It’s always said that the NBA Draft process is an imperfect science. Every franchise is looking to find the next superstar when making a draft choice. However, the teams who select later in the draft are trying to find a diamond in the rough with their pick.
The past two draft classes have brought some great young talent into the NBA. In the 2018 NBA Draft you had Luka Doncic and Trae Young, who both rank in the top five in points per game.
Meanwhile, this year’s class produced talents such as Kendrick Nunn and Ja Morant who are currently leading the rookie of the year race for 2019. There are some players who’ve been performing well in their young careers, but haven’t gotten the attention they deserve.
Devonte Graham’s emergence this season is just what the Charlotte Hornets needed after the departure of Kemba Walker. In addition, having Terry Rozier in the backcourt with Graham has helped Charlotte fill the void Walker left.
In just his second season Graham is averaging 19.2 points per game and 7.4 assists per game. The 7.4 assists per game ranks ninth in the NBA. What is most lethal about Graham’s game is his three-point shooting.
On the season Graham ranks second in three-point shots made with 119, only trailing James Harden who has taken 110 more three pointers. Graham also shoots an impressive 40% from behind the three-point arc.
Being an all-star reserve from the eastern conference is possible if Graham keeps playing at this level. Graham’s play has placed himself in that tier of eastern conference point guards where the likes of Spencer Dinwiddle and Malcolm Brogdon reside.
“[He’s] the top defensive wing in the draft, and that’s what I really wanted to improve on,” 76ers general manager Elton Brand said.
Thybulle as made an immediate impact on the defensive side of the ball in his rookie season. His 1.4 steals per game ranks top 25 in the NBA and first among all rookies. In addition, Thybulle has a 38% steal percentage which is top five among players with at least 25 games played.
Being primarily known as a defender Thybulle is slowly developing his offensive game as well. Thybulle has taken 67 threes on the season and is shooting 46% on those three pointers. He also has three games in double figures this season, including a 20 point performance against the Toronto Raptors.
If Thybulle can continue to develop offensively he can become a typical “3 and D” player that’s needed on any roster.
Despite being the 11th pick in the draft, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander fellow draft class members Doncic and Young overshadow him. Last season on the Los Angeles Clippers showed flashes of the star he could be. This was most evident in the playoffs series versus the Golden State Warriors where he scored over 20 points in both games four and six.
Now a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder Gilgeous-Alexander talents have been on full display. Playing off the ball at shooting guard now Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 18 points per game. He’s doing so while shooting 44% from the field and 35% from three.
As the leading scorer for the Thunder Gilgeous-Alexander is one of the main reasons Oklahoma City is the seventh seed in the western conference.
When Gilgeous-Alexander fully develops his offensive game, at 6’5 he will be an offensive mismatch for any guard throughout his career.