After endless speculation, the Detroit Pistons finally traded leading scorer Jerami Grant to the Portland Trail Blazers last season.
The trade worked out for both teams, as Portland got another veteran to put around Damian Lillard and the Pistons got a package that eventually led to Jalen Duren.
Most fans saw the trade as necessary since Grant was entering the final year of his deal and didn’t quite fit with the timeline for contention around Cade Cunningham and the rest of the Pistons’ young guys.
Others saw it as a sure sign that the Pistons were tanking for another season, as Grant was arguably their best player over the last two seasons and certainly their best veteran.
Detroit added Jaden Ivey in the draft and Alec Burks via trade, who should somewhat offset the loss of Grant, but this led to a spirited conversation on Twitter yesterday about whether the Pistons would actually be better next season or if losing Grant assured that they wouldn’t be.
I can see both sides of this debate, so we’ll go through Grant’s contributions, the impact of his replacements and the Pistons’ numbers with and without Grant on both sides of the ball. Some of these numbers might surprise you. So are the Detroit Pistons better off without Jerami Grant? Yes and no.
Detroit Pistons: Jerami Grant’s impact
Jerami Grant averaged 19.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists and a block last season for Detroit. He did it on mediocre efficiency, as he averaged just 42 percent from the field overall and 35 percent from 3-point range.
But he only played 47 games last season, and the team’s record was 11-36 when he was in the lineup. This awful record isn’t all his fault of course, but he only played in just over half the games and the Detroit Pistons were 12-23 without him.
The Pistons didn’t do anything directly to replace Grant, so will try to pick up the slack with guys like Jaden Ivey, Alec Burks and Isaiah Livers.