Memphis Grizzlies: Was Kennedy Chandler one of the steals of the Draft?

Kennedy Chandler, Memphis Grizzlies (Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports)
Kennedy Chandler, Memphis Grizzlies (Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Memphis Grizzlies were one of the most active teams during the 2022 NBA Draft, evident by the three trades they made to go after players they coveted.

One such trade sent a future second-round pick and cash from Memphis to San Antonio for the 38th overall pick in the draft. That selection was used to acquire Tennessee point guard and Memphis native, Kennedy Chandler.

Why Kennedy Chandler was an absolute steal for the Memphis Grizzlies

First, the Grizzlies did not have to give up much to get a player with the talent and potential of Chandler.

Second, Chandler sliding this far down in the draft was something that was a surprise to many and prompted Memphis to move up to get him.

With De’Anthony Melton being moved to Philadelphia via another draft-day trade that landed the Grizzlies the 23rd overall pick and Danny Green, Chandler will have a clear role on the roster as a backup guard.

Memphis Grizzlies fans should be thrilled with this trade and the selection of Chandler. He will bring offensive firepower off of the bench. The Memphis native shot very well from three during his single season in college.

Along with his scoring ability, Chandler is an impressive distributor as well. He averaged 4.7 assists per game during his time with the Volunteers. In that season, Chandler was also named to the 2021-2022 All-SEC Team, the 2022 All-SEC Tournament Team, the SEC All-Freshman Team, and the SEC Tourney MVP.

There is only one major concern to Chandler’s game as he makes the jump to the next level. That concern is his size and if he will be able to handle the physicality of the NBA. He stands 6’0″ and weighs 172 lbs, which is a bit undersized even for a point guard; however, we have seen many players at 6’0″ and shorter go on to have incredible NBA careers.

For those that are worried about Chandler on the defensive end, he is an incredible on-ball defender and averaged 2.2 steals a game in college. However, there are some valid concerns about him being targeted in the pick-and-roll along with how he will handle defending larger guards.

Many have compared Chandler’s game to that of Darius Garland for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Garland shares many similarities with Chandler, however, it could be argued that Chandler will bring more on the defensive end than Garland does while Garland has him edged out on offense.

Chandler will be a very exciting player to watch grow and develop in Memphis, the sky is the limit on what he can become and bring to this team.

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