Indiana Pacers: Can Danny Granger Bounce Back After a Subpar Season?

Ernest ShepardAnalyst IIIAugust 25, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - APRIL 16:  Danny Granger #33 of the Indiana Pacers watches a free throw during the NBA game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on April 16, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Danny Granger must bounce back after an awful 2011-12 NBA season, but can he bounce back?

To say that Granger was not at his best last season would be an understatement. The former NBA All-Star had his share of struggles during the lockout-shortened year; while the Indiana Pacers were enjoying on-the-court success, Granger's jumper somewhat disappeared.

For the first two months of the 2011-12 season, Granger shot below .400. This included a shooting percentage of .395 in January and a decline to .389 percent in February. He ended the season averaging a career low of .416 from the field.

What is alarming is the fact that Granger's field-goal percentage has dipped in six of his seven years in the NBA. As a result, his scoring has been on the decline; Granger's 18.7 scoring average was his lowest in a five-year span. Despite leading the Pacers in scoring during that time, Granger's scoring has been far less efficient.

Even on a team that was as deep as the Pacers were, we expected Granger's paltry scoring numbers to be so much better. Perhaps we were spoiled by his 25.8 PPG in the 2008-09 campaign. Afterwards, he followed it up with 24.1 PPG during the 2009-10 season.

Rightfully so, we saw a star in the making.

The next season, Granger treated us to 20.5 PPG, low by the standards that we grew accustomed to, but solid scoring nevertheless.

One constant has been the total of shots that Granger averaged when he teased us with his offensive potential. The difference is close to four shots a game. In the season that he averaged 25.8 points, Granger took an average of 19 shots, but last season he hoisted an average of 15 shots.

Granger must increase his shot attempts—look no further for possible solutions

And in order to take more shots, Granger must have improved point guard play around him.

For those who were upset when Pacer management traded away Darren Collison, consider the fact that Collison only averaged 4.8 APG. That ranked among the lowest of the players who led their teams to the playoffs and led their team in assists.

George Hill should be an upgrade at the point guard position despite not being a natural point guard.

Scoring was not the only problem that Granger faced, though. He also must improve his post play.

Granger has rare height and strength advantages that he does not utilize. We get to see glimpses; how well he guarded LeBron James in the playoffs comes to mind.

Granger used his length to pester LeBron in the defensive post, forcing LeBron to shoot long-range baskets. Foul trouble kept him on the bench at times but Granger's post defense was solid. We are still waiting for him to use that same advantage on offense.

That would cause a trickle-down effect with his scoring because he essentially would be taking better shots and forcing opposing defenses to sag off him on the perimeter.

I expect Granger to return to form this season. His surrounding cast has improved from growth and development, not to mention the additions of D.J. Augustin to help get him the ball in the proper places and Gerald Green to share the scoring load.

I do not see another 25-point scoring average in Granger's future, but what I do see is a better overall performance with an improved shooting percentage.

This season, Danny Granger will bounce back.