Scouting Report: Kennedy Chandler Is a Prodigious Athlete With Size Concerns
His stature is the only thing holding him back.
The NBA has always put a heavy emphasis on draft prospects’ physical tools/athleticism — and for good measure. There are a plethora of uber-talented college players who’ve faltered at the next level because of size and/or athleticism woes.
For some, Kennedy Chandler fits into that category. For others, the 6-foot, 171-pound freshman point guard’s gaudy traits overtake the size concerns.
Chandler is a high IQ player who offers excellent game management traits. With his maturity, Chandler operates as a true floor general who can run the offense.
As a scorer, Chandler’s talent and upside are appealing.
While he has a minute stature, Chandler’s 6-7 wingspan negates some of those concerns. He’s an electric athlete with incredible burst, straight-line speed, quickness and leaping ability.
The shifty Chandler sizes up his defenders in one-on-one situations and attacks downhill. With a lethal first step, he beats his defender off the dribble as the primary ball-handler and/or off dribble-drive situations. He’s a crafty finisher with terrific touch around the rim, capable of scoring with either hand and a trusty floater in his arsenal.
The athleticism is breathtaking, but I love his pace of play. His start/stop ability is elite. He changes gears with ease, which keeps his defender on edge.
He has a tight handle and ample creativity in his game. His ability to string moves together makes him even more threatening.
With tremendous body control and a surprising amount of strength, Chandler’s ability to finish through contact is commendable.
However, the concern at the next level will be how he finishes against length — something he struggles with at the collegiate ranks.
Chandler gets downhill and puts pressure on the defense, but his ability as a jump shooter shouldn’t be understated.
From 3-point range, Chandler is a solid spot-up shooter. He won’t blow you away from deep, but he shoots a serviceable 38.3% on 3.8 attempts.
He’s a developing pull-up jumper who displays sincere flashes. Chandler garnishes space with a sweet step back and shows some prowess to hit off-balance jumpers in the mid-range. He also displays some ability to shoot off the bounce from beyond the arc.
But his foremost trait is attacking the rim. He does it with the ball in his hands, but he’s also a maestro at moving without the ball.
Chandler has a phenomenal feel for when his defender overpursues and/or falls asleep, and then hits fruitful backdoor cuts, which often result in wide-open layups. He also exhibited a general acumen to move well without the ball — often off curl cuts — to receive passes in advantageous spots.
Overall, Chandler averaged 13.9 points on 46.4 FG%.
He proved productive as a one-on-one scorer, and he was also a fabulous pick-and-roll ball-handler.
Chandler navigates through those situations with patience and savvy, making the right decision time and time again. He could attack the rim for a layup, find a soft spot for a pull-up jumper or thread defenses with his playmaking ability.
The freshman point guard tallied 4.7 assists a game. He possesses prolific playmaking traits with superb vision.
He manipulates defenses with his eyes and leverages defenders by committing to layup, which opens a passing lane. Chandler retains the velocity to sling one-arm passes, dart the ball down the court, make cross-court passes, etc. And he hits those passes accurately.
Chandler keeps the ball moving and understands how to play point guard — even if he doesn’t get an assist.
However, his rebounding could use some work. Chandler averaged 3.2 rebounds, but his effort crashing the boards is porous. He mainly watches just watches the ball, rarely fighting for position.
But as a defender, he’s a major asset.
Chandler racked up 2.2 steals a game. With his impressive wingspan and keen instincts, Chandler reads passing lanes brilliantly and rips steals.
He stays on his man pretty steady off-ball. He could use some work as a help defender, as his rotations are a tad late at times, but he’s adept as a one-on-one defender.
Chandler’s two-way ability is a testament to his complete profile. Although undersized, he still projected as a mid-to-late first-round pick.
His ultimate draft slot is contingent on whether NBA evaluators believe his size will be a hindrance to his overall NBA production — which is certainly open to interpretation.