The Philadelphia 76ers have had a plethora of second-round picks the last couple years, hoping at least one of them will have a long-term impact. Jerami Grant, who is entering into his second season with the Sixers, may have the best chance to do just that.
Philly drafted Grant 39th overall in the 2014 draft after he had played two seasons at Syracuse. His finished his sophomore season averaging over 12 points and nearly seven rebounds per game for the Orange. Not much was expected from Grant in his rookie season, but he played well enough to potentially be in the Sixers’ rotation for years to come.
The 6-foot-8, 210-pound forward averaged 6.3 points and 3.0 rebounds in just over 21 minutes per game his rookie season. He impressed with his athleticism and his underrated outside shooting. Defensively, his length allows him to guard multiple positions on the perimeter, and he averaged over one block per game, perhaps his most impressive statistic.
In order to show he belongs in his current role as the first forward off the bench, though, this raw talent as some work to do. His athleticism allows him to explode for a dunk at any given moment, but his drives often result in unbalanced shots. He can’t make a jump shot unless it’s a catch-and-shoot, and his 31-percent 3-point percentage, although higher than expected, is lower than the NBA average. As 76ers coach Brett Brown gave him more minutes toward the end of the year, Grant’s weaknesses became more prevalent, as he shot just 33 percent after the All-Star break.
But when we see Grant viciously dunk the ball when we expect a layup, make nearly 39 percent from downtown before the All-Star break, and make an impact defensively, we see the potential for the Sixers to have struck gold with this second-rounder. If he can develop a higher basketball IQ, he’ll learn to better exploit matchups and understand when it’s best to pass, dribble, and shoot. Overall, I see him as an end-of-the-rotation player, but he has the potential to prove doubters wrong.