Every year it seems like Sean Marks adds a player or two that has little risk but some upside. This year, it’s 24-year-old Treveon Graham, formerly of the Charlotte Hornets who’s entering his third season in the league.
He filled Brooklyn’s final roster spot with a two-year deal this week, the second year a team option. Like most fliers Marks takes on, it’s a team-friendly contract. For Graham, it’s an opportunity to prove himself. He likes that about the Nets.
“It’s not a coincidence,” Graham said Wednesday at HSS Training Center. “It shows the Brooklyn Nets give people opportunities. If you show you deserve to be on the court, I don’t feel they play favoritism. I feel if you deserve to be on the court, you will, and once you go on the court, you have to show you deserve to be on the court and play your game and play within the system. I feel like here is a great way to do that.”
Indeed. The Nets take great pride in their development of players in similar situations. Guys like Joe Harris and Spencer Dinwiddie serve as perfect examples, guys who didn’t necessarily play much with their last team but came to Brooklyn and turned into a rotation player.
Finding your niche in Kenny Atkinson’s offense is the first step. Graham sees himself as a solid system-fit, having shot 43.8 percent from three over his two-year career. He’s playing with a team that finished second in attempts (35.7) last season.
That number isn’t expected to decrease this upcoming season.
“Yeah, they shoot a lot of threes,” he said when asked whether his skillset fits the system. “I can play multiple positions. I see they go small a lot. I feel like I can help out in that area from the four and the three, wherever they feel like they need me.”
In Charlotte, the well-built Graham played some at the 4 despite being listed at 6’5”. Marvin Williams, who’s four inches taller,got hurt and Graham’s name was called. That scenario might be one the Nets consider once in a while, given they need spacing in the frontcourt.
“I played a lot at the 4. Toward the end of the season, Marvin Williams got hurt, and they tried to shake some things up and they threw me there. I played pretty well at the four. I think that stretch I averaged around 13 points and I did pretty well at the 4. When Marvin came back, I went back to the 3 but it just showed that, at the 4, I can do pretty well.”
He needs to show that he can be versatile. The Nets have a surplus of wings, namely Allen Crabbe, Joe Harris, Caris LeVert and Dzanan Musa.
He’s confident he’s going to make the most of his time.
“Yeah, when you have a talented group, you’re always going to have a hard time finding playing time. But that’s just coming in and working every day. You’ve got to show that you belong, and I’m never afraid for competition. Just because there’s a lot of players at that position, it doesn’t mean there won’t be opportunity. When I do get the opportunity, I’ll do my thing.”
Graham notes how he was negotiating with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves, but the Nets made the harder push. Furthermore, he discussed the family aspect, as many new players in Brooklyn do, and how it important it is to him.
“My family is a lot closer. It helps me to know my family is a lot closer and they can come see a lot of my games. And, like I said, the culture they have here in Brooklyn, I see how they played last year, how young they are and how much potential they have here. I felt like it was a great opportunity for me to come and try to help out.”
Getting comfortable shouldn’t be an issue for Graham. He knows Joe Harris from their college days, specifically the A10 tournament when he beat Harris at Barclays Center. He played with Spencer Dinwiddie in the collegiate Olympic Games, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson at LeBron James’ camp and Shabazz Napier at Chris Paul’s camp.
This is somebody with low expectations but a high upside especially if he can hit the three ball consistently. For Marks, Graham is another little win that has potential to blossom into something more than expected.
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