OKC Thunder Lightning Report: Jerami Grant’s breakout season

OKC Thunder, Jerami Grant (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
OKC Thunder, Jerami Grant (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
OKC Thunder forward Jerami Grant (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /

This season, Jerami Grant broke out as one of the most important players on the OKC Thunder. In T.I.s player reviews we dive in and explain how.

We always had some indication that OKC Thunder forward Jerami Grant had the potential to be this good. Maybe it wasn’t going to happen tomorrow or the next day or the day after that if it even happened at all, but he always had the talent.

At 6’9″ with a wiry, yet strong frame, a 7’3″ wingspan, a relentless motor, and ridiculous athleticism, Grant had the look of a potential difference-maker in the NBA. But there’s a reason he was still on the board of the 2016 NBA Draft well into the second round: he was raw. Like, raw, raw.

He had some good defensive instincts, racking up some rather impressive blocks in his two years at Syracuse. And he had built out his game just enough offensively so teams could sell themselves on his potential as a hyper-modern big on that end. But he was nowhere near ready for the NBA. He was way too turnover prone and his shot was still a ways behind where it should have been, not to mention the fact that he picked up one or two fouls every time he got in the game.

So when he finally did make it into the league, he had a hard time finding his way off the bench. As he had at Syracuse, he’d occasionally make a play that you’d have to watch multiple times before you could understand what you just saw, but he’d sandwich it between bad turnovers and block-chasing.

Flash-forward three years, though, and he’s become one of the most indispensable players on an underrated OKC Thunder team. So how did we get here? And where do we go from here?