Jerami Grant Shows Detroit Pistons What They Knew Already
Did you stay up to catch the Detroit Pistons and Portland Trail Blazers game? If so, you’re a trooper. But good luck to your morning after routine.
An old friend made sure there was some reason to watch. Jerami Grant put on a show in the Trail Blazers 135-106 win against the Pistons. Who traded him last off-season.
Grant put up an efficient thirty-six points on 12 of 17 shooting. He also made five three pointers, and has shot 44% on the year from behind the arc. Wait, hold up! Where did this Jerami Grant come from, and where is the version many observers called a “ball stopper” on offense?
Did anyone expect Jerami Grant to morph into a ‘3 and D’ specialist? Here’s a better question, was he given the time to?
Unfortunately for the Detroit Pistons, they didn’t have the time to wait and find out. Which doesn’t mean things are all bad. Or that they missed out on Grant becoming the player Pistons general manager Troy Weaver initially thought.
If I had to guess, I don’t believe Weaver is shocked at all with what Grant is showing this season. The Trail Blazers roster makeup is better positioned to compete now. Whereas the Pistons were just starting a complete teardown and rebuild for the first time since the days of the ‘Bad Boys’.
But he’s seen Grant develop since recruiting him to play at Syracuse University. Which makes it less surprising Weaver’s first big signing, er sign and trade, was for Jerami Grant. Coming off a playoff run where he showed offensive versatility to go with a defensive reputation prior developed.
When the Pistons traded for 33 year old Bojan Bogdanovic, it initially struck me slightly odd. They traded at the time 27 year old Jerami Grant with the thought being he was too old for the rebuild window.
So Why’d The Detroit Pistons Trade Jerami Grant?
There’s a a lot more to unpack than the answers by some observers like:
“Grant’s a ball stopper.” “He’s limited offensively.” “The Pistons didn’t win with him.” “He’s too old for the rebuild.”
They posted a 10-14 record after the all star break in games Cunningham was heathy for. Grant played a big role too, showing he could also shoot the ball. Post all star break, Grant shot 39.8% from three on a whopping 5.9 attempts per game. He also led the Pistons in free throw attempts with an average of 5.4 a contest.
He also provided defensive versatility that the Pistons should be seeking to replace.
According to StatMuse the Detroit Pistons had a 113.8 defensive rating during the 2021-22 season with Jerami Grant. Just shy of the NBA’s top 20 defensively rated teams. This season the Pistons are second to last with a 118.5 defensive rating.
So why trade a player of that skill set on one end of the floor, and budding offensive game to match?
As former Apple CEO John Sculley once said, “timing is everything”.
The draft selection and fast developments of Cade Cunningham shifted the focus, as well as the rebuild’s direction.
Landing its first ever number one overall pick meant change for the better. Even if some sacrifices had to be made. It was clear once Cunningham got comfortable, that he was who this team should be built around. Not a hard decision to understand, especially for the top pick and the draft.
So despite showing signs of being able to work together, the Pistons faced a difficult decision. But one Jerami Grant fit proverbially from a versatile stand point. Troy Weaver put the Pistons in position to gain a lot whether they kept or traded Grant.
The Dump That Had To Be Taken
Jerami Grant being traded was one of the few scenarios that would provide the Pistons with the ability to draft Jaden Ivey and later acquire Jalen Duren.
Though they definitely could’ve found other ways to a get them in Pistons uniforms, sacrificing Grant was the most efficient way to speed up the rebuild.
Trading Grant wasn’t just about getting Duren. But also the ability to have Ivey, and the cap space involved in acquiring Alec Burks who’s been a solid contributor.
This also made Kelly Olynyk, who was on the roster at the time, very expendable in a crowded front court. But if they simply traded Olynyk for the draft pick that they used in Duren deal, they might not have been able to help the Knicks enough.
The New York Knicks made no secret about their desire for Jalen Brunson. Once a fan favorite free agency target of many Pistons observers. But they didn’t possess the financial flexibility to sign him.
Weaver was in position to help inquiring teams free up cap space, by acquiring their no longer desired bloat. The cost of doing business for the Knicks was presumably Jalen Duren. And the true cost to the Pistons was Jerami Grant, and a step back on the defensive side.
A trade the Pistons would make 100 times out of 100.
And furthermore with trading for Duren, as well as the re-signing of Marvin Bagley, the Pistons had enough front court help to part with Olynyk and bring in Bojan Bogdanovic.
The Detroit Pistons play Golden State Warriors Wednesday, January 4th, at 10 PM.
Want More Detroit Pistons?
Check out all of our Pistons coverage with Woodward Pistons via YouTube
Follow Brandon Dent (Woodward Sports Network Pistons Beat Reporter) aka @DetroitKoolAid on Twitter and Instagram for more WSN Pistons Coverage.