Every NBA Team's Best Undrafted Free-Agent Signing So Far
Which NBA teams have culled potential diamonds in the rough from the pool of undrafted free agents?
Even after Adam Silver leaves the stage and draft night ends, there are still talented prospects capable of contributing left out there. There’s always the chance that a team will luck into a starting-caliber player like Udonis Haslem or a dominant All-Star a la Ben Wallace.
Much more likely, though, undrafteds turn into end-of-the-bench energy guys like Kent Bazemore, and that’s if they even make an NBA roster at all; most won’t make it out of the summer league with a job.
These are the low-risk gambles of the league—the overlooked, the underdeveloped, the huddled masses yearning for a contract.
Nearly every organization has invested in an undrafted free agent so far this offseason. Any production they get from these snubbed players when the games count is bonus.
Atlanta Hawks: Adonis Thomas
The Atlanta Hawks have as good a chance as anybody to develop a dynamic player with Adonis Thomas.
He immediately becomes one of the most ferocious dunkers in the NBA today, though his in-game finishing ability will be a question at the next level.
In short, Thomas is your prototypical freak athlete who needs a ton of polish. Standing 6'7" and 240 pounds, he has the physical tools to succeed; now he just needs a jump shot and an improved handle to best put it to work.
If he can refine his game, Thomas could fit in as an explosive second-unit scorer someday and possibly even earn himself a starting job.
Boston Celtics: Phil Pressey
Phil Pressey has the ability to crack the Boston Celtics rotation, but he needs the consistency to warrant a spot.
Though his 5'11" stature won't do him any favors in the NBA, the Missouri product's quickness and court vision will help him make up for his size disadvantage. Though converting around the rim could be an ordeal for Pressey, he can be an asset driving and creating for teammates.
But even while his physique will hold him back on offense, Pressey is a diligent ball-hound who will look to force turnovers off the bench. Bigger point guards will be able to gain ground on him by backing him down, but taking him off the bounce will be a tougher task.
That defensive play can get Pressey some run even when he's unable to put up points. In order to stick in the pros, however, the offense will have to come someday.
Brooklyn Nets: Jamelle Hagins
In need of some second-unit help on the boards, the Brooklyn Nets may have found an unexpected source in Jamelle Hagins.
The pride of the Delaware Blue Hens, Hagins is a springy power forward who is eager to compete inside on both ends. While he doesn't have the offensive game to put up double-digit points in the pros, that blend of size and mentality will allow him to make a fringe impact.
He happened to catch on with the ideal organization for his skill set. Last season, Brooklyn regularly started Reggie Evans, he of the negligible scoring contributions and prolific rebounding ability.
Hagins can't pull down boards at Evans' rate, but he brings some shot-blocking talent to the table as well. With some tutelage from the veteran forward, perhaps the Blue Hen could take over that role in a year or two.
Charlotte Bobcats: Troy Daniels
Kemba Walker can hit some three-pointers, but that's the beginning and end of the list for Charlotte Bobcats shooters.
That's why a player like Troy Daniels can be so handy for the Cats.
Not only is Daniels the product of VCU's Havoc defense, but he also knocked down over 40 percent of his threes during his senior year. At 6'4", 200 pounds, he could provide Walker with a much-needed spot-up option who could also hound opponents on the other end.
Three-and-D guys are becoming integral components to a winning team. Daniels can't do much else at this point, but that's enough to earn him some play now.
Chicago Bulls: None
The Chicago Bulls have passed on undrafted free agents from the class of 2013 thus far in the offseason.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Kenny Kadji
It's obvious why Kenny Kadji went undrafted: He's 25-years old.
No NBA team felt like using a pick on a prospect with so little upside, but judging Kadji solely on potential diminishes the ability he already has.
Standing 6'10", 242 pounds, Kadji has the strength necessary to bang around with bigs at the professional level. That will allow him to play solid defense, and he can step out and hit threes to help stretch the floor on the other end.
Kadji doesn't have the speed or the post game to do much more, and he won't get much better, but he can still be a useful bench player for the Cleveland Cavaliers now.
Dallas Mavericks: DeWayne Dedmon
While he's a project now, DeWayne Dedmon has the upside to become a starter for the Dallas Mavericks.
The USC center has measurables NBA scouts drool over: 7'0", 239 pounds with a 7'4" wingspan and incredible leaping ability. Though he converted that physical prowess into just 6.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.1 blocks as a junior, he can improve so much with the proper training.
