Lang Whitaker, executive editor of SLAM, recently came up with the clever idea of turning the magazine’s latest edition into it’s “How- To Issue.” He would reach out to different players across the league who excel in different areas and get them to tell readers how they manage to be one of the best in the world at their special skill. Not only would this make for compelling narrative, Lang reasoned, but it would also help teach the young ballers who read the magazine so devoutly how to improve.
So I was particularly excited to hear that Danny Granger, the reigning NBA “Most Improved Player of the Year” award recipient, would be contributing the publication’s “How to Improve Every Year” section. Not only will this give the Pacers a little much-needed national exposure, but its says a lot that Danny is the guy Lang sought out to tell people he hopes will use this issue as a means to improve how to improve. I think that sentence makes sense. It did when I typed it.
Anyway, here’s some of what Danny wrote:
During the offseason, doing individual basketball workouts, I spend about an hour, hour and a half, and then I’ll play for a bout an hour later on that evening. I always want to improve my dribbling and isolation moves, so I worked on that a lot this offseason. I think you have to analyze your own game … You really have to look at your own game and see what works for you the best and do that. The year goes by in such a blur with so many different games, I have to watch myself on tape and see what I’m doing. If I don’t do it that way, then I just go from game to game and I’m playing game to game and I’m not realizing what I’m doing right or what I’m doing wrong.
It would be nice if Danny would take his own advice right about now.
Because his “playing game to game” strategy this season has so far involved shooting way too many threes. You would think that his game off against the Clippers would have given him the opportunity to step back and refocus on his desire to use those dribbling and iso moves he worked on all offseason. Maybe he was able to get some film sessions in and see penetrating opportunities. Even failing that, you would think the miserable shooting display he had to sit there and watch that dreadful night would have scared him off of jumpshots for life.
Yet, sure enough, he went 2 for 9 from three his next game in uniform. A line like that might sound undisciplined and egregious. It is. Worse still is that it’s really not even particularly far off of Granger’s season averages of 3.1 made threes to 8.8 attempts per game.
To be fair, Danny did make it a point to get into the paint more often on Monday against the Warriors, so let’s hope that continues and wasn’t just the case of him exploiting a smaller lineup.
And while you’re waiting to see if that actually happens or not tonight against the Kings, do yourself a favor and go get the new issue of SLAM. Other than Danny, it has Dwight talking about how to block shots, KG talking about how to be a leader, Battier talking about how to take a charge and Tim Hardaway talking about how to cross somebody over. Among many others.