Danny Granger, Chris Paul and the Miami Heat
I’m just going to excerpt very liberally from this wonderful post because (a) Shoals weaved together a cohesive fabric of insights that can’t really be separated and remain as salient, and (b) you should be reading The Works regularly and maybe seeing this in its entirely will compel you to do so.
It remains to be seen whether Trevor Ariza will do right by NOLA. Or, to put it another way, whether Chris Paul will be one step closer to not leaving, and the era of the super-teams kept at bay. Certainly, the Hornets think so; in trading Darren Collison, they parted with the league’s ultimate contingency plan. But the Paul situation was getting thorny, the man wanted some help, and circumstances demanded sooner, not later.
Except while all eyes were on Paul, wondering if he would squander valuable prime on a team treading water, we forgot about Indiana’s Danny Granger.
It’s okay, most people do. And unlike Paul, Granger isn’t in contention for greatest ever at his position. Yet the new, harsh logic of the NBA goes something like this: the finest players are entitled to quality teams, or else, they will join forces and form encampments of their own.
Just because Danny Granger wasn’t asking for a trade, or seen as likely to make trouble before his 2014 free agency, it doesn’t mean he lives in a different league.
Chris Paul may have Trevor Ariza to toss alley-oops to, but Granger — who should see the playoffs a few times before he retires — is the star whose needs were really addressed. The irony, of course, is that we had all spent the last month guessing at Paul’s state of mind.
Granger, however shoddy the Pacers were, never raised a fuss or forced the issue. And yet he ended up the biggest winner in the trade.
Okay, it was the Pacers who won, since the team filled their most glaring need with a top-flight player. Teams are bigger than their stars; Collison could go on to surpass Granger; no one man is bigger than an entire roster, a whole that a point guard can bring real coherence to. Yet getting Darren Collison showed that the Pacers have been paying attention.
You can’t take your stars for granted, or leave them high and dry as other teams load up. Hate the Heat if you want; it’s because of them that Indiana made sure to make a move. In the end, it’s not about player demands, empowerment, expectations, or labor issues. It’s not about competitive imbalance. It’s about teams realizing that players want to win.
Yes, I know, making it too easy to win is a sin against the sport. The more important principle at play, though, is that talent is a terrible thing to waste. That goes for players who never become who they are; it should hold equally for franchises lucky enough to land Danny Granger late in the first round. He’s shown them loyalty by committing long-term. The least they can do is reward him as they would a Chris Paul potentially looking to bounce.
I have nothing to add.