Working with Dirk Nowitzki is a great start. The future Hall of Famer is the perfect man to tutor Dedmon in big-man scoring. While the rookie already has natural shot-blocking ability, his defensive awareness will come with experience.
Dedmon's age does limit his ceiling, but the 23-year-old still has the body and athleticism to succeed. He's just on a longer developmental curve than most.
Denver Nuggets: Richard Howell
The Denver Nuggets place a premium on high-energy athletes, so Richard Howell should fit in nicely.
Howell is a tenacious rebounder who gives Denver's second unit a nice backup to Kenneth Faried. The difference is that while the Manimal has the length and speed to keep pace with wings, Howell is 6'7", 250 pounds, making him an undersized power forward by necessity.
So while Howell will be able to absorb contact on offense and muscle opponents out of the paint on defense, his height will prevent him from becoming much more than a back-of-the-rotation guy.
Detroit Pistons: Korie Lucious
Certainly in need of distributors, the Detroit Pistons will get a little bit of help from Korie Lucious.
The point guard played his career-best year as a senior at Iowa State, but he still posted an unspectacular 10.1 points and 5.6 assists there.
Rather, Lucious is known best for his clutch play as a Michigan State Spartan. Though he hasn't produced consistently, he has a history of coming through in big moments, giving the Pistons the belief he can do the same at the next level.
With Brandon Knight struggling to pick up the nuances of the point guard position, Detroit could use all the passers it can get. Lucious might not stick for long, but he should be able to help out now.
Golden State Warriors: James Southerland
The Golden State Warriors gave the Western Conference a scare last postseason with their three-point shooting. In order to maintain that threat, they need backups to support the sharpshooting starters.
James Southerland does more than that.
Not only did the Syracuse alum knock down 39.8 percent of his threes as a senior, but he also measures in at 6'8". That's especially helpful for the diminutive Warriors, giving Golden State more size on the wing without taking away from their offensive strength.
He's pretty pedestrian in terms of the rest of his game, but Southerland does have that one plus skill. Sometimes that's all an undrafted free agent needs to get work.
Houston Rockets: B.J. Young
B.J. Young dropped from potential lottery status all the way out of the draft—in part because he projected as a combo guard rather than a true point guard.
But on a team built around James Harden, Young's raw talent is only a positive.
Though he went through a sophomore slump at Arkansas, Young is superb at pushing the ball in space and getting to the rim. That attacking style will fit right in with the Houston backcourt, which functions off of guards getting to the rim in transition and off the pick-and-roll.
Especially if the Rockets want to move Jeremy Lin, a slashing guard like Young will get plenty of chances to succeed.
Indiana Pacers: Travis Releford
The Indiana Pacers found just their type of prospect in Travis Releford.
Indy built its formidable 2013 playoff squad out of a defense anchored on hard-nosed play and versatility, along with just enough offense to get by.
That's what the Pacers can expect from Releford, who can defend both wing positions at 6'6" and 210 pounds and shot 41.5 percent from long range last season. With that combination of skills, Releford will be able to perform on defense without being a liability on the other end.
Releford won't likely develop much more of an offensive game, but he is proficient enough to contribute to the Pacers as is.
Los Angeles Clippers: Brandon Davies
Though they nearly have a complete team, the Los Angeles Clippers need a big man like Brandon Davies.
L.A. has spent its offseason loading up the backcourt. The Clippers have re-signed Chris Paul and Matt Barnes, traded for J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley and still have Jamal Crawford. Whether they want to attack or defend, play big or small, the Clips have the guards to do so.
However, they're very thin behind Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.
Enter Davies, a 6'9", 235-pound forward who can provide some strength and defense inside as well as six fouls while the starters are resting.
The Clippers won't ask much from Davies, but the little he can offer is handy.
Los Angeles Lakers: Kenny Boynton
Kenny Boynton's stock fell after a down senior year, but that just provides the Los Angeles Lakers with an opportunity.
One key difference between Boynton's third and fourth years is the presence of Bradley Beal. Florida's point guard hit over 40 percent of his threes when the up-and-coming shooting guard was around; that figure dropped below 33 percent when Beal leapt to the pros.
What that proves is that the 6'2" point guard can't get by as the lead scoring option. Fortunately for the Lakers, they'll never have to ask Boynton to do so much—only to hit his open shots while Kobe Bryant runs the show.
