Former Hornets guard credits Kemba Walker for ‘switch flicking’

Devonte' Graham, Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Devonte' Graham, Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

During his rookie year with the Charlotte Hornets, Devonte’ Graham shared a locker room with Kemba Walker and Tony Parker. As a young guard entering the league, there are no better veterans to have around you. However, it would appear that it was Walker’s encouragement that set Graham on a path that saw him become a genuine offensive talent in the NBA.

During a recent appearance on the ‘Run Your Race’ podcast from Tidal League, Graham was asked about the ‘switch flicking’ moment that saw him develop into a high-scoring guard for the Hornets during his sophomore and junior years in the NBA.

"“I think it was my rookie year.” Graham said. “I got in a game one time because we had Tony Parker as well, and he didn’t do back-to-backs, so I got to play in the back-to-back. And Kemba, during the game, he like, hey, bro, play your game. I’m watching you in practice. I’m watching you in the G-League. You can hoop. He was like, you keep trying to pass me the ball. He’s like, no, just go score. And he was like, I love playing with you. I don’t know why you don’t play more. This mid-game, I’m like, oh, that was kind of like the coach self thing. Yeah. You feel me? I just needed some reinsurance, I guess.”"

Graham spent three seasons with the Hornets, participating in 164 regular-season games, averaging 13.3 points, 5.4 assists, and 2.6 rebounds per game, shooting 36.4% from 3-Point range and 39.5% from 2-Point distance. It was that level of offensive production that saw Graham sign a four-year $47 million deal with the New Orleans Pelicans in 2021.

Unfortunately, Graham was unable to replicate his impressive performances after leaving the Hornets, and found himself being traded to the San Antonio Spurs midway through the 2022-23 NBA seasoin. Kemba Walker, on the other hand, has recently signed a deal with Monaco, with the former All-Star guard heading to the EuroLeague for the last stretch of his career.

Nevertheless, without Walker, Graham may never have ‘flicked’ his switch to become the scorer he is now. As such, it’s understandable why the Spurs guard speaks so higly of Walker’s impact and leadership.

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