I feel like most of this article will focus on what Danny Granger did because he got the majority of the time at this position. Going into next season, I wouldn’t be surprised if Paul George plays at small forward with the second unit more often. He’s a guy that can play either the small forward or shooting guard, so he can be used in a couple of ways.
Therefore, I’ll give my thoughts on how Danny Granger performed this season and what can happen to improve upon this position. Overall, Granger got better as the season worn on, which is a good thing. He played admirably in the Heat series with having to guard Lebron James for most of that series. We did see things get chippy at times, and perhaps he could have cut back from that. I think his offensive game fell flat because of all the work he had to do on defense during that same series. But, you look at a guy who in the end of the regular season helped carry this team to the strong finish they had.
Granger’s stand out performances included 36 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves in what would be his season high, some good games against the Atlanta Hawks, a team that he has his highest scoring average against, 11 rebounds in a game against the Philadelphia 76ers, that’s probably the area, where Granger can improve upon, and finally the first round series where he put up over 20 points in the three wins to clinch that series.
For a guy, who started off the season slowly by his standards, Granger did come on. I thought at first, he was taking way too many bad shot selections, and that hurt his game a bit. He can also get a bit too dribble happy, and needs the ball in a better position to score.
But looking at the month of April, most of his games were right around 20 points, at the time when the Pacers needed to make that push for the playoffs. His shooting got better. He even looked to pass at times. Another area, where Granger could be a bit better. He can look to pass in the post and then cut to the basket for better opportunities to score. I liked the aggressiveness he did bring to the team, and I thought he brought an edge to them during the Miami series.
For improvements, I would say the Pacers should look for a guy to play this position, so they can keep playing Paul George at the shooting guard and let him focus on that. Or else bring in a guy who can be a scorer off the bench. Maybe someone like Leandro Barbosa, who is a good guy to bring in for some energy, but whose productivity dropped off during the playoffs. At the same time, you want a guy who plays some defense, so maybe I’m asking for a bit much from this position. I thought Granger did perform better at defense than years past.
I think Granger will only get better with more playing time with David West, a guy who brings some good leadership. I look for Granger to be more of a leader even more next year as the Pacers look to improve upon the success of this season.