Memphis Grizzlies: Jack Cooley
Who better to help carry on the Memphis Grizzlies' grit-and-grind style than a grinder like Jack Cooley?
The 6'10", 245-pound center from Notre Dame is not particularly talented, but he is a classic effort guy. His entire game consists of throwing his body around for the good of the team.
Considering the Grizz need a backup center, that's ideal. Cooley will clean the boards on both ends, compete on defense and convert at the rim when he can create space for himself inside.
There's nothing pretty about that sort of contribution. Then again, that's exactly why Cooley would be so useful for Memphis.
Miami Heat: Myck Kabongo
Myck Kabongo is another guard who was poised to be a first-round pick, but his slippage was trickier to gauge.
The 21-year-old's stock wasn't the same after missing the first 23 games of the 2012-13 season due to suspension. Kabongo's missed time was on account of accepting impermissible benefits, but he was erratic upon his return, small sample size and all.
Even so, his raw talent is very attractive for the Miami Heat. His ability to penetrate and distribute are great for a team with two superstar wing scorers and an array of three-point threats.
In lesser circumstances, Kabongo might not be able to overcome his uneven play. In Miami, he has his best odds.
Milwaukee Bucks: Scott Suggs
Now that J.J. Redick and Monta Ellis are leaving the Milwaukee Bucks, they could use a shooter.
That's Scott Suggs' whole game.
For each of his past three seasons, Suggs has knocked down at least 37 percent of his threes, peaking at 45 percent as a junior. He also put up his best numbers late in the season, scoring at least 14 points in each of his final six games.
With the Bucks fully stocked on bigs, they need guys to space the floor. If nothing else, Suggs can do that for them.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Brandon Paul
The Minnesota Timberwolves don't have a wing who can consistently slash to the basket.
Though Brandon Paul's execution is not reliable, his ability is.
Paul was one of the most intriguing athletes of the entire 2013 draft class. Though his 6'4" height is on the smaller side for a versatile wing, he makes up for it with exceptional agility and an absurd 6'11" wingspan.
His tangibles are not in question, though. Paul will need some time to develop in Minnesota, but the Wolves have a shot at a true talent here.
New Orleans Pelicans: Will Cherry
A team building around a defensive big like Anthony Davis could always use more scoring guards like Will Cherry.
It's tough for a 6'1" shoot-first guy from Montana to get much traction with NBA scouts; when they're not great three-point threats, it's nearly impossible.
That's why Cherry didn't get drafted, but he has spent the past four years proving his scoring is bona fide. He averaged over 13 points per game in each of his last three seasons as a Bison, and he came away with at least 1.9 steals per game in all four collegiate season.
Playing behind the likes of Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans, Cherry will have prime examples to learn from. That will hopefully bolster the development of a talented youngster.
New York Knicks: C.J. Leslie
For a team in desperate need of youth on the interior, C.J. Leslie is a steal after the draft.
The New York Knicks' ancient frontcourt depth from last season has gone its separate ways. Kurt Thomas and Rasheed Wallace have retired, Marcus Camby has been traded and Kenyon Martin is still a free agent.
With his quickness, leaping ability and youthful energy, Leslie represents a very different type of big. Even if Martin returns, having a guy off the bench both facing up and with his back to the basket is valuable.
Leslie will be able to hone his offensive game alongside Amar'e Stoudemire, and he'll be poised to get some run when Amar'e inevitably gets hurt. That's a win-win for the rookie.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Michael Snaer
The Oklahoma City Thunder have a serious hole at shooting guard, meaning they could really use Michael Snaer to play the position serviceably.
Snaer is not an offensive player in the mold of James Harden or Kevin Martin, but he can produce as a tertiary weapon on that end. He's a nice spot-up shooter from beyond the arc, while he does have some ability to create his own shot off the bounce, too.
In fact, the OKC guard Snaer most closely compares to is Thabo Sefolosha. Though Sefolosha has a good two-plus inches over the 6'5" Snaer, the Florida State product is a nice perimeter defender with the strength to compete with bigger wings if need be.
Orlando Magic: Matthew Dellavedova
With no long-term plan set at point guard, the Orlando Magic could give Matthew Dellavedova a real shot.
As a big, offense-first point man, the Saint Mary's College alum plays a complementary style for second overall pick Victor Oladipo.
