Portland Trail Blazers forward Jerami Grant is off to a strong start early this season.
The 10th-year veteran is one of a handful of NBA players averaging over 20 points per game in the first two weeks of the season, but he isn’t satisfied with how he’s been playing so far.
“I don’t even think I’ve been playing that well to be honest. Just got to be aggressive especially with Ant [Simons] out,” Grant said Sunday after the team’s loss against the Memphis Grizzlies. “We need a lot of scoring, so just trying to be aggressive, take my shots and not force anything.”
When the Blazers started the year 0-3, Grant had yet to hit 20 points in a game. But during Portland’s three-game win streak, Grant scored 20 or more. Last night, that streak continued with a 27-point performance, which marked a season-high despite the Blazers losing to the Grizzlies.
Without Simons in the lineup, it’s clear that someone needs to step up. And while second-year guard Shaedon Sharpe is doing that by actively taking his spot in the starting lineup, Grant is also doing so as the team’s trusted veteran.
Even with him on the floor, the Blazers are still trying to figure things out as they go. Given the team’s current situation, that’s what Portland has to do when the stakes of the games aren’t as high early in the year. But if he weren’t on the floor, Portland would be very lost paddling upstream without a paddle.