Undrafted NBA Free Agents 2014: Top Players to Watch in Summer League

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Undrafted NBA Free Agents 2014:  Top Players to Watch in Summer League
Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

The 2014 NBA Draft came and went, and though scores of young prospects waited to hear their names called at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, only 60 felt the sweet relief of knowing an NBA team chose to bring them into the fold.

Those who went undrafted will have to latch onto teams in the NBA Summer League to prove their worth.

There are dozens of reasons why a player gets passed on by every NBA team.

Some executives get hung up about a player's size, while others worry over a prospect's checkered past. A bad workout can tank someone's chances, or perhaps a scout didn't tug on the general manager's sleeve hard enough to get his attention.

Several undrafted free agents have made an impact in the NBA before, even at the highest level of the game.

Udonis Haslem won multiple championships with the Miami Heat without getting picked, as did former Spurs forward Bruce Bowen.

Here are three undrafted players capable of making an NBA roster this summer.

 

Deonte Burton, PG, Nevada

Otto Kitsinger/Associated Press

Deonte Burton is a fiery, intense competitor with the intangibles and drive to become a floor general in the NBA.

It's possible the league's infatuation with taller point guards like Dante Exum or Elfrid Payton ultimately did him in at the draft.

At just 6'1", Burton may have scared away scouts due to his inability to hit from outside in college; he shot just 33.7 percent from three-point range during his four years at Nevada.

Wolf Pack coach David Carter was surprised his star player wasn't picked, despite his shortcomings.

"I was shocked, to be honest with you, just based on the feedback and some of the things I've been hearing," Carter said, via the Reno Gazette-Journal's Chris Murray. "But it's one of those things where you have to go through free agency now and he'll be on a summer league team with an NBA team and he'll have to make it as a free agent."

He must have been particularly coveted, as USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt reported via Twitter that Burton will join the Washington Wizards' summer league team:

Burton may not be as tall as John Wall, but he could very well be just as explosive. If the Wizards want to find a player that can keep the pedal firmly to the metal with Wall off the court, Burton just might be their guy.

  

Patric Young, C, Florida

David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Patric Young could follow the path of Haslem—a fellow former Gator—into the league by impressing teams this summer. The 6'10" bruiser should be quite willing to make other players pay for his unfortunate fall from grace.

Young is a favorite of many basketball observers for his insatiable drive and ability to make hustle plays at both ends of the court. How can any team pass on a player willing to make plays like the one below?

Hard work never hurt anybody.

Grantland's Andrew Sharp couldn't stand Young's name not getting called Thursday night:

Young will get his shot with an up-and-coming franchise in the summer, per Basketball Insiders' Alex Kennedy:

It may be tough for Young to crack a Pelicans roster featuring the likes of Anthony Davis, Melvin Ely and Ryan Anderson. Then again, the Pelicans should be thankful they got to pick up a player like Young without much effort.

Young will need to develop more moves and shots in the low post to go with his silky hook shot. If he can prove to teams he can be a viable scoring threat down low, he has an excellent chance of making an NBA roster.

 

LaQuinton Ross, SF, Ohio State

Kiichiro Sato/Associated Press

LaQuinton Ross is a strong swingman capable of providing athleticism and depth to a retooling NBA team. He declared early for the 2014 draft after averaging 15.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per game for the Buckeyes. 

His confidence may have come from the huge strides he made each season—he raised his scoring average by at least six points per game each year.

His stock likely plummeted after scouts discovered a weight issue at the NBA Draft Combine. Via Bob Baptist of The Columbus Dispatch:

Ross' body fat was measured at 16.3 percent of his weight, the most of any of the 59 players invited to the combine. And he finished last or next-to-last in his position group in a series of running and jumping drills.

Which of these undrafted players has the best shot at making an NBA roster?

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No scout wants to see a potential swingman who needs speed to create his shots struggle with conditioning and lateral quickness. The weight gain also throws his work ethic into question.

Ross didn't do himself any favors at the combine and didn't hear his name called at the Barclays Center on Thursday night. Luckily for him, he may already be getting a chance to showcase his skills.

According to Basketball Insiders' Alex Kennedy, Ross will get a look from one of the NBA's marquee franchises:

The Lakers would give Ross an excellent chance to make the roster; this isn't surprising, since the Purple and Gold can barely field a starting lineup with the players they currently have on the salary cap table for 2014.

If Ross can show that he has his weight under control and is the shot-maker he was in college, there are plenty of spots on the Lakers' roster that general manager Mitch Kupchak will be looking to fill cheaply.

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