Denver Nuggets’ Michael Malone thrilled with Jerami Grant trade
LAS VEGAS – Michael Malone couldn’t contain his excitement after the acquisition of Jerami Grant became official.
“I think the Denver Nuggets got a lot better,” the Denver Nuggets head coach said. “He's a guy that I've long thought very highly of. What stands out to me is his size, his wingspan, length and improved shooting.”
Malone raved about Grant’s ability to hit corner threes and defensive awareness. The 6-foot-9 forward has a 7-foot-3 wingspan and Malone believes Grant will be able to switch on any opposing player.
“Watching film, he's guarded Damian Lillard, James Harden, Anthony Davis, the guy can guard anybody,” Malone said. “I think that versatility is exciting.”
Grant comes to the Nuggets off a career year with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The 25-year-old posted personal bests in points per game (13.6), rebounds (5.0) and three-point percentage (39.2). Malone was particularly impressed with Grant’s development from behind the arc.
“When you go from being an average three-point shooter to being the shooter that he showed last year, taking four attempts per game, that's a byproduct of work,” he said. “That speaks to his work ethic, the fact that he wants to improve, he wants to be better. He's not satisfied. Those are the types of players we like to bring in.”
With Paul Millsap locked in as the starter at the power forward position, Grant is expected to come off the bench, adding to an already strong reserve unit. Malone envisions the group benefitting from having an athletic and versatile pairing in the frontcourt with Grant and Mason Plumlee working in tandem. Malone also wants to find opportunities to pair Grant with Nikola Jokić, depending on certain matchups.
“Nikola Jokić is our best player, so everyone that you bring in has to complement Nikola in some way,” Malone explained. “I think Jerami is a guy who can really play well with and off of Nikola Jokić. Obviously, Paul Millsap is our starting power forward, but I think Jerami's versatility at different positions [will help].”
Malone firmly believes Grant’s addition along with the potential of the Nuggets’ other young players will help the Nuggets take another step forward next season.
“He's another young guy who we feel is going to help us get over the hump and continue to work towards bringing a championship to Denver,” Malone said.
He added, “We had a great season last year, but we feel by adding Jerami Grant, hopefully getting a healthy Michael Porter Jr., and a guy like Bol Bol, who dropped to the second round, we've had a very quiet, but very effective offseason, in terms of bringing in talented players. We're excited about that.”