clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Two Volunteers appear in ESPN’s latest NBA Mock Draft

Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel Saul Young/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

Although Tennessee won’t have anyone in the mix at the top of this year’s NBA Draft, a couple of members of this team still have a chance to hear their name called this summer. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony has released his latest mock draft, and he’s got two Tennessee Volunteers being selected in the second round.

Julian Phillips went in the middle of the second round, while Josiah-Jordan James just snuck into the final picks of the mock. Both ended up going to the Grizzlies, which is where former Tennessee point guard Kennedy Chandler ended up landing in last year’s draft.

2023 NBA Mock Draft

44. Memphis Grizzlies: Julian Phillips

57. Memphis Grizzlies: Josiah-Jordan James

James tested the draft process last offseason, ultimately deciding to return to Tennessee for his senior season. It took him a while to live up to his five-star billing, but he’s turned into a do-it-all guy for Rick Barnes over the last two years. His 6-6, 225 pound frame should at least give him a chance to carve out some sort of role at the next level, although the NBA would probably like to see his three-point percentage be a little higher than 30-32 percent, which is where he’s been for his entire college career.

Julian Phillips will have a big decision to make following the season. The former five-star prospect has been thought of as a one-and-done type, but the production just really hasn’t been there so far this year. He’s averaging nine points per game, taking a backseat in the offense. The staff has publicly put the pressure on for Phillips to be more aggressive, but we’ve only seen it in spurts. Phillips, a 6-8 wing, has been a near non-factor as a shooter, too.

We know the NBA loves traits and athleticism, and Phillips is certainly going to check a lot of boxes as a developmental piece. However, with most mock drafts now firmly projecting him in the middle of the second round, coming back for another season in Knoxville might end up making more sense. That will be a fascinating decision to watch play out in the coming months.

The NBA Draft is set for June 22nd.