A four-year college player out of the University of Kansas, Devonte’ Graham rose as an elite shotmaker for one of the top schools in the country over his time as a Jayhawk. The 23-year old point guard led Kansas to the Final Four, where they were dethroned by the eventual National Champions, the Villanova Wildcats. Standing at 6’2,” Graham is a pesky 186-pound player that has worked his way into becoming a lock to be drafted on June 21st barring an unforeseen circumstance.
Graham played and started in 39 games for the Jayhawks in his senior season. Playing a staunchly 38 minutes per game, he averaged 17.3 points, 7.2 assists, and four rebounds per game on 40 percent shooting from the field while slashing a 40.6 percent shooting mark from the 3-point line. The best attribute Graham has to his game is his shooting ability. He possesses a quick and pure shooting stroke, a quality that will bode well for him in the NBA. Graham’s shooting ability helps protect his greatest weakness, a topic I’ll touch on later.
Devonte Graham activating the “flamethrower” in his words. pic.twitter.com/UYCApYsuiV
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) May 29, 2018
With the ball in his hands more, Graham showed compelling improvement as a floor general and distributor in his senior season. He dished out 7.2 assists per game while committing just 2.8 turnovers per game, equaling out to a 2.6 assist to turnover ratio. While it is by far great, the stat shows promise as it was the first season Graham held the sole power of running the offense after Frank Mason’s departure to the NBA. Another statistic that is propitious to Graham’s ability as a playmaker is his assist percentage increasing from 19.2 percent in his junior season to 31.4 percent in his senior year. Graham has a nice handle, it is tight and secure. A trait he will have to lose as his game develops is not picking up his dribble. This action stops the momentum of any play being run, and often ends with a careless pass, resulting in a turnover. By no means will he be the next Chris Paul, but his distributing ability fits well next to his shooting capabilities.
The eye glaring deficiencies in Graham’s game are largely due to his size, or lack thereof. Graham measured at just 6’1.5″ in shoes at the NBA Combine, while owning a 6’6.25″ wingspan. When attacking the basket, the problems his lack of size causes are easy to perceive. Graham does not have the length or skillset to finish at the rim against NBA defenses. In the next tweet, Graham is shown driving to the basket multiple times. Each finish at the rim ends up in a quirky motion with his body off balance. Finishing at the basket will only be tougher for him at the next level, but he could find some success if he develops an effective floater.
Impressive display of shot-making from Kansas senior guard Devonte Graham against Texas Tech. Came up big in crunch time. The 23-year-old is averaging 20 PTS, 5.0 REB & 5.4 AST per game over his last 5 games. pic.twitter.com/rdAqw35Tmi
— Mike Schmitz (@Mike_Schmitz) February 25, 2018
Graham would be a nice fit in Detroit if he is still on the board come the 42nd pick on June 21st. The Pistons do not have a true young point guard in their system, and Graham would be just that. He also has the ability to play right away if that were to become necessary, however, highly unlikely. Graham could pick the minds of Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith to improve in specific aspects of his game. A lesson on attacking the rim would be useful for Graham from Jackson. Jackson has displayed an effective floater when driving to the basket, a skillset Graham has not shown to have. Learning how to be effective as an undersized guard while using elite speed to its peak advantage would be smart from Graham to learn from Smith.
The draft stock Graham places him in the 40s in the second round. SI.com has him going 44th, while NBADraft.net slates him at 48. It seems likely Graham will be on available when the Pistons are on the clock, and he would be a good prospect to add to a team short on youth.
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