Danny Granger didn’t score his first two points until 7:16 in the second quarter. By the time he sank his first shot he had already bricked seven – four of which were from downtown – and I had long ago hurled my plate full of Hot Pockets at my TV. Yeah, that’s right. Plate full. I had a plate full of Hot Pockets. Not one. A whole damn plate. Stacked ‘em like Lincoln Logs. Why? Because I hate myself. Why? Because I picked Granger with the seventh pick in this year’s draft. Why? Because Kobe’s knee and finger and Gasol and … bah! By the end of the Granger’s run, he was 2-for-19, with nothing to show for nine attempts from the arc. There’s nothing quite as infuriating as a cold shooter trying to warm up from 25 feet away from the basket. Scoot up, Daniel! Drive on Beasley. He won’t mind – hell, he won’t even know! Every lethargic game the Pacers limp through clarifies that Granger is closer to Kevin Martin than Kevin Durant. He’s a solid player, a multi-tooled player that can come in handy, but he’s not an elite player. Elite players don’t shoot .400-or-worse from the floor 31 times in 63 games. Elite players don’t attempt 6+ treys in 27 games and shoot worse than .333 in 11 of them. Elite players don’t see their PER average slip from 21.8, to 19.8 to 17.6 in three consecutive years. Elite players don’t have 17.6 PERs. Granger’s treated like a star in Indy, which is at least half the problem. He’s slightly better than Luol Deng, perhaps slightly worse than Andre Iguodala and on par with players with a lot to offer, but so much less control than you can afford to be without after one round in your draft. He’s not improving in Indiana, he’s getting worse.You can’t drop Granger, can’t trade him now.
Here what else went down in fantasy basketball’s busiest day of the week:
Roy Hibbert – 0-for-6, with no points. Sonuvabitch!
Tyler Hansbrough – Started. Made something of it (21/9, with three steals).Will likely be a headliner in the offseason’s sleeper posts.
Paul George – Also started. Made little of it (6/3, with three steals). Less likely to impact those same sleeper posts.
Anthony Randolph – 14/7/2, with a steal in 19 minutes. Next year, kids. Next year.
Tyrus Thomas – There was a setback, he didn’t play. Your disappointment in his performance will have to wait at least one more game. On the bright side, your disappointment that he didn’t even play enough to disappoint you with his performance got its day in court.
Gerald Henderson – Scored 20 points and eight assists against a tough Bulls squadron. For those keeping score at home, in the seven games Henderson has played since taking over for the other Gerald, he’s scored 16 or more points in four of them and nine or fewer points in the other three.
Kyle Korver – 20 points on the shoulders of four treys in what had to be the most obvious blowout of the night, even though it wasn’t really a blowout until the fourth. The Bulls actually blowing out the Bobs was a formality – like actually saying the words, “I think we should break up” after you catch him screwing your sister.
Jordan Farmar – Shot 2-for-10 and threejerked his way to an 0-for-5 mark behind the arc. Jor-dash didn’t think he’d see 25 minutes in a one game for the rest of the season, stayed up to watch all three screenings of “Yogi Bear” on the flight back from London and still hasn’t recovered from the jetlag. Blame him for loving the movie, but trust that he’ll improve next time out.
Sasha Vujacic – Deep leaguers in a pinch might consider adding the Machine while he’s starting (uh, he’s starting in place of Damion James, whom you also were probably unaware was starting. Damion James was starting. Then he got concussed. So he ain’t startin’ no mo’. Good. Now we’re all caught up), but he runs too hot and cold for me. He shot okay last night (7-of-16 in 32 minutes), but when he’s not shooting well, he offers nothing else. Nothing. I’ve been over to his condo twice now and neither time did he offer me a vodka. Did he fix himself one? Oh, sure. But me? Nooo.
