Vols G named potential post-lottery all-star

It’s safe to say that Tennessee basketball will have a first-round pick in the NBA draft this year for the third time in four years under Rick Barnes. Kennedy Chandler is to continue this tradition. However, the question remains as to how good Chandler can be.

Well, CBS Sports is prognosticating Chandler as a potential post-lottery All-Star. UT haven’t had a lottery pick since Marcus Haislip was acquired by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2002, but they’ve had many players who have had greater success than Haislip since then.

Chandler is unlikely to be among the top 14 picks in the draft, making him a potential post-Lottery star. However, if he does show up, he would be continuing a basketball tradition in Tennessee that really started under Barnes. Here’s a bit of what was written about 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, who is close to signing a massive free agent contract, is 6-1. These three players are similar in the sense that, like Chandler, they were all great college point guards who managed winning teams and were consistent shot.

Averaging just under 14 points and five assists and just over two steals over the past year as a combo guard sharing time with Zakai Zeigler, Chandler showed a lot of potential. Honestly, his only downfall was shooting 60.6 percent from the free throw line.

If he had been a reliable free throw taker, Chandler would have been a complete player for the Vols last year. However, he shot 38.3 percent from the three-point line, allowing him to develop as a free-throw shooter, which greatly enhances his potential.

Two very successful players in the pros over the past 12 years have been first-round draft picks from Rocky Top that weren’t lottery picks. Tobias Harris was the 19th pick of the 2011 NBA draft and Grant Williams was the 22nd pick of the 2019 NBA draft.

Last year, Jaden Springer and Keon Johnson were both first-round picks that weren’t lottery picks, and Johnson is starting to show promise. CJ Watson and Josh Richardson are two unheralded players who have also proven to be reliable pro players.

Simply put, Tennessee basketball has become a hotbed for next-level high achievers, and Chandler could continue that by becoming a star despite not being a lottery winner. It’s manageable to live up to round one expectations, but there’s reason to expect better things from him.

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