The 2019 Free Agency was a rough one for the Hornets, losing All star guard Kemba Walker, and going into the season without a true leader. Fans of the NBA predicted that Charlotte was by FAR the worst team going into the season, some thought they wouldn’t even win 15 games. Now, the Hornets have proven to be a threat to make the playoffs in the eastern conference, led by who I feel is going to be the 19-20 most improved player; Devonte’ Graham.
Lets take a look at Graham’s stats from the 2018-2019 vs. the 2019-2020 season
18-19 Season: 4.7 points per game, 1.4 rebounds per game, 2.6 assists per game, 34.3 FG%, 28.1 3pt%.
19-20 Season (as of Dec. 12): 20 points per game, 3.7 rebounds per game, 7.6 assists per game, 41.5 FG%, 42.9 3pt%.
Devonte’ Graham has easily been one of the most impactful players for the Hornets this season. Like I said earlier, the Hornets didn’t really have a player that they knew would lead their team through the season. But, coach James Borrego decided to give the 24 year old a chance.
Charlotte has many young players with lots of potential, such as Miles Bridges, Malik Monk, P.J. Washington, Dwyane Bacon, and Devonte’ Graham. But with that, there isn’t much experience form their better players. And the rest of their roster are mediocre players who are overpaid. Bismack Biyombo, Nicolas Batum, Cody Zeller, Marvin Williams are all players who are getting paid WAY too much by Charlotte, and 3 of whom might have the worst contracts in the NBA.
The only player that has experience AND has really benefited the Hornets is Terry Rozier, who has been fairly inconsistent. But, Devonte’ Graham has really stepped up for the Hornets, who were desperate for a consistent leader game in and game out at the start of the season.
Devonte’ Graham has also proven that he is willing to do anything to win night in and night out. He plays with incredible confidence, but not to the point where he’s cocky. If he doesn’t put up at least 25 points, he still manages to contribute in the assists category, or will step it up on the defensive end. Graham’s confidence is really what sets him apart from the rest of his teammates.
He’s helped the Hornets compete with and/or win against very successful and competitive teams this season, such as the Pacers, Nets, Suns, and 76ers. The Hornets have surprised the league, with 10 of their games being decided by 5 or less, and have a 7-4 record in those games. He recently just went OFF vs the Nets, coming back from 20 points, putting up at career high 40 points and hitting an incredible clutch three to seal the deal in Brooklyn.
At only 24 years old, Devonte’ Graham has a very bright future ahead of him, and a most improved player award could be a very good start to a potential long and successful career for Graham.
(P/C: Charlotte Observer)