Danny Granger Eyes Starting Spot With LA Clippers
LOS ANGELES (AP) –– Danny Granger was all set to make his debut with the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night before coach Doc Rivers accidentally left his new acquisition’s name off his list of active players.
It was a classic Clippers moment, but Granger is here because the longtime Indiana Pacers star is confident his new franchise’s truly star-crossed days are in the past.
“The point I’m at now, coming to this team, whatever role Doc sees fit for me is the role that I would do,” Granger said. “I’m not one of those players that says, `I have to do this, or I have to do that.’ I just want to play, have fun, shoot some 3s, throw some lobs, go celebrate.”
A day after formally joining the Clippers, the former All-Star planned to be in uniform when Los Angeles hosted the New Orleans Pelicans. Granger went through warmups at Staples Center before being informed he wasn’t eligible.
Granger might not have played anyway, but Rivers is thinking about the best ways to use the versatile scorer joining his first new team after 8 1/2 seasons in Indiana.
Rivers said Granger would “ideally” be a starter for the Clippers because of his height and the flexibility to bring Matt Barnes off the bench as an energetic scorer. Rivers also likes Granger’s familiarity with most of Los Angeles’ defensive concepts, which are similar to the Pacers’ ideas.
“The whole key is how quickly we can get him acclimated, how quickly we can figure out what he does well,” Rivers said. “And he’s still coming back from the injury, so even though he’s back, he still needs more time and minutes.”
Granger said he isn’t worried about his role, albeit while noting he has “always been a starter in my career.”
After the Pacers traded him to Philadelphia and the 76ers bought out his contract earlier this week, Granger entertained offers from several teams before choosing Rivers, Chris Paul and the high-flying Pacific Division leaders for the rest of the season.
“It’s the type of system I will probably thrive in,” Granger said. “It’s the system I have thrived in in the past. All the players want to play that way.”
Rivers wasn’t worried about Granger’s recent inactivity when the Clippers pursued him. Granger played in just five games last season because of a knee injury, and he missed nearly two months of this season with a calf injury.
“I thought right before the trade, he was starting to round into shape,” Rivers said. “He was starting to make shots. What I see in him is length. He’s a long small forward who has an ability to add a different dimension to us. And I don’t know this yet, honestly, because I haven’t coached him yet, but the way I look at him is we can have a post game at the `3′ spot as well, which would be nice for us.”
Granger has owned an offseason home in Los Angeles for seven years, so he already knows his way around town. He also knows all about the recent evolution of the Clippers, the longtime league doormat recently turned into a championship contender.
Granger frequently works out at the Clippers’ new training complex in Playa Vista during the offseason.
“The culture has really changed,” Granger said. “Bringing Doc here, and CP, and then probably the best power forward in the game in Blake (Griffin), it’s a winning culture now.”
Granger is the second major addition to the Clippers in the past week, joining big man Glen Davis. Rivers made aggressive pitches for both veterans, and the coach emerged from the process pleased with his recruiting acumen.
“I think it’s very similar to back in the days where you could just give college players money,” Rivers said with a laugh. “You beg, and you’re honest with guys. You tell them where you see them on the team. I’ve lost as many as I’ve gained on this one, so it’s good to get two.”