Dorell Wright – Averaged 18.9 points on .481 shooting from the field and .422 shooting from the arc in January. In February, he averaged 15.4 on .396/.338 shooting. So far this month he’s averaging 10.7 and shooting .365/.174. If we could just combine Wright’s first three months with John Salmons‘ last three months, we’d have one player who actually meets the expectations fantasy owners have for either. Also, we’d call it the Dorell Salmon, grill it, slather it in lemon juice and sell it to Long John Silvers.
Baron Davis – Left due to the death of his grandmother. He’ll miss at least two games, maybe more. Ramon Sessions is … well, you know.
Amir Johnson – Left with an ankle injury near the end of the first quarter, or should I say, amir eight minutes into the game? Which is a delightful lead-in to …
Reggie Evans – Returned for the first time since November. You remember November, don’tcha? That’s where Milwaukee was probably going to beat out Chicago for the Central Division title, John Wall was running away with the Rookie of the Year award and Evans was neck-and-neck with Kevin Love for the rebounding title because Love was playing 25 minutes a game. Anyway, he grabbed 11 boards last night in limited minutes. Minutes that won’t be as limited if a) Johnson misses time and b) he shakes off the rust. Teams in need of boards, need not look further.
Shawn Marion – The Matrix took the blue pill (left the game) and bent (bruised) the spoon (his ribcage). Or did he take the red pill and deja vu means there’s a glitch? Eh. Who can remember the ’90s?
Tyson Chandler – 16/13, with a block. He’s back and he’s back!
Jarrett Jack – 21/6/7 in place of the injured Chris Paul. As long as Paul’s concussed, Jarrett Jack’s a must.
Trevor Ariza – Returned to a depressed N’Awlins crowd silently wishing Ariza was concussed and Paul had returned.
Al Jefferson – Doing his December Amar’e impression averaging 28/10/2 in March.
Paul Millsap – He worked out with the team, but wasn’t well enough to play. These knee injuries tend to linger – and in Millsap’s case have lingered – but the Jazz are fighting for their playoff lives and he was well enough to practice, so I’d be surprised if he misses another game. Neither Derrick Favors nor Jeremy Evans made a compelling argument to keep Millsap benched either.
Blake Griffin – Shot 4-for-14 from the floor and finished with a dozen points, as Garnett put a scare into him. It’s not the good kind of scare, where Griffin would play harder and fight nastier. It’s more the kind of scare that made his manhood shrivel back up into his body cavity.
Serge Ibaka - 8/8/2, with two blocks. He’s going to be the Jeff Green in 2012 that many hoped Jeff Green would be in 2011.
Daniel Gibson – In his second game back since missing a week, Boobie dropped 13/2/7 in 24 minutes. Those minutes will continue rising along with Gibson’s output, especially since we’re approaching the one month anniversary of a game in which Gibson didn’t suck.
Marc Gasol – Has looked winded lately. He’s shooting much more efficiently in March than he has in any other month this season, but he’s playing almost seven fewer minutes a game. In other news, Darrell Aurthur has looked like friggin’ … well, like Marc Gasol in the last week taking up Gasol’s minutes. So if you’re into Gasol, try Aurthur.
Ronny Turiaf – Returned after a long layoff (0/2/1, with a block), but Jared Jeffries has taken over the starting role (2/2/3, with two blocks). Still, you get the feeling whoever has the hot hand will be placed into the lineup. “Hot hand,” in this instance means something like 6/7, with two blocks.
Andray Blatche – No structural damage to his shoulder. Day-to-day until Saturday, when he’ll either play or people won’t really notice that he didn’t play.
Tracy McGrady – Started! Toss the TNT in your surprise hole! 15/7/9, with two steals and a block. And now we’re starting to see Kuester’s genius. Tell the whole world that McGrady’s shut down until he gets into shape, even though T-Mac is secretly fine and training in isolation, all so that when the Pistons visit the league-best Spurs – KaBOOM! They surprise the Spurs to the tune of a seven point loss instead of a 17 point loss. Brilliant. Grab McGrady, hang onto Stuckey and see where the wind takes ‘em both. If Kuester is this team’s coach on November 1, I’ll buy an XXXL Villanueva jersey and wear it to church with no pants on.