Why Jerian Grant Is the Steal of the 2015 NBA Draft
There were many good, solid draft picks in last night's NBA Draft. Some of those picks carried a lot of value, like Justise Winslow -- who Chad Ford had pinned as the seventh-best prospect in the draft -- going 10th overall to the Miami Heat.
That might have been the best value pick in its most literal sense last night. But as for the best addition in a broader sense, as much as I can't stand the bravado of Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks, they were the winners.
The Atlanta Hawks, via the Washington Wizards, may have picked point guard Jerian Grant out of Notre Dame with the 19th overall pick, but shortly after, we learned that he would be sent to New York to team up with Carmelo and company.
But for who? How could this be the best addition of all draft night at pick 19?
The answer is in the question -- Who?
It's not about where Jerian Grant was selected. He was picked right where he should've been. Chad Ford had Grant listed as his 19th overall prospect coming into Thursday night.
The New York Knicks got their oodles of value by what they gave up for the former Fighting Irish point man. Here's the breakdown, in its entirety:
Knicks receive: 19th overall pick, Jerian Grant
Hawks receive: Tim Hardaway, Jr.
"And that's it!", as my favorite fictitious news anchor Ron Burgundy would say.
A Little for A Lot
That pretty much sums up what the Knicks gave up to see if Jerian Grant could be the point guard of the future -- or even now for that matter.
Tim Hardaway, Jr. is entering just his third season in the NBA, but he hasn't shown much to New York fans in two seasons there. Hardaway averaged 11.5 points in 70 games a year ago -- mind you that was without Carmelo Anthony for a large portion of the year. Hardaway squandered an opportunity to show that he can be the scorer the Knicks needed to accompany Melo. After two seasons, Phil and the rest of the Knicks' brass must have seen enough.
In fact, after an okay rookie season, Hardaway (for the most part) saw his numbers decline in 2015. He scored 1.3 points more per game (from 10.2 to 11.5) but shot a low percentage from the field, from three and from the free throw line on his way to an Effective Field Goal Percentage of 47.4% -- down from 52.3% a year ago.
His overall efficiency numbers dropped even further. His Offensive Rating dropped from 112 to 101 while his Defensive Rating remained steadily terrible at 114 points allowed per 100 possessions (per Basketball-Reference.com). Hardaway, Jr. also managed just 0.8 Win Shares this season and earned a nERD of -5.5. So, in essence, he didn't do much to help his team at all.
What did the Knicks gain in Jerian Grant? A point guard unlike any they have on the roster or that they've seen in the Garden in recent years.
Grant is a 6'4" point guard with a God-given ability to take guys off the dribble and create magic at the drop of a hat. Over four seasons with the Irish, the experienced point man averaged 14.6 points and 5.8 assists.
More notably, in his senior seasons -- mind you in the ACC conference now -- Grant put up a Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of 25.5 while averaging 16.5 points (on an Effective Field Goal Percentage of 53.6%) and 6.7 assists (accounting for 33.6% of his team's assists while on the floor) per game. His unique combination of scoring ability and passing vision allowed Grant to finish second in the nation with 706 Points Produced. That's offensive production for ya.
Maybe most important of all though is that Grant is a winner. While at Notre Dame, the Irish made the Big Dance on three occasions, capping off Grant's career with a 32-win season, an ACC tournament championship and a 68-66 loss at the hands of the Kentucky Wildcats in the Midwest Regional Final.
That's why, if Grant brings his winning ways to the Big Apple, he could turn out to be the steal of the 2015 NBA Draft.