Former Kansas standout point guard Devonte’ Graham was selected by the Charlotte Hornets with the 34th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. He did big things while with the Jayhawks, including reaching the Final Four in his senior season. Graham was the Big 12 Player of the Year last season, averaging 17.3 points, 7.2 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game for Kansas. In addition to that, his play was enough to make him a consensus first team All-American.
Now, Graham transitions to the NBA where he will likely begin as the third point guard on the depth chart behind Kemba Walker and Tony Parker. While this means limited playing time at first, Graham will have the chance to learn from one of the best point guards in the league right now and a future first ballot Hall of Famer. There are also other veterans on this Hornets team like Marvin Williams who will mold him into a better player on and off the court.
Graham played really well for the Hornets Summer League team, averaging 10.0 points, 6.0 assists, and 2.7 rebounds per game in the three games he appeared in. His passing was one of his biggest strengths during the Summer League. Although he didn’t shoot well percentage wise, his shot selection was really good and it translated to a good run in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, he suffered cartilage damage in his right knee so he couldn’t finish the Hornets’ Summer League run.
It is clear that while Graham is capable of playing in this league, he isn’t going to be the backup right away. Parker should take the backup point guard minutes behind Kemba Walker at the beginning of the season. However, Graham should get a chance to log plenty of minutes in the G-League with the Greensboro Swarm. This will help him get experience to prepare him for stepping into a backup role later in the season.
Overall, Devonte’ Graham showed a lot of promise in the Summer League and hopefully that translates to the NBA. He will need time to develop into a better player, but his skill set is good enough to where he can fit into what the Hornets are trying to do. I don’t see him getting playing time right away, but with time, he’ll improve his game and get into the rotation at some point.