NBA Undrafted Free Agents 2013: Tracking the Top 25 Players Available

Grant Hughes@@gt_hughesNational NBA Featured ColumnistJune 30, 2013

NBA Undrafted Free Agents 2013: Tracking the Top 25 Players Available

0 of 25

    The 2013 NBA draft was a wild ride for spectators and a dream come true for the incoming rookies who landed with a team. But for a number of undrafted free agents, the festivities gave way to disappointment.

    In some cases, NBA clubs recognized their oversight quickly. The New York Knicks signed C.J. Leslie—widely regarded as the most talented player to have gone unpicked—just hours after the draft ended.

    Guys like Trevor Mbakwe, Jackie Carmichael and James Southerland weren't so lucky.

    Along with a handful of other bummed-out prospects, those three are going to spend the summer hoping for a phone call from an NBA team in need of a youth infusion. Those calls will come at some point, as squads throughout the league try to get a look at as many potentially valuable assets as possible.

    Check back here often for updates on where each of these undrafted free agents might end up.

1. Trevor Mbakwe, 6'8", PF, Minnesota

1 of 25

    UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 9:30 a.m. ET by Adam Fromal

    According to the Minnesota Daily's Jace Frederick, Trevor Mbakwe will join the Philadelphia 76ers during Orlando summer league.

    --End of update--


    Trevor Mbakwe put up averages of 10.0 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in his senior season at Minnesota last year. Those figures are fine, particularly when viewed with the knowledge that Mbakwe was still recovering from the torn ACL he suffered during his junior year.

    Perhaps it was the injury concerns. Or maybe teams were wary of Mbakwe's ability to defend power forwards at just 6'8" and 236 pounds. Whatever the case, he's currently on the outside looking in.

    Humongous hands, a 7'4" wingspan and a reputation for dominating on the offensive boards should all lead to Mbakwe ending up on somebody's summer league team.

2. James Southerland, 6'8", SF, Syracuse

2 of 25

    UPDATE: Saturday, June 29, at 11:17 p.m. ET by Grant Hughes

    According to Mike Waters of, Southerland will play for the Philadelphia 76ers in the Orlando summer league and the Golden State Warriors in Las Vegas.

    ---End of update---

    Based on the way NBA teams are increasingly looking for athletic wing players with three-point range, you'd have thought that James Southerland would have been among the top 60 players selected in this year's draft.

    The four-year player from Syracuse made big splashes from long distance in the Big East tournament and shot just a hair under 40 percent from beyond the arc on the year.

    He's not going to make anyone else better, but as a player with a very specific role as a perimeter sniper, Southerland is bound to fit in somewhere.

3. Robert Covington, 6'9", SF, Tennessee State

3 of 25

    UPDATE: Friday, June 28, at 11:02 p.m. ET by Grant Hughes

    According to Marc Torrance of The Tennessean, Covington has signed a partially guaranteed deal with the Houston Rockets.

    ---End of update---

    Like Southerland, Robert Covington projects as a useful scorer at the next level.

    He's bound to catch on with a team that needs wing scoring and elite outside shooting. Covington hit at least 38 percent of his triples in all four of his seasons at Tennessee State, so teams should be willing to overlook his slim build and inability to create his own shot.

    Someone will sign him, station him in the corner and let him bomb away.

4. Jackie Carmichael, 6'9", PF, Illinois State

4 of 25

    Update: Friday, July 5, at 9:30 a.m. ET by Adam Fromal

    As we learned from an Illinois State press release, Jackie Carmichael will be joining the Miami Heat for Orlando summer league play. 

    --End of update--


    Jackie Carmichael has the size (6'9" and 241 pounds) to get the job done at the NBA level. Plus, he put up stellar averages in his most recent season at Illinois State: 17.4 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks.

    A power player in college, it's unclear whether Carmichael will be able to push around his competition as easily when he's matched up against bigger frontcourt players. He'll have to develop a more consistent jumper to add to his offensive arsenal, but his energy and rebounding prowess should help him fit in well when a team comes calling.

