Shortly after the start of the NBA’s free agency period, the Oklahoma City Thunder signed forward Jerami Grant to a three-year contract extension worth just over $27.3 million.
At the time, Carmelo Anthony was still a member of the team, but the move solidified Grant’s presence within the club’s future.
“We are thrilled to have Jerami continue his development and career with the Thunder,” said Presti after the signing was finalized. “Jerami's versatility and overall speed are an important aspect to our effort to evolve and build on our style of play going forward. We believe Jerami's best basketball is in front of him.”
Last season, the 24 year old played 81 regular-season contests for the Thunder and assumed an important role off the bench for coach Billy Donovan.
Averaging 8.4 points on a career-high 53.5 percent shooting, he also put up 3.9 rebounds in 20.3 minutes per contest. Then, he posted 7.2 points and 3.3 rebounds in 22.2 minutes in six playoff games.
He made most of his impact on the defensive end of the floor, but also showed an ability to throw down ally-oops and high-percentage looks around the rim set up by Russell Westbrook and company.
But, he took a step back in one important area: three-point shooting.
After converting 37.7 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc in 2016-2017, he shot just 29.1 percent (32-for-110) last year. Therefore, it became obvious what he had to work on over the summer.
A refined shot
“I’m really focused on my shooting,” Grant recently told Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype. “That’s probably the part of my game that I’m focusing on the most. Also, I’ve been trying to improve my balance – staying balanced when I’m getting to the basket. Mainly, I want to be able to create [shots] for myself a little bit more. Those things are my main focus this summer.”
He’s taken on quite the workout schedule as well.
“My workout regimen has been really intense because I know that this upcoming year is a big one for me. I’m working out pretty much the whole day. I wake up to work out at 6 a.m. and then, depending on the day, I’ll go through another workout at either noon or 1 p.m. Then, I also get in a night workout around 6:30 p.m. That’s been my schedule for pretty much the whole summer. It’s been pretty intense,” he admitted.
Grant interestingly noted that there’s a major difference between shooting in practice and in games.
“One thing I’ve learned from experience is that you have to get game reps in during the summer,” he explained. “This summer, I’ve been trying to get as many game reps in as possible, shooting the ball quickly and trying to get a lot of pick-up in to simulate real-time game speed. There’s a big difference between shooting in workouts and shooting in games, which is why I’m trying to get games reps this summer.”
With Melo gone, the Thunder will be counting on Grant to take a step forward this season. He may be best served coming off the bench, where Oklahoma City will feature a much-improved second unit spearheaded by newcomers Dennis Schroder and Nerlens Noel.
Regardless, he should be looking at a 25-plus minute role. If he can improve offensively, his contract might end up being a discount.News Now - Sport News