As we’re now less than a month away from the NBA Draft, the discussion about what the Jazz will do with that 12th pick is flowing freely. Over the course of this prospect profile series, we’ve already covered most of the prospects the Jazz could possibly look at. However, there are a handful of prospects that I still haven’t covered in this long running series. Aside from Mario Hezonja, the highest player in my draft big board (plan on updating it soon), is former Notre Dame stud Jerian Grant.
In a way that’s rarely evident from potential lottery prospects, Jerian Grant spent four full seasons developing his craft at Notre Dame. Unlike somebody like Frank Kaminsky, Grant stood as a starter through his entire four-year career at the school. Over that time, Notre Dame made it to three NCAA Tournaments, including a trip to the Elite Eight during Grant’s senior season.
Although Grant has showcased some impressive traits during his initial three seasons, all of his tools came together during his senior season. During that time, Grant averaged 16.5 points (on a 59% True Shooting Percentage) and 6.7 assists per game. That facilitating ability is particularly intriguing for NBA teams, as he had an absolutely fantastic 3.07 Ast/TO ratio, which is the highest total among draft prospects.
In a similar way to potential lottery picks like Emmanuel Mudiay or D’Angelo Russell, Grant looks like a magician with how he can place the ball in precise areas while he’s in the process of gliding his way to the rim. Grant can either use a cross court pass to find a perimeter teammate or toss a precise bounce pass to a cutting big. Even when he’s not on the move, Grant can still put his excellent court vision on display. Using his long 6’5 frame, Grant can see over the defense and make passes that most smaller guards are unable to make.
While Grant lives on his work as a facilitator, the All-American guard has had moments where he just took over a game as an offensive weapon. As evidenced by his work as a facilitator, Grant has a tremendous ability to cut past his perimeter opponent and work his way to the paint. Grant definitely has a controlled aggression, as he knows that he can cut to the paint whenever he desires, but he’s very intelligent when it comes to picking out the right opportunities. That knowledge is most evident by him shooting 73% from around the rim.
However, Grant seems to be much more confident to put up ill-advised shots once he moves away from the paint. Although he definitely has a solid shooting touch which will allow him to take over the game, he’s no stranger to putting up shots that would make any coach rip his hair out.
The below image would be a prime example of that overconfidence in the early stages of Notre Dame’s late January win over Duke. As you can see from the below image, Grant jacked up a perimeter jumper that appeared to be closer to half-court than the three point line. Of course that shot looks even worse when you consider that there were 17 seconds left on the shot clock when Grant released that jumper.
Those mental flubs definitely go away when Grant is working on the defensive end. With the fantastic combination of frame and aggression, Grant developed into a pretty solid defender during his senior season. Grant is an extremely active defender, as he does a great job of hounding his opponent, which lead to him gaining a reputation as being a significant ballhawk, as he averaged 1.7 steals per game.
While Grant having a 6’5 frame would seem like he could guard multiple positions, he really hasn’t shown off that ability quite yet. Grant is a bit on the slim side, which means that it’s pretty easy for bigs to push him around on screens or shooting guards and small forwards to use their bigger frame to push their way right past him. Adding around 10-15 more pounds of muscle would do a lot to take away from that ability.
Although the Utah Jazz have used the past two seasons to help rectify their point guard position, they don’t have a player that can be looked at to be their go-to facilitator. Trey Burke has positioned himself as an inefficient scoring guard, and we’re still unsure about what Dante Exum actually is. The addition of Grant would add a solid facilitator that could also score from anywhere from anywhere around the court.