Detroit Pistons: Jerami Grant on Team USA for Tokyo Olympics

Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant (9) celebrates with center Mason Plumlee (24) Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant (9) celebrates with center Mason Plumlee (24) Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

Well it has certainly been a heckuva 24 hours for the Detroit Pistons, and especially for Jerami Grant!

First, they get the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, and, now, the Pistons find out they will have a member of Team USA playing in the Olympics.

A year ago, Jerami Grant was a role player known mostly as a defensive specialist. He then signed a three-year deal with the Detroit Pistons, where he was given the freedom to score, as well as play defense.

How did it go? You can see for yourself in Tokyo late in July, as the 6-foot-9 Grant has been named to the USA Men’s basketball Olympic team, according to a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic/Stadium.

Jerami Grant, who has only started in 223 of the 508 games he’s played in his seven-year NBA career, will be a teammate with the likes of Kevin Durant, Michigan State grad Draymond Green and Damian Lillard.

Grant becomes the first Pistons player to make Team USA since Tayshaun Prince in 2008. Khris Middleton played for Detroit in his rookie season of 2012-13 and then was traded to Milwaukee.

The Olympic men’s basketball tournament will run from July 25-August 9.

Grant will be the only player on the team who has not played in an NBA All-Star Game.

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Grant made a name for himself in the 2020 playoffs with his standout defense of LeBron James and Anthony Davis in the Western Conference finals.

However, with Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. in Denver, Grant was never going to be more than the fourth option on offense, at best, with the Nuggets.

Wanting to expand his game, Grant signed a three-year, $60 million deal with the Pistons. Desperate to keep him, Denver said they would match Detroit’s offer, but it was not about the money, and Grant came to the Motor City.

That contract now looks like a bargain for the Pistons.

Grant had an outstanding season, shaking off the ‘defensive specialist’ label. He averaged 22.3 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists, and was second in voting for Most Improved Player.

He was only added to the USA Basketball list of finalists in March. His teammate, center Mason Plumlee, was already on it, having played for Team USA at the 2019 World Cup.

Since Grant has not played a game since May 8, he is well-rested and should be ready to go for the two-week grind of the Olympic tournament.

Selecting Grant follows the pattern of coach Gregg Popovich and USA Basketball seeking athletic big men. Brook Lopez is the only player who is a pure center on the team.

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Now, let’s get real, the compacted NBA schedule this season left some big stars exhausted or injured, who probably would have been named to the Olympic team.

But there are also a lot of players who have made All-Star teams or been named All-NBA, that were by-passed in favor of Grant.

Jerami Grant-Olympian, that is his title now.