Danny Granger Showing Signs of Stardom with the Indiana Pacers

Sean StancillSenior Writer IDecember 29, 2008

Among the top 10 scorers in the league are players like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, and Chris Bosh.

These players have woven their athletic tapestry into their respective arenas and have become the "face of their franchise" at a ravenous pace.

But where does 25-year-old New Mexico graduate Danny Granger rank?

Does he even qualify amongst the superficial talent?

Well, Granger has the best three-point shooting percentage of any player ranked in the top 10 in scoring, aside from Dirk Nowitzki, Brandon Roy, and Joe Johnson. He has a better free-throw percentage than top-two scorers Wade and James. And he boasts a better field-goal percentage than Allen Iverson and Paul Pierce—despite logging fewer minutes than all of the portentous specimens mentioned above.

Granger averaged 26.5 points, one steal, one block, and shot 50 percent from the field (20-40) versus the Celtics and Cavaliers in the month of November and has continued his torrid-apparent shooting since.

The 6'8" forward has poured in 93 points in his last four games against Western Conference teams with winning records, including 32 in a 118-117 upset win on Dec 2. over the then 23-5 Lakers.

No player in the NBA has been more effective scoring-wise as of late. He's scored 242 points in his last 249 minutes, and has also gone 55-57 from the free throw line. The five games before his injury, Granger was averaging 31 points, seven rebounds, five assists, one steal, and only turned the ball over once.

One of his greatest fortes is his durability. In his four-year career, he's only missed six games—including the two games he missed this season.

Granger's points-per-game average as a rookie (7.5) has ballooned to a career-high 24.4 this season, with the height of the girth coming last year, in which he posted 19.6 points per game. The pick in the 2005 draft has scored at least 30 points on five separate occasions—four of the five were against teams with winning records—and two 40-point performances as well.

Granger is effectively positioning himself on the floor and becoming the sole breadwinner for Indiana—in contrast to previous seasons, when he was a developing prospect.

The 2005 draft product (17th overall) is quietly establishing himself as the best player besides Chris Paul, Deron Williams, and Andrew Bynum to ascend from that draft, and the best mid-first round selection since Al Jefferson (22.1 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 1.9 BPG) the year before.

Unfortunately, Granger is engulfed on a frugal Indiana team that hasn't produced a winning record since Reggie Miller's farewell season in 2005.