Top 5 scorers in the nba:
1. Dwayne Wade
2. Lebron James
3. Kobe Bryant
4. Dirk Nowitzki
5. Danny Granger
Pretty nice company. Sitting just behind the last two MVP's and the two top contenders to win it this year.
So the first couple weeks of the season we were all calling this an anomaly, but now 30 games in we see Danny Granger still firmly in the top 5 scorers in the NBA, and hes shooting a fairly solid 45%-46% from the field, so its not like he is just chucking. He is also bringing his assist number up closer to 3.5 per game, and has been averaging a solid 4.25 assists in the last 12 games, in fact... last 12 games: 25.6 ppg, 5 rebounds, and 4.25 assists. Danny Granger is STILL improving with no signs of stopping yet. Now there are still some weakness areas, still needs to cut his turnovers down... and has shown flashes with his driving ability along with getting to the free throw line, just needs a bit more consistency. I also don't feel like he has reached his defensive potential...
That being said, Im hardly worried about any of those things because I feel they are all within his natural ability to improve upon and as far as improvement goes, it would appear that Danny Granger never stops improving.
On to the main point of this post. These are impressive numbers, but for some reason, people continue to prop up the same old line... Danny is a great robin, but he is not a batman. I am going to propose a novel concept that may send people's heads spinning... Perhaps instead of Danny needing a "Batman", maybe he needs a "Robin"? Could that be the problem?
Heartland fan brought up an interesting point in the post game thread... If Danny Granger would have been drafted in the top 5 as he probably should have been, people around here would view him as an emerging super star, but because he was picked 17 people have a hard time reconciling this. Im curious as to WHY exactly Danny Granger is so far less talented than the best player on every other team in the NBA, as seems to be the common wisdom around here... despite the fact that most of these players are not quite as productive. Something just does not compute.
Best player on a bad team? I have never really bought into this line of thinking, at least in our case. I mean, Kevin Durant is the best player on a terrible team, way worse than ours, does this mean he lacks talent? That team is on pace for the worst record ever. Of course there are cases where a one-dimensional scoring player puts up a lot of points on a crappy team, usually by chucking on bad percentages... but this is not what I see when I watch the Pacers.
Another possibility I will address is "Clutchness". Pacers have been good enough to be in all these games (with good teams no less) at the end but just haven't had enough to finish them out... why? Some would say that this is because of talent level. I think this is correct, but not in the way many might think.
How many game winning shots has Danny missed this year? Lately he has been scoring a lot of points in the 4th, but has anyone ever noticed he never seems to get the ball on the last possesion? It would appear that the other team goes to great lengths to deny danny the ball in these situations, and the fact of the matter is, we don't have a consistent second scoring threat to take the pressure off him in crunchtime.
I mean, I could also go into team defensive failures as another culprit, which is another non-danny related issue that might explain some of these close losses.
Did anyone honestly expect Danny Granger to produce like he has so far this season? I didn't. I think its about time people reconcile their preconcieved notions about Granger with reality... dude is a hell of a player, and appears to have stepped into his "1st option" role without a problem. Im going to go against convential wisdom here and argue lack of a first option is no longer a pacers problem. Discuss.