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Best Fit for Danny Granger: Clippers or Spurs?

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

The 76ers bought out the veteran small forward. Which of these two landing spots is best?

Best Fit for Danny Granger: Clippers or Spurs?

Danny Granger will soon be a free agent. After being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, the team reached a buyout with the veteran. Granger will be able to sign with another contender starting tomorrow, and plenty are already lining up for his services. 

The consensus is that the Los Angeles Clippers are the frontrunners to sign Granger while the San Antonio Spurs are also very much in the running. Other teams like the Heat, Thunder and Rockets have their names in the hat, but it is believed that the Clippers and Spurs are the favorites. With that in mind, which team makes more sense for Granger?

First, let's look at what Granger brings to the table right now. He played in just 29 games this season for Indiana and averaged just 8.3 points in 22.5 minutes of action. While Granger shot modestly from deep (33%), his shooting elsewhere took a step back (except from the free throw line). Defensively, Granger was rebounding at a better rate than normal, so that's another area he can contribute. But regardless of what his numbers look like this season, Granger is a veteran with playoff experience that can provide perimeter scoring in a limited setting. He also might get better as the season moves on as he continues to recover from his myriad injuries. That also might be wishful thinking.

Considering all of that, let's assess both destinations.

Los Angeles Clippers

I think that the Clippers need Granger more than Granger needs the Clippers. The injury bug bit the Clippers again recently. JJ Redick has been sidelined since early February and Jamal Crawford left last night's win against the Heat. Offseason acquisition Jared Dudley has underwhelmed this season, and the team has had to rely more on Matt Barnes for minutes. They even brought in Hedo Turkoglu as more insurance on the perimeter, though Crawford is only going to miss a game or two, the perimeter is fragile.

Granger would likely see more minutes in LA than in any other situation because of their need for outside scoring. That doesn't necessarily mean it's the right fit for him. The Clippers have brought in a lot of new faces over the last month, and while Doc Rivers can handle a roster better than many, I don't know how all of these pieces are going to mesh. 

Plus, are the Clippers ready to take that next step in the West? Los Angeles has a 2-4 record against the top three seeds in the Western Conference right now. They have beaten up on a lot of the other teams, but they haven't been able to get over the hump against established teams like the Spurs and Thunder on a consistent basis. Does Granger really change that? Maybe, but it's unlikely.    

San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs might not represent the most ideal option in terms of playing time for Granger, but I think this team (outside of him taking his talents to South Beach) represents his best shot at a title. The Spurs are relatively healthy right now, but they have been very prone to injury on the wing too, especially Manu Ginobili. The Spurs are reportedly pitching Granger on being a 2014 Robert Horry-type, which might not sound attractive to a guy that still wants to get paid. But if Granger could bite the bullet and take a more limited role, I think he would thrive in San Antonio's open style. 

The championship framework is already in place from last year, and Granger wouldn't have as much pressure placed on him as he would in other situations. With proven winners like Duncan, Ginobili and Parker and the best coach in the NBA, Gregg Popovich, Granger could really carve out a niche in San Antonio. With Kawhi Leonard back, Granger wouldn't see as much playing time, but he would be put in opportunities where he could really thrive. San Antonio has a lot of players that work in interchangeable spots, and Popovich is innovative enough to be able to use Granger to best benefit of the team and player. 

Verdict: I think the best place for Granger is in San Antonio. In my opinion, they are closer than the Clippers are right now to a title, but maybe Granger will prove me wrong.

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