In the middle of the NBA off-season doldrums, the news came across that the Utah Jazz inked shooting guard Treveon Graham to a free agent contract. While certainly not an earthshaking announcement, it still provided something Jazz-related for the faithful longing for anything connected to their beloved team.
So, who is Treveon Graham? The 21-year old swingman played all four collegiate seasons at Virginia Commonwealth University, working under the tutelage of Shaka Smart1. He was an immediate contributor as a freshman, bringing 7.0 PPG and 3.2 RPG to the table2. Graham made dramatic improvements his sophomore campaign, upping the production to 15.1 PPG (with 45 FG% and 37 3FG%), 5.8 RPG and 1.6 APG. He was extremely consistent the following two seasons, especially as a very effective and rugged rebounder for his size, a physical defender and a solid 3-point shooter. Despite tallying 16.2 PPG (38 3FG%) and 7.1 RPG3 and All-Atlantic 10 first-team honors, Graham went unselected in June’s draft.
Once again, the San Antonio Spurs connection comes into play here. Graham had a nice showing for the Spurs’ summer league product, displaying the ability to play a nice all-around game — 7.9 PPG and 2.6 RPG in 15.6 MPG. He totaled 17 points when Utah was pitted against San Antonio, doing enough to obviously capture the attention of Jazz brass.
At 6’6 and 220 lbs, Graham has very good physical size for his position. His athleticism does not jump off the charts, but his strong body allows him to do some things inside. Graham uses his strength to get in the paint and to earn trips to the free throw line (although he struggles a bit once he gets there). He also has been a good perimeter shooter, hoisting over 5 3PA per outing. The combination of strong 3-point marksmanship and trips to the charity stripe is one that makes Graham appealing. He will obviously need to work on his offensive game as a whole, but has some aspects that are very encouraging.
His rebounding was elite in college, a skill set that often translates well during the NBA transition. Utah has historically been advocates for guards who can crash the boards. Graham managed to snare 2.2 offensive boards a game in just 29.4 MPG. He will not wow with his ball handling or passing skills, but does enough to not be a liability.
According to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders, Graham was signed to what has become a Jazz standard contract — a three-year minimum deal with a small guarantee, $75,000 in this case. Similarly to the situation with swingman J.J. O’Brien, this pact provides Graham with some financial incentive, while allowing the Jazz to get a very good look at a prospect they like. He will have at least two months to work out with the coaching and training staff, along with his new Jazz teammates.
Like with O’Brien, Graham’s chances at cracking Utah’s regular season roster are slim, but he will potentially have ample opportunity with the Idaho Stampede. Should he make a statement in the Jazz’s training camp and preseason, the team has a lot of flexibility to retain him. That does not seem likely, but one never knows. Few gave Wesley Matthews much though when he was brought to Jazz camp as an undrafted rookie. A few injuries opened up the door for him to not only make the team, but to develop into a max contract guy.
This brings Utah’s training camp roster to 19: Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert, Dante Exum, Alec Burks, Rodney Hood, Trey Burke, Trevor Booker, Trey Lyles, Joe Ingles, Tibor Pleiss, Raul Neto, Bryce Cotton, Chris Johnson, Elijah Millsap, Jack Cooley, Grant Jerrett, O’Brien and Graham. Teams can bring up to 20 players to camp, which starts in late September,
Again, not a landscape-altering transaction, but one to pay attention to nonetheless.