Devonte’ Graham spends the vast majority of his minutes alongside Frank Mason. So he’s used to not having the ball in his hands at all times and being matched up with bigger players. That makes him an appealing prospect for teams that have wings who handle the ball and only need their point guards to supplement them with shooting and defense.
The flipside is the soon-to-be 22-year-old has never had as much shot creation responsibility as most of his position peers, posting only a 17.5% usage rate throughout his college career. Though he’s shown some creativity handling the ball in pick-and-roll and shot making ability out of isolations, it’s unclear what caliber of point guard Graham really is.
Taking that into account and also the fact he’s not a particularly impressive athlete, Draft Express only ranks him 44th in its top 100.
With Mason running the show and eventual lottery pick Josh Jackson also involved in the shot creation process, Graham’s role on this year’s team is acting as a credible weak-side threat, as he’s taken 60.5% of his shots from three-point range this season.
Graham has an easy release on catch-and-shoot opportunities, deep range and can get his shot off before opponents can closeout to him and contest his shot effectively. He’s nailed 38.3% of his 107 three-point shots, while averaging 7.5 attempts per 40 minutes. 82.9% of his makes have been assisted.
Through his 2,326 minutes in college, Graham’s been a 42% three-point shooter on 5.5 attempts per 40 minutes.
When he’s handled the ball against a set defense, Graham has shown he offers potential as more than someone who can only get a decent look off late in the shot clock.
He is a very polished ball-handler in the pick-and-roll – able to play with pace waiting for driving lanes to clear when he’s hedged or shown hard against, split double-teams at the point of attack and change speeds.
Graham doesn’t have lift to attack the basket with a lot of explosiveness but can finish through contact and has nice touch on floaters to finish over rim protectors – converting 72.2% of his shots at the rim, according to hoop-math.
He’s flashed pretty good court vision passing on the move as well – able to make the pocket pass or a drop-off curling off a screen to a big man diving down the lane and pass across his body to the opposite end of the court – assisting on 21.5% of Kansas’ scores when he’s been on the floor this season, according to basketball-reference.
In isolation, Graham doesn’t have an explosive first step and can’t blow by his man on speed. He’s taken just a fifth of his shots at basket (those often coming in the pick-and-roll and with him curling off a pindown screen or attacking a closeout) and averaged just 2.2 foul shots per 40 minutes.
But Graham has displayed a diverse arsenal of dribble moves to get separation and fairly impressive shot making ability off the bounce. He has a hesitation move, a crossover and an in-and-out dribble to shake his defender off balance and can make step-back jumpers – nailing 40.6% of his 160 mid-range shots over the last two-and-a-half seasons.
Graham guards mostly off guards in college but figures to lack strength and length in his six-foot-two, 185-pound frame to defend wings in the pros regularly. He also lacks athleticism to make plays at the basket in help defense, contributing very little through blocks and defensive rebounds.
Graham is best suited for defending on the ball. He gets in a stance, has lateral quickness to stay in front in isolation and uses his reach to pick the pockets of similarly-sized opposing ball handlers – as he’s averaged 1.8 steals per 40 minutes in college.
But there are questions regarding his pick-and-roll defense. Graham has proven himself able to get skinny, navigate over ball screens and use his length to contest shots or deflect passes tracking his man from behind but lately has gotten stuck on picks and exposed his big man to being attacked downhill quite a bit.
Editor’s Note: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara