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Sunday, October 3rd, 2010 at 8:00 am  |  48 responses

Top 50: Danny Granger, no. 21

The definitive ranking of the NBA’s best players.

by Charles Peach / @Charles_Peach

There’s a good reason why Danny Granger ranks higher on this list than some of his contemporaries playing small forward and it’s all in the name: G-range-r.

The three-point arc is his friend and you must respect it. Granger hit at least four threes in 58 of his last 209 games. He’s been in the top eight in scoring the last two seasons, including finishing fifth in ‘08-09. That season he won Most Improved Player as his scoring average jumped fromDanny Granger 19.6 in ‘07-08 to 25.8 points per game.

While guys like Andre Iguodala and Gerald Wallace standout for their defense, Granger is an offensive stud. Iggy and Crash make a living because of guys like Granger. It takes a freakishly talented defender to stifle a 6-9 sharpshooter.

Make no mistake though; Granger is no slouch on defense. The man who once lost both central incisors while going for a steal on Paul Pierce, can play defense tenaciously. For his career he averages one steal and one block per game.

Some say he doesn’t always exert a strong effort on defense. I’d argue that it isn’t easy to lead your team on both ends of the floor when you have below-average supporting casts. I mean, look at Kobe. He made All-Defensive First Team in each of the last five seasons with hounds on his team such as Trevor Ariza and Ron Artest to shoulder much of the on-ball defensive assignments. Not to mention bigs like Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, and Lamar Odom to bail him out if he’s beaten. I think Kobe is a terrific defender, but his teammates make it a lot easier for him. For Granger, there is tremendous pressure on him to lead on offense and defense and there isn’t nearly as much room for error.

Granger was a member of the Gold-medal winning Team USA this summer in the FIBA World Championships. Iguodala and Rudy Gay got more minutes than him, but I think that’s because they were a better fit for what Coach K wanted from the small forward position. He wanted a Pippen to his Jordan – Kevin Durant. Iggy and Gay provided the Pippen-esque qualities on defense and in transition. Durant played the role of MJ, taking over every game without any other player needing to consistently score. Though he isn’t as good as Durant, Granger is that type of player. He can assume his team’s scoring duties, usually by firing away from downtown much like Durant did in Turkey.

What can Granger do to improve?

Even though he battled injuries, last season was a step back. His scoring average dipped along with his shooting percentage. He got a bit too comfortable hoisting the three-ball. If he stays healthy and attacks the basket more, he’ll be much more Grangerous this season. (You like that, right? … No? … OK. Fine.) Again, he’ll need help from his mates. There are some new faces around that he might be able to depend on this season. The Pacers landed Darren Collison, a talented point guard with a high ceiling, in a trade with New Orleans. Rookies Paul George and Lance Stephenson also have promising potential. Granger would certainly benefit if Roy Hibbert or Tyler Hansbrough can emerge, as well.

SLAMonline TOP 50 PLAYERS OVERALL RANK POSITION RANK
Player Team Position 2010 2009 2010 2009
Ray Allen Celtics SG 50 36 11 10
Gilbert Arenas Wizards SG 49 34 10 9
Lamar Odom Lakers PF 48 33 14 10
John Wall Wizards PG 47 NR 13 NR
OJ Mayo Grizzlies SG 46 46 9 12
Al Horford Hawks C 45 NR 6 NR
Jason Kidd Mavs PG 44 45 12 10
Joakim Noah Bulls C 43 NR 5 NR
LaMarcus Aldridge Blazers PF 42 39 13 12
David West Hornets PF 41 31 12 8
Monta Ellis Warriors SG 40 NR 8 NR
Andrew Bogut Bucks C 39 NR 4 NR
Yao Ming Rockets C 38 NR 3 NR
Brandon Jennings Bucks PG 37 NR 11 NR
Zach Randolph Grizzlies PF 36 NR 11 NR
Stephen Curry Warriors PG 35 NR 10 NR
David Lee Warriors PF 34 NR 10 NR
Brook Lopez Nets C 33 NR 2 NR
Gerald Wallace Bobcats SF 32 NR 6 NR
Manu Ginobili Spurs SG 31 29 7 8
Tony Parker Spurs PG 30 15 9 3
Kevin Garnett Celtics PF 29 13 9 3
Rudy Gay Grizzlies SF 28 44 5 9
Josh Smith Hawks PF 27 40 8 13
Andre Iguodala 76ers SG 26 26 6 7
Al Jefferson Jazz PF 25 23 7 7
Russell Westbrook Thunder PG 24 NR 8 NR
Chauncey Billups Nuggets PG 23 19 7 5
Tyreke Evans Kings PG 22 NR 6 NR
Danny Granger Pacers SF 21 21 4 4