5. Kenny Kadji, 6'11", PF, Miami

5 of 25

    UPDATE: Sunday, June 30, 11:55 a.m. ET by Ethan Norof

    Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy reports Kenny Kadji will play for the Cleveland Cavaliers during summer league.

    --End of update--

    If it seems like there are a lot of oversized perimeter players on this list, it's because there are. For some reason, teams didn't see fit to use draft picks on guys like Kenny Kadji, a 6'11" stretch 4 with a pretty smooth perimeter game.

    Kadji's ceiling is low, as he's already 25 years old. Reservations about his ability to develop further could very well have kept him off of many teams' draft boards.

    Squads looking to take a flier on a versatile offensive player who could fit in the right rotation will definitely give him a look.

6. Myck Kabongo, 6'3", PG, Texas

6 of 25

    UPDATE: Friday, June 28, at 11:40 p.m. ET by Grant Hughes

    According to Chris Broussard of ESPN, Kabongo will be playing with the Miami Heat's summer league team.

    ---End of update---

    On the strength of his name alone, Myck Kabongo should have been drafted. Imagine the jersey sales and the catch phrase (which I'd create) of "that guy just got Kabongo'd" whenever the point guard crossed up his defender and finished at the rim.

    Apparently, teams were scared off by his shooting (41.8 percent last year) and the 23-game suspension that cost him a good chunk of his sophomore campaign.

    There's talent here, though, so he'll almost certainly catch on with a team in need of a solid distributor.

7. Vander Blue, 6'5", SG, Marquette

7 of 25

    UPDATE: Saturday, June 29, at 11:21 p.m. by Grant Hughes

    According to Jim Polzin of the Wisconsin State Journal, Blue will play for the Memphis Grizzlies in the Las Vegas summer league from July 12-22 after playing for the Houston Rockets in the Orlando summer league.

    ---End of update---


    Another member of the Cool Name All-Stars, Marquette's Vander Blue fell out of the top 60 because of his shaky three-point stroke and limited floor game.

    With a bit more muscle and better ball security (Blue had more turnovers than assists last year), there's a chance that the shooting guard will find a place at the end of somebody's bench. But unlike the players already mentioned, his place in the NBA feels like a long shot.

8. Dewayne Dedmon, 6'11", C, USC

8 of 25

    UPDATE: Monday, July 8, at 11:45 a.m. ET by Adam Fromal

    According to Ethan Skolnick of the Palm Beach Post, Dewayne Dedmon is playing for the Miami Heat during Orlando summer league. 

    --End of update--

    Dewayne Dedmon is extremely raw, and his averages last year—6.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game—are hardly inspiring.

    It's also a little bothersome that his scoring average and field-goal percentage dipped from the numbers he put up in 2011-12.

    But because of his athleticism, speed and 7'4" wingspan, he's going to be worth a look in the summer league. For teams in need of a big body with a lot of far-off potential, Dedmon is a decent option.

9. Michael Snaer, 6'4", SG, Florida State

9 of 25

    UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 9:35 a.m. ET by Adam Fromal

    According to ESPN's Jeff Goodman, Michael Snaer will play with the Los Angeles Lakers during Vegas summer league and the Oklahoma City Thunder during Orlando summer league. 

    --End of update--


    Michael Snaer never really put up the offensive numbers to stand out, but his stellar work on the defensive end will probably make him a worthwhile summer-league invitee.

    With four years of collegiate competition under his belt and the ability to be a shutdown individual defender, the 6'4" guard possesses a couple of qualities that teams will probably be interested in bringing aboard.

    If he can hammer out a more consistent stroke from the perimeter, there's always a chance Snaer sticks as an end-of-the-bench role player.

10. Brandon Paul, 6'4", SG, Illinois

10 of 25

    UPDATE: Saturday, June 29, at 1:28 a.m. ET by Grant Hughes

    According to Paul's Twitter account, he'll be playing summer league ball with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

    ---End of update---

    Brandon Paul can't shoot, and as you'd imagine, that's going to pose a problem for him as an NBA prospect.

