Player Profile: Taking a Look at Portland Native Jerami Grant

Report: Pistons trading Jerami Grant to Trail Blazers
Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images

In what is potentially being one of the most overlooked offseason acquisitions in the NBA, the Portland Trail Blazers traded a 2025 first-round pick from the Milwaukee Bucks to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for forward Jerami Grant.

Jerami Grant was born in Portland, Oregon on March 12th, 1994, and is the youngest son of former Trail Blazers forward, Harvey Grant (1994-1996). The Grant family has left their mark on the world of basketball. There is a long line of professional talent in the Grant family tree with three sons playing professionally, two in the NBA, Harvey Grant playing 11 seasons, and four-time NBA Champion Horace Grant.

The Grant trade was one of the earliest dominoes to fall in the offseason. For a move that could bolster the Blazers out of the lottery and into the playoffs, there has not seemed to be much chatter about how much Grant brings to the table. Grant is undoubtedly the biggest name the Blazers have brought in since Damian Lillard took the helm in 2015.

Grant’s value became more evident during the 2020 season when he showcased the ability to put the ball on the floor and act as an attacker while capitalizing on what the defense gave him as a playmaker. However, where Grant proved to have the most value was as a defender, both on the ball and on the help side. Perhaps his biggest asset is the frame he has. As quick as he is on his feet, matching it with his length and athleticism provides so much for his team and the defensive game plans that could be put in place.

In the past, Portland has experimented with different wings. But none of them have come with the same size and skillset as Grant. Grant took a gamble on himself during the 2020 offseason as he signed a three-year deal that amassed to $60-million with Detroit Pistons. In two seasons, Grant played just 101 games where he averaged 20.9 points on 35.3% from beyond the arc. As Grant’s role expanded on a new team, his efficiency dropped and while it is not uncommon it potentially speaks to what role he excels in.

As a Blazer, Grant is not expected to shoulder the offense as the primary option. Realistically, there could be nights Grant sits as the fourth option behind Lillard, Simons, and Nurkić. If you look back on Grant’s career, he played most efficiently while in similar situations. While in Oklahoma City, Grant had his two highest PSAs– points per 100 shot attempts. If you look into his one season with the Nuggets, Grant had an effective field goal percentage of 55.5%.

Some fans may sour knowing that Grant is coming to Portland with an expiring contract, and looking for a hefty contract to sign his name to sooner rather than later. Franchise cornerstone Damian Lillard has expressed his immense gratitude for the Grant trade, the kind of comments that should get fans on board. During a press conference surrounding his contract extension, Lillard made a comment on Grant.

“Getting Jerami was huge. You’ve got to be deep on the wing. Jerami is a guy that was on winning teams in Denver and Oklahoma City. … Filling a role that we needed and being able to do that job better than what we had.” (via Sean Highskin)

At 28 years old, Grant is coming into Portland already loved on the mere fact he is the most exciting wing player to play alongside Damian Lillard. Grant seems to fit into the new coaching style of Chauncey Billups as they have made it a priority to assess the defensive quality on the wings. The Grant acquisition could send Portland down a completely new avenue, one they have not been down in quite some time. It has been nearly five years since Portland has had a top 10 defense in the league.

The addition of Grant was the first move of Joe Cronin’s offseason and was undoubtedly his biggest addition. Time will tell just how much better the Blazers are going to be with Grant on the wing but in the meantime, it’s safe to say that their ceiling has raised.