Notes
• Rankings are based solely on projected ’10-11 performance.
• Contributors to this list include: Jeremy Bauman, Maurice Bobb, Erildas Budraitis, Sean Ceglinsky, Ben Collins, Bryan Crawford, Sandy Dover, Adam Figman, Manny Maduakolam, Eddie Maisonet, Ryne Nelson, Doobie Okon, Ben Osborne, Charles Peach, Branden Peters, Quinn Peterson, David Schnur, Todd Spehr, Kyle Stack, Adam Sweeney, Dennis Tarwood, Tracy Weissenberg, Lang Whitaker, Eric Woodyard, and Nima Zarrabi.
• Want more of the SLAMonline Top 50? Check out the archive.

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  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    Two words why he may deserve this high a ranking by seasons end. Darren. Collison.

  • Overtime

    Think there’s going to be some controversy on this placing.
    This is one of the best writeups so far though. I especially like the point about how Granger doesnt have other good defenders to rely on, something that doesnt get thought of much when people think of the league’s defenders

  • Josh D

    his ranking can only go up from here!

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    I agree Overtime. ALOT of things will have to go right for this to look like an appropiate selection.

  • http://ohlaglambam.blogspot.com Zabba

    Granger not getting PT in Turkey this summer had more to do with Granger refusing to play D, rather than Coach K wanting a Pippen-esque role player. That’s why I don’t agree with Granger being above Iggy.

  • http://www.twitter.com/hurstysyd Hursty

    Man, the Pacers are really gonna suck this year. Lol. And it’s a joke that Bryant has made the defensive 1st team 5 years straight if that’s true. Write-up was good though. I like the nickname of ‘The Rifleman’ for Danny. Just cos.

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    Danny is an outstanding offensive player, and a very underrated one on D.. A little too high on the list though. About the Pacers- If there’s another player besides Granger that I’m looking next season, its not Collison, its Paul George and Tyler Hansbrough.. Tyler will be a solid 9 and 8 (more PT since Murphy’s gone), and Paul is gonna be a surprise to everyone.

  • Michael

    Granger is a stud..He gets buckets!!!! I think Indiana is going to be a playoff team.. They need to avoid injuries though. They have been hit by the injury bug more than any team in the NBA the last 4 years..

  • http://bulls.com C-Lo_The__Great

    Pacers could be decent this year. Give them a couple seasons before they start to actually compete in the east. Im liking their squad alot. Hibbert can became servicable starting center, they got their stud in Granger and they finally got that long awaited pg they’ve been looking for. Plus who knows what Lance Stephenson can do.

  • Furious

    Indiana would’ve sucked regardless of injuries.

  • ohsnapkid

    how is granger the 4th highest SF? there’s still melo, durant, lbj, and pierce.

  • Alex

    So this means Paul Pierce is not in the top 50. How is this possible?! He is obviously not the same player he once was, but still one of the top 5 players you’d want taking the game’s last shot. Although his output is declining with age, his efficiency is increasing as he had his best fg% and 3 point % of his career last year. And he is a solid defender when he puts his mind to it. PP should absolutely be in the top 50; probably in the top 35.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ante

    he should not be ahead of crash

  • Overtime

    whoah thats a good point? Pierce not in top 50? Im not exactly his biggest fan, but u must respect he is a good player. Not in the top 50 is beyond ridic

  • Bruno

    last 16 players are way better than him

  • JTaylor21

    It’s true Kobe has no business making the all-defensive first team 5 years in a row and has now made the team more times than the GDPOAT; SPippen. What a joke dude can’t even tie Pips sneakers when it comes to D.

  • fizzrocket

    Who said Pierce wasn’t in the Top 50? LMAO there’s still 20 more spots you haters.

  • Red

    You guys aren’t doing 2 a days nomore.

  • Red

    ‘Two words why he may deserve this high a ranking by seasons end. Darren. Collison.’

    That’s one word each genius.

  • b

    It is only three more small forward spots left and melo bron and Durant got those spots on lock…

  • SpaceJam

    Hey I gots to agree with Red. Darren Collison is gonna make him a better player. Granger is already an all-star and Darren Collison is gonna make him even better. His buckets will come easier so he can focus on defense more.

