Portland Trail Blazers Media Day, 2023 included interviews with almost all Portland’s players, but none as experienced as eight-year forward Jerami Grant. With the team for just over a year now, Grant finds himself as the grizzled veteran of a roster populated by rookies, second-year players, and a bevy of hopefuls. In his Media Day interview, Grant tried to salt in wisdom and assurance as reporters asked him for his reflections on the summer and the year ahead.
You can see Grant’s entire interview here:
Here are highlights from Grant’s session.
On the Damian Lillard trade:
It’s a lot. It’s definitely a lot. It’s a part of the business though. You have to keep moving forward regardless. We lost a lot of big pieces, but we also got a lot of big pieces as well. I’m definitely looking forward to making it work...
...It’s definitely a shock. It’s definitely different. But it’s part of the business. This is my fifth team in ten years. I’m accustomed to change. You’ve just got to make things work. I think Joe [Cronin] and Jody [Allen] have been doing a great job of putting other pieces around to allow us to be successful, so I’m fine.
On whether his leadership role changes now:
Definitely. I definitely think my role has changed from what it was before to being more of a mentor and a leader to these younger guys. We have a young team. Me being one of, if not the oldest player on the team, it’s different for me. But at the same time, it’s part of it. So I’m going to embrace my role and do whatever I can.
On the excitement this year:
I think we have a lot of exciting pieces. I think Ant [Anfernee Simons] has grown a lot. I’m excited to get to play with him again. Matisse [Thybulle] defensively, and then all the new guys we got: Robert Williams, Malcolm Brogdon, Deandre [Ayton]...
On having athletic centers now:
Having two athletic centers that can do virtually anything on the court is huge. It’s huge for me defensively, being able to funnel guys down there knowing somebody down there is ready to have your back on the defensive end. Then on the offensive end, just knowing that whenever you get in trouble, you can throw it to the big guy...
Can Scoot Henderson be a leader?
Definitely. He has a natural leadership to him... He has the potential to be that pretty early.
On playing with a young team:
Most, if not all, of these young guys have their head on straight. I think they understand they have to work to stick in this league.
On whether he could play small forward:
I’m fine with it. Three or four, doesn’t really matter, especially in today’s NBA. A lot of teams go positionless other than the one and five.
Has that been broached with him?
Yes, and I gave them the same answer.