Undrafted Free Agents Who Would Be Steals for Washington Wizards
Although many teams used Thursday night's NBA draft to build up their rosters for the future, the Washington Wizards decided to sell their only pick in the draft, No. 46 overall, to the Los Angeles Lakers and came out of the draft empty-handed.
According to J. Michael of Comcast SportsNet, the Wizards targeted several big men prior to the draft who were all taken by the time their pick came around and instead decided to look toward free agency.
Marcin Gortat, Trevor Ariza, Trevor Booker, Kevin Seraphin, Al Harrington and Drew Gooden could all potentially be gone by the time next season starts, and major needs on the bench could have been addressed with that second-round pick.
In order to fill some of those spots, the Wizards can benefit from signing players who weren't drafted Thursday.
The Wizards can look to sign one or two undrafted free agents to work them out in the NBA Summer League and see if they can fill a role on the team coming off the bench. While the Jeremy Lin and Jose Calderon-type undrafted free agents do come along every once in a while, it's expected that any of these rookie signings would be projects set to only play a few minutes off the bench for the first year (assuming everyone else stays healthy).
With that in mind, here are five players that the Wizards should bring into training camp and the NBA Summer League. They are listed in order of how much they could bring to the team. Although they weren't drafted, these players fill a need for the Wizards and had second-round upside but ended up falling outside of the 60 players taken in the draft.
Sean Kilpatrick, SG, Cincinnati: If Martell Webster shifts to small forward, Kilpatrick would be a solid backup shooting guard. Though he's undersized at 6'4", he was in the conversation for the AAC Player of the Year last season and knows how to lead a team.
James Michael McAdoo, PF, North Carolina: McAdoo is an option to be a down-low scorer but was inconsistent in his time with the Tar Heels. He could fill up a bench spot in the frontcourt.
Sim Bhullar, C, New Mexico State: Sure, he's unathletic, but what's the reason not to give a 7'5" center at least a chance to show what he can do in the NBA Summer League?
5. Jerrelle Benimon, PF, Towson
Unless you're from the Maryland/D.C. area, you probably haven't heard of Jerrelle Benimon. After playing limited minutes off the bench at Georgetown, he transferred to Towson, where he played for three seasons.
He already worked out for the Wizards prior to the draft, and although he was never projected to make it into the draft, he's prepared to grind to make it with an NBA team.
"Growing up, you dream of stuff like this, playing for the hometown team. This is pretty much the hometown team," he told The Baltimore Sun. "Just to have the chance to work out for them, it means a lot to me and to my city. Especially, where I come from, a lot of people don't get this chance. I'm just blessed to have the opportunity."
At 6'8", he is undersized to be a true power forward, and he doesn't yet have the shooting to make it as a small forward in the league. But the Wizards could sign him to a small deal and have him work in the NBA Development League for a year or so to work on his skills.
I saw him play in almost every game of his senior year at Towson, and Benimon was consistently the best player on the floor in almost every matchup. He can score near the rim and is a ruthless rebounder, finishing second last season in the NCAA in double-doubles.
He averaged 20.8 points and 12.1 rebounds per 40 minutes last season, and he would bring plenty of experience, having played on the bigger stage at Georgetown but also playing in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament for the Tigers last year.
It's unlikely he could contribute right away, but the Wizards should sign the hometown guy and let him improve his game, because he has the motor to make it in the NBA.
4. Casey Prather, SF, Florida
Although Casey Prather measured in at 6'4.25" without shoes and 199 pounds at a Clippers workout prior to the draft, the Wizards should look past his size and focus on his athleticism.
His jump shot needs some work, but he can cut to the basket and finish at the rim better than players who are three inches taller than him.
Washington ranked fourth in the league this past season in the percentage of points that came off fast breaks (13.7 percent), according to NBA Stats. John Wall specializes in forcing turnovers and then working the ball down the court on a fast break.
Coming off the bench, Prather has the speed to keep up with Wall and can run those fast breaks with the star point guard and Bradley Beal. (Prather also played with Beal during the 2011-12 season.)
As an undrafted free agent, Prather wouldn't need to play 15 minutes per game. The Wizards would just need him to play for five to seven minutes for some extra energy off the bench, which they didn't have last year. Instead of bringing out Garrett Temple or Otto Porter Jr., who just seem to slow things down, Prather would speed up the offense.
He also brings a winning attitude to the NBA. He led the Gators in points per game in the Final Four, and the three seasons ago, he was with Florida when the team advanced to the Elite Eight.
3. Deonte Burton, PG, Nevada
In case you were wondering, no, Andre Miller isn't getting any younger. He is 38 and still has a year left on his contract.
If the Wizards choose to still use him in the rotation, they should bring in Deonte Burton (or any young point guard, really) to sit on the bench for a year and learn from Miller before eventually taking over full time as the backup to John Wall.
Burton almost never left the floor for Nevada last season, playing 38.6 minutes per game. He even played 29.7 minutes per game in his freshman year. That's a lot of experience to bring to the table for a 22-year-old.
His free-throw and three-point shooting is lower than desired for a guard, but he is a great athlete and can get to the hoop, much like Wall.
When looking for a backup point guard, the Wizards need someone who can play at the same pace as Wall so the momentum doesn't automatically shift as soon as the superstar goes to the bench. Burton is just 6'1" but managed to average more than 20 points per game in his senior year. He is as sure of a player you're going to find among undrafted free agents.
2. Jabari Brown, SG, Missouri
Prior to the draft, I wrote about Jabari Brown's prospects as a potential pick for the Wizards with the No. 46 pick, and he ended up falling out of the draft.
He was the Tigers' go-to scorer last season, and although they missed the NCAA tournament, Brown showed that he can create his own shot, averaging 21.6 points per 40 minutes.
After only playing in two games for Oregon his freshman year, he saw limited time with Missouri after transferring and finally took on a major role in his junior year.
Without much of a track record, it's tough to tell what kind of a player he is. What makes him a good potential signing, though, is how well he would fit into Washington's offense.
The Wizards relied heavily on three-point shooting last season, and John Wall loves to drive to the basket and kick it out to someone on the wing.
Brown shot 41 percent from beyond the arc but was a little too trigger-happy, attempting six three-pointers per 40 minutes in his final year with the Tigers.
In Washington's offense, he wouldn't have to handle the ball hardly at all and would be a viable option for backup shooting guard, should Martell Webster have to slide over and play small forward if Trevor Ariza departs.
1. Patric Young, C, Florida
Going by J. Michael's previously mentioned report, it looks like the Wizards wanted to get some depth in the frontcourt. Drew Gooden and Al Harrington are almost definitely gone because of their age, and Nene will always have injury concerns.
Patric Young could have been drafted on Thursday, which makes him the best value for the Wizards as an undrafted free agent. The main issue with Washington's bench last year was the poor defense from backup big men (Kevin Seraphin, Harrington and Gooden), and Young would provide the exact opposite.
Although he struggles to score at times, he is a defensive stopper near the rim. And while he may not shoot all that well, he can throw his 6'10," 247-pound frame around to get rebounds and score on tip-ins and dunks.
Young is a physical beast on both ends of the floor, and given the lack of quality free-agent centers this offseason, bringing him in would defeat the need for the Wizards to re-sign Seraphin or overpay for a player such as Spencer Hawes or Chris Kaman.
Big men always have added value in the NBA, and Young should have been drafted. He represents a safe option for the Wizards, who wanted to draft a center in the first place.
All college stats and measurements are from DraftExpress unless otherwise noted.