clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Devonte’ Graham is making a case to be an Eastern Conference All Star

New, comments

The Hornets breakout star can benefit from a weak pool of Eastern Conference guards.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Brooklyn Nets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Charlotte Hornets guard Devonte’ Graham will have an outside shot at making the Eastern Conference All Star team if his current form continues. He’s averaged 26.0 points and 7.7 assists per game over his last seven contests while hitting 5.1 threes per game at a 46.8% clip. The hot run of play has upped his season averages to 20.0 points, 7.6 assists, and 3.8 3-pointers made per game while shooting 42.9% from deep.

He currently ranks seventh among Eastern conference guards in scoring and second or third in assists (depending on whether or not you count Ben Simmons as a guard). His 3.8 3-pointers made per game lead that group, just a touch ahead of former teammate Kemba Walker.

His impact goes beyond his box score contributions. According to Cleaning the Glass, the Hornets are 19.1 points better in meaningful minutes with Devonte’ Graham playing than when he’s resting. That’s the fourth best mark in the entire league. That number is heavily weighted by his effect on the Hornets offense. His +18.6 on/off offensive rating is 1.8 points better than the second best player in the NBA.

All that said, Graham has an uphill battle to earn consideration for the All Star team, even though the Eastern Conference’s current crop of guard candidates is pretty weak. Some combination of Kemba Walker, Bradley Beal, Jimmy Butler (if he plays), and Ben Simmons are probably locks to be the starters, but there isn’t a whole lot of good behind them. Kyrie Irving and Kyle Lowry have chances to get in, even if just off star power, despite them each missing several games. After that, it’s going to come down to guys like Malcolm Brogdon, who’s boring but has put up Graham-like numbers for a playoff team, or Zach LaVine and Trae Young, who contribute to terrible teams but have that wow factor that’s so important in these things.

Also working against Graham is the fact that players rarely make the teams in their breakout season; it usually happens the year after. So while Graham’s case for this year’s All Star game is strong, he’ll probably have to carry this play into next season before he gets real consideration. Until then, he’ll have to settle for Most Improved Player, which he should currently be the frontrunner for by miles.