Devonte’ Graham stepped up in a big way during the 2017-18 season. The Kansas point guard became the Jayhawks go-to player after a number of Kansas’ top players either left for the NBA or graduated. Graham’s growth as a player makes him an intriguing NBA draft prospect, with a good chance to land in the first round.
Heavy has Graham being selected No. 30 in our latest mock draft. Graham is also the last pick in the first round in ESPN’s latest mock draft. Here’s how ESPN draft analyst Jonathan Givony described Graham.
Graham is a ready-made role player, thanks to his terrific experience playing winning basketball at Kansas for four years. He’s a 41 percent 3-point shooter and a multipositional defender who ranked third in the country in assists.
Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo is a little lower on Graham as the Kansas guard is ranked 35th on his big board. Woo is skeptical of his ability to penetrate defenses.
Graham is seen as a good bet to become a useful ball-handler after pulling together an undersized Kansas team full of shooters and becoming the connective tissue that makes them go. His production was consistent: he’s a capable setup man and perimeter shooter whose experience in big games will serve him well, and he does a solid job on the defensive end. Graham struggles to score in isolation and when attacking the paint, with the big red flag being a sub-40 percent clip on two-point attempts. He’s already 23, and his counting stats were somewhat inflated by hardly ever resting. He’s likely to go somewhere among the first 40 picks at this point, with the first round a possibility to the right team.
Here’s a look at my NBA draft profile on Graham.
Devonte Graham NBA Draft Profile
Strengths: Often point guards are either distributors or pure scoring guards. Graham has the rare mix of being a great playmaker for his teammates, while also having no problem getting his own shot. Graham shot over 40 percent from the three-point line in three of his four seasons at Kansas making him one of the elite shooters in the draft.
With the top Jayhawks either graduating or moving on to the NBA, Graham stepped into the lead role pushing Kansas to the Final Four. Graham averaged 17.2 points and 7.3 assists per game. The Kansas guard is great shooter, but can also get points off the bounce. Graham is a solid 8.4 in the plus/minus metrics.
Weaknesses: Graham could start out in the NBA as a liability on defense. While his overall plus/minus numbers are solid, his defensive plus/minus is just 1.5. At 6’2″, Graham is not physically imposing, and is on the smaller side when compared to some of the other point guards in this draft class. The Kansas point guard is a senior meaning he is unlikely to go high in the draft, but has a good chance to sneak into the first round.
Summary: With his combination of experience and shooting ability, Graham offers a team great value at the end of the first round. Graham may not be viewed as having some of the same upside as the freshman in the lottery, but the Kansas point guard could end up being one of the steals in the draft. Graham will likely start out as a backup point guard, but it would be no surprise if he eventually becomes a starter at the next level.