Jerami Grant Epitomizes ‘The Process’ In a Unique Way

Feb 21, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Jerami Grant (39) reacts to a foul call during the first half against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 21, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Jerami Grant (39) reacts to a foul call during the first half against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

While Ben Simmons, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid, and Dario Saric are often the names tied to ‘The Process,’ Philadelphia 76ers wing Jerami Grant should be too.

Sam Hinkie brought to the Philadelphia 76ers one of the most unique states of organizational control in recent memory, with his highly unusual and extreme method of rebuilding dubbed “The Process” by the team and fans alike.

The Sixers were constantly in the running for premium picks on draft night due to their abysmal record, and the proverbial fruits of Hinkie’s labor as general manager are often tied to their most prominant selections, such as Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid.

However, it was the players who were able to fight out an NBA career that they otherwise might not have achieved that owe a great deal of their success to ‘The Process’ and the madness that entailed — and Jerami Grant is a prime example.

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Grant was listed as a four-star power forward coming into his first season in college at Syracuse, but his lack of strength in regards to manning the four spot and his lack of skill to retain productivity from the perimeter was always a sizable knock to his NBA stock in regards to the draft. He was stuck between two positions with a handful of flaws, most prominently his jumper, and that made it a challenge for some teams to see him fitting into their rotation at the next level.

That’s where the Sixers come into play. After two solid years at Syracuse, Grant’s exceptional athleticism wasn’t enough to get him into the first round. His raw skill set pushed many teams away, and his questionable ability to make the leap to full time small forward only made more organizations cut him from their draft boards entirely. Philly would go on to draft him 39th overall.

Sam Hinkie always had a knack for molding somewhat underdeveloped, and in a sense, unready prospects into serviceable NBA players, and that’s where Grant fits the mold of “The Process.” Grant entered the league without many NBA-ready features to work with outside of his athletic profile, and was considered by many to be a likely D-Leaguer with a while left until true NBA production.

The Sixers’ franchise was, however, run in a far different manner than that of a typical NBA squad. The abundance of playing time available due to their desperate lack of talent left the door open for players like Grant to battle for minutes on the court, and his extensive work with the training staff helped his rapid developmental curve make that a legitimate possibility.

Grant wasn’t prepared to play any major minutes coming in, and for almost any other team, he likely wouldn’t have seen very much time on the court at all. But in Philly, Grant ended up playing 21 minutes per contest in his first campaign at the NBA level, even gearing up as the starter for 11 games.

While his statistics weren’t anything that surpassed the average for players at his position by any stretch, Grant’s playing time was a truly symbolic piece of Sam Hinkie’s team-encompassing impression on the franchise’s operation.

Instead of searching for upper echelon free agents and gunning for more wins on a nightly basis, Hinkie had led a developmental system through hands on experience. He gave their younger players a chance to learn via extensive playing time and actual opportunity, rather than veteran guidance.

Grant has already added a gradually improving jump shot that could become consistent as time wares on, something he showed no sign of possessing during his time at Syracuse. While he may not be a polished perimeter scorer by any means, his physical tools give him the ability to add new dynamics to his game given how rangy his wingspan and lateral quickness makes him on both sides of the basketball.

Defensive mistakes have also decreased for Grant, even if they still remain as a problem in some scenarios, and he has make vast improvements in making plays around the basket on that side of the basketball without overcommitment or mental errors on a consistent basis. He has been transformed from a once-flawed defensive asset to a player Brett Brown is able to rely upon for production on that side of the ball, and a good bit of that should be accrdieted to his ability to get acclimated to NBA competition.

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The Sixers drafted Grant with the intention of playing him, and fixing errors as they went along rather than prior to him getting out on the court. It was a system that was geared more towards a theory of experimental trial and error in player evolution rather than an indirect approach over time. That allowed Philadelphia to maximize the utilization of their current crop of young talent, while still retaining the aptitude to add more major pieces during the upcoming offseason.

“The Process” wasn’t dependent solely on grabbing top-tier talents on draft night, but on selecting pieces with a unique potential and some malleable skills that can be molded through intense inclusion in the organization as a whole and a stress placed on the overarching improvements of talent from individual entities.

Sam Hinkie was looking to find the pieces he wanted to build around through analytical analysis of the young talent he was able to accumulate, not through sudden additions of free agents that would radically alter the trajectory of the core and the unit as a whole.

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It was a truly incredible plan in theory, and whether you were a massive fan or a sworn opponent of Hinkie’s methodology in running the Sixers during his tenure with the team, it was certainly intriguing to watch it all unfold regardless. As mentioned, Jerami Grant was far from the only case of “The Process” yielding an unexpected bounty, but he was perhaps the most enticing example to analyze.

Rather than being molded around a predetermined skill, he became a staple in the Sixers’ rotation through athletic grit and a willingness to get better alongside a training staff geared towards the expansion of his game. The Sixers were able to put in an amount of effort towards transforming Grant into a respectable NBA talent that no other teams would have been willing to commit to.

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“The Process” is, in a big way, responsible for giving Jerami Grant an avenue through which to improve his game. That’s precisely why, in a way contrary to what is commonly perceived, he truly epitomized Sam Hinkie’s most famed procedure.