Examining Jerami Grant’s fit with Nuggets vs. OKC Thunder

Jerami Grant #9 of the Denver Nuggets drives against Danilo Gallinari #8 of the OKC Thunder. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Jerami Grant #9 of the Denver Nuggets drives against Danilo Gallinari #8 of the OKC Thunder. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers is fouled by Jerami Grant #9 of the Denver Nuggets (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Further on-off court evidence:

In terms of the on/off court listings for the Denver Nuggets on the NBA stats page again Grant’s performance notes regression with his new team. The advanced on/off court stats for him raise all kinds of red flags.

T.I. looked at each of Jerami Grant, Paul Millsap and Michael Porter Jr.’s advanced on/off court statistics in terms of offensive, defensive and net differential.

Offensive on-off court rating :

Millsap: – on court 113.5 | off court:110.0 | net differential:positive 3.5
Grant –   on court 109.1 | off court: 112.2 | net differential: minus 3.1
MPJ –  on court 111.8 | off court: 111.2 | net differential: positive 0.6

There are two key takeaways to be gleaned from this trio of forwards. The first, not surprisingly is Paul Millsap is a core piece of the Nuggets success. Often underrated, the forward’s on/off court breakdown points out just how important Millsap is to the club.

Of the trio, the team scores the most with Millsap on the floor and the least when he sits. More importantly, his effect on the defensive side of the floor is overwhelmingly better than either MPJ or Grant. Denver holds opponents to 8.5 points less with Millsap on the floor

Defense on-off court rating :

Millsap – on court: 102.2 | off court: 110.7 | net differential: negative 8.5
Grant –  on court: 111.2 | off court: 103.1 | net differential: plus  8.1
MPJ –  on court: 111.1 | off court: 107.3 | net differential: plus 3.8

Net on-off court rating :

Millsap – on court:  plus 11.3 | off court: negative 0.7 | net differential: plus 12.0
Grant –  on court: negative 2.1 | off court:  positive 9.1 | net differential: minus 11.2
MPJ –  on court: plus 0.8 | off court: positive 3.9 | net differential: minus 3.1

Denver stated their hopes were for Grant to grow into a player who could eventually replace Millsap but if they base that on his production they must be expecting big time progression. In fact, there is another youngster who is making the case to keep Grant on the court a tough proposition.

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The Nuggets score almost three points more with MPJ (2.8) than they do with Grant on the court. More importantly, while both MPJ and Grant don’t help the team defensively Grant has a significantly worse defensive impact.

He ranks dead last in the Nuggets defensive off court rating– meaning the club hold teams to the lowest scoring output when Grant sits. Porter Jr. is no defensive savant but his numbers aren’t in the alarming region especially considering this is his first full season.

MPJ’s value is demonstrated most clearly in the net differential ranking. Grant is a negative -11.2 while Porter Jr. is more than three times less with a rating of minus -3.1.

I have to admit after Jerami became such a big part of the successful Thunder defensive unit it was shocking to witness how little he is helping his new club. At 26 it’s unlikely the Syracuse alum is going to experience much game growth. What you’re hoping for at this stage of a player’s career is a positive refinement and constancy as they enter the early part of their prime.

Next. 30 for 30 round table: Who benefits from suspension most?. dark

Perhaps this is simply a matter of adjustment to a new system. But with Grant headed for free agency this offseason, his performance when teams return from the suspension and in the postseason will be critical for his next contract.