Raphielle Johnson

Offseason Beat

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Top Undrafted Draft Prospects

Friday, June 22, 2018


With there only being two rounds in the NBA Draft, and some of those picks being used for “draft and stash” prospects, it’s basically guaranteed that some really good players are not going to hear their names called. The reasons vary, with some likely being viewed as players who lack the “upside” that teams tend to focus on, and others having medical or off-court red flags. But going undrafted doesn’t mean that the NBA dream is dead.

 

While the path to a roster spot gets tougher, players and their agents will be able to entertain offers from teams to join as a free agent. Roster situations are evaluated in the hope that the team they join for summer league gives the player the best shot of earning a training camp spot and ultimately a place on the team’s roster. Below are some undrafted players who won’t lack for options as teams look to fill out their summer league rosters.

 

Kenrich Williams, SF, TCU

Williams didn’t have the best measurements at last month’s combine, with a 6 feet, 7.5 inch height and a wingspan of 6 feet, 7.25 inches. But the versatile wing can impact a game in a variety of ways, be it by scoring, rebounding or distributing the basketball. Williams shot nearly 40 percent from three, but with a free-throw percentage of 68.8 percent it’s fair to question whether or not that perimeter shooting ability will translate to the next level. Shooting questions aside, Williams’ versatility and ability to rebound from the wing will likely mean that he won’t lack for summer league options in the coming days.

 

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Malik Newman, SG, Kansas

After spending a season at Mississippi State, Newman — considered to be one of the top prospects in the Class of 2015 — made the decision to transfer to Kansas. That move worked out in multiple ways, as Newman was able to contribute to a team that won the Big 12 and reached the Final Four while making significant strides as a perimeter shooter. However that wasn’t enough to get Newman’s name called. He didn’t have many responsibilities when it came to initiating offense, as Devonte’ Graham was Kansas’ lead guard, but Newman’s improved shooting numbers made him a possible second-round pick. Teams looking to evaluate perimeter options who could possibly fight for a roster spot in training camp would be hard-pressed to find many undrafted free agents as good as Newman when it comes to knocking down perimeter shots at a solid rate.

 

Trevon Duval, PG, Duke

Duval entered Duke as a five-star recruit entrusted with the task of running the Duke offense. And even though Duval’s lone season at Duke wasn’t a great one — as he at times struggled running the show and he didn’t shoot the ball that well from three or the foul line — the general expectation was that he would be selected at some point in the second round. That wasn’t the case, likely due to the shooting struggles and questions of how well he’d be able to run a team at the NBA level. While some may use his not being drafted as the basis for their argument that Duval should have returned to Duke for his sophomore season, it would have been tough for him to significantly improve his stock due to the presence of a highly regarded point guard prospect in incoming freshman Tre Jones. Duval was in a tough spot draft-wise the moment the season ended, and the process was capped with his name not being called.

 

Allonzo Trier, SG, Arizona

Trier was a very good offensive option during his time at Arizona, as a junior averaging 18.1 points per game while shooting 50 percent from the field, 38 percent from three and 86.5 percent from the foul line. But there were few who pegged the 6-foot-5.25 off-guard as a candidate to be taken in Thursday’s draft. Trier should get a shot to prove that he can be an NBA player, and in order to stick around he’ll need to make strides defensively. The offensive end of the floor shouldn’t be a major issue, and if given the opportunity Trier is capable of providing instant offense.

 

Angel Delgado, PF, Seton Hall

Delgado finished his collegiate career as the Big East’s all-time leader in rebounds, but despite having an elite attribute the Seton Hall product was not expected to be drafted. Delgado’s a high-energy big who will need to transition to the four at the NBA level, but given his work ethic that’s certainly possible. And again, having a particular skill — for Delgado, the ability to rebound the ball on both ends at a high rate — can help a fringe prospect land an opportunity. For Delgado that chance will come with the LA Clippers, with the two sides agreeing to a two-way contract shortly after the draft concluded.

 

Rawle Alkins, SG, Arizona

Alkins was actually considered more likely to be drafted in the second round than Trier, but he also did not hear his name called in Brooklyn. A highly athletic off-guard who spent the majority of his time playing the three at Arizona, Alkins does have some work to do as a perimeter shooter as he sifts through the summer league offers that are likely to come his way. Given his height (6-foot-4.25 with shoes) Alkins was an undersized wing at Arizona, which may have turned some teams off when it came to using a second-round pick on him.

 

Brandon McCoy, C, UNLV

Earlier in the pre-draft process the general line of thinking was that McCoy, a 7-footer who was the Mountain West’s best freshman last season, wouldn’t have to wait too long in the second round to hear his name called. But with more teams shifting away from the “traditional” big man and looking to more mobile options who can play both in the paint and outside of it, McCoy’s draft prospects took a hit. McCoy was more of a 15 feet and in big during his time at UNLV, but his work on the boards (10.3 rpg) may be what sticks out to teams looking to fill out their summer league rosters.

 

Gary Clark, PF, Cincinnati

Clark was a very productive power forward during his four seasons at Cincinnati, but that didn’t result in his being selected Thursday night. Clark’s good around the basket and in the mid-range game, and he works hard when it comes to both rebounding and defending. Clark received positive reviews on his play at the Portsmouth Invitational in April, but that wasn’t enough to get him an invite to last month’s NBA Draft Combine. Clark shouldn’t have to wait long for a quality free agent offer to come in.

 

Trevon Bluiett, SF, Xavier

Despite being a quality scorer throughout his four seasons at Xavier, Bluiett was unable to do enough to get drafted. Bluiett, who improved his physical build throughout his time at Xavier, can shoot from the mid-range and from deep and was also able to effectively get to his spots off the dribble. While an improved athlete that area wasn’t a particular strong suit for Bluiett, whose game was more about fundamentals and a good basketball IQ than it was out-jumping opposing players. Bluiett’s ability to shoot the basketball will likely earn him some looks and ultimately a summer league spot in the coming days.

 

Kendrick Nunn, SG, Oakland

Nunn, who began his career at Illinois before being dismissed from the program, took full advantage of his lone season at Oakland. Nunn averaged 25.9 points per game, and his percentages of 39.4 percent from three and 83.8 percent from the foul line are positive numbers when looking to project what kind of shooter he can be as a pro. The Golden State Warriors apparently believe in Nunn, as the two sides agreed to a partially guaranteed deal shortly after the draft.

 

Billy Preston, PF, Kansas

Preston, a four-star prospect out of high school, did not appear in a game at Kansas due to the NCAA withholding him from competition as it looked into some issues that could have impacted his amateur status. Preston would leave the team and briefly play for a professional team in Bosnia before returning stateside to prepare for the draft. He was invited to last month’s combine, which appeared to indicate that there was at least some interest from NBA teams. But Preston was unable to make a big enough impression to get drafted; and while there isn’t much post-high school experience for teams to look to in evaluating him, Preston is a good athlete who was considered to be a possible one-and-done product before he joined the Kansas program. At minimum a summer league invitee, it wouldn’t be a shock if Preston did enough to get a two-way deal from a team looking to cash in on his upside.



Raphielle has been writing about college sports for more than a decade for multiple outlets, including NBC Sports. Focuses have included game recaps, columns, features and recruiting stories. A native of the Northeast, he now calls Pac-12 country home. Raphielle can be followed on Twitter @raphiellej.
Email :Raphielle Johnson



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