How Danny Granger Could Help the Cleveland Cavaliers
Multiple sources believe the Pacers are looking for a taker for veteran small forward Danny Granger. The Cavs are interested, sources said, but have reservations about the knee injury that forced him to miss much of the season. If the injury robbed Granger of his explosiveness, such a move would hardly be worth the gamble.
It shouldn't be a surprise that the Pacers are looking to deal their face of the franchise for the previous five seasons, as the Pacers were able to secure the third seed in the Eastern Conference and reach the Eastern Conference Finals without Granger in the lineup.
Furthermore, Granger is set to earn $14 million in 2013-14, so it would put the Pacers in a tight cap if they are looking to add some more pieces during the offseason.
However, Granger is still a very capable player, and he could help improve the Cavaliers in multiple areas of the game.
Defense on the Wings
The Cavaliers were ranked 26th in defensive efficiency during the regular season (per Hollinger's Team Stats), so that's definitely an area where they need some help.
Granger could vastly improve the team's defense on the perimeter and the wings. In the 2011-12 season, Granger held opposing small forwards to a PER of 12.7 (per 82games.com), which is exceptional, considering the amount of talent at that position in the league right now.
Defense is one of the more underrated aspects of Granger's game, and his defense has been overshadowed on his own team by the likes of Paul George and interior stalwart Roy Hibbert. Although the Cavaliers already possess a quality wing player in Alonzo Gee, Gee is nowhere near the caliber of a player that Granger is. Granger would be a much-needed upgrade at the small forward spot.
Granger is coming off of a major knee surgery and might lose some of his explosiveness, but he's still one of the best all-around offensive players in the league when he's healthy.
He could relieve pressure off of the up-and-coming Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters, who look like the future backcourt tandem of the Cavaliers. Granger is only two years removed from averaging 20 points per game for a season, and he averaged more than 20 PPG for three consecutive seasons just a few years ago (per Basketball Reference).
Although his efficiency may be down from earlier in his career, he's still a legitimate scorer who can get an entire team going on offense when he gets hot. At this stage of his career, Granger won't be looking for the center of attention or be asked to carry an entire team anymore. If he doesn't have the ball in his hands, he is still a deadly spot-up shooter and is capable of creating plays on offense to give Irving a breather.
If Granger ends up on the Cavaliers, he will be one of only a few veteran players on the squad. The core of the Cavaliers' future includes Irving, Waiters, Tristan Thompson and possibly Tyler Zeller. They will need an experienced veteran on their team as a voice in the locker room.
Although Granger isn't exactly the best example of a playoff-tested veteran, he still has more years of experience than any of the core players on this team.
Granger's presence and attitude will change the culture of a Cavaliers squad that has been at the bottom of the standings for the past three seasons and one that hasn't even come close to tasting the playoffs since LeBron James departed in 2010.