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Getting to know the new Heat players - Part 3 of 3: Danny Granger

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We wrap up our series where we look at new Heat players by talking to the writers that saw them in action while they were with a previous team. Our first post was on Josh McRoberts, then we looked at Luol Deng. Now we conclude with Danny Granger who spent most of his career with the rival Indiana Pacers before ending last season as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers.

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What to think of Danny Granger?

He was once an up-and-coming player, an All-Star who seemed primed to lead the Indiana Pacers to playoff success. For some Heat fans, the lingering image of Granger is as an instigator during some classic playoff battles as this search via YouTube surely supports.

But injuries impacted his promising career, he was cast to the bench as Paul George and Lance Stephenson led the Pacers and, last season, he was traded to the woeful Philadelphia 76ers before being waived and joining the Los Angeles Clippers. We spoke to Tom Lewis, manager of Indy Cornrows (Indiana's SB Nation site) and asked him about what Heat fans can expect from Granger at this point in his career.


Granger spent the better part of nine seasons with the Pacers and was, at one point, seen as an Indiana lifer. How did his trade impact the locker room and the fans?

At the time of the trade, I think fans had mixed emotions. Obviously, Granger had given a lot to the organization and suffered through playing well on some otherwise bad teams, but his health made him unreliable and hopes of a young player like Evan Turner coming in to play a reserve role made the trade seem like a great move to fortify the playing rotation for the playoffs. Granger couldn't consistently play, making it obvious his best days were behind him and in the tough business side of basketball, it was time to move on.

Granger wasn't a big presence in the locker room, like say a David West, but his trade along with adding Andrew Bynum definitely altered the dynamic behind closed doors. This was a team on a mission from day one and although Granger wasn't always around, he remained part of the quest and a guy players wanted to win for to give him a taste of a championship run while actually playing a role. The two mid-season moves broke the seal on that tight group on a mission and they were never able to capture that esprit de corps again.

Obviously, Granger has been limited by nagging injuries for last two seasons. Based on what you saw during that time period, is there any hope that he will regain or come close to his former All-Star status?

I'm a big Granger fan so I continue to hold out hope he can return to a high level of play before he hangs it up, although All-Star status may be asking a bit much. Something would have to change dramatically with his knees for that to happen and history says, not to bet on such a rejuvenation. But he did begin developing more of an "old man game" the past couple of years in Indy where he could go to work offensively from the mid-range and in. He can also play a sniper role from behind the arc, as usual.

What's the feeling about Granger's decision to join Miami? Is he persona non grata now that he's part of the Heat or do you feel fans wish him well after everything he did in Indiana?

Speaking for myself, Granger would have to do some serious damage to the Pacers in the playoffs in order to earn my ire, and even then a big part of me would think, "Good for him." More so at the time of his signing, it was obvious Granger was chasing a spot on a team that can make a run for a title which is something I will never begrudge him for, even if it is with the Heat!

Prior to the trade, he played in just under 30 games for Indiana last season? How was he able to contribute on the floor? He's expected (if healthy) to bring shooting and some perimeter defense to Miami - do you think he can still has those skills?

After the Pacers' hot start, Granger returned in late December and the team went 13-2 in his first 15 games and continued to roll until things started coming apart around the All-Star break which pushed Larry Bird to make a couple of moves. Granger was real solid off the bench as long as he wasn't playing back-to-back games. During that hot stretch, David West referred to Granger as the knock-out artist, coming in to finish off teams after the starters had them weary.

Granger will surely have his shot to lean on. Defensively, he can be good in short bursts, but any part of his game seems to be that way now. If I was hoping for more, I'd say if his knees hold up and he can actually get more consistent minutes under his belt, his experience will allow him to be more productive.

Did you follow his performance in Los Angeles? From what I gathered, Clippers fans are happy he's gone because he didn't do much for their failed postseason run. If you can, would you say his ineffectiveness in L.A. was due to his eroding health, his unfamiliarity with "Doc" Rivers' offense or maybe a little of both?

It never appeared that he had a solid role with the Clippers. They had plenty of options for various lineups and Granger wasn't able to carve out a consistent role. Historically, Granger has started seasons slow and had to find his playing rhythm through a few games even after sitting for injury, so knowing that, it makes sense that he struggled with the role he was put in with the Clippers. Which reminds me, don't panic if you get to Thanksgiving and Granger doesn't seem like he can throw it in the ocean. Focus on how he is moving and his ability to play consistently because the offense will come around if he is healthy enough to play.


Well, that wraps up this detailed look at some of Miami's new additions. We want to thank Tom, Ben Swanson, David Zavac and Your Friendly BullsBlogger for all of their assistance.

Stay tuned for more updates as we inch our way to the preseason and a new exciting era in Heat basketball.