Junfu Han, Detroit Free Press

Jerami Grant got himself paid this offseason signing a three-year, 60 million dollar contract with the Detroit Pistons. Many were surprised that Jerami Grant left the Denver Nuggets after he had become a breakout player with the team. They had reached the conference finals and looked destined for much more postseason success with him as a key contributor. Denver offered Jerami winning and a defined role in one of the most efficient offenses thanks to their star center Nikola Jokic.

Jerami looking to make a difference off the court

Jerami was reportedly intrigued by two things that Detriot had that Denver could not provide separately on and off the court. Detriot coach and general manager Dwayne Casey & Troy Weaver both African American men played a huge factor in his decision making through his free agency. The black head coach and black general manager combo is a rarity in the NBA with only five teams having an African American tandem.

Grant was quoted as saying “I was a Black man before I was a basketball player,” in an interview given to The Athletic. His decision to look beyond the game and chose to play for leaders that look like because he wants to have an impact on his community outside of basketball. It should be applauded because in sports more often than not those in executive roles aren’t filled by African Americans.

This also isn’t the first time that Grant has chosen to take a stand and make a decision he feels will impact his community and social reform. During the NBA bubble when the push for police reform was at its height in the public’s eye grant used his platform to discuss why it’s important and paying respect to Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.

Detroit Searching for direction

Jerami Grant’s opportunity to envoke change off the court in Detroit also goes along with his ability to envoke change on the court for the team that lacked direction.

Detroit had little to offer on the basketball court when it came to talent in their pursuit of Grant. After trading Andre Drummond and losing breakout center Christian Wood to the Houston Rockets in free agency the main piece of Detroit’s offense was the often injured Blake Griffin. Which opened the opportunity for Grant to lead this team and be one of the new faces for Detriot basketball.

Jerami making a difference on the court

With Denver, Jerami averaged 12 Points per game, 5.6 rebounds per game, and 1.2 assists per game along with bringing elite defense he was seen as one of the best 3-D wings in the league. Although Jerami believed he had more to his game than the opportunity that would be provided for him in Denver with the emergency of Micheal Porter Jr. & Jamal Murray.

This was the destination if grant wanted to prove that he could be more than the stable 3-D wing he had shown to be in Denver. So far he has delivered in a big way. Grant has doubled his FGA from 8.9 a game to 17.7 while also doubling his points per game from 12.0 to 24.0 this season with Detroit. He is averaging career-highs across the board flashing his play-making ability going from 1.2 assists per game to 3.0. While remaining a strong rebounder going from 3.5 to 5.6 rebounds per game. Grant also has steadily increased his three point percentage along with his attempts shooting 39% while making over two a game. Also, returning to his streak of averaging one block a game with the only season where he didn’t accomplish this feat is in Denver.

While the Detriot Pistons sit at 5-18 on the season it’s clear that Grant isn’t the reason for that lowly record. Night after Night grant is setting career highs against contending teams like the Los Angles Lakers, Raining down three’s, driving to the rim with authority, and playing lockdown defense while swatting shots regularly. The 26-year-old forward has shown he can be a building block for this team seeking direction to get back to playoff contention and if he keeps this level of play up the Most improved player award is his for the taking.