First off, I want to congratulate Tony Parker on an excellent 18-year NBA career. Parker won the Finals four times (won Finals MVP in 2007), made the All-Star roster six times, and made All-NBA Rookie First Team back in 2002. Parker almost seems like a lock for the Hall of Fame.
If you have been following along with Parker’s journey, you know that in the offseason, Parker signed a two-year, $10 million deal with the Charlotte Hornets. Parker was brought in to provide another great point guard for the Hornets, while at the same time mentoring the young guys, such as Kemba Walker and Devonte’ Graham.
With Parker suddenly retiring, Kemba Walker not being guaranteed to sign with the Hornets in free agency, and Shelvin Mack entering free agency as well, that means there is only one active point guard on the Hornets’ roster: Devonte’ Graham, whom the Hornets acquired in a draft day trade with the Atlanta Hawks last year.
Until we know what Kemba is going to do, I think that it is safe to say that it is Graham’s time to shine. I like Graham a lot.
Let me tell you why I like Graham. For one, this kid can play. At the University of Kansas, Graham was the heart and soul of the Jayhawks. From a kid that did not start a single game his freshman year, to a guy who won Big 12 Player of the Year in 2018, Graham improved mightily.
In his freshman season, Graham averaged 5.7 points per game. He increased that scoring output to 11.3 points per game in his sophomore season, which he won the Big 12 Tournament MVP in, 13.4 points per game in his junior season, and 17.3 points per game in his senior year.
Two, this kid loves the game. In the 2018-2019 NBA Preseason, I traveled to the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill to see a Hornets-Celtics preseason game, and traveled to the Spectrum Center in Charlotte on four separate occasions during the regular season. Before every game, and on the bench. Graham would always be the guy with a huge smile on his face. He was the guy that would be standing the entire time, cheering on his teammates when he was not playing. When Graham saw court action, he would always compliment his teammates, and pick them up when they were down.
Three, when Graham got into game action this past year, he produced. Graham scored at least 10 points in a game twice during the months of December, January, March, and April, including four consecutive games from Saturday, December 29, 2018 to Saturday, January 5, 2019 in which Graham scored in double-digits.
If everything pans out as I suggest it may above, then it will be Graham’s time to shine.
Will Graham make the most of his chances? Follow along with the Charlotte Hornets to see what happens…