Jerami Grant explains why he left Denver

Blazers small forward Jerami Grant isn’t acting like he has any regrets.

Not about how he left Denver in free agency after the Nuggets’ magic run in the Florida bubble and not about the twists and turns his career took as a result of that decision.

Grant, who opted to sign with the rebuilding Pistons in free agency rather than struggle in Denver, had his reasons. Reading between the lines, there were many. After two solid but ineffective seasons in Detroit, the lanky winger was traded to Portland this offseason, where he’s thriving in a team looking for space in the crowded Western Conference.

In Grant’s opinion, had he not followed his circuitous route (this is his fifth franchise), he would never have become the soft-shot, high-volume scorer he has become.

“I think I just grew as a player,” Grant told the Post ahead of Thursday’s thriller in Portland. “I gave myself the opportunity to become who I am today. I think I was that player, but I had a lot of work to do. I think I gave myself room to grow.

In retrospect, the writing could have been on the wall. Aging forward Paul Millsap started twice as many games as Grant in his only season in Denver, which happens when a veteran forward earns three times as much ($29 million) as a rising forward ($8). .7 million). Fellow winger Torrey Craig had 27 starts to Grant’s 24, which could have been another sticking point.

From Grant’s perspective, there is no doubt that he saw the potential in Michael Porter Jr. after just one season and knew the competition he would face if he chose to stay. Despite the Nuggets’ obvious potential when Grant surprised many in the organization by leaving, it’s not hard to see his point either.

“When you grow up you dream of being that type of player that can contribute to the game in that way, and that was my vision, that’s what I wanted to be, so I gave myself an opportunity,” said- he declared.

Many years later, it’s hard to blame a player for wanting to push himself competitively and pursue individual growth. Before Grant was traded to Denver, he was a star play at Oklahoma City where he played nearly 33 minutes per game.

Beyond that, one of Grant’s motivations in leaving Denver for Detroit was that he wanted to play in a predominantly black city, for a black head coach. His motivation was beautifully detailed by The Athletic. Again, having had plenty of time to reckon with the outside world while sequestered in the bubble, it’s hard to fault this mindset, too.

Now at Portland, where he’s averaging 22.8 career points on 45% 3-point shooting, Grant thinks he would never have reached this point in his career – a star player on a competitive team – s he had not dictated his own. path.

“Whether it was working on my leadership when I was in Detroit, figuring out how to be that guy, when to shoot the ball, when not to, how to involve the players…” Grant said before s ‘Stop.

Even more impressive than her determination is her self-awareness at 28. When asked specifically if he felt Denver didn’t offer enough room to grow and if Detroit offered too much responsibility, Grant conceded that his role in Portland, so far, had been ideal. .

“You could say that,” he said.

Late in Thursday’s thriller at Portland, Grant exchanged friendly chats with Jamal Murray as the latter unsheathed a handful of blue arrows in the fourth quarter. After Murray’s final dagger, which ironically came at his former teammate, Grant had a long chat with Nikola Jokic before the two stars headed to their respective dressing rooms.

The fit, he says, makes all the difference in the world.

“Everyone in the NBA is here for a reason, and if the team doesn’t fit your style of play, you could either be out of the league, or if it’s okay, you could be an All-Star” , Grant said.

In Portland, he found a home.

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