NBA Free Agency: 10 Undrafted Players Who Will Make Waves in NBA Camps
Sixty players saw their NBA dreams come true this past Thursday night at the 2010 NBA draft. Many more were left out in the cold.
While some prospects made NBA history—Latavious Williams was the first player in history to be drafted out of the D-League—others have now gone down in NBA infamy. (See: Scottie Reynolds, the first undrafted All-American in NBA history.)
Now, for the undrafted players to earn an NBA contract, they'll likely need to play their way into the league through Europe or the D-League.
Who are some of the big names that didn't get drafted on Thursday? Which players will you see tearing up the NBA summer league, or showing up in NBA training camps this fall?
Let's take a look at 10 undrafted players who you haven't heard the last of.
Scottie Reynolds, PG/SG, Villanova
Of anyone whose stock fell on Thursday, the most tragic story has to be that of Scottie Reynolds.
Reynolds may become the posterboy for the "leave college whenever your NBA draft stock gets high" camp. He turned down the NBA draft after a phenomenal freshman year, despite being in the lottery conversation, to come back and solidify his draft status as a sophomore.
While he led his Villanova squad to the Final Four in his junior year with one timely lay-up, Reynolds earned himself a reputation as a volume shooter during his college days. As scouts had more time to dissect Reynolds' game, they saw a combo guard who played too little defense and shot at too low of a percentage to justify a lofty draft status.
Reynolds may never evolve into an NBA All-Star, but he didn't dominate the Big East for four years without some basketball talent. As a career 37.2 percent three-point shooter, Reynolds has the scoring prowess to earn himself a bench role on an NBA squad if he can improve his efficiency, and he'll begin the process in the NBA summer league.
Current status: Reynolds will be playing for the Phoenix Suns in the NBA summer league, according to AZCentral.com.
Sherron Collins, PG, Kansas
Not only did an All-American in Reynolds go undrafted, but an NCAA champion went undrafted as well—the starting point guard for the 2008 Kansas Jayhawks, Sherron Collins.
While scouts were concerned with some of Reynolds' more technical basketball flaws, two things truly hampered Collins: his height and his weight. Collins only measured 5'11" in shoes, and ballooned up to 229 pounds after the season due to a groin injury suffered in an early NBA workout; both were red flags to any prospective organizations.
At his best, Collins has proven that he can be the floor general of a championship team; however, sub-6'0" guards need something special (or need to be Chris Paul) to survive in the league for very long.
If Collins can maintain his conditioning—and he should be able to, given that his entire life should be structured around making the NBA right now—he's got the talent to stick around as a backup or third-string point guard in the league.
Current status: Collins will be playing for the Charlotte Bobcats in the NBA summer league, according to Fox Sports' Jeff Goodman.
Jon Scheyer, SG, Duke
Collins wasn't the only undrafted NCAA champion in the 2010 draft class, as Jon Scheyer couldn't find a spot in the top 60 despite just winning an NCAA title two months ago.
Scheyer was one of Duke's resident three-point specialists, averaging 38 percent from downtown in his four years as a Blue Devil. He can handle the ball well for a shooting guard, conducting the offense at times for the Blue Devils, and can shoot from all over the court.
On the downside, he fits the stereotype of the average white unathletic shooter from Duke, as Scheyer's not going to out-jump Shannon Brown any time soon. Scheyer also sported a career 40.6 percent field goal percentage—a shockingly low value for such a solid three-point shooter.
Scheyer's Duke compatriot, J.J. Redick, just proved that the NBA has spots for semi-athletic white guys who highly specialize in shooting. If Scheyer can improve his efficiency, continue to add bulk to his 180-pound frame, and continue knocking down long-range shots, he's got the ability to make a splash in the NBA summer league and in a training camp.
Current status: Scheyer will be playing for the Washington Wizards in the NBA summer league, according to DraftExpress's Jonathan Givony.
Jerome Randle, PG, Cal
Much like Sherron Collins, Jerome Randle is a victim of his height (5'10") more than anything else.
In his junior season, Randle averaged a phenomenal 18 points, three rebounds, and five assists per game, shooting 50.1 percent from the field and 46.3 percent from three. This past year, Randle's averages dipped slightly (18.6 points, 2.1 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 45.7 FG percent, 40.3 3FG percent), but he led Cal in a surprise run to the Pac-10 tournament championship game, where they lost to the Sweet 16-bound Washington Huskies.
Randle's biggest disadvantage going forward will be his diminutive size—think a slightly larger Nate Robinson, except with much less scrappy defense. While Randle can shoot the lights out from three, would his defensive deficiencies outweigh his contributions on the offensive end?
Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress believes Randle will make an NBA roster this fall, and will be a "steal." As a third point guard option, or a rare sparkplug off the bench, Randle could carve his role in the league if he continues to step up his play on the defensive end.
Current status: Randle will be playing for the Washington Wizards in the NBA summer league, according to Givony.
Charles Garcia, PF, Seattle
For teams looking for a scrappy big man to make all the 50-50 plays, they should have invested a second-round pick in Charles Garcia.
The 6'10", 230-pound power forward averaged 18.7 points and 8.3 rebounds in only 26 minutes per game for Seattle this past season. Garcia's efficiency rivaled DeMarcus Cousins, the No. 5 overall pick, and has enough range on his shot to have gone 27.7 percent from downtown.
Garcia bounced around a few colleges before landing at Seattle, reportedly giving some teams pause. Had teams examined Garcia's game log from this past season, they'd also notice that Garcia struggled against Seattle's two toughest opponents (Oklahoma State and Washington), shooting 9-of-29 from the field overall.
