7 Undrafted Free Agents to Watch in 2015-16 NBA Training Camp
Going undrafted doesn't mean the NBA dream is over. We see undrafted players make rosters every year. And a handful of them manage to secure legitimate rotation spots.
Langston Galloway, Tarik Black and Jabari Brown were just a few from last season.
Of course, the fit has to be right. Each of the following prospects offers something specific, whether it's upside, shooting ability or energy, that their training-camp team must value.
These potential rookies have all signed partially guaranteed deals and will be players to watch over the next few weeks as they look to make an NBA roster.
Terran Petteway, Atlanta Hawks, SG
Inefficiency and shot selection likely had something to do with Terran Petteway going undrafted. He shot below 40 percent from the field and 33 percent from deep in 2014-15.
But it's tough to just ignore Petteway's terrific skill level and versatility, as well as the volume production he put up as a junior and senior at Nebraska.
He averaged at least 18 points in each of his final two seasons.
Jason Richardson's retirement may have opened the door for the undrafted rookie.
Petteway's appeal ultimately stems from his ability to generate offense, whether it's one-on-one as a scorer or in the pick-and-roll game, where he's proved he can handle the ball and make plays off the dribble.
Petteway is a strong shot-creator capable of catching fire and taking over stretches. The key for him will be learning to play within an Atlanta offense that likes to move the ball.