Kennedy Chandler – 6-foot 171 pounds – freshman, Tennessee
As most small guards are by necessity, Chandler has a pedigree of playing fast. He builds his distribution out of that speed, and along with that toolsy foundation, Chandler integrates his IQ growth from time spent with USA Basketball at the Under-19 championships in Latvia where he helped lead USA to a gold medal. During the tournament, he averaged 3.4 assists in under 20 minutes per game.
This path led him to Tennessee for (likely) his only year of college ball where he’s started every game to this point, averaging a staggering 5.4 assists to only 2.4 turnovers in under 30 minutes per game. He’s probably a top 3 distributor in the class, and that stands to be his bread and butter in the league.
The three-point shot is the biggest question mark for him, and its had its ups and downs throughout his freshman campaign, starting 8-12 over the first four games, then 5-23 over the next five, 3-5 in the following game, and 0-7 over the past two. So consistency will be key, but the high volume in attempts even during the dry spells as well as shooting 75% from the line are both encouraging on that front.
Ranked: Top 20
Wendell Green Jr. – 5-foot-11 175 pounds – sophomore, Auburn
Green is on a very unique path to the NBA, as he was ranked outside the top 300 in his class and received only six offers coming out of high school and only one from a high-major program (TCU) before ending up at Eastern Kentucky for his freshman year where he put up gaudy numbers: 15.8 points and 5.0 assists on 36.4% from deep.
After transferring to Auburn for his sophomore year, Green comes off the bench for a championship contender, and always pops off the screen when watching their games. If he can keep up his impressive production on solid efficiency, he’ll find his way into those draft conversations.
And when it comes to evaluating this sophomore lead guard, you’re going to hear a lot of “despite his size.” He’s a fierce driver despite his size. He’s a dynamic pull-up shooter despite his size. He’s not afraid to be physical on either end despite his size. That’s exactly the way you have to play as an under-6-foot prospect.
Ranked: Top 40
Jaime Jaquez Jr. – 6-foot-6 220 pounds – junior, UCLA
Profiling as a productive upperclassman, Jaquez has accumulated over 800 points, 400 rebounds, and 100 assists as well as nearly 100 steals over his two and a half seasons as a Bruin. He committed to Steve Alford’s program but has really found himself under Mick Cronin.
Jaquez is exactly the type of player that Cronin covets and is why he’s becoming more appealing to NBA teams: high basketball IQ, high motor, and fundamentally sound all applying on both ends.
To me, Jaquez has a bit of the reverse growth arc to Devin Booker, and I’m not comparing the talent or outlook of the two; just making the point that they’re both 6-foot-6 and thicker for their position. The reverse comes into play when considering that Jaquez already has a nice post game and mid-range package, and the shot is coming along whereas with Booker the shot was the skill to bet on, and the inside game came later on.
Jaquez may see his shot come into form, given the growth arc of a first year of 31% on 2.6 attempts per game from deep and 39% on 2.8 attempts over the past two seasons. That consistency and volume will end up as the swing factor between NBA mainstay to an overseas guy.
Ranked: Top 50
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