    He logged four years at Illinois, topping out last season with a per-game average of 16.6 points on 40-percent shooting. Paul plays hard, but the shooting woes and his turnover issues (he amassed an unimpressive one-to-one assist-to-turnover ratio last year) are going to make it difficult for him to latch on.

    A summer-league invite is his best hope. There's probably not a contract offer in his future.

11. Khalif Wyatt, 6'4", SG, Temple

11 of 25

    UPDATE: Saturday, June 29, at 1:42 a.m. ET by Grant Hughes

    According to Nick Menta of CSN Philadelphia, Wyatt will join the Philadelphia 76ers' summer league squad.

    ---End of update---

    Khalif Wyatt was the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year last season, averaged 20.5 points per game and put on a solid showing in the NCAA tournament.

    But a dip in scoring efficiency and concerns about his lack of athleticism were apparently big enough detriments to prevent an NBA team from taking a chance on him in the second round. Like a number of passed-over players on this list, his four-year college career and solid scoring ability figure to help him make it onto a summer league team.

12. Richard Howell, 6'7", PF, North Carolina State

12 of 25

    UPDATE: Saturday, June 29, at 11:23 p.m. ET by Grant Hughes

    According to a tweet from Howell, he'll be suiting up with the Denver Nuggets this summer.

    ---End of update---

    With a serious talent for rebounding, Richard Howell should find his way into an NBA camp sooner than later. He's undersized at 6'7", but he pulled down 10.9 boards per game last year, including 3.7 on the offensive end.

    His offensive game is unpolished, but as a player capable of creating extra possessions through hard work on the glass, he'll be worth having around.

    Howell's college teammate, C.J. Leslie, caught on with an NBA team almost immediately after the draft. Perhaps Howell will have the same luck.

13. BJ Young, 6'3", PG/SG, Arkansas

13 of 25

    UPDATE: Sunday, June 30, 11:50 a.m. ET by Ethan Norof

    B.J. Young will play for the Houston Rockets during summer league, according to Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld.

    --End of update--

    After a disappointing sophomore season that featured dips in every shooting category, Arkansas combo guard BJ Young inexplicably decided to enter the draft. The result was predictable, as 60 picks went by without Young's name being called.

    Shot selection and lack of a position are both problems for Young, but he's also a very quick, aggressive scorer.

    If Young can fine-tune his offensive game and make the necessary transition to the point-guard spot, he'll greatly improve his chances of eventually ending up in the big leagues.

14. Brandon Davies, 6'10", C, BYU

14 of 25

    UPDATE: Tuesday, July 2, 12:25 PM ET by Ethan Norof

    According to Sean Deveney of the Sporting News, Davies has signed a one-year, partially guaranteed contract with the Los Angeles Clippers.

    --End of update--

    Brandon Davies averaged 17.7 points and 8.0 boards per game during his senior season, and at 6'10", he figures to attract a lot of interest from teams in need of a capable interior presence.

    He'll have to get stronger and expand his very limited perimeter game, but there's plenty to like about Davies even if he doesn't make big strides in his weakest areas. With a decent motor as it is, Davies should be even more motivated to impress teams with his activity and rebounding prowess if he gets the chance this summer.

    Don't be surprised if he ends up signing a deal before the end of July.

15. D.J. Stephens, 6'5", SF/PF, Memphis

15 of 25

    UPDATE: Saturday, June 29, at 11:26 p.m. ET by Grant Hughes

    According to Shandel Richardson of the Sun Sentinel, Stephens will be joining the Miami Heat's summer league team.

    ---End of update---

    D.J. Stephens isn't really a basketball player so much as he's a truly elite athletic specimen who happens to play basketball.

    After posting a 46-inch vertical leap at the pre-draft combine, you can bet that many teams will be willing to overlook the busted jumper and total lack of an offensive repertoire. Stephens is definitely not the type of prospect worth a draft pick, but he's precisely the kind of project teams love to bring in over the summer for a tryout.

