Gordon Hayward and LeBron James were respectively stellar in leading their teams to victory on Tuesday evening, but the top star of last night’s slate was undoubtedly Devonte’ Graham of the Charlotte Hornets.
The former Kansas product is breaking out in his second year in the Association, confirmed by ranking 29thoverall on our basketball Player Rater, given such a solid balance of scoring, shooting and passing production. Graham delivered a career-high 35 points in the overtime win over Indiana on Tuesday, establishing a Hornets franchise record for scoring from the bench.
The list of players averaging at least six assists and three 3-pointers per game this season includes Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving, Luka Doncic, Kyle Lowry, James Harden, Trae Young, Bradley Beal and Graham. While his inclusion in this collective of superstars appears aberrational, Graham is being trusted to orchestrate the Charlotte offense even with Terry Rozier enjoying career highs in usage and passing production.
The sample remains decidedly small, but Graham is making an early bid for Most Improved Player, given his leap from a forgettable rookie season to a spectacular sophomore campaign. Currently rostered in just 35% of ESPN leagues, go get Graham before your competition does.
Devonte’ Graham, Charlotte Hornets: 35 points (10-21 FG), 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, 2 TO
Gordon Hayward, Boston Celtics: 39 points (17-20 FG), 7 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 TO
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers: 30 points (10-19 FG), 10 rebounds, 11 assists, 2 steals, 2 TO
Cody Zeller, Charlotte Hornets: 7 points (1-5 FG), 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 TO
On the other side of the floor from Graham last night, the Pacers’ T.J. Warren produced 33 points while missing just three of 18 shots from the floor. Warren’s 83% shooting clip is the best by a Pacers player (min. 15 attempts) since Clark Kellogg made 94% of his shots back in January of 1985. Warren won’t offer you much beyond scoring as a fantasy option, but at least he’s warming up. Indiana’s Malcolm Brogdon notched 31 points and eight assists to become the only Pacers player in the past 35 seasons with at least 15 points and five assists in each of his first seven games of the season.
The Lakers overcame a 19-point deficit in Chicago, their largest comeback win since last March against, well, Chicago. Los Angeles moved to 6-1 this season, their best seven-game start since 2010-11. They secured their sixth straight win, thanks to James’ third straight game with a triple-double, tied for the longest streak of his career (the other streaks came in March o