Teams desperate for size should have Garcia on speed dial this fall, as he'll come as solid, young, cheap labor in a summer of overpaid free agents.
Current status: Garcia will be playing for the New York Knicks in the NBA summer league, according to TheKnicksBlog.com.
Matt Bouldin, PG, Gonzaga
Matt Bouldin didn't earn the hype of his peers, having played in a mid-major for his college career, but as the floor general for the oft-successful Gonzaga Bulldogs, Bouldin asserted himself as one of college basketball's best players.
Bouldin averaged 15.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 4.0 assists in just under 36 minutes for the 'Zags as a senior this past year. He averaged 38 percent shooting from downtown and 46.3 percent from the field over the course of his college career, demonstrating a clear ability to score multiple ways.
On the other hand, Bouldin doesn't have the defensive quickness to guard smaller guards, as he stands at 6'5", 210-pounds. (Someone like CP3 would have Bouldin weeping on the bench by halfway through the second quarter.) With NBA strength and conditioning coaches forcing him to follow a specific training regimen, Bouldin could work himself into NBA shape, but he's not there yet.
Still, there's something to be said about guys who can lead successful teams year after year, especially point guards who can average nearly five rebounds and four assists per game in college. Bouldin deserves a spot in an NBA camp this fall, and will likely bounce around the league for a few years in a worst case scenario.
Current status: Bouldin will be playing for the Chicago Bulls in the NBA summer league, according to SlipperStillFits.com.
Mikhail Torrance, PG, Alabama
Mikhail Torrance emerged as Alabama's starter in his senior year and had a breakout year as a result.
After never averaging more than 21.5 minutes per game in his first three years, Torrance began playing 32.6 minutes per game as a senior; he rewarded his coach's faith by averaging 15.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, 5.1 assists on 47 percent shooting. As a combo guard, the 6'5" Torrance has the size, speed, ball-handling ability, and passing skill to become a solid backup in the NBA.
On the other hand, scouts would be right to question why Torrance couldn't get off the bench during his first three years at Alabama; if he's really an extraordinary prospect, you've got to imagine his coach would get him in the game more often.
If Torrance were three inches shorter, his NBA dreams would likely be D.O.A.; however, the fact he's 6'5", 210 pounds and can play point guard will only help his case if he's going against guys like Stephen Curry in the NBA.
Brian Zoubek, C, Duke
After three and a half years of injuries and uninspired play at Duke, the 7'1" Brian Zoubek reinvented himself in the middle of his senior year and played an instrumental role in Duke's NCAA championship run this past April.
Zoubek broke his foot during summer league games in 2007, and then broke the same foot in January of 2008, leaving Duke fans to question whether they'd ever get a fully healthy effort from Zoubek. Despite having a 7'1", 260-pound frame, Zoubek could never assert his way into the starting lineup, understandably frustrating the Blue Devil faithful.
Then, in February against Maryland, Coach K inserted Zoubek into the starting lineup; in turn, Zoubek came up with 17 points and 16 rebounds in Duke's 77-56 destruction over their eventual co-ACC regular season champion. Coach K told Zoubek not to become a one-hit wonder, so Zoubek became Duke's best interior defender and defensive rebounder.
Personally, as a Sixers fan, I've been praying that Philly takes a shot on Zoubek, as 7'1", 260-pound guys who pride themselves on their rebounding ability don't come around every day. Zoubek could provide some much needed toughness off the bench for whichever squad he ends up on.
Current status: Zoubek will be playing for the New Jersey Nets in the NBA summer league, according to HoopsWorld.
Sylven Landesburg, PG, Virginia
Of all the surprise non-draftees on Thursday night, Sylven Landesberg and the final player on this list had to be two of the greatest shockers.
ESPN's John Hollinger ranked Landesburg No. 10 overall on his big board. While no other experts projected Landesburg as a lottery pick, most (if not all) projected him as an early-to-mid second rounder.
The projections were understandable; Landesburg had a phenomenal sophomore season for Virginia, averaging nearly 18 points, five rebounds, and three assists in only 32 minutes per game. Landesburg shot the three well (38.3 percent), but also uses his 6'6", 210-pound frame to get to the hoop routinely.
Landesburg didn't stand out defensively at Virginia, and he needs to continue working on his offensive game, but his size and ability to drive to the basket should earn him a few invitations to NBA training camps this fall. Of all the players on this list, Landesburg has one of the best chances of hanging around on an NBA roster this season.
Current status: Landesburg will be playing for the Sacramento Kingsin the NBA summer league.
Manny Harris, SG, Michigan
Along with Landesburg, Manny Harris among the most surprising omissions on draft night, as the Michigan junior proved to be an electric scorer over his three-year career.
Harris averaged 18.1 points, 6 rebounds, and 4.1 assists for Michigan this past season, and dropped a triple-double (18-13-10) against Northern Michigan in the Wolverines' first game of the season. Harris, like Landesburg, excels at driving to the rim, and can score from all over the floor.
At the same time, Harris' statistics suggest he's a shooting guard who can't actually shoot—he averaged 31.7 percent from downtown and 40.6 percent from the floor in his three years at Michigan. Harris needs to seriously improve his shooting consistency to have any shot at staying on an NBA roster.
While ESPN's John Hollinger had Harris ranked No. 24 on his Big Board, he ended up undrafted on Thursday night. If Harris can rein himself in and limit his poor shot selection, he'd have a chance at supplanting Delonte West. (You know, assuming the rumors are true after all…)
Current status: Harris will be playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA summer league, according to DetNews.com.