    With a monstrous wingspan, crazy speed and that cartoonish vertical leap, Stephens will definitely end up on somebody's summer league team. The possibility that he turns into an actual player is slim, but there's just too much raw athleticism to ignore.

16. Travis Releford, 6'6", SF, Kansas

16 of 25

    UPDATE: Saturday, June 29, at 11:28 p.m. ET by Grant Hughes

    According to Gary Bedore of the Lawrence Journal-World, Releford will suit up for both the Indiana Pacers and the Denver Nuggets this summer.

    ---End of update---

    As steady as they come, Travis Releford brings the kind of reliable, team-oriented production NBA teams crave from role players. It seems like the small forward was at Kansas for a decade, and at 23, there's probably not a whole lot of growth potential.

    But Releford has the poise and ability to play within himself that somebody will deem worthy of a look in summer league.

    Actually making a squad will be tougher, as Releford doesn't do any one thing especially well. But he's mature, confident in his limited skills and capable of knocking down a shot when he's open.

17. Adonis Thomas, 6'6", SF, Memphis

17 of 25

    UPDATE: Saturday, June 29, at 11: 30 p.m. ET by Grant Hughes

    According to Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld, Thomas will play with the Atlanta Hawks' summer league squad.

    ---End of update---

    Stop me if you've heard this criticism of a Memphis player before: Adonis Thomas is a phenomenal athlete who very much looks the part of a legitimate NBA player, but he simply lacks the skill to become one.

    Sound familiar?

    Look, Thomas has the tools. He's long, athletic and extremely strong for his size. But until he straightens out his jump shot and shows he cares enough to commit on the defensive end, he's going to be fighting an uphill battle to stick with a team.

    With that said, his physical gifts will be more than enough to earn him a few summer-league invitations.

18. Jamelle Hagins, 6'9", PF, Delaware

18 of 25

    UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 9:40 a.m. ET by Adam Fromal

    According to the News Journal's Kevin Tresolini, Jamelle Hagins will be playing for the Miami Heat in Vegas summer league and the Brooklyn Nets in Orlando summer league. 

    --End of update--


    There's a lot to like about Jamelle Hagins. He pulled down 10.7 boards and blocked 2.4 shots per game last year, proving he could hold down the paint quite nicely.

    At 6'9", Hagins is probably going to have to work on adding a mid-range jumper to his game if he wants to be viewed as a viable frontcourt option at the next level. But if he expands his offensive game just a bit, his work in the lane on both ends makes him an intriguing option.

    There are probably some reservations among NBA teams about Hagins' ability to play against elite competition. He spent his collegiate career in the Colonial Athletic Association, which isn't exactly a hotbed of basketball talent.

19. Phil Pressey, 5'11, PG, Missouri

19 of 25

    UPDATE: Saturday, June 29, at 11:31 p.m. ET by Grant Hughes

    According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo!, Pressey has reached an agreement on a deal with the Boston Celtics.

    ---End of update---

    Life is tough for players who can't crack the six-foot barrier, which helps explain why Phil Pressey didn't hear his name called on draft night.

    There's no questioning his credentials: Pressey was the preseason SEC Player of the Year, possesses good quickness and has the innate ability to set up his teammates. The problem is that his lack of size and surprisingly shaky perimeter shot are going to be difficult for him to overcome.

    If he can scale back some of his more aggressive scoring tendencies and focus on facilitating for his teammates, he'll stick around in the NBA.

20. Matthew Dellavedova, 6'4", PG, St. Mary's

20 of 25

    UPDATE: Saturday, June 29, at 11:33 p.m. ET by Grant Hughes

    Dellavedova will be spending his summer with the Orlando Magic, according to Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld.

    ---End of update---

    The competition in the West Coast Conference isn't especially strong, and his horrible defense is going to forever prevent him from being a rotation player, but Matthew Dellavedova can flat-out run a team.

    The St. Mary's product is a good shooter when he's set, runs the pick-and-roll expertly and has a knack for knocking down big shots. Plus, he's got the experience of playing for the Australian national team, which can only help his stock.

