Early prediction: OKC Thunder forward Jerami Grant will win Most Improved Player Award

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

OKC Thunder forward Jerami Grant told Alex Kennedy his summer focus was on offensive growth. Successfully producing a two-way effort could make Grant an early candidate for Most Improved.

After hearing Jerami Grant speak on his summer workouts and understanding his role on the team, it’s hard to imagine him not in the running for the Most Improved Player Award next year. As OKC Thunder fans  know, he’s already a lock-down defender. So, if he’s able to improve offensively and become a two-way player, OKC could be a contender.

The first thing Grant spoke on during his sit down with Alex Kennedy was his offensive improvement. His shooting touch has come and gone throughout his five-year career, but his 29 percent 3-point shooting last season was his second worst. His defense, however, more than made up for his struggles from behind the arc. Especially since Carmelo Anthony wasn’t adding much to the table offensively either.

To help with his consistency, Grant said he was focusing on simulating game-like atmosphere, explaining the difference between warm up and in-game shots. Grant went on to say he understands his role on the team will be much bigger, which has motivated him to increase his workout intensity. So between his role on the team being established and a new contract being signed, Grant said he’s ready to focus on basketball.

More from Thunderous Intentions

After speaking on his personal game, Grant relayed his thoughts about the team and how the current group is ready to make a title run. In addition to defending Russell Westbrook, Grant said he feels good about the moves Sam Presti made this off season.

If he’s able to stay healthy, there should be no reason Grant isn’t in the conversation for most improved player. He’s a guy who will get starter minutes for the first time in his career and has yet to average double digits in scoring.

Even if he doesn’t improve his shooting ability, just being on the floor for 30 minutes will boost his scoring totals. But, if he can hit three to five 3-pointers a night and get a handful of layups or dunks off the pick-and-roll or offensive rebounds, he will hit the 10-point mark in the first half.

Maybe the biggest knock on the Most Improved Player Award is that it is geared towards players with inflated stat lines due to playing on mediocre teams, instead of going to players who actually improved. That situation played out last year, as Victor Oladipo carried the Pacers to the playoffs after having a down season in OKC. But with that being said, the award went to the right player. Oladipo improved every aspect of his game, crediting Russell Westbrook as the inspiration.

Next. Ranking top 50 dunks in Thunder franchise history. dark

There will undoubtedly be other candidates for the award who played big roles on average teams, but Grant shouldn’t be overlooked. As long as he can stay healthy, he’s going to be the glue holding Oklahoma City together.