The NBA is most exciting when young stars are budding across the league. The talent pool is ridiculous in the Association. Some players are just waiting to sprout into the player they have the potential to be. It is best to take this subject by division since I want to pick a breakout player for every team. The Central Division holds the Bulls, Pacers, Bucks, Cavaliers, and Pistons. This division has been riddled with paradigm shifts since Jordan entered the league in the 80s. With each team looking to regain control of the division over the leading Bucks. They will each need all the help they can get. The key to that is finding great talent from within.
Jerami Grant opted out of his contract this past off-season to sign a three-year $20 million deal with the Pistons (Photo By: Clutch Points)
What makes Jerami Grant different from every other player I'll talk about is that he had a breakout season two years ago. With the Thunder, Grant contributed over 12 points per contest and on good efficiency. He did this while playing elite-level defense. Last year Jerami switched teams to the Nuggets and took a step back defensively, but on a reduced role, put up similar numbers offensively. His production has been great, and he had a great showing in the bubble. The stand-out play over the past two seasons earned him a $20 million per year contract with the Pistons. A two-way player entering the prime of his career with a boost in minutes played and increased role is the perfect blend to create a star. Grant needs to keep up his defensive tenacity to stay on the floor, but to pop up in the eyes of the public, he will need at least 15 points per game.
He is a willing shooter and has already shown improvements when it comes to getting up his own shot. His mid-range has come along nicely, and his length gives him the ability to attack the basket at an elite level. Behind the injury-riddled Blake Griffen, he may be the second scoring option. His play even fits that of former Piston and breakout player last year, Christian Wood. The similarities in play-style are striking, and Dwayne Casey (Coach of the Pistons) is dying to tap into that potential and allow Jerami to blossom into the NBA player he is bound to become. In year 7 of his career, Grant has become comfortable shooting the ball and does not care if he misses. This scorer's mentality paired with his "black hole" style of play should mean an uptick in scoring. While most people will want the young star to pass more and learn team basketball, I believe the main focus of this year will be on increasing his scoring arsenal.
Author: Daniel O'Donovan