Moore: Devonte’ Graham Deserves a Place in the All-Star Conversation
Photo credit: Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Devonte’ Graham
The NBA All-Star teams are set, with the reserves announced Thursday night. The group is primarily made up of superstar players, hyped since they were in high school and who have made the very most of their talents.
The best stories about All-Stars, though, are the bets that paid off the biggest. The longshots. The diamonds in the rough. The guys who no one knew the names of and who made it anyway.
Devonte’ Graham isn’t going to be an All-Star. I’m not even able to make an ironclad case he should be, given the other worthy guards in the Eastern Conference. He has no significant other or family member going on television to rant about how the system is rigged. (None that I’m aware of anyway. If there’s a significant other or family member of Graham who wants to do so, please hit me up.)
What I do know, without a doubt, is that he needs to be in the conversation.
Graham played 46 games last season in a backcourt shared by Kemba Walker and Tony Parker, averaging just 4.7 points on 28% shooting from deep. Then this summer, Graham watched as Kemba signed with the Boston Celtics in free agency and Tony Parker retired. That was when he knew there would be a real chance for him to make his mark in the league.
“Pretty much when Kemba and Tony were leaving,” Graham told The Action Network earlier this month, “it was just like, the point guard position was open. I knew we were going to sign another point guard … didn’t know who yet. But I felt like then I was going to have more opportunity to play, and I just tried to prepare all summer for it.”
Graham played 13 games for Charlotte’s G-League team, the Swarm, and flashed his potential, averaging 23 points and five assists on 38% shooting from deep.
The Hornets entered the season with what many believed to be the worst roster in the NBA. Their season win total was as low as 22.5 in the preseason. And don’t get me wrong, the Hornets are not good. They’re 16-31, with the 26th-ranked Net Rating and 26th-ranked defense.
But they’re also just seven wins from clearing that over, and due to how bad the East is, they’re just five games back in the loss column from the 8-seed.
More important, however, is Graham’s emergence as a key offensive player and the impact he’s had on the Hornets.