Yes, praise. Let's try something new.
Let us get this out of the way now: Granger has been shooting like absolute garbage this year. 30% fg, 42% ts, and 36% efg is downright uuuuuuuugly. He is also probably shooting too much but shooters are going to shoot. But let us be honest, his worst shooting year in the NBA (last year) was 42.5%. He isn't going to shoot 30% the whole year, it will come around.
Some positive news about his shooting? Although the sample size is small, he is shooting 50% fg with an efg of 65% in "clutch" situations, up from 30% fg and 36% efg last year. Once again, sample size is small but still. Oh, and we are 2-0 in those games so far.
But that isn't what this post is about. It is about some of the criticism Granger has gotten over the years for his defense. And when this year came rolling along, and we added some new weapons (West, Hill) and expected improvement from our other weapons (PG, DC, Hibbert), a lot of Granger fans and criticizers alike wanted him to amp up the defense to his pre-all star days and calm down the shooting. And so far, Granger has amped up the defense. Big time.
Defense is hard to quantify with stats but let me try. You can easily just use the eyeball test and see this too but stats are easier to type lol.
Right now, Granger is 5th in the league (and the first forward on the list) in steals per game, averaging 2.1. He is also adding a block a game to go with it. Do steals mean you are an awesome defender? Absolutely not. But this is double the amount he averaged last year.
But, now let us look at his defense outside of steals. Last year, the small forwards opposing Granger had a PER of 15.2 against him, averaging 20 points per 48mins while shooting a eFG of 51%. This year? Granger's opposing small forwards have a PER of a whopping 8.5, averaging 14 points per 48mins while shooting an eFG 33%. How is that for some improvement for you? (For comparisons sake, praised defender Paul George's opponents at SG have a PER of 14.7, with 20 points per 48mins while shooting eFG of 51%).
And although a very crude method, here is how the opposing small forwards have faired against the Pacers:
Pierce: 10pts, 3/17 shooting
L. James: 33pts, 12/21 shooting (pretty sure PG guarded him though)
D. James: 10pts, 4/9 shooting
Prince: 12pts, 5/13 shooting
Casspi: 4pts, 1/6 shooting
Butler: 3pts, 1/4 shooting
Prince: 6pts, 3/10 shooting
Not everything is doom and gloom so far with Danny. When his shot comes back and if he continues playing defense like he has been, we are going to have a very good player on our hands.