The Charlotte Hornets have traded for Devonte' Graham in the 2018 NBA draft. The selection originally belonged to the Atlanta Hawks with the No. 34 overall pick.
Graham evolved into one of college basketball's biggest stars after taking over full time for Frank Mason III at Kansas. He'll be a 23-year-old rookie, but Graham should have a chance to earn a backup role early on thanks to his skill level at the point.
Size: 6'1 ½"
Weight: 186.4 pounds
Wingspan: 6'6 ¼"
Pro-player comparison: Shabazz Napier
Graham thrived in the pick-and-roll game, particularly as a passer (92nd percentile), though he also converted 71 field goals off of those ball screens. He registered a solid 31.4 assist percentage, and he shot over 40 percent from three for the third time in four seasons. Graham also showed he can play off the ball, ranking in the 85th percentile in spot-up situations, mostly due to his catch-and-shoot jumper on those possessions (44.6 percent).
While he was proficient in pick-and-rolls, Graham struggled as a one-on-one scorer, making only 10 of 48 shots out of isolation. He shot only 39.2 percent inside the arc, finishing just 42.6 percent of his attempts around the basket. Graham's decision-making and shot selection weren't always shrewd, and he had games where he could never get it going.
Graham averaged at least 1.5 steals per game for the second straight season. He can be a pesky perimeter defender when locked in. However, he'll only guard one position in the pros, and he had plays where his effort and concentration weren't fully there. Graham should hold his own against backup point guards, but he might not be someone his coaches will want guarding starters for long stretches.
Given his age and experience, Graham could be good for rookie minutes. His shot-making should carry over, although his inconsistency might as well. Graham could be better off playing some of next season in the G League rather than watching from the bench.
Projected role: Backup point guard
Graham's lack of size and explosiveness for a 23-year-old hint at a low ceiling. Best-case scenario, he emerges as a reliable backup who can get teammates involved and capitalize on his outside shooting opportunities. A Napier-like career trajectory sounds reasonable for Graham, who'll have a chance to be a regular second-unit player by his second or third season.