It’s safe to say Jerami Grant isn’t regretting any of the decisions in his career. He’s gone from second-round pick to sparsely used reserve, to 3-and-d lynchpin, to primary scorer, and now key cog alongside Damian Lillard in Portland that will see Grant secure a $100 million payday with the Blazers or some other organization.
People questioned his desire to leave a good spot as a third option in Denver to a $20 million-a-year deal as the alpha for the rebuilding Detroit Pistons. He parlayed that into Sixth Man of the Year buzz, a spot on the Gold-winning USA team, and newfound respect throughout the league for his versatile scoring ability and defense.
Grant befriended Lillard on that Olympics team, and it has been an open secret since that Grant and Lillard were interested in teaming up together in Portland. Despite not being the first option, Grant hasn’t missed a beat. He’s averaging 22 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists and shooting a career-high 43.9% from deep. The Blazers are also solidly in the playoff mix at 18-17 and the eighth spot in the West.
Detroit .. well, the series of moves that began with the Grant trade to Portland ended with the Pistons getting Jalen Duren so there are no regrets on either side. But the Pistons have an absolute mess of a wing rotation on the defensive end have the worst record in the NBA.
When: 10 p.m. ET
Where: Moda Center, Portland, Oregon
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons +9.5
This will be the final game the Pistons play without starting point guard Killian Hayes who is serving the last of his three-game suspension for striking Mo Wagner after a hard foul. The Pistons have won two of its past three, including a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves that people are calling “rock bottom” for that struggling team. Funny how often losses to the Pistons suddenly bring on existential crises in other franchises.
The Pistons have been relying on a particularly potent bench to stay in games, particularly Alec Burks and Marvin Bagley III. Against the Wolves, Rodney McGruder was dusted off and played a season-high 22 minutes and scored 11 points. He was one of five bench players who scored in double figures against Minnesota.
Unfortunately, the starters were not so lucky. Isaiah Stewart (6), Jalen Duren (3) and Jaden Ivey (1) combined to score 10 points in 58 minutes. That continues a trend of up-and-down performances from Detroit’s pair of rookies, most especially Ivey. Let’s hope for a bounce back against the Blazers.
Portland has lost four of five as the team deals with illness and injuries keeping players out of the lineup. Three starters in the Blazers’ eight-man rotation played more than 40 minutes in the team’s loss to the Warriors on Friday. They were outscored by 14 points in the final quarter of the six-point defeat. The team is expected to get Gary Payton II in the lineup for the first time this season, so at least they have that to look forward to.
Detroit Pistons (10-29)
Jaden Ivey, Saddiq Bey, Bojan Bogdanovic, Isaiah Stewart, Jalen Duren
Portland Trail Blazers (18-17)
Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simons, Josh Hart, Jerami Grant, Jursuf Nurkic
Question of the Game
How much do you miss Jerami Grant in a Pistons uniform?