How Pistons can plug holes left by Jerami Grant’s potential departure

Jerami Grant #9 of the Detroit Pistons dunks against John Collins #20 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Jerami Grant #9 of the Detroit Pistons dunks against John Collins #20 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Pistons, Jerami Grant
Los Angeles Lakers guard Talen Horton-Tucker (5) is defended by Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Detroit has long struggled in becoming an attractive free agent destination, and it’s no secret why. The Detroit Pistons have underperformed for the last decade plus, and the post-Billups/pre-Weaver era was a time period riddled with fleeting bouts of hope and seemingly endless displays of mediocrity.

So, when fans learned that the Pistons would be adding Jerami Grant to their 2020 free agency class, many were shocked that not only did he want to come to Detroit, but he chose to do so in lieu of returning to the contending Denver Nuggets for the same amount of money. When he made this decision, the Pistons were still trying to determine the direction the franchise would be headed under Troy Weaver’s new regime, and in all honesty, his decision didn’t make much sense at the time.

Related Story. Jerami Grant trade rumor recap. light

Fast-forward to where we are today, and everyone is calling for his departure. What happened?

Well, Troy Weaver happened.

As this current rebuild has taken shape, it was expedited in a significant fashion when the Detroit Pistons won the draft lottery and selected Cade Cunningham number one overall. All of a sudden, the Pistons find themselves in a situation where maximizing assets makes a ton of sense – the very reason a Jerami Grant trade seems quite possible.

If Jerami does indeed get traded, his departure from Detroit will undoubtedly create some holes in the roster. Here are a few of those that Weaver may need to address.

Jerami Grant’s defensive production for the Detroit Pistons

A large part of Jerami Grant’s value lies in his overall versatility as a basketball player. This is abundantly evident in his defensive aptitude. His combination of length, athleticism, and instincts afford him incredible flexibility as a defender. He fits the mold of the classic defensive stopper tasked with checking the opposing team’s best player.

On a team that is already heavily lacking in frontcourt defensive length and size, removing a four who plays defense the way Jerami does would be quite a hit to this young team. However, any trade centered around Grant would likely include a frontcourt player with lots of upside and athleticism – one who may be able to do some similar things on the defensive end.

Pistons have been included in trade talks surrounding John Collins, who might be able to impact the defensive end in a similar fashion. That’s not to say that Collins will replicate Grant’s defensive production, but their measurables similarly compare to each other. Where Collins lacks in terms of experience, he might be able to make up for it with his explosiveness of the bounce and activity.

Of course, Weaver will not apply a “Collins or bust” mindset when the trade deadline arrives. If the Pistons end up trading for a backcourt player in favor of Grant’s replacement, the defensive holes created by Grant’s departure may have to be patched up in-house. I think that moving Isaiah Stewart to the full-time 4-spot could be an option. While lacking elite athleticism, Stewart has the necessary activity level and strength to go toe-to-toe with just about any power forward in the NBA. In any scenario that involves Stewart sliding over to the four, it’s likely that Kelly Olynyk will slot into the starting center position.