Dellavedova uses his 6'4" frame to pass over small guards on the pick-and-roll and shoot over them from beyond the arc. The mix of that long-range and slashing game would allow Dellavedova to drive and score or kick out to Oladipo, who could create off the bounce for his fellow rookie in kind.
Speed will be an issue for Dellavedova at the next level, but he knows how to play within his skill set. He can be a nice change-of-pace offensive guard if he sticks to that philosophy.
Philadelphia 76ers: Trevor Mbakwe
Nerlens Noel is now the cornerstone of the Philadelphia 76ers franchise, which will need to surround him with bigger bodies inside.
Trevor Mbakwe slipped in the draft because he is 6'8" and 24 years old, making him a bit short and old to be a good prospect. However, the Minnesota forward also has one of the most NBA-ready bodies of anyone in this class.
He is willing and able to throw around his 235 pounds, doing the dirty work inside to get easy buckets, pulling down rebounds and using his 7'4" wingspan to hassle opposing big men.
Mbakwe could muscle his way onto a lot of NBA rosters; the idea of playing him with the thin-framed Noel improves his chances in Philly even more.
Phoenix Suns: Jake Cohen
It would really help the Phoenix Suns foster Alex Len's development if they could clear out the paint for him.
That's where a stretch forward like Jake Cohen can contribute.
Cohen is a solid defender and a decent finisher around the rim, but where he really excels is from beyond the arc. The 6'10" forward from Davidson knocked down 38 percent of his three-point attempts as a senior, showing enough skill and mobility from 15 feet and out to drive big defenders nuts.
Portland Trail Blazers: None
The Portland Trail Blazers have passed on undrafted free agents from the class of 2013 thus far in the offseason.
Sacramento Kings: Will Clyburn
The Sacramento Kings could use some guys who contribute in ways other than scoring, which makes an incomplete player like Will Clyburn intriguing.
Clyburn is a 6'7" wing who recorded 6.8 rebounds per game as a sophomore at Iowa State. He is also a solid three-point shooter, a decent finisher and a heady defender.
However, the rebounding and the perimeter defense are the only skills sure to translate to the next level; Clyburn's 7'0" wingspan will make sure of that. His full impact will come down to whether he can shoot 40 percent from three, like he did as a freshman, or 30 percent, as in the following campaign.
Either way, Sacramento has enough scorers right now. This is an example of player and team meshing here. If Clyburn doesn't stick with the Kings, he won't have too many other options.
San Antonio Spurs: Durand Scott
Gregg Popovich loves his athletes who can defend and hit threes, so of course the San Antonio Spurs went out and got Durand Scott.
The 6'3" guard from Miami is just a capable shooter right now; he knocked down 35 percent of his threes last season, but that number stands to go up even more within the vaunted Spurs offense.
Scott's real allure is his defensive versatility. He can keep up with smaller guards using his quick feet and savvy positioning, while his 6'9" wingspan allows him to check guys multiple inches taller than him.
Under Pop, Scott can focus on those two skills while the rest of his game comes together. He has the potential to be another nice find by the Spurs.
Toronto Raptors: Gregory Echenique
There's always a place for big-bodied centers in the NBA, and Gregory Echenique fits the bill.
Coming out of Creighton, the new Toronto Raptor measures in at 6'9", 260 pounds, and he knows exactly how to use that size and strength to his advantage.
On the offensive end, Echenique is not a very creative finisher, but he did bully his way into a 65.7 shooting percentage last season. He's also a load to move on defense, and he is savvy enough to use his length as well as his bulk.
Considering Toronto's shallow frontcourt, every big body helps.
Utah Jazz: Amath M’Baye
The Utah Jazz are fully committed to a youth movement right now, so taking a flier on an athlete like Amath M'Baye makes sense.
Coming to Utah from France by way of Oklahoma and Wyoming, M'Baye is an explosive player who can be disruptive on the defensive end and on the boards. He's already a nice perimeter defender, and he'd be able to contest larger forwards if he added some weight to his 6'9" frame.
One issue for M'Baye is his mediocre three-point shooting. He did improve his rate from beyond the arc in each of his three college seasons, but 28 percent isn't going to cut it.
If he keeps improving, M'Baye has a chance to make a real NBA career for himself. It won't be a glamorous one, but it's still something for an undrafted free agent.
Washington Wizards: None
The Washington Wizards have passed on undrafted free agents from the class of 2013 thus far in the offseason.