NBA Free Agents 2011: 5 Undrafted Prospects That Should Get Signed
The goal of each and every college draft prospect is to be one of the 60 names called by either David Stern or fan-favorite Adam Silver on draft night.
Besides the glory, admiration and music videos that arise from first-round draft status, the all-important guaranteed contract may be the reason Stern becomes such a player favorite each and every NBA draft.
For those not fortunate enough to shake hands with the league commissioner, deputy commissioner Silver presents all second-round draft picks with their NBA destination.
But with hundreds of draft entries per year, what happens to those who do not find a home via the draft?
Surprisingly enough, for a late second round to undrafted prospect, the probability of sticking with a team through the Summer League, training camp and opening night actually increases if a player goes undrafted.
Well, in most cases, when a player goes undrafted, there are several teams that valued the player but decided to go in a different direction come draft night. When that player becomes a free agent, the player gains a bit of control over his destiny, and in most cases is able to choose from a selection of interested teams which best fit the player's skill set and the team's areas of need.
There are several cases of players going straight from undrafted on draft night, to immediate contributors with their first teams: Udonis Haslem, John Starks and Andres Nocioni would fit the bill.
With many college stars not hearing their names called on draft night, here are five undrafted prospects that should be signed.
5. Jereme Richmond
Does he deserve to be on this list?
Why is he on this list?
Potential. Potential. Potential.
Jereme Richmond has been in the center of the basketball universe ever since he chose to sign with the University of Illinois in the eighth grade.
Since then, the well-chronicled and strange story of Richmond has been one of a spoiled kid who believed he had a road paved with gold to NBA stardom and success.
Stories of fights with teammates and coaches, as well missed practices and inconsistent play, began to dim the lights of the freshman.
After leaving Illinois after one year, Richmond began to skip combine and individual workouts, turning the already-unproven Richmond into an unproven headcase, in the eyes of NBA general managers.
Needless to say, Richmond went undrafted.
So there's the negatives. If the NBA were a league that valued great character and responsibilities, Richmond would have no hope.
But in a league that values potential and wins, Richmond may offer the best risk/reward factor of any undrafted free agent.
Blessed with size, speed, an improving shooting stroke and ball-handling ability, Richmond, given time, could very well end up fulfilling the promise he once showed.
The question with Richmond is not whether or not he has NBA talent or not; rather, will his talent ever exceed the negatives he has shown all his life?
4. Terrence Jennings
Terrence Jennings just looks like an NBA player, doesn't he?
His size—6'10", 7' 2" wingspan—combined with his combine numbers—36" maximum vertical and 28.5 no step vertical—all point to a player who should have been drafted.
But, as is the case with many undrafted players, inconsistencies and disappointments at the college level were all too much for wingspans and verticals to overcome.
The bottom line with Jennings is he doesn't show or possess much of an offensive game whatsoever. He averaged only nine points per game last year at Louisville with an offensive repertoire that featured only putbacks and dunks.
Another alarm from Jennings comes in the fact he wasn't a high-volume rebounder.
Jennings will definitely be a project at the next level, but if he can find a way to turn his athleticism into production, Jennings could be a solid defensive presence and big man to run the floor.
3. David Lighty
In most cases when teams are searching for undrafted free agents, they look for players who can fill roles and become solid locker room presences.
With Bruce Bowen coming to mind, David Lighty would seem to fit the bill as an undrafted free agent who could one day become a rotational player for an NBA team.
As a senior at Ohio State, Lighty averaged 12 points, four rebounds and three assists on a nightly basis—nothing startling, but what will impress teams is the versatility Lighty showed throughout the year.
In addition to being a jack of all trades, Lighty was a leader of a winning program and a steadying influence, which one day should make for a good NBA locker room presence.
He will have to improve his shooting (43 percent from beyond the college three-point line) and show the ability to guard the bigger, faster, stronger two-guards of the NBA.
If he can do those things, Lighty could produce a solid NBA career.
2. Xavier Silas
If Keith Bogans can hold an NBA starting job, doesn't Xavier Silas at least deserve a shot at the association?
Silas is a shooter/scorer with good size and ball-handling ability.
A 22-points-per-game scorer for Northern Illinois, Silas had to shoulder the load and showed an ability to play a serviceable point, although he doesn't seem to posses the speed to garner time at the one in the NBA.
But with a premium on shooting, I was surprised Silas wasn't drafted by any teams. Concerns over athleticism as well as defensive abilities most likely played a role.
Silas appears to be a player who will continue to improve as a shooter and does show the size to be able to defend NBA two-guards. Given the right opportunity Silas could have a very Bogan-esque career (hey, its a career, isn't it?) .
1. Demetri McCamey
Following his junior year, Demetri McCamey was a borderline first-round pick or early second-round pick.
But after a disappointing senior season, McCamey fell to the world of undrafted free agent.
Attitude problems and a penchant to disappear for long stretches of games are some of the major negatives in the McCamey corner.
On the other hand, McCamey is a very heady player and was one of the best passers and floor generals in the Big Ten.
If McCamey can improve his three-point shooting, I see no reason why he can't turn into a borderline starter/backup point for years to come.
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