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The places Kennedy Chandler can go

And the Grizzlies will be blessed if he eventually does later on down the line.

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2022-23 Memphis Grizzlies Media Day Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Stop me if you already know this story: A 6’0” college point guard establishes himself as one of the best point guards in the nation, as he leads his team to the Round of 32 in the NCAA tournament and finishes the season with the honor of being second-team all-conference.

But enough about Chris Paul, let’s talk about Kennedy Chandler.

NBA: Preseason-Memphis Grizzlies at Detroit Pistons Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

While I don’t think that Chandler will ultimately be a Hall-of-famer in his own right, I do think it’s worth noting how similar he was at Tennessee to a freshman Chris Paul at Wake Forest. Their numbers are extremely close, with Paul having marginal advantages in a few areas. And it all raises the question of why Chandler fell to the 38th pick in the 2022 NBA draft, while Chris Paul was the 4th pick in the 2005 draft.

The most simple answer is, of course, that the NBA has changed drastically in that time. Positionless basketball was nothing more than a fever dream in the mind of a nerd back then, and there was nowhere near the same priority on size and length as there is now. So 6’0” point guards — no matter how complete their game may be — don’t move the needle as they once did.

However, no matter much the league has changed, one truth remains the same: Players with no significant weaknesses in their game do not fail. And Kennedy Chandler will not fail in the NBA.

NBA: Preseason-Orlando Magic at Memphis Grizzlies Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Sure, there are areas in which he can improve. The fact that he shot just 60% at the foul line as a college freshman is a tad troubling and suggests that he could face potential questions about his shooting. And scoff at it all you want, his size could be a potential handicap in an NBA that feats on taking advantage of matchups.

But the reality remains that the only nitpicks of his game at the moment are, well, nitpicks. He is a steady ball-handler with a superb feel for the game who should be able to slide in for Tyus Jones as the backup point guard at a moment’s notice. He projects to be a solid shooter from day one and is already an active and disruptive defender with lightning quick hands. He is a plus athlete for his size.

He may not start the season on the active roster of the Memphis Grizzlies, but he also may not be long for the Memphis Grizzlies over the long haul. Because if he can be as good as I think he can be, he not only will take the primary back-up spot to Ja Morant in the next couple of years, he may also catch the eye of a team in need of a starting point guard.

NBA: Preseason-Orlando Magic at Memphis Grizzlies Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

If Kennedy Chandler really pops in the next few years, he may become just as valuable to the Grizzlies as a trade chip as he may potentially be now as a draft night-steal. And the fun of the next few years will be watching him potentially grow into that type of player.

So for the 2022-23 season, enjoy Kennedy Chandler, both in Southhaven and Memphis. Because if he has his way, he may not be here for an exceedingly long time.

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