Did Detroit Pistons really overpay for Mason Plumlee and Jerami Grant?

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 05: Jerami Grant #9 of the Denver Nuggets (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 05: Jerami Grant #9 of the Denver Nuggets (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Pistons
Sep 26, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Jerami Grant (9) shoots against Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23). Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Are the Detroit Pistons overpaying for Jerami Grant?

With $30 million in salary cap space going into the official start of the season, it was expected the Detroit Pistons would make at least one major splash in the free agent market.

It just was not expected whom general manager Troy Weaver decided to make the splash with.

Jerami Grant, a 6-8, 210-pound forward, is signing a deal for three years, worth $60 million. That is a lot of money to pay for what was, arguably, the third or maybe fourth-best player on the Nuggets.

He only made 24 starts in 71 regular season games, and saw his scoring average drop from 13.6 the year before to 12.0 points. He still showed a good touch from the three-point line, nailing 39% of his attempts from beyond the arc.

Despite his height and athletic ability, Grant has never been much of a rebounder, and only averaged 3.5 boards a game last season.

So why is Weaver driving up to Grant’s house and dumping a pile of cash on his front yard?

Because Grant was a Bubble Hero.

Grant moved into the starting lineup once the Nuggets began the playoffs at Disney World. He did not become an offensive star at first, averaging just 11.6 points.

However, it was on the defensive end where Grant really shined. Tall, quick and long-limbed, he made life difficult for Utah’s Donovan Mitchell and the Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, as Denver rallied from 3-1 deficits in both series to win.

In the West final against the Lakers, Grant made LeBron James and Anthony Davis work for everything they got. He also got the hot hand on offense, averaging 15.8 points against L.A.

How many players in the NBA can do an equally good job of playing defense on a big man like Davis and a quick guard like George? Answer: Grant.

So why would Grant not want to return to the Nuggets and take another crack at an NBA title?

Because he thinks being on the same team as Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and the blossoming Michael Porter Jr. means he will be an after-thought on offense.

Money was not the issue. Denver, knowing how key Grant is to their team’s title hopes, reportedly told Grant they would match Detroit’s offer. But the offer came at the last moment, when they discovered what Detroit was willing to shell out.

They could not match the opportunity to be the big cheese on an NBA team. They could not offer the amount of shots that he can get in Detroit.

At 26-years-old, Grant, apparently is looking to put his own stamp on a team.

Currently, Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose are the Pistons main offensive weapons. Both are over 30 and either one of them could leave at any moment, if Troy Weaver gets the right offer.

That Grant wants to make the Pistons his own team is all well and good, but is $60 million too much to pay for a guy who has basically been throughout his career a defensive specialist with a decent three-point shot?

To replace Grant, the Nuggets picked up JaMychal Green for the much lower price of $15 million over two years. Both are lean forwards with good jump shots.

Grant is receiving about the same amount of money as Danilo Gallineri  is from the Atlanta Hawks. In average salary, Grant is about equal to what Fred VanFleet is getting to return to Toronto.

Those are two pretty good players to be compared to.

The player most Pistons fans are comparing Grant to is Christian Wood.

A late-season phenom for Detroit, the 6-10 Wood ended up signing with the Houston Rockets for $41 million over three years.

The Pistons could have saved $19 million and just resigned Wood instead of going after Grant. Obviously, the Pistons management valued Grant much higher than Wood.

One could also argue that Plumlee is really Wood’s replacement. With Blake Griffin at power forward, Wood would have started at center, the spot Plumlee will be at.

Next. The Detroit Pistons are taking on a new form of rebuilding. dark

So, did Detroit overpay for Jerami Grant?: Yes, but it was the only way they were going to get him.

If you think Grant is a key piece for the future, you sign him, even if he has a big price tag. Detroit obviously feels that way.