Devonte' Graham's daily routine after leaving the arena hasn't changed all that much over these last few months.
It's essentially cyclical.
"Get treatment, I go home, trying to make sure I eat right and hydrate because we've been playing a whole bunch of games," Graham said. "It’s kind of like, there’s no rest. So you get hurt and it’s like you really don't get break unless you miss a whole bunch of games."
Graham has battled his share of injuries this season, missing 17 games. Most recently it was right knee discomfort that sidelined him for five games. But he's been good to go these in the last four games for the Charlotte Hornets leading into Tuesday's play-in tournament game with Indiana.
The third-year guard recently chatted with SI.com's All Hornets about a variety of topics, including navigating through the injuries, what's gone wrong with his shooting numbers this season and whether he wants to be here next season since he'll be a free agent this summer.
Have you ever had to deal with this many injuries in a season before during your days playing basketball?
I would say its kind of new. I’ve been injured before at Kansas, but obviously we don’t play as many games. So you get four or five days in between games to rest or whatever the case is. And then the schedule, that’s pretty much the hardest thing. We play so many games you really don’t have that time.
Do you often think about where you have come from and that you are playing for the pro team in your home state? Or is that is something you ponder more in the offseason?
It hit me when I first got drafted and I realized that I was coming here. It’s a blessing, you feel me? My mom just drove up to see me. So I get to see my family. A lot of people don’t get to see their family, play for their hometown. So it’s definitely a blessing to be able to be here in my home state. I think about it all the time.
What does it mean for you to have your mom and sister along on this ride with you in the NBA?
They are like my backbone. You know how that goes. Supporting me non-stop since I was young, since I started on this journey. Obviously I wouldn’t want to have anybody else in my corner and being with me through everything.
Shooting-wise, your have been down this season. Is anything in particular you can point to?
It’s a little bit of everything. I started out slow and injuries playing through stuff, that’s all mechanical. So if I’m not driving the right way because my knee is bothering me and I’m playing through it or whatever the case may be ... but I just look at all that stuff as excuses. So I really don’t like saying stuff like that. But it’s just really, the ball ain’t going in. If I’m playing it don’t matter if I’m hurt or not. You’ve got to perform. So it just ain’t going in.
What's it like having LaMelo Ball around?
It’s been fun, man. Good guy, good kid. He’s been bringing a lot of energy to the locker room, non-stop joking around. So obviously everybody loves LaMelo. All the fans … it just bringing a lot of good energy, positive vibes, especially once the fans came back in the arena. The support has been crazy so it’s been good. Him, Gordon (Hayward), all the pieces that we’ve gotten.
You mentioned Gordon. The organization went out and acquired him in the offseason and obviously drafted LaMelo. What does it say about trying to build the Hornets into winning franchise?
That’s the whole point. That’s what M.J. and Mitch (Kupchak, general manager), all of them, that’s what they are there for — to try to get a winning organization and get the right pieces to build a team. So it's all about us coming together and making it work. So that’s what we are trying to do.
There was a video of the players showering James Borrego with water after his 100th career coaching victory. He often speaks highly of you. What is your relationship like with him?
That’s my guy, man. I love him to death. Obviously we all have a good relationship with him. He’s just like us. He'll be coming around trying to crack jokes and stuff, and it’s just a good relationship. I feel like he tries to bond with everybody.
He says you embody what this organization is about. How does it make you feel when you hear him say things like that and how much he values you?
I just come in and try to do my job and whatever they need me to do is what I’ll be trying to do, just for the sake of the team, for whatever needs to be done. So I think he definitely respects that. I just try to be the best at my role that I can be. But I definitely respect him and all those good things he’s been saying about me of course (laughs).
Tell me something people don’t know about you. What do you enjoy doing most?
Sleeping, man. I’m not even going to lie to you. Listen, we play so many games people don’t understand, resting is priority No. 1. I take so many naps that I be surprising myself. So I’ll be sleeping and I play the games. That’s it. That’s priority No. 1.
I know you are into the hip hop game. Who are you rocking with?
For people who don’t know, a little Toosii, the newest young artist out of Raleigh. He’s just the newest artist out right now. And he been blew up. He rap-sings, but he’s got bars and definitely lyric-wise he’s top notch. If you don’t know him you need to check him out.
You spoke earlier about family and your mom having a chance to drive from Raleigh to see you play. You will be a free agent after the season. How much do you want to continue what you started here with the Hornets?
Obviously I want to. I mean, I’m at home. So I definitely wouldn’t want to go anywhere else.