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How Tennessee’s NBA Stars Fared in Season Debuts

Grant Williams
VFL and Mavericks forward Grant Williams. Photo via @Celtics on Twitter.

Every team in the National Basketball Association has played at least one game following the conclusion of the contests on Thursday night.

Tennessee has six players rostered heading into the 2023-2024 NBA season but only four saw minutes in the first game of the season, with only two of those players seeing extended minutes.

The Vols’ six players included Tobias Harris (PHI), Josh Richardson (MIA), Grant Williams (DAL), Admiral Schofield (ORL), Jaden Springer (PHI), and Julian Phillips (CHI).

Richardson did not play with the Heat during Miami’s 103-102 win over Detroit on Wednesday as he is currently being held out with a foot injury. Richardson rejoined Miami over the offseason after spending the first four years with the Heat following the 2015 draft.

Schofield, a two-way player with the Magic this season, did not play in Orlando’s 116-86 victory over Houston on Wednesday night.

Former Tennessee freshman Julian Phillips made his rookie debut during a 124-104 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Phillips, a young player that the Bulls are very high on entering the season, only played four minutes on Wednesday night. Phillips did not attempt a shot but did end with a +1 plus/minus. Small victories.

Grant Williams is going to be a great player with the Dallas Mavericks, and Wednesday’s victory over San Antonio proved just that. Williams was extremely important in getting rookie phenom Victor Wembenyama into foul trouble and also knocked down four three-pointers. Williams ended his debut game with the Dallas Mavericks with 6-of-11 shooting, 4-of-8 three-point shooting, six rebounds, and 17 points in 35 minutes on the court, the second most minutes on the Mavs’ roster behind only Kyrie Irving.

Tobias Harris was strong in Philadelphia’s 118-117 loss to Milwaukee on Thursday night. The former one-and-done Volunteer scored 20 points on 8-of-9 shooting in 37 minutes on the court. Harris also went 3-for-3 from behind the arc and added in seven rebounds and two assists on the night.

Jaden Springer, Harris’ Tennessee counterpart in Philadelphia, is still looking for his moment. Springer played five minutes during Thursday’s loss and missed his only attempt, a shot from behind the arc, but did find two blocks during his short time on the court.

More from RTI: Tennessee Star Cornerback Kamal Hadden Announces Season-Ending Surgery

Grant Williams (vs San Antonio)

  • 17 points, 6-11 shooting, 4-8 three-point shooting, 6 rebounds, 1 block, 3 turnovers, 4 fouls, +2 plus/minus, 35 minutes

Tobias Harris (vs Milwaukee)

  • 20 points, 8-9 shooting, 3-3 three-point shooting, 1-2 free throws, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers, 2 fouls, -14 plus/minus, 37 minutes

Jaden Springer (vs Milwaukee)

  • 0 points, 0-1 shooting, 0-1 three-point shooting, 2 blocks, 1 foul, -10 plus/minus, 5 minutes

Julian Phillips (vs OKC)

  • 0 points, 0-0 shooting, +1 plus/minus, 4 minutes

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