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What can the Wizards expect from Jerian Grant?

Capital City Go-Go v Wisconsin Herd
The Wizards made a good move signing Jerian Grant from their G League team for the remainder of the season.
Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

The Wizards are reportedly signing Jerian Grant from their Capital City Go-Go squad to fill out the backcourt for the restart. If there is a restart.

Grant has ties to the Wizards. His father is former Bullets...umm...great? Harvey Grant (who they traded for true “big man” Kevin Duckworth). He grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland. And, he was technically drafted by the Wizards (19th overall in 2015), though he was part of a draft night trade that brought Kelly Oubre to DC.

At 27, Grant hasn’t appeared in an NBA game this season, a somewhat puzzling development given his decent performance over the preceding four seasons. Here’s his PPA for the four seasons when he played in the NBA (PPA is my overall production metric. In PPA 100 is average, higher is better, replacement level is 45):

  • 46
  • 92
  • 93
  • 63

He’s not an overlooked great. At best, he’s an off the bench contributor. But, players with lesser production have played significant roles this season {cough} Isaiah Thomas {cough} {cough}, Austin Rivers. {cough}

Last summer, there were a lot more reasons to think Grant had more to offer an NBA team than Thomas. Grant has never had a season as bad as either of Jerome Robinson’s.

His last season in the league — 2018-19 with the Orlando Magic — was a) subpar and b) a step back for him. His offensive efficiency slipped from above average his two seasons with the Chicago Bulls despite a cratering in his usage rate.

Even so, his previous two seasons were good enough, as was his 36.4% shooting from three-point range, to merit another chance with a team in need of a backup guard. Receiving no offers, Grant hitched on with the Wizards’ G League team and has performed well.

His G League PPA this season was 126 (above average for the league), which projects to a 95 at the NBA level. His G League production this season looks eerily like his NBA production in Chicago — solid defense, good efficiency, good playmaking with relatively few turnovers. He won’t win a team games, but he can contribute.

His G League stats this season suggest that he may have improved his shooting — 83.5% from the free throw line and 44.1% from three-point range. That remains to be seen at the NBA level, of course, but he’ll get at least a limited opportunity to prove it when (if) play resumes next month.

In other words, signing Grant is a good move for the Wizards. He’s played well enough and he’s young enough to think he could be a contributor over the next season or two.