Charlotte Hornets

Jerian Grant would offer Charlotte Hornets a bigger point-guard option

Notre Dame guard Jerian Grant, one of six draft prospects to work out for the Charlotte Hornets on Monday, could give the team a bigger point guard option.
Notre Dame guard Jerian Grant, one of six draft prospects to work out for the Charlotte Hornets on Monday, could give the team a bigger point guard option. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Jerian Grant has a lot to offer an NBA team: A point guard who is 6-foot-5, four seasons of Big East and ACC experience and a last name with plenty of pro basketball history.

Is that sufficient to make him a candidate for the Charlotte Hornets’ No. 9 overall pick?

Maybe. The Hornets brought him in for a workout Monday along with five other draft candidates, including Georgia State shooting guard R.J. Hunter. A projected first-round pick, Hunter injured a shoulder late in Monday’s workout and couldn’t continue.

Grant’s height is an asset. This franchise hasn’t had a big point guard option since 6-7 Shaun Livingston played for the Bobcats during the 2010-11 season. Players such as Livingston, now with the Golden State Warriors, offer alternatives, as Livingston demonstrated when he took a turn guarding Cleveland Cavaliers small forward LeBron James on Sunday in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

The Hornets have two small point guards in 6-1 Kemba Walker, backed up by 6-1 Brian Roberts.

“Size is a huge advantage. It creates shots you wouldn’t see if you were smaller,” Grant said Monday. “I could be a huge fit here as far as play-making. They have a lot of scorers, a lot of guys down low. Me in here giving those people more looks would work out a lot.”

Grant has auditioned for eight NBA teams so far with at least four more workouts to follow. Based on the teams that have brought him in for a look, he figures to be selected as early as eighth (the Detroit Pistons) or as late as the early 20s on June 25 when the draft is held in New York.

Grant comes from an NBA lineage. He’s the son of Harvey Grant, who played 11 NBA seasons, mostly with the Washington Bullets. His uncle Horace Grant played 17 NBA seasons, winning four championships with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers.

Jerian’s younger brother, Jerami, was a rookie with the Philadelphia 76ers last season and another brother, Jeral, plays professionally, most recently in Latvia.

That’s a wealth of knowledge. What advice did he get from family regarding these auditions?

“Just compete and play your game. Don’t do anything different,” Grant said. “They know what your strengths are. Just go out and show them the type of player you are.”

Grant considers his family a major resource entering the NBA: “All of them have high basketball IQs because we’ve been around the game so long to study it.”

While Jerami chose to leave Syracuse with eligibility remaining a year ago to enter the draft, Jerian played out four seasons. He did that in part to get more experience at point guard after playing a lot of shooting guard at Notre Dame. Over four college seasons he averaged 14.5 points and 5.8 assists, shooting 34.5 percent from the college 3-point line.

The Irish excelled in Notre Dame’s first season of ACC basketball, advancing in the NCAA tournament to a two-point loss to Kentucky in the Midwest Regional final.

“It was great. I got to come back and be a leader for our team as a point guard – have a voice and speak up,” Grant said.

While Grant sees himself first as a point guard, he’s confident he could plug in to either guard spot at the NBA level.

“I’ve been doing that my whole life with the ball in my hands making plays,” Grant said. “But I think playing either position can work for me.”

Bonnell: 704-358-5129; @rick_bonnell

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