One of the forgotten pieces the Phoenix Suns added amongst the chaos that was the 2015 NBA Trade Deadline was the addition of Danny Granger from Miami as part of the trade that sent Goran Dragic to the Heat. Granger did not initially report to the team after the trade and there was question to whether he would because he had been battle knee problems.
One month before the end of the season, Granger decided to report to the Suns but not to play, to get to work and take advantage of the highly regarded Suns medical staff. So Granger joined the Suns locker room, was a cheerleader on the bench and in the locker room and got to work on his rehab every day.
“It was a huge influence on it,” explained Granger on joining the team to work with the medical staff. “They are known around the league as one of the best so with my knee issue, that was definitely a motivating factor to come.”
“I’ve only been here a month but I have felt a difference,” Granger added. “I keep improving. and I’ll use this summer to keep on improving. I think the guys have done an excellent job of correcting some of the imbalances that I’ve had, that I’ve p[layed with over the past 10 or 11 elven years.”
Granger mentioned that he was working on his body and the strength around his knees in ways he has never experienced.
“They take a different approach,” said Ganger. “They break your body down into three phases and want you to get your base, your foundation a lot stronger then what it is. That’s the preliminary phase that you need to do before you can think about strengthening it to get the muscles firing. It’s a different, unique approach but it works.”
We have seen on many occasions, the Suns medical staff take veteran players and add years to their careers. Grant Hill is one player who many thought would never get back to playing at a high level. He did so for the Suns by starting for them and helping them to multiple playoff runs before calling it a career. Granger has spoken to Hill about the situation with the Suns and laughs at the notion that his is in need to be resurrected.
“I don’t think it’s dead to need to be resurrected,” Granger joked. “But if they can help it yes. I think with the track record they’ve had, I spoke to Grant Hill on the phone for a long time, he gave me his experience here and how it helped his career and hopefully it’ll help mine the same way.”
In addition to being put to work on the rehab of his knee, Granger has been able to spend a lot of time around this Suns who somewhat spiraled out of control at the end of the season falling short of the playoffs. But he is a big believer in what they Suns have and what they could be going forward.
“The talent here is overwhelming,” stated Granger. “One of the youngest teams in the league. I think someone told me that they added me and they weren’t the youngest anymore. Before me they were the youngest. But talent wins in this league. That is one thing that you can’t win without and I think this team has a lot of that. Just getting it all on the same page is what you need and as they get older and experience comes, they’ll be even better than they were these last two years.”
Ryan McDonough after the end of the season, mentioned they needs of the Suns this offseason. He mentioned the need to add pieces and a big area of need is a veteran presence.
“I think the best teams have players at all stages,” McDonough mentioned. “This year I feel we were a little too young, a little too inexperienced and we will certainly correct that for next year.”
Granger in the month he spent with the team spent a lot of time with some of the young players, especially rookie TJ Warren who played very well down the stretch. Could bringing back a player already on their roster in Danny Granger be that player who could provide the veteran presence for the Suns next season?
“Going to depend on his health,” said Suns President of basketball operations Lon Babby. “We have put him with the best training staff in the business in our opinion. He’s comfortable with it and he’s made progress…What is particularly appealing to him is his observations of our team and his capacity for leadership, his experience and his playoff experience and just being a solid veteran. That is something that we obviously need and if he is capable of doing that, that would be a plus.”
Leadership and teaching is something that Granger has always prided himself on even before he reached veteran status in the league.
“I’ve always embraced leadership roles, even younger in my career,” Granger said. “I had leadership roles in Indiana so it is definitely something that I would embrace…I think the blue print is really good, just need to add a few pieces and I think the Suns can be really good.”
A lot will depend on Granger’s health and the moves the Suns make this offseason but both he and the Suns could see each other as an ideal fit going forward.