Dribble Handoff: Four potential post-lottery NBA Draft picks who could evolve into All-Stars

Any team that picks this month’s NBA Draft wants to find the perfect combination of value and suitability when picking players. The goal, as always, is to make the most of every selection to prepare your team for future success. But once the peak of the draft is over, spotting differences becomes increasingly difficult, especially if you’re outside the lottery. (That’s especially true in this design.)

However, it is certainly not impossible to find great talent late in the game. For example: Nine NBA All-Stars this year (Fred VanVleet, Khris Middleton, Rudy Gobert, Nikola Jokic, Draymond Green, Dejounte Murray, Jarrett Allen, Jimmy Butler and Giannis Antetokounmpo) weren’t lottery picks. While it’s statistically true that lottery picks are more likely to be All-Stars in 2022 — and most years — what’s clear is that they’re free to be found late in the first, in the second, and even in rare agent pickups.

So who could follow a path similar to the nine non-lottery All-Stars in the 2022 NBA draft this year? Our writers make their predictions below. Use the latest fake design projectionseach of us has picked one who is not expected to be a lottery winner but could realistically become an all-star team at some point in his career.

Kennedy Chandler

Do I wish Chandler was 4 inches taller? Secure. But despite his 6ft frame, I still believe in his speed, ability to get where he wants to go and shot quality from around the corner. And it’s not that small point guards don’t thrive in the NBA. Future Hall of Famer Chris Paul is only 6-0. NBA All-Star Fred VanVleet is 6-1. Jalen Brunson, about to sign a massive deal as a free agent, is 6-1. These three players are similar in the sense that, like Chandler, they were all great college point guards who led winning teams and shot consistently. In retrospect, Paul should have been the #1 pick in his draft, while VanVleet and Brunson should have been top 10 picks in their drafts. Their lack of size cost them draft night, but it hasn’t stopped them from being great NBA players, and I’d bet Chandler is the next little point guard to follow in their footsteps and all Exceeds draft night expectations. — Gary Parish

Walker Kessler

Boy, are there some enticing potential All-Stars to consider. I tried to pick the player I thought

a) is a sure first-round talent
b) has already established himself as great at something
c) will play a clear role at the next level

Kessler was a top-three defenseman last season, and the amount he’s improved in just a year under Bruce Pearl is undeniable. He has the size and athleticism to step in immediately and be a deployable backup center. He’ll probably be a starter at some point. If he can continue to be a versatile defender and develop into one of the best rim guards in the NBA, it will position him to be one of the centers featured on an all-star team. Also, he’ll likely have enough offensive skills to be more than just a one- or two-dimensional defense-only player. There’s a lot of potential here, and I think Kessler will end up being drafted 5-10 spots late. — Matt Norlander

Patrick Baldwin Jr.

Injuries have cut Baldwin’s back-to-back seasons — first at the high school level and most recently at the collegiate level with Milwaukee — tarnishing his once-promising All-Star cap. But when he’s healthy, the former five-star recruit has Lotto-level talent. If you look back two years ago, you’ll recall that he was the #1 recruit in his class. Talent is not a question. At 6-foot-10, he has a 7-foot-2 wingspan, smooth shot strike, and excellent position length. The injuries could push his stocks beyond the lottery this year – and his performance in college when he’s healthy doesn’t help his case – but if he’s right, it must be argued that he’s one of the top 10 players in this one class is . If he finds his form, returns to full strength, and stays there, he’ll be one of the biggest steals of the draft. — Kyle Boone

Malaki Branham

Malaki Branham has had arguably the most underrated freshman season in college basketball. While most of the attention was focused on Jabari Smith, Paolo Banchero and Chet Holmgren, Branham averaged 19.4 points in Ohio State’s last 11 games while scoring 56.6% of his attempts from the field. That’s a noticeable percentage for a 6-5 guard. If his offensive efficiency carries over to the NBA, Branham is an easy pick to become an All-Star.

Over time, Branham’s game will likely need to be more 3-point focused – he shot 41.6% of 3s but on just 2.8 attempts per game at OSU – and he needs to prove his worth on defense. But when his physique fills out and combines with his natural athleticism, his offensive play is strong enough to allow him to become a leading offensive option on most teams. Some of his all-star potential will depend on where he lands, but if it’s a franchise that’s in the sweet spot of competent but not masterful caliber, he could be 16-20 point per Players flourish entering the league. — David Cobb

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