Danny Granger was officially named to the 2008-09 Eastern Conference All-Star team today as a reserve forward. Congrats, Danny!
In the past couple of weeks, there seemed to be some hand wringing about Granger's All-Star credentials because the Pacers record is well below .500. The thought being that Danny's numbers are empty and inflated because he's the top scorer on a bad team. This position has merit on the surface but turns hollow when you look past the NBA standings and box scores. In fact, it was easy to read a column supporting this position and realize the writer has been reading about Granger but not actually watching all of his games.
The Pacers have been in tight games all year including, 18 games so far that went down to the final possession and were decided by three points or less or went to overtime. Expand that list to games decided by six points or less and the number jumps to 24 games. In those tight, hotly contested games, Granger has been the primary target of opposing defenses, yet he's been able to produce big numbers and more importantly, make big shots in the waning seconds of games. He even had a game-winning block against Houston last week.
Also, a big part of the All-Star game is to showcase the league's best players, so with that in mind, including Granger makes more sense than adding the third or fourth scoring option for the Lakers, Celtics or Spurs. The elite teams are on national television all the time, to the point where NBA fans are more familiar with Eddie House and Jordan Farmar than they are with Danny Granger. The Pacers don't have a nationally televised game scheduled this year, so NBA All-Star weekend offers a chance to expose Danny's talents to a much broader audience which in turn is good for the whole league.
Fortunately, the Eastern Conference coaches got it right and included Danny on the All-Star roster. Hopefully, Granger's current knee problems clear up by All-Star weekend. If so, then Danny can show the world why he deserves his well-earned, new title -- NBA All-Star.