Every year as a professional basketball player, Treveon Graham has taken a step forward.
Undrafted after a four-year career at VCU, where he led the Rams to an Atlantic-10 title in 2015, he spent that first year in the G League, averaging 15.7 points for the Idaho Stampede. The next season, he was in the NBA, playing in 27 games for the Charlotte Hornets.
Last season, in year three, he averaged 16.7 minutes over 63 games, shooting 41.2 percent from 3-point range.
“Every year I ask the coaches what I need to get better in,” said Graham after Tuesday’s training camp practice session at HSS Training Center. “During the season I ask and then just critiquing my own game. I never want to stay the same. To stay in this league you always have to improve in the middle of the season, end of the season, whenever it may be. I’m trying to critique my game and get better.”
If Graham takes another step forward in 2018-19, it will be to the benefit of the Brooklyn Nets, who signed him as a free agent in July.
The 6-foot-5, 225-pound forward took part in his first Nets practice Tuesday, and quickly made an impression on coach Kenny Atkinson in a crucial area: rebounding.
“I’d put Treveon Graham into that mix,” said Atkinson, when asked about the concentration on rebounding and the additions of Ed Davis and Kenneth Faried. “That was one of the things that revealed itself today. He’s got a big body and will go to the offensive boards. He gives us some girth and strength.”
“Rebounding is more about positioning not more about how tall you are or whatever it may be,” said Graham. “Just being in the right position and hitting somebody. My first instinct is just to hit somebody and go grab the rebound. I think that’s something I can help out with even if I’m not getting the rebound, just clearing out the middle for somebody else to get it.”
Hitting the boards will be a bonus, as that impressive 3-point percentage seemed to a prime selling point for Graham at the time of his acquisition. The question was whether Graham, who said he mostly slotted in at the 2 and 3 spots during Tuesday’s practice, was an option for the Nets as a small-ball 4 man.
“Ever since college I played the four, so I’ve been comfortable playing the four, taking bigger guys and also played where I’ve played against smaller guys,” said Graham. “Either position I’m real comfortable in doing so. No matter where they put me I’ll have a real high comfort level doing it.”
With the Nets deep on returnees at the wing spots, and returning starter Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Faried in the mix at the 4, Graham knows it will be a battle for playing time. He’s OK with that.
“I feel like that’s a reason I wanted to come here,” said Graham. “There are a lot of competitive guys here. It’s a young team, but really a veteran team that played multiple years. I think every day we’re coming to practice and pushing each other to be better. There is no set starting lineup or backup team. Everybody is here to compete and really attack and get better.”