This is a story about Jerami Grant. More specifically, it’s two stories about Grant — one for each half. It’s not a story about the similarities between Jerami and a certain other Grant that played in the teal era… even though I have noticed a potential to be similarly impactful. And heck no, I’m not gonna tell a story of similarities between him and his uncle, Horace… even though at one moment of the game I was almost as mad as when I watched this back in the day.
This is the story about the two natures in Jerami’s game that stuck out in Detroit’s first victory of the season against the Celtics.
The Pistons started the game superbly. They jumped to a double-digit lead quickly and led by 18 points with less than four minutes left in the first quarter. In the second frame, they extended the lead to as many as 21 points and took a 15-point lead into the locker room at halftime.
Detroit was lead by Grant, who in the first week of the season has established himself as star-like player averaging almost 23 points on great shooting splits and advanced stats. In the first half, the Syracuse alum was averaging a point per minute as he collected 18 points. He made 7-of-11 shots including two of his four triples. In that first half, Jerami outscored Celtics’ wing stars duo of Jaylen Brown and Jason Tatum who, despite averaging 51 points combined, managed to score only 15 points together in the first half.
Grant was playing exactly as prescribed in our review of the first week of Pistons season. He was efficient and didn’t turn the ball over. He played within himself and took only the good shots. With one exception, all of his shots came from the paint (topped by these drives with Dr J-esque finishes) or from behind the long line (leaving Dr J undecided which one he liked best).
Jerami drives with Dr J-esque finishes
Dr J stunned
The exception was also a good shot, as you can see, when he was able to successfully create separation off the dribble and took a wide open shot from near the foul line.
This is a Jerami as we want to see. It’s a Jerami that shows how good and smart of a basketball player he is, and at the same time a (borderline star) player that doesn’t inhibit the play, development and effectiveness of his teammates.
Unfortunately comes the second story of Grant. The Jerami who came out after the halftime break was not the same and it was apparent in his first play of the second half.
It could be argued he should have stuck with what was working in the first half, but he has been a capable 3-point threat and could have opened the floor more easily for him and everyone else.
But if you are Grant and you know that you’ve cooled down, why still push it?
It’s not staying within yourself to chuck tons of shots until they start falling when you have wide open teammates and there is plenty of time left on the clock. Regrettably, Jerami pushed it even harder and started to force an issue also on his drives, shooting tough shots instead of looking for open teammates.
As we can see on the clip, Killian is alone in the corner and Jerami showed that he should be able to make such advanced passes.
It’s not the Jerami we want to see. Even if it’s not always his fault – for example here Killian doesn’t spread the floor by taking a position in the corner so Jerami can pass the ball to him as an alternative to taking a bad shot at the rim – Grant is dictating the action more often than not.
Bad spacing on Jerami’s drive
Grant has already showcased exactly how to meet and exceed expectations in Detroit in the first half and the first week of the season. He wouldn’t just live up to his contract he’d be a star in the Eastern Conference and a bright spot for the Detroit Pistons.
To end the whole story on a good note, we will note that even in his chucking spree, Jerami was able to get his act together and be a vocal leader among our kids.
This is a welcome sign of the young veteran taking control of the team, something many of us hoped for in the face of the fact that Blake might be not long for Detroit (if he starts playing like 2018 Blake) or unavailable (if the injury bug keeps bugging). But Jerami needs to be that player for all four quarters.