Now that the NBA draft is over, there are plenty of undrafted NBA free agents who are looking for a home. Some of these players had terrific college careers and offer NBA-level skills, but teams still overlooked them.
Which of these overlooked players got a raw deal?
Read on to find out.
Zeke Marshall, C, Akron
It's hard to find quality big men, especially those who can play good defense, so it's a bit surprising that Zeke Marshall went undrafted last night.
The seven-footer averaged 13 points per game last season, along with seven rebounds and 3.7 blocks. By comparison, Alex Len averaged just 2.1 blocks per game.
He has an impressive 7'5" wingspan, and while he will never be a major offensive threat, Marshall projects as a high-energy defender off the bench who can impact games with his length and blocking ability.
Marshall will end up being a solid rotation player for a good team. The Lakers, according to Sam Amico of Fox Sports, have showed interested in the undrafted free agent:
LA Lakers also have placed a call to Akron C Zeke Marshall.— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) June 28, 2013
If Marshall does end up with the Lakers, he could supplant Robert Sacre as the backup center.
With his defensive aptitude and ability to block and alter shots, Marshall has a valuable NBA skill and should carve out a nice career in the league.
Vander Blue, SG, Marquette
Not having a true position hurt him, but the fact that Vander Blue, a high-volume scoring with terrific athleticism, did not get drafted is surprising.
The Marquette guard averaged 14.8 points per game last season. He is a terrific driver and even better finisher, as evidenced by this game-winning shot against Davidson:
The knock against Blue is that he's a tweener. He hasn't shown the ability to run an offense, and only had 1.8 assists per game last season. He's also not a great shooter, averaging just 30 percent from three-point land.
But, he has elite athleticism and projects to be an elite defender. Billy McKinney, the Milwaukee Bucks' director of scouting, told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that Blue can be a lockdown defender:
One of the things a guy like Vander has to look at for making an NBA roster — he's an incredible athlete that can defend. He might have to look at changing his game a little bit and coming in and being a stopper as opposed to a scorer.
Perimeter defenders are a valuable commodity in the NBA, so it's surprising that no team took a flyer on Blue's athleticism. Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated noted that Blue might have made a mistake by not retuning for his senior season and playing more point guard:
Shoulda gone back and played the point RT @FantasyGuru_CS9: I still question Vander Blue's decision to go pro.— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) June 27, 2013
Blue will latch onto a team in the summer league, and it will not be surprising if he makes an opening-day roster. His athleticism and defensive ability gives him a chance to last in the league.
Myck Kabongo, PG, Texas
Myck Kabongo played in just 11 games this past season due to suspension, but his body of work and overall skill set make him a strong contender to be a solid NBA player.
Kabongo is a lightning-quick point guard who can get to the rim at will. He averaged just under 15 points per game last season.
He is lacking a credible jump shot, which could be a reason he went undrafted. But he has potential in the drive-and-kick game, and at the very least, can be an energy guard off the bench.
Kabongo showed what he can do against Oklahoma last season, where he scored 31 points, with six assists and eight rebounds.
If Kabongo can ever develop a jump shot—he shot just under 30 percent from three and only 41 percent from the field—then he has a real chance to become a starting point guard.
His speed is tantalizing and that should get him an invite to the summer league. For his part, he is taking the disappointment of not getting drafted in stride:
Congrats to the 2013 draft class salute !! I will continue to work , hold my head high and push forward! Definitely not the end of the road.— Myck Kabongo (@MyckK9) June 28, 2013
With a solid summer, Kabongo should make a roster and offer energy off the bench. With an improved shot, Kabongo could be starting in a few seasons.