The Detroit Pistons season is almost over, and they have been playing young players in recent games. However, there is a report that leading scorer Jerami Grant will take the court Saturday against the Philadelphia 76ers.
If you thought the Detroit Pistons lineup for the rest of the season was going to be just rookies and players they want to evaluate; apparently not.
Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports dropped some surprising information on Wednesday:
The first reaction many Pistons fans might be: Huh?
The last time Jerami Grant took the floor was April 26, in a 100-86 win over the Atlanta Hawks. Grant scored 18 points in the contest.
The 6-foot-9 Grant is a candidate for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award. He is leading Detroit in scoring at 22.5 points a game, after being a role player for the Denver Nuggets the year before.
The Atlanta game is also the last one the Pistons have won to date. Maybe not coincidentally, it was also the last time regular starters like Grant, Mason Plumlee, Cory Joseph and Wayne Ellington played.
So why the heck would the Detroit Pistons bring back Jerami Grant?
Since the the Hawks game, Grant and most of the top vets have been out with ‘injuries’ (except for Plumlee who continually is ‘resting’ on the injury report).
Grant playing certainly gives Detroit a better chance at winning. Yay?
Of course, winning is not exactly a high priority for Detroit at this point in the season. All a victory does is damage the Pistons’ Draft Lottery odds (and with their history of bad luck in it, they need every percentage point).
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So, if the report is true, why would Jerami Grant play? Here are five theories:
- For Spite
Jerami Grant started his career with the ‘Process’ era Philadelphia 76ers. In one of many boneheaded decisions, Sam Hinkie’s successor, Bryan Colangelo, traded Grant in his third season to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The first time a player gets traded is always the most traumatic. Grant still might have a chip on his shoulder about getting dealt, and wants to show his old team they made a mistake.
2. Not winning this one anyhow
The Philadelphia 76ers are fighting for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets are hot on their heels, so the Sixers can not afford a loss and will come out full guns blazing.
The Pistons have done well against the Sixers this season. It took a monster game by Joel Embiid (33 points, 14 rebounds) for the 76ers to eke out a four-point victory on January 23. Two nights later, without Embiid, Detroit blew them out.
However, both of those games were at Little Caesars Arena.
Playing at home, the Sixers have been virtually unbeatable the past couple of years (they went through the calendar year of 2020 without losing a game at the Wells Fargo Center).
Coach Dwane Casey (with management also having a big say) might figure, this is good time to let all the guys who have been sitting, see some action.
Probably going to end up in a loss no matter who they put out there. Why not?
3. Grant needs to get in sync with youngsters
Unless Detroit general manager Troy Weaver is offered a massive haul, Jerami Grant will be with the Pistons next season.
A lot of the young players starting, Killian Hayes, Isaiah Stewart, Saddiq Bey among them, will also be key players with the team next season.
There is no reason that Grant should not begin to play with them and start to develop some chemistry. They are part of the Pistons future, but so is he.
Grant missed playing with Killian Hayes for three months due to the Frenchman’s hip injury. A chance to play with the point guard of the future can only be a positive.
4. I’m not tanking; you’re tanking
With every team with no shot at the playoffs filling the NBA Injury report with a laundry list of players unable to play (wink, wink), it would be a bit refreshing to have the Pistons throw all of its top guns at the 76ers this late in the season.
There is tanking, and there is embarrassing your franchise. Detroit is developing its younger players to finish the year, like many teams not making the playoffs.
However, they are not simply throwing games. The Pistons, as they have all season, will fight to the end.
5. Ball is ball
The simplest answer to why Jerami Grant could play against the 76ers is: He wants to.
Surely, Grant understands why, at this point, he is not playing and Sekou Doumbouya is. But it can get a bit boring to just sit on the bench and root on your teammates, particularly when you are the team’s best player.
Going against the 76ers on a Saturday night would be fun. Grant had some good battles with Sixers defensive ace Ben Simmons in their earlier action.
Playing, for Grant, would be fun.
Of course, this is merely a report, but it comes from a good source, and there has been no announcement from the Pistons that Grant, Plumlee etc. are done for the season.
If it happens, Saturday night suddenly got livelier for Detroit fans.