. I don't know if I quite see that because he's nowhere near the ball handler and distributor Pippen was. But other than that, their paces aren't far off...
Pippen rookie: 7.9ppg, 3.8rpg, 2.1apg, 1.2spg, 0.7bpg 46%FG, 17%3FG
year2 : 14.4ppg, 6.1rpg, 3.5apg, 1.9spg, 0.8bpg, 47%FG, 27%3FG
year3 : 16.5ppg, 6.7rpg, 5.4apg, 2.6spg, 1.2bpg, 49%FG, 25%3FG
Granger rookie: 7.5ppg, 4.9rpg, 1.2apg, 0.7spg, 0.8bpg, 46%FG, 32%3FG
year2 : 13.9ppg, 4.6rpg, 1.4apg, 0.8spg, 0.7bpg, 45.9%FG, 38%3FG
year3 (so far): 18.6ppg, 6.2rpg, 1.8apg, 0.8spg, 1.4bpg, 44%FG, 34%3FG
Other than points rebounds and blocks in the 1st and 3rd years, there isn't much to compare. Both defensive minded, but I think Scottie had the longer arms and quicker hands. Scottie never averaged better than 1.2 blocks per game, and Danny is on pace to beat that.
I can't think of a player Danny really compares to. I think he's just a player of his own. He doesn't have quick enough hands for steals defensively, but he is getting better and better at being a physical and a pressure defender that can block shots. Offensively he doesn't create for others, but he's becoming more and more efficient at making something positive happen with the ball in his hands.
Regardless of what happens, if he's improving at this rate, imagine what he has in store for us next year...