The target the Minnesota Timberwolves had circled as the free agency period opened up was D’Angelo Russell. That wasn’t a secret to any one throughout the league. The pursuit of Russell didn’t end as intended, but it did net the Wolves a pair of players, one of them being Treveon Graham.
Graham was acquired from the Golden State Warriors in early July after he was dealt to the Warriors a day before as part of the sign-and-trade including Russell and Kevin Durant. He’s a player that hasn’t necessarily be given much of a chance throughout his career, averaging less than 16 minutes per game over 125 career games.
There’s no promising that the guard will be able to find minutes in a crowded backcourt in Minnesota, either, but he’ll have a chance to try and earn playing time.
Graham impresses the Wolves with his defensive abilities and finds a spot in the rotation off of the bench. Last season he was 23rd among shooting guards in defensive real plus-minus (according to ESPN), with a mark of 0.29. That was good enough to be 15 spots better than the next-best member of member of the Wolves at that position (Josh Okogie with a -0.14). He’ll be used to guard the opponents best offensive wing or guard whenever he’s on the floor and finds a way to make his presence felt. His shot also bounces back closer to the 41% mark he shot from deep in 2017-18 with Charlotte.
Graham doesn’t find his way into the rotation. His inability to be a knockdown shooter from the perimeter means he doesn’t stand out above any of the other options at that spot. With the Wolves having next to nothing invested in him as far as the future goes, there isn’t any pressure to find minutes for him. Last season he shot 29.7% on 3-pointers, and that proves to me a more accurate assessment than the high mark he had in Charlotte the year prior. While his defense continues to be solid, his offense doesn’t warrant a spot in the rotation.
It appears like it’s going to be tough for Graham to find a spot in the backcourt rotation with everyone healthy. He’ll have to find a way to grab minutes while Okogie, Andrew Wiggins, and Jarrett Culver all find their way into the rotation at that spot. There will be nights that he does end up being used for 15-20 minutes a game, but there also might be nights where Graham collects a DNP-Coach’s Decision.