Stephen Graham: Along for the Ride


After the completion of a wild New Jersey Nets season, Nets are Scorching will be looking back at the players that made it happen.

Final Stats: 59 GP, 28 GS, 16.3 MPG, 3.4 PPG, 0.7 APG, 2.1 (0.3-1.8) RPG, 0.2 SPG, 0.0BPG, 40.5 FG%, 23.8 3P%, 81.6 FT%, 4.41 PER

Stephen Graham managed to obtain a sizable role on the Nets despite negligible statistical contributions as a result of the team’s many injuries and his puzzling reputation as a defensive stopper. In fact, Graham started almost twice as many games for the Nets this past season (28) as he started in the rest of his career combined (15).

As you can see from that awful PER, Graham is completely absent on offense. He has one shot: the 18- to 20-foot jumper (pictured above), and he didn’t even make that with regularity. In fact, it was more troubling when he did make one, as it always gave him the confidence to take many, many more. As for the defense that he was supposed to be good at, it didn’t work out. Graham, time after time, found himself getting blown by when matched up with the league’s better players, and he had no appreciable effect on team defense either.

The Pink Shirt: Oddly enough, Graham played very well against the Bulls this year. In the three games against Chicago in which Graham appeared, he averaged 12.6 points on 16-of-28 shooting. One wouldn’t really expect Graham to do that against any team, let alone the defensive-minded Bulls, so let that be a feather in his cap for this season.

The Paper Bag: There’s no debate about this one. Anthony Morrow’s highlight and Graham’s lowlight came on the same day. After Morrow sent the December 1 game against the Thunder to OT by hitting a miraculous running three-pointer at the buzzer, Graham had to muck that up. At the end of the second OT period, with the Nets up 3, the Thunder inbounded to Jeff Green. Graham, trying to foul on the floor to avoid giving the Thunder the game-tying opportunity, fouled Green in the act of shooting, giving him three free throws, all of which he sunk. Westbrook then exploded in the third OT, and the Nets lost. Watch it here:

Final Thoughts: Graham is virtually guaranteed to be gone next season, and, if nothing else, he gave Nets fans some chuckles. He’ll really have to work to find a contract from here on out, as he won’t get by just on talent. He’s saved from an F because he didn’t have a contractual impact on the team.

Grade: D-