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2019-20 Washington Wizards Player Evaluations: Jerian Grant

Washington Wizards v Boston Celtics
Will Jerian Grant be back with the Washington Wizards next season?
Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images

The most optimistic way of looking at Jerian Grant’s stint with the Wizards this season is that it’s a small sample size (just 80 total minutes) that doesn’t represent his true performance level.

When I analyzed his history before the bubble, he looked like someone who could be a decent backup at the NBA level. His play in Orlando was disastrous — in my Player Production Average metric he scored a 2. In PPA, average is 100, higher is better, and replacement level is 45.

In the bubble, he shot poorly and joined the crowd of Wizards perimeter players getting cooked on defense.

The sample size is so small that it almost surely doesn’t represent what he’s capable of doing in the NBA. The overall numbers still suggest someone who can be a fourth or fifth guard.

Watching him up close, I’m not as convinced. He felt a bit like a “four A” baseball player — someone who dominates in the minor leagues but still isn’t quite good enough for the major leagues.

A couple deficiencies were apparent — not glaring weaknesses that render him useless but aspects of his game that aren’t at the NBA level. The biggest one was inaccurate passing. Grant seems to have solid playmaking instincts. He was able to identify the open man and he’d make the right pass. But good NBA passers deliver the ball in the shooter’s “pocket” so he can go straight into his motion before defenders can close out. Grant’s passes typically required his target to reach for the ball and reset, which turned open looks into contested ones or forced additional offensive actions.

Grant’s penetration habits were also odd. Throughout bubble play, Grant seemed to want to attack off the dribble, but he kept cutting off his drives and either staying in no-man’s land or pulling the ball back out to reset the offense. In most cases, it looked like he had the opportunity to turn the corner on his defender and get to the rim. It wasn’t clear whether the issue is decision making (perhaps he lacks the confidence to finish drives) or lack of athleticism. Either way, the effect was to waste shot clock and reduce offensive efficiency.

Like most Wizards perimeter defenders in the bubble, Grant’s defense was terrible.

Since he’s inexpensive and has some competent NBA experience, it’s likely the Wizards at least invite him to training camp for next season. At minimum, Grant will need to significantly improve on the defensive end if he hopes to be on an NBA roster next season.