Julian Phillips stood out as a freshman at Tennessee, helping him earn All-Freshman honors in the SEC. On the year, Phillips averaged 8.3 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.4 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.5 BPG, and 1.3 TOPG on splits of 41/24/82 in 24 minutes per game. Below is his full scouting report:
Name: Julian Phillips
Wingspan/ standing reach: 6’11 ½/8’6
Hand size: 9
Pre-Draft team: Tennessee
Tools: Defense, athleticism, feel for the game
- Ideal size and frame for a wing
- Jump shot form looks projectable
- Good athlete
- Strong feel for the game
- Has a good nose for the ball
- Good anticipation defensively on passes and shots/timing shot contests
- High motor
- Must add strength
- 3 point consistency
- Finishing at the rim
Julian Phillips is a process-over-results type of evaluation, showcasing a strong motor, strong statistical shooting upside based on free throw percentage (though his shot is far away from ready), and outstanding defensive ability with good athleticism.
Defensively, Phillips has good recovery ability, which can play into his strong footwork, as well as good length, outstanding anticipation and ability to defend shooters without getting into foul trouble from gambling on pump fakes or being too strong going into shooters. With a high motor, he is almost impossible to take out of a play, combined with outstanding athleticism that allows him to stay in plays that most other wings could not do. At the NBA Draft Combine, Phillips tested among the top athletes with a 43 inch max vertical and 36 inch standing vertical. You can see how Phillips tested so well at the Combine from Nick Kalinowski’s site:
Offensively, Phillips is a bit difficult to diagnose and project. On one hand, the jump shot is far away given his 24% shooting from 3, but he also has good sample at the free throw line to project his shot well off of an 82% from the line number, creating quite the paradox. With the ball in his hands, he doesn’t have advanced handles that break defenders down, but rather powers his way to his spot while securing the ball. Tennessee did not play to his strengths offensively in many ways, which again makes Phillips difficult to diagnose in both how he translates to the NBA and how quickly. However, he does have good finishing moves, being able to use a powerful spin and double clutch around defenders well. Phillips does a good job of showcasing his athleticism in-game and using his athleticism in a functional manner within the halfcourt.
Overall, Phillips’ defense is NBA-ready, but how much patience the Bulls can have with his offense is to be determined. As mentioned earlier, Phillips is a process-over-results prospect for now, which is an awkward fit with the Bulls who are floating in mediocrity. With NBA spacing, Phillips should be able to finish better around the rim, especially if his shooting upside comes into fruition. Phillips’ combination of powerful athleticism, defense, and shooting upside make Phillips a premier upside and long-term play from the 2023 NBA Draft.
Similar to: Josh Green, Kendall Brown, Shane Battier
Expected role: Defensive-first wing that can grow into a shooter and energy wing with off-ball ability.
Unplayable if: Jump shooting doesn’t develop enough, and he doesn’t grow into his frame, limiting his defensive impact.
Exceeds expectations if: Jump shot progresses quickly and the free throw percentage indicates real shooting ability, on top of his defensive prowess.