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12 Days Till Sixers: The Development of Jerami Grant

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Jerami Grant showed flashes of brilliance last season. Can he build on those flashes in 2015-16 and become a more consistent contributor?

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Jerami Grant is the basketball equivalent of a five-tool player. At 6-8, 210 pounds, with a 7-3 wingspan, he has prototypical size for an NBA wing. Athletically, he's a marvel. He's incredibly quick for his size, and his explosiveness is insane.

In fact, before we really get rolling here, let's pause for a moment and just watch a few fun plays made by the Jergrantula (trademark pending). Like this one, for example, where he turns Jonas Jerebko's future children into orphans.

That's the stuff. Or, how about this one, compliments of our friend @RahBee33 over at r/sixers, where he emerges from nowhere to erase DeMarcus Cousins.

The problem, many detractors will argue, is that those are flashes, and I won't dispute that. The story of Jerami Grant's rookie year was flashes of what could be a really good NBA player.

Grant's a fascinating player to me because he's, in a way, the embodiment of a positionless NBA. The problem is that it's mostly because he doesn't really have a position he excels at.  His athleticism makes him a factor at any position, he has the size and athleticism to be competitive as a small-ball four, but ideally, he would be best suited to play as a wing.

As a wing in the NBA in 2015, the conversation begins and ends with three-point shooting, and on a team with Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor, that becomes even more important. For Grant to be anything more than a 15-minute a game energy role player, he needs to develop a respectable three-point shot.

When Grant was drafted, even the most rosy optimist (me) did not expect Grant to develop a competent three-point shot any time in the near future. After all, during his two years playing at Syracuse, in over 1500 minutes, Grant attempted 20 three-pointers.

That said, the master plan of the 76ers includes developing perimeter shots of pretty much anyone who will ever find themselves on the perimeter, so after missing the first month of the season due to injury, Grant unveiled his three-point shot to the world.

I believe it was the great American philosopher Katy Perry who said, and I'm quoting here:

'Cause you're hot then you're cold
You're yes then you're no
You're in then you're out
You're up then you're down

That was Jerami Grant's season as a three-point shooter, and  it remains the biggest question about his game heading into the 2015-16 campaign.

Is he the guy who shot 44% from downtown in January and February, turning everybody in the NBA's heads to say, 'how did we miss this guy'? If so, he's an absolute gem.

Or, is he the guy who then shot 23% from downtown in March and April? If so, maybe it's time for me to put my "I TOLD YOU JERAMI GRANT WOULD BE GOOD" line of t-shirts away for the winter.

Ultimately, for Grant to be a success, he needs to fall somewhere in the middle. A hyper-athletic wing who can defend multiple positions and make an open three is a great piece to have, especially on a sweet contract for the next three years.

Grant is the poster-child for having a couple second-round picks lying around. Grant was projected by some to be a lottery pick, falling into the 2nd round because of his raw skillset and total ineptness at shooting a basketball. Player development is the Sixers crown jewel, and in Grant, they have a piece of clay that they can mold into whatever they want. His second year of development is one of the key storylines to watch for the Sixers this season.