    Dellavedova isn't going to suddenly improve his below-average athleticism or magically turn into a decent defender, but leadership and steady play should earn him a look over the summer.

21. Seth Curry, 6'3", SG, Duke

21 of 25

    If you'd like to bet against Seth Curry eventually landing on an NBA team, be my guest. I've already seen too much overachievement from big brother Stephen Curry to doubt this kid.

    Curry, like his brother, is an excellent shooter. He hit nearly 44 percent of his triples last year at Duke and his stroke is very much NBA-ready.

    The knocks on Curry are pretty basic: He's undersized to play the 2, not particularly quick and hasn't shown the ability to play the sort of hybrid-guard spot that someone with his skills ideally should. But elite shooting is hard to find, so expect Curry to catch on with a team that needs somebody to bury jumpers on the catch.

22. Will Clyburn, 6'7", SF, Iowa State

22 of 25

    UPDATE: Sunday, June 30, 11:45 a.m. ET by Ethan Norof

    Per Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy, Will Clyburn will play for the Sacramento Kings in summer league.

    --End of update--

    Will Clyburn didn't shoot the ball well for Iowa State last year, but he did show a 40-percent stroke from long range in his stint at Utah before he transferred.

    Teams that look back at old tape of his shot are going to be climbing over one another to snag Clyburn. That's because he does just about everything else pretty well.

    He could stand to develop his ability to create shots, but with good size for the position, the ability to rebound (6.8 per game last year) and a good motor, Clyburn projects as a player with a chance to help an NBA team.

    Lanky wings with varied skill sets are hot commodities, so it seems a safe bet that Clyburn will have his choice of a number of summer-league offers. From there, he'll have to prove he's worth a contract.

23. Christian Watford, 6'8", PF, Indiana

23 of 25

    UPDATE: Saturday, June 29, at 11:36 p.m. by Grant Hughes

    According to Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld, Watford will play for the Indiana Pacers and Dallas Mavericks this summer.

    ---End of update---

    A bit undersized for the 4, Christian Watford's basketball future will almost certainly include time as a small-ball floor-stretcher. After hitting 48 percent of his three-point attempts last year at Indiana, there's no question that the 6'8" forward has the ability to shoot the ball.

    It's just the rest of his game that's a problem.

    But many NBA teams are tinkering with small lineups that shoot a boatload of threes, so it's possible that Watford's lone elite skill will catch the eye of a few squads.

24. Jack Cooley, 6'9", C, Notre Dame

24 of 25

    UPDATE: Sunday, June 30, 11:40 a.m. ET by Ethan Norof

    According to Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld, Cooley will play for the Memphis Grizzlies in summer league.

    --End of update--

    Jack Cooley doesn't have the size to play center at the NBA level, but one thing he does have that will translate to the pros is his top-notch skill as a rebounder.

    Cooley averaged 10.1 boards per game last year, which was a nice complement to his 13.1 points-per-game scoring average.

    After a strong showing in the Portsmouth Invitational, one of the more important pre-draft showcases, Cooley figures to have caught the eye of at least a couple of NBA teams.

    He won't jump over or physically dominate anyone, but Cooley works hard and does an excellent job on the glass. As such, he'll warrant a summer-league invite and a chance to prove himself.

25. D.J. Cooper, 6'0", PG, Ohio

25 of 25

    UPDATE: Saturday, June 29, at 11:39 p.m. ET by Grant Hughes

    According to Sam Amico of FOX, Cooper will play for the 76ers and Warriors this summer.

    ---End of update---

    D.J. Cooper put up remarkably consistent numbers in his four years at Ohio, never averaging fewer than 13.5 points or 5.7 assists per game. That production probably would have made him a second-round pick in most cases, but his lack of size scared teams away.

    His NBA dream won't last long if he fails to prove he can handle bigger guards on D and still get his shots off on the other end.

    He'll likely get a chance to show what he can do this summer, but if he does anything less than knock the socks off of NBA executives, he may end up having to start his professional career in Europe or the D-League.