  • ai come back

    i think granger if he played d would easily be top 15 no other small forward has the shot that granger does……

  • ai come back

    take taht back if he started winnin more andplayed d like crash hustled like crash hed be top 15 hell top 10…… all he gotta do is make his name into sumpn of dominique wilkins stature

  • Furious

    Yes red, they are both one word. But there are two of them. And if you have two groups of one, you get…two! Well done red.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Way too high for Danny. He’ll only get better, and I have a feeling he’ll warrant Top 20 placement later, but right now would you really take him over Tyreke?
    But, like others said, Darren Collison is going to work wonders for this Pacers’ squad. Darren Collison should have made the list; and, depending on how things go, he’ll probably have a higher ranking than Danny Granger in the future.

  • JTaylor21

    No other SF has the shot that Granger has? WHAAAAAAAAAAT good joke. Melo’s jumpshot is miles ahead of his, KD’s slightly better and Bron is not too far behind. This spot is too high for a player of his caliber who can only score and doesn’t do much else out there.

  • Red

    Hey Furious are you naturally stupid? They become their own separate words.

    Stfu idiot.

  • http://Facebook.com/jray2009 Jray

    Hey red are you stupid? Dacre didn’t say “2 separate words: Darren. Collison.” regardless of whether they are seperate or not its simple math. 1 word + 1 word = oh my god, 2 words!

  • http://Facebook.com/jray2009 Jray

    separate*

  • Furious

    Oh sorry red, you’re right. If two things are separated by a piece of punctuation then they can’t be added. My bad.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/media/slam-tv/2010/10/video-kobe-i’d-beat-lebron-1-on-1/ Poetic Justice

    Wow, Red really is stupid. His argument makes no sense no matter how its construed.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/media/slam-tv/2010/10/video-kobe-i’d-beat-lebron-1-on-1/ Poetic Justice

    Looking at that list so far there are a lot of players who were not ranked last year. Makes me wonder who’s been dropped from the list this year. (Other than PP who surely was a mistake being left off)

  • Furious

    BTW, LeBrick’s jumper is miles behind Granger’s.

  • Karl

    Poetic Justice: PP should be within the next 3. If he’s not this whole list is invalid.

  • unrel

    Granger isn’t a number 1 option.. his career will follow the one of ray allen’s or glen rice’s.. put up great numbers until, one day.. he becomes a piece to help a true number 1 option…

  • Clement

    JTaylor u bein a troll or just dumb/on crack? The only other SF to have a long-range stroke comparable to Granger is Durant. Melo shot at 31% behind the arc last year, LeCrabdribble at 33%. Danny shot 40% two years before last season, and last season he dipped down to 36% which is still miles ahead of bron and melo. Not only does he take more threes than both those guys, he makes them at a much higher percentage. U must be out ur damn mind if u think those two are even close to being as good long-range threats as granger. Melo’s stroke is nice but he’s just not consistent enough and not efficient enuf from outside. Bron’s jumpshot form is just fkin ugly, i don’t think he’ll ever really get that down.

    I’m also a little surprised Pierce didn’t make the list, no way is he above Granger. Granger imo is the 4th best SF, besides bron durant and melo the only other candidates in granger’s tier are maybe iggy and crash.

  • add

    is lance suspended or what

  • unrel

    on a side note.. i don’t even thing Granger is a SF.. he’s more of a 2.. to me..

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    don’t argue with JTaylor, he is just in it for the conversational aspect. Right or Wrong, smart or dumb, it doesn’t apply.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/media/slam-tv/2010/10/video-kobe-i’d-beat-lebron-1-on-1/ Poetic Justice

    @Karl… I agree he should be… but because Granger is ranked 4th for positions, and his natural position is small forward, there seems to be no room for PP…because 1, 2 and 3 would be melo durant and lebron in no particular order. I guess/hope either granger or pierce is a shooting guard for the purposes of these rankings.

  • Tupack Shackur

    At least this writeup sounds realistic and not like grasping for straws. Thank you for this one.

  • markymark

    grangerous was ok.

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  • http://www.twitter.com/jtrain73 Jono

    Wow I’m gonna throw up soon. This guy is the best role playing small forward. 1 time all-star and maybe 1-2 more in the future. Better than Evans, JSmoove, KG, Lee, Wallace, Iggy(possible actually), Jennings, Yao, Bogut? I really doubt that. Just my opinion but surely one of the guys in the list above is better than friggin gRANGEr. Avg defender, avg score and excellent shooter, scores points because the Pacers are horrible. Change Pacers to bucks and this is Michael Redd.

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