After days of speculation as to where Danny Granger will land once he clears waivers, it has become official that the 30-year-old will head to the Los Angeles Clippers. The move guarantees high level minutes for Granger and makes the Clippers the favorites to win the Western Conference title because of their deep team wide depth.
When it comes to Granger there is little doubting that he will automatically slide into starting and playing close to 30 minutes per game at the small forward position. On the defensive end of the court he will provide consistent, if not spectacular, play and surely will not become a liability at any point. The real value will come on offense, though, as the 6-foot-9, 228-pound small forward has great ability with the ball and can score either by posting up opposing players, driving to the rim or even as a spot-up shooter.
It would appear that Granger will mainly be used as a shooter with the Clippers as Chris Paul and Blake Griffin dominate touches. But if he can approach the 38.2 percent that he shoots historically on three-pointers, this will be a great addition. Furthermore, the 30-year-old will obviously provide a much greater level of offensive versatility than either Matt Barnes or Jared Dudley when he does have the ball in his hands and will allow those two to play in a bench role that is more suiting of their skill level.
When it comes to the Clippers’ situation outside of the position of small forward, it is clear that they now have a starting five that is set in stone and has great versatility. In Paul they have a point guard that is going to handle the ball efficiently, create a massive amount of scoring chances and generally be the on-court manager. Meanwhile, up front they have one of the best one-two combos in the game in DeAndre Jordan and Griffin, with the former providing more of the defensive prowess in the paint and the latter providing the offensive punch that turns heads. Finally, in J.J. Redick the team has a shooting guard who will space the floor for everyone else to operate and ensure that the team always has an open outlet.
On the bench, the Clippers’ addition of Granger sets in stone a second unit that can handle many first teams in the NBA today. The recent addition of Glen Davis as backup power-forward ensures a physical option up front alongside backup center Ryan Hollins, who mostly relies on great athleticism. Meanwhile, moving to the wings is where the team has a huge amount of depth, as Dudley, Barnes, Jamal Crawford and Willie Green can all play close to 15 minutes per game at small forward and shooting guard. Finishing this off with Darren Collison as an athletic backup point guard behind Paul means that Los Angeles has seven options off the bench who could conceivably play 12-15 minutes or more per game along with a good mix of shooters, defensive-minded players and physically imposing players.
At 40-20 and sitting in fourth place in the Western Conference today, there is no doubting that the Clippers have been a main threat to advance to the NBA Finals all season long, but the addition as Danny Granger vaults them to favorite status. It brings in a guy who will likely score 17-19 points per game, cements the team’s starting rotation for the playoffs and ensures they have the deepest bench in the West. With Doc Rivers leading the ship as head coach there is no doubting the Clippers are the team to beat.