NBA experience: Four seasons (one with Pelicans)
Games played/games started: 76/63
Key stats: 11.9 ppg, 4.2 apg, 84.3 FT percentage
Devonte’ Graham 2021-22 Pelicans Season Overview
On the interior walls of the Ochsner Sports Performance Center in Metairie, there are numerous almost life-size photos marking memorable moments from the 2021-22 season, including a few featuring Devonte’ Graham. The guard, who was responsible for at least two of the top highlights of the campaign, has made sure to commemorate those in his own home.
“I have a couple of them framed,” Graham said April 29, when asked about his pair of early-season, game-winning three-pointers at Utah and Oklahoma City. “Those are always going to stick with you, when you make shots like that.”
In addition to beating the Jazz and Thunder in the final seconds of road games, Graham was a prominent part of the rotation early, starting in all 54 of his pre-All-Star-break appearances. He alternated between the first unit and a reserve role following the trade acquisition of CJ McCollum.
Along the way, Graham was an X-factor for New Orleans, leading the Pelicans by a wide margin in three-point makes over the course of the season (his 192 treys were more than twice as many as the 95 from “runner-up” Nickeil Alexander-Walker). Graham’s deep balls were much-needed – even when they weren’t game-deciders – because the Pelicans finished 28th among the 30 teams in average threes made per game (10.6, ahead of only Chicago and Washington). It’s an area where New Orleans and Graham (34.1 percent) hope to improve next season (the Pelicans were 27th in three-point accuracy), particularly with Zion Williamson back in the mix to create more open looks.
“Zion can help anybody’s game out,” Graham said. “He makes life easier for everybody. Didn’t play with him (this season), but played against him (previously). Even saw it in his workouts. He’s incredible.”
Despite a down season for New Orleans from the perimeter and the absence of its 2021 All-Star forward, the Pelicans still overcame a 1-12 start and finished the season on a high note with an improbable playoff berth.
“You couldn’t script it,” Graham said of the team’s year. “The positive mindset we had all season, through the ups and downs, everybody just staying the course and believing in each other, you can’t script that.”
Asked in his April 29 exit interview about the Pelicans’ future potential, Graham responded, “I think it’s going to be scary. Us seeing and experiencing these playoffs are going to make us even hungrier. This summer is going to be a huge for us.”
Highlights: Devonte Graham 2021-22 Pelicans Season Recap
Devonte’ Graham By the Numbers
8: Times Graham sank five or more three-pointers in a game during the regular season, including three instances over a four-game span in mid-December.
316: Team-high assists by Graham during the regular season. Next in total assists was Brandon Ingram with 307.
6: Career playoff games for Graham after he made his NBA debut vs. Phoenix in Round 1. Graham has participated in the play-in round two straight years (Charlotte in 2021).
Devonte’ Graham’s Three Most Notable Games
No. 1: Dec. 17, New Orleans 116, Milwaukee 112
A home victory over the defending NBA champions featured 8/12 three-point shooting by Graham, who added a pair of free throws for a 26-point night. He also had three steals.
No. 2: March 24, New Orleans 126, Chicago 109
Graham poured in a season-high 30 points on 8/12 shooting from the field, highlighted by 5/7 three-point accuracy (he shot 11/18 on treys against the Bulls in two meetings this season).
No. 3: Jan. 24, New Orleans 117, Indiana 113
A 25-point, six-assist outing by Graham, including double-digit points in each half, helped the Pelicans overtake the Pacers in the Smoothie King Center.
Play of the Day: Devonte' Graham
From the 12
Each player review features a poll or question directed to the New Orleans fan base. For Graham, the poll question was: What was your favorite game-winning three-pointer by the guard this season? There were two from which to choose. Graham’s trey from 61 feet in Oklahoma City on Dec. 15 received the most votes, picking up 67 percent of ballots. The Nov. 26 pull-up trifecta at Utah garnered 33 percent. A couple comments from Twitter users who voted for the Jazz winner:
@loziuu: OKC was pure luck. Utah was (cojones).
@NTGraff: For me it was Utah. The opportunities to win in that building always have been few and far between league-wide. That was a stone cold dagger. (Editor’s note: @NTGraff is also known as Pelicans radio broadcaster Todd Graffagnini).