Sixers Review: The Growth of Jerami Grant


With the 39th pick of the 2014 NBA Draft, the Sixers selected Jerami Grant, a 6’8″ forward from Syracuse. In his 32 games at Syracuse, Jerami averaged 12.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. He was known for his high motor and willingness to attack the basket. With a near 7’3″ wingspan and tremendous athletic ability, scouts were high on Jerami’s knack for finishing above the rim and his defensive potential.

Based on that information, it’s no secret as to why the Sixers drafted Grant, however, when he first appeared in the Orlando Summer League, there was some doubt.

In fairness, he did premiere at the same time as Nerlens Noel, which caused many to compare his rookie progression to Noel’s. Still, outside of a few plays, Jerami failed to standout amongst the Summer League crowd.

One could only wonder, if he failed to make an impression in that league, how would he be able to do anything against NBA-ready teams?

Things didn’t get off to a great start for Grant. He suffered an ankle injury prior to training camp which caused him to miss all of the preseason, and the first 15 games of the regular season. And when he did finally play, the only noticeable thing about him was his energy, something the Sixers already had an abundance of.

On a team where meager stat lines can be team-highs, Jerami needed to show more.

Since that time though, Jerami has grown in more ways than one. He’s added about ten pounds of muscle to his frame since he was drafted, and has slowly shown an improvement in his game, especially his shooting (37.0 percent).

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So far on the season, Jerami is averaging 5.3 points, and 2.7 rebounds per game. That may not seem like much, but considering he’s coming off the bench and only averaging 18.0 mpg, that’s still a nice stat line as a rook. Coach Brett Brown has even gone public to praise Jerami’s work ethic and improved play as of late.

In a recent game against the Knicks, Jerami showcased that defensive potential he’d shown in college by blocking eight shots in 25 minutes off the bench. WOW, that’s nearly one block every three minutes he played. Even in Monday’s game against the Pellies, Grant dropped another four blocks.

And against the Grizzlies on January 25th, Grant scored a career best 16 points, setting a new milestone for himself in the loss.

His recent play hasn’t just caught the eye of Sixers’ faithful. Sam Vecenie of released his recent rookie rankings and listed Grant and fellow teammates Noel and K.J.McDaniels in his top 10.

Taking a step back to view the big picture, we should all be able to nod our heads happily at the progression Jerami has shown from game one of the Orlando Summer League until now. Just look at the difference below of him playing a few games ago.

One of the things I love about Grant his aggressiveness towards the basket. Every time he touches the ball it seems as if he’s trying to dunk it. I wouldn’t be surprised if he found a way to attack the basket from the three-point line.

However, all this talk about Grant’s progression sounds hauntingly similar to that fellow rookie McDaniels, who was the hottest Sixer name not too long ago. K.J is still number five on Sam’s rookie ratings, but seems to have hit that proverbial “rookie wall,” that so many players hit their first year. He’s averaging 9.2 points per game and 3.8 rebounds on the year, yet is shooting ten percent worse (36.8) than he did at the end of November. (46.2).

Even teammate and reigning Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams had a stall in production last year. So is it possible that Jerami Grant’s productivity will meet a similar fate?

Of course.

Though, it’s also possible that he sustains his increased level of play, or in fact,  surpasses it. He certainly has the build for it, and even the genetics.

His father, Harvey Grant, was a standout in college at Oklahoma, an eventually went on into the NBA to play with Portland, Washington and even Philly. And his uncle, Horace, played for Clemson and went on to win four NBA championships, three with the Chicago Bulls and one with the 2001 Los Angeles Lakers (yes, I know, we hate that Lakers team, damn Shaq!).

Plus, Jerami had some good competition growing up. Both of his brothers, Jerian (a standout with Notre Dame this year), and Jerai, a player at Clemson who went on to play with the Sydney Kings in Australia, have had high levels of success in basketball.

Want another reason to remain hopeful?

Jan 23, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Tyler Hansbrough (50) looks for an opening past Philadelphia 76ers forward Jerami Grant (39) during the second half at Wells Fargo Center. The Raptors defeated the 76ers 91-86. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

According to ESPN, Jerami raised his shooting percentage from 28.3 percent in December to 43.6 percent in January. His scoring has increased rom 3.8 points per game to 7.0 in that same time span. Even better is his three-point shooting which has jumped from 21.4 to 41.9.

In this ever changing climate we’ve come to know as the Philadelphia 76ers, one thing remains certain: We have plenty of young, talented players who are growing right before our eyes. In some cases, literally. And we have time to watch and wait.

Some guys we think are great may fizzle out into the world of obsucurity, while others we never really noticed become stars. That’s the fun of it all isn’t it?

So sit back and enjoy!