Breakout Hornets point guard Devonte’ Graham is shooting just 27 percent from the field over the last nine games and that’s a sign that opponents are respecting him, former teammate Kemba Walker told Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.
“You learn, you grow and you adapt,” Walker said. “He’s showing the whole NBA how good a player he is, so that kind of attention is going to come. You just have to accept it as kind of a respect thing.” Earning a $1.4MM salary this season, Graham is one of the league’s biggest bargains. He is averaging 18.9 PPG, 7.7 APG, and 3.9 RPG for the 13-23 Hornets.
Graham’s recent shooting woes have decreased his field goal percentage this season to just 37.6% overall. That said, he still boasts two solid shooting percentages. Graham is connecting on 39.1% of his triples and 80.3% of his free throws with the Hornets.
We have more from the Southeast Division:
- Trading for Cavaliers big man Kevin Love wouldn’t make sense for the Hornets, Bonnell writes in a mailbag post. While the team needs star power, Love is owed more than $90MM beyond this season and will be 34 when that contract expires in 2023, Bonnell continues. Even if the Hornets sneak into the playoffs, they wouldn’t be set up to advance with Love, limited on defense, as the No. 1 option, Bonnell adds.
- Garrison Mathews said he was capable of torching an opponent with his shooting ability prior to his 28-point outburst against Miami on Monday, according to Mike DePrisco of NBC Sports Washington. The Wizards signed the undrafted rookie to a two-way contract in early July. Mathews, who made four 3-pointers and 12 free throws against the Heat, spoke of his offensive prowess during a pregame TV interview. “I’m not just a basketball player, I’m a professional shooter,” he said. A 6’5″ shooting guard out of Lipscomb, Mathews averaged 20.8 PPG and 5.5 RPG in his final season at Lipscomb, knocking down 3.2 threes per game at a 40.3% rate.
- Josh Richardson could have been a perfect complementary piece to Jimmy Butler if the two were together with the Heat, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel opines. Miami needed to include Richardson in their sign-and-trade deal for Butler to make the salary requirements work. Richardson wound up in a better situation with Philadelphia, who have legitimate title aspirations than if he had been dealt to Minnesota last season when the Heat tried to put together a package for Butler, Winderman adds.
Additional contributions by Alex Kirschenbaum.