Film Room: Jerami Grant is blossoming right on time

Jerami Grant , OKC Thunder (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jerami Grant , OKC Thunder (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images) /

As the regular season comes to a close, one man has established himself as the OKC Thunder’s clear secret weapon – Jerami Grant.

When the trade deadline first passed, many fans touted Corey Brewer as the Thunder’s missing piece. Since then the tides have changed. News outlets have shifted its affections towards the lanky Jerami Grant.

Against the New Orleans Pelicans, Grant showed the world why.

Change of guard

There are multiple reasons why fans are calling for Jerami Grant to see more game time. Of which, Carmelo Anthony’s declining play is one key factor.

In this play, the Pelicans get a free look at the rim, and the blame falls squarely on Melo’s shoulders. The defense is set, and Darius Miller is hardly a mismatch for him. But, Melo bites way too easily on the pump fake and the Thunder concede an easy basket. Given how tight the Playoff race is shaping up to be, Oklahoma City simply cannot afford to give possessions away like this away.

Finishing up the business

This season, Jerami Grant has established himself as the Thunder’s biggest x-factor, because of his strong finishing around the rim. Against the Pelicans, Grant showed he is slowly beginning to match his underrated touch with smart plays.

Jerami Grant will always be first and foremost about athleticism. But it’s not just about mashing freebies around the rim. Because he’s such a matchup nightmare at the 4 or even 5, Grant has the ability to beat everyone down on transition. Here, Grant camps out early at the corner, and with some smart cutting earns the Thunder an easy basket.

Ominous signs

The following clip might just be the biggest indication of Jerami Grant’s value to the Thunder.

You might be wondering how is this Solomon Hill dunk any indication of Jerami Grant’s talent. After all, Jerami Grant barely creeps into this game film frame.

More from Thunderous Intentions

But that’s the point. Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry intentionally schemes around Grant’s strengths by putting him on a strong side shooter. That way Grant is forced to stay home, and the Thunder bench unit is left without any interior protection.

Master of timing

The OKC Thunder are in a weird spot right now. On paper, fans have every right to feel quietly confident. Given the squad’s veteran star power, the Thunder should stand a good chance in the playoffs. And yet, every single time the team threatens to string together a run of impressive play, a late collapse seems to be just around the corner.

That’s why Jerami Grant’s emergence is right on time. If there was any time for the team to unveil a hidden gem, the time would be now. As the NBA gears up for the playoffs, Billy Donovan will be hoping that Grant’s unique combination of defensive switchability and finishing pays off.