Jerami Grant can be a spark off OKC Thunder bench

Jerami Grant arrived in Oklahoma City with expectations he would bolster the Thunder’s depth.

Since Jerami Grant‘s arrival he has been employed as a reserve and also spent time on the starting unit. This article examines his performance to date, and projects what his best role for the Thunder is moving forward.

The Oklahoma City Thunder began their 2016-2017 campaign with a bang.  They were 2-0 at the time of “the trade” and things were looking up for them. Prior to his arrival rumors were flying around, saying that the Oklahoma City Thunder were interested in making a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers.  The player that the Thunder wanted was Jerami Grant.

Sam Presti pulled some strings and finally made “the trade” happen.  The Thunder had to give up Ersan Ilysova and a protected draft pick.  In return they got a 6′ 9″ small forward with a ceiling higher than his height.

At the time of this trade, most Thunder fans were overly excited.  That excitement wouldn’t last long when OKC fans initially saw Grant play.  In his first game with OKC, Jerami struggled from just about everywhere.

Let’s dive in to some examples of Grant’s play:

The Start:

Jerami Grant got his first start as a Thunder player on December 14th.  He would be filling in for the injured (wrist) Victor Oladipo.  Things didn’t start out well for Jerami Grant, but he would eventually get himself more involved.  Initially he struggled on defense and at times looked a little suspect.

Grant would finish that game with 11 points off of a 3-8 shooting night.  He would also have one assist and one rebound.  Surprisingly, Grant had zero blocks in his first start vs the Portland Trailblazers.

Grade (vs. Portland): C-

The Utah Game: 

Jerami Grant would get his second start on Wednesday evening.  The Oklahoma City Thunder were coming off of a horrendous game vs Portland and looked to bounce back against Utah.

That was not the case and the Thunder would end up losing that game.

Grant would end up getting injured in the second half of the game and wouldn’t start the third quarter.  Anthony Morrow replaced Grant, filling in admirably.

Jerami Grant would return to the game and even knock down a three pointer, but it was too late.  He finished with seven points, two rebounds, and one assist in just 22 minutes of action.

Grade (vs. Utah): D+ 

The Bench:

The Oklahoma City Thunder were set to play a third straight game without Victor Oladipo.  Jerami Grant would not get the start and Anthony Morrow would take his place. Coming off of the bench, Grant played one of the best games of his career.

He scored eight points with five rebounds, one assist, one steal, one block and one 3-pointer.
Grant would also shoot 3-8 from the floor and looked better on the defensive end.
Grant played 29 total minutes of action and helped the Thunder get back in the W column.
Grade (vs. Phoenix): B+

Best Fit for Grant:

The Role of Jerami Grant might just be coming off of the bench and giving that extra spark for Oklahoma City.

In the three games Grant played a big role in, lessons were learned.  As an optimistic Thunder fan, I’d like to think that Jerami Grant can be a very good role player for OKC.  I would also like to think that he still is trying to reach his full potential and has more in the tank.

As someone who analyzes Thunder games, I have seen enough out of Grant to know that he isn’t good enough to be a starting forward in the NBA.

He still has a couple of years until he will need to hit that full potential, but at the moment, I’m impressed.  In the first two games, he struggled, but in that game against Phoenix, he looked nice.

The bottom line is that Jerami Grant is playing better off of the bench.  Anthony Morrow is playing better in the starting line-up, so this is a good situation.  The talk right now is that Morrow will remain the starter until Oladipo returns.

For now, I’m expecting another big night off of the bench against the Atlanta Hawks.

Moving forward it will be great to see how Grant integrates with the reserve unit as he becomes more comfortable in the Thunder system.

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