In advance of the 2018 NBA Draft, Peachtree Hoops will be breaking down prospects, both from the college ranks and internationally, with an eye toward what the Atlanta Hawks will be evaluating in the coming days. More than 50 prospects will be profiled in this space and, in the end, the goal is to inform Hawks fans prior to June 21, when the Hawks are scheduled to make four selections with the first 34 picks.
Today’s installment takes a glance at Kansas senior Devonte Graham.
Devonte Graham leaves the University of Kansas with a bevy of collegiate accolades, many of which were compiled during his final season as a Jayhawk. Coming into his senior campaign, some experts had Graham listed as low as No. 45 on their draft board, and none of the preseason mock drafts I found had Graham pegged as a no-doubt first round talent.
While Graham had a fantastic senior season for head coach Bill Self, by far his best at Kansas, his draft stock still seems to mirror what most thought before the season, which is an early- to mid-second round selection, although it’s very possible that some teams have him graded higher than that.
Graham won Big 12 Player of the Year and led all NCAA Division I players with 1474 minutes played this season, leading his team to a conference championship and an appearance in the Final Four.
Kansas shot a lot of three-pointers for a college team this past season, ranking first in the Big 12 in three-pointers made by a wide margin despite Trae Young and Oklahoma’s explosive offensive attack. Graham shot or initiated a lot of those threes, and that can’t hurt his chances and the next level, to say the least.
Graham is profiled as a potential backup point guard that could potentially run the second unit, largely due to his play-making ability and soft shooting touch from behind the three-point arc both off the catch as well as off the dribble.
He shot 40.9 percent from three-point range for his collegiate career and had a true shooting percentage of 56.8 this season on a career high 12.8 shot attempts per game.
Graham initiated much of the Jayhawks’ offense as the point guard, compiling 282 assists in his senior season, (7.7 per 40 minutes). That, as well as his assist percentage of 31.4, were both by far career highs.
Graham has also shown above average decision making in pick and roll situations:
While he thrives from behind the line, Graham could still improve on his overall efficiency from the floor, as he only shot 40 percent from the floor in his senior season despite his high percentage from deep. Sometimes he struggles finishing in traffic and getting to the rim off of the dribble against longer defenders.
Here Graham is bailed out with a foul call despite throwing up a wild shot that is easily blocked by the opponent:
Here, Graham makes an incredible circus shot after being cut off on the drive:
Graham is somewhat limited on the defensive end by his size, but he is a scrappy on ball defender and should be fine in most point guard match-ups with his quick hands and feet. He averaged 1.7 steals per 40 minutes as a senior.
Graham looks like he will a tough, winning player that can come off of the bench and help his team with his shooting and playmaking ability, much like what his former college teammate Frank Mason did in his rookie season for the Sacramento Kings this year.
Due to his average size and length for his position, Graham currently projects as a 2nd round pick but it is certainly conceivable that the Hawks could evaluate him through the prism of either the No. 30 or No. 34 selection.