Five things to know about Pelicans guard Devonte’ Graham

1)      Graham’s breakout NBA season occurred in 2019-20 with Charlotte. He made an astronomical and nearly unprecedented jump in scoring average, going from 4.7 points per game as a rookie to 18.2. That production led the Hornets during what turned out be a pandemic-shortened campaign. He finished fifth in the NBA’s Most Improved Player vote, trailing award winner Brandon Ingram of New Orleans, as well as Miami’s Bam Adebayo, Dallas’ Luka Doncic and Boston’s Jayson Tatum.

2)      His role changed somewhat in 2020-21, partly due to Charlotte’s addition of point guard LaMelo Ball, the NBA’s Rookie of the Year. Graham was also hampered a bit by injuries, appearing in 55 of 72 regular season games for the Hornets (he started in 44 of those 55 appearances). Despite being sidelined for portions of the season, he averaged 14.8 points and scored 30-plus points twice, in games vs. Denver and Phoenix.

3)      In the two seasons in which he’s played significant minutes, the 6-foot-1, 195-pounder has proven to be one of the league’s most effective three-point shooters, at a very high volume. He shot 37.3 percent two seasons ago and 37.5 percent in 2020-21, while launching 9.3 and 8.7 attempts per game, respectively. By comparison, no New Orleans player has averaged more than 8.5 treys a game in any season since Baron Davis fired 8.7 in 2003-04.

4)      A native of Raleigh, N.C., one theme of Graham’s basketball career has been being a bit overlooked at first, but later proving he can perform at a high level. In high school, Graham initially was committed to play for Appalachian State in Boone, N.C., but later dominated at prep school Brewster Academy and received offers from many prominent NCAA programs. He chose the University of Kansas over Atlantic Coast Conference schools North Carolina and Virginia. After four seasons with the Jayhawks – despite being a first-team All-American as a senior – he wasn’t picked until the second round (No. 34 overall) of the 2018 NBA Draft. By his second pro season, he emerged as his team’s leading scorer.

5)      Despite being a second-round pick in what’s proven to be a very talented 2018 draft class, Graham ranks ninth among that year’s 60 selections in career points (2,178) and third in assists (887, behind only Trae Young and Doncic). He is also eighth in free-throw percentage (82.2) and 10th in total minutes (4,546).