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Nuggets coach Michael Malone says he has ‘tremendous admiration and respect’ for Jerami Grant’s game

Nuggets, Michael Malone, Jerami Grant

Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone is all praises for newcomer Jerami Grant who was obtained earlier in the week from the rebuilding Oklahoma City Thunder via a salary dump.

The Nuggets had a relatively quiet offseason so far, spending most of their days in free agency taking care of their own. The team recently gave their young point guard Jamal Murray a max extension and was prepping up the Summer League debut of 2018 first-round selection Michael Porter Jr. before having those plans shelved due to another setback.

Most notably, Denver picked up the option on Paul Millsap’s 2019-20 season, keeping the veteran power forward back in the fold for at least another year. With a $30-million expiring contract, the 34-year-old could serve as a valuable asset come February’s trade deadline to fetch a useful rotation piece or just allow the deal to expire. Either way, Millsap doesn’t appear to be part of the team’s long term plans – and that’s where the former Thunder forward comes in.

Initially viewed as an overpaid project after re-upping with the Thunder on a three-year, $27-million deal in 2018, Grant proved the naysayers wrong with a career year in several categories and becoming a top player on a stacked OKC team. The most intriguing part of his development is the addition of a consistent three-ball, connecting on a blistering 39.2-percent at a high volume, cementing him as a legitimate stretch-four and 3&D player.

Paired with Nikola Jokic, Malone expects the 6-foot-9 forward to be the defensive ace to mask the center’s deficiencies in the event Millsap hangs his sneakers for good or leaves the team. At any rate, the Nuggets certainly have their frontcourt covered for many years as they continue to contend in the tough Western Conference.