PHOENIX – Some Wolves fans may have been able to predict the first starting lineup of the preseason – Jeff Teague, Andrew Wiggins, Robert Covington, Jake Layman and Karl-Anthony Towns.
But if you were placing bets on who the first person off the bench would be, you might have been able to cash in some decent odds on Treveon Graham.
Graham arrived in the sign-and-trade the Wolves facilitated that sent D’Angelo Russell to the Warriors and Graham and Shabazz Napier to the Wolves.
Graham played a significant role for the Wolves in Tuesday's 111-106 to Phoenix and from what Ryan Saunders said about him after the game, Graham may be in line for a steady presence in the rotation.
“He’s just solid with what he does,” Saunders said. “We saw what he’s able to do on the floor. He blends in, makes shots, he defends. He’s definitely somebody to keep an eye on.”
Graham played 18 minutes, 33 seconds and had 10 points on 4 of 8 shooting. He and Towns were the only Wolves players to hit multiple 3-pointers and he didn’t turn the ball over on a night the Wolves had 27 of them.
“You can’t always have five guys out there that are shot creators and high level guys at that,” Saunders said. “You need to have guys like that who can space the floor like Treveon, who run the floor, defend and who also will cut and move defenders to help the spacing.”
The Wolves asked a lot of Graham during his shifts and had him playing the two and four (shooting guard and power forward).
That meant the 6-foot-5 Graham was asked to guard bigger players, something he has done a lot of in his first three seasons with Charlotte and Brooklyn.
“Use my body and strength, basically it’s a mind game,” Graham said. “Just playing different angles. They can try to go one way, cut it off and just making all shots hard. They can probably shoot over me, but being physical, using my angles and my speed helps in those situations.”
If the Wolves want to play up-tempo and beat teams with speed, having Graham come off the bench as a potential small-ball four is one way they can accomplish that, and if Tuesday is any indication, that’s what one way they plan to use him.