Here’s my update:
As a huge fan of Niven growing up, it pains me to write that. As a fan of Delany’s core sf of the ’60s into the early ’70s, the reasons why I write that pain me.
What are those reasons? Delany wrote some great core sf, didn’t he? Oh yes. Even a book I think of as a failure, Triton, fails in a thought-provoking manner. (Though my sense of that book as a failure is evolving). The first 15 years of his career are both necessary and sufficient to name Delany a SFWA Grand Master.