Jan 25, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger (33) shoots the ball during the first half against the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Rockets Should Sign Danny Granger

A part of arguably the “biggest” deadline trade of this year’s NBA trade deadline, it appears as if Danny Granger won’t play a single minute for the Philadelphia 76’ers. Jake Pavorsky (Liberty_Ballers) is  reporting that Granger will be bought out by the 76’ers.

With Granger bought out, he will get to pick whatever team he wants to join on their playoff run. One team that could use Granger’s services is none other than the Houston Rockets.

As it stands right now, the Rockets are still using some sort of combination of Francisco Garcia and Omri Casspi off the bench at the two and three. According to many, that needs to change. This season, Garcia is shooting 35.2% from beyond the arc, just a bit lower than his 36% career mark. Casspi on the other hand is shooting 35.6% from three, a bit higher than his 35.4%. Not such great numbers and it’s not as if they’re providing great defense either.

Danny Granger can certainly help the team. Granger was arguably one of the top 20 or 30 players in the NBA before his knee injury which cost him most of the 2012 season and a strained calf which cost him much of the early part of this season. Granger averaged anywhere from 19-25 points per game in 5 seasons between 2007 and 2012. He also shot between 36-40% from three at that time.

Granger isn’t that same player anymore, but he’d still be an improvement over Garcia and Casspi. The 30-year old Granger is averaging just 8.3 ppg off the bench, and shooting just 35.9% from the field and 33% from three. He’s a shell of the player he used to be, but is certainly worth a shot. Granger has never been known as much of a facilitator but that’s not what his role would be with the Rockets. The bench hasn’t been as successful as Daryl Morey, Kevin McHale, and the rest of the organization has hoped. Granger’s skill-set is perfect for a role off the bench as the Rockets could use his scoring abilities when both James Harden and Dwight Howard are off the court.

Jan 4, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers small forward Danny Granger (33) defends New Orleans Pelicans point guard Brian Roberts (22) during the second period of the game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Defensively, Granger has never been known as a great defender. He’s got the size (6′ 8.5″) and wingspan (7′ 1.5″) to guard some of the best small forwards in the game, but he hasn’t always risen to the challenge. This year, Granger has had the best year defensively according to Basketball Reference with a defensive rating of 99, as opposed to his 106 career rating. Now that could simply be due to the fact he’s facing worse players off the bench, but it’s still better than Garcia’s 107 rating or Casspi’s 105 rating.

There’s one problem with potentially bringing in Granger and that has to do with the Rocket’s roster space. After the deadline the Rockets waived Ronnie Brewer but that was to make space for newly-signed Troy Daniels. Their roster is full at 15, but it’s first time this season where all their players have been healthy. If the Rockets choose to bring in Granger, cutting Greg Smith would make the most sense. Smith has been injured for much of the season and doesn’t figure to be included in the rotation for the rest of the season. He’s an unrestricted free agent after this season and won’t be much of a loss. Granger is a SF/PF much like Casspi and with Omer Asik on the team, the Rockets are big enough to afford to lose Smith.

There’s also that Jordan Hamilton fellow. The Rockets traded Aaron Brooks for Hamilton and hope he can solve the wing “woes”, but it remains to be seen if Hamilton is the answer. Whether you believe in Hamilton’s potential or not, bringing in another potential wing improvement can only help the Rockets find their answer. Both Casspi and Garcia have proven they are nothing but replaceable and Granger can be an improvement over both.

It’s very simple. If you think Granger can improve on offense as the season goes on and his defense will stay at an average/above average level, then you’re likely on board the “Sign Granger Train”. If you think Granger isn’t going to improve offensively, has become injury prone, and/or he and his defense will decline as the season goes on, then I guess you’re hoping that either Casspi or Garcia can improve there three-point percentages over the next two/three months.

The Rockets could still use some help at the wing and Granger can provide that boost off the bench they are still looking for as they march towards the playoffs. What do you guys think? Sound off in the comments below!


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