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Jerami Grant acquisition intended to help hide Nikola Jokic’s weaknesses

Jerami Grant, Nuggets, Nikola Jokic

The Denver Nuggets made an underrated acquisition this summer while keeping most of their core from last season intact. The trade that brought in Jerami Grant was in fact not merely amassing frontcourt talent, but snatching a three-and-D player that can hide some of Nikola Jokic’s woes as a player.

President of basketball operations Tim Connelly, who pulled the trigger on the deal with the rebuilding Oklahoma City Thunder, noted his vision for reeling in Grant:

“We were so excited. He’s a guy we’ve long targeted,” said Connelly on 104.3 The Fan. “With our team, almost every acquisition starts with how it will help or hurt Nikola – what impact it will have on your best player. With Nikola, for all the great things that he does, he’s not the most athletic guy, he’s not the most vertical of athletes. So you got to find guys with length and athleticism, to kind of hide that portion of his game that’s not at an elite level.”

Jokic does a lot of things very well, from becoming a formidable scorer to his rebounding and his gift for playmaking — yet he doesn’t dominate with athleticism — which makes him unique, but also vulnerable in situations where that extra gear comes in handy.

“Jerami, not just the player, I’ve known Jerami for most of his life, culturally is a guy I think that fits in seamlessly with the team, with the city,” said Connelly. “He’s a team-first guy, he’s a big-time worker, he’s a guy who when he entered the league was just an athlete, now he’s a basketball player, and he’s only 25 years old. He fits the age curve, he can grow with the rest of our young core.”

It’s an embarrassment of riches for Denver now, who not only will be adding a two-way stud in Grant, but possibly getting their former lottery pick Michael Porter Jr. back on the court to show what he’s really capable of.