After two seasons with the Chicago Bulls, point guard Jerian Grant has moved southeast. The Orlando Magic will be the 25-year-old’s third team in four years as he seeks out a permanent home in the NBA.
He’s already loved everything about the experience with his next ball club.
“I just needed a new environment,” Grant told Basketball Insiders. “I think it was good for me. I got to talk to coach [Steve Clifford] right away and went to lunch with him and we got to talk basketball. It was just a great feeling.”
The 2017-18 campaign had its fair share of ups and downs for Grant. At the beginning and middle of the year, Fred Hoiberg counted on him to fill in for an injured Kris Dunn—and he did his job during his teammate’s absence.
As a starter, Grant put up solid numbers. He knocked 37.1 percent of his threes, had a 55.9 true shooting percentage and hit 82.1 percent of his free throws.
He only got better with more floor time, too. In the 15 games he played between 30-39 minutes, Grant averaged 12.6 points, 6.9 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game. In the lone game that he played over 40 minutes—47 to be exact—Grant scored 22 points and dished out 13 dimes to go with five rebounds and two steals.
Understanding the chance to potentially compete for a starting job with longtime veteran D.J. Augustin, the upstart Grant is banking on making this the first step to earning his spot.
“It’s very important,” Grant told Basketball Insiders. “I think 80 percent of the game is confidence and opportunity—putting those two things together and doing it well.”
Over the last few months, Grant has gotten to know Orlando’s coaching staff and the players he’ll be sharing the hardwood with. He’s looking to do “a little bit of everything.”
Perhaps unlike any of his former teammates, Grant has the luxury of youth and athleticism all around to complement his skill set. Guys like Jonathan Isaac, Aaron Gordon and hyped up rookie big man Mohamed Bamba are going to be constantly around the rim. Whether it’s a hustle play grabbing an offensive rebound or running the floor, Grant can’t wait to give one of those guys a high-handoff.
“It’s a different feeling being able to toss the ball towards the rim,” Grant told Basketball Insiders. “It’s just guys [have] to go get it and put it in there.”
Speaking for himself, though, Grant is searching for that breakout season. He has been in this league long enough to have garnered real experience. He’s racked up plenty of minutes over a career that’s still just getting started. If you’re not sure about his learning curve, allow the man to provide a stern reminder of how he handles his business.
“For me, I was never a one-year guy, one-and-done or two years and done like my brother or three years and done like [Victor Oladipo],” Grant told Basketball Insiders. “I did all four years in college, so I get better every year and I feel like this is the year where it’s time to show it.
It took some time for Grant to find his identity at Notre Dame, just like it took a bit for Oladipo to discover his niche at Indiana University. The two have been close since their days at DeMatha High School in Maryland.
To many, Oladipo caught the world’s eye last season with the Pacers. It was an unforgettable season and a terrific step towards superstardom.
As he’s watched his friend grow into this great player, Grant is aiming for a similar surge with the Magic.
It’s his time to shine now.
“I’ve seen him grow as a player and get better every year,” Grant told Basketball Insiders. “That’s just something that we do. We put in the work and we get better, so I’m looking forward to being able to show it during my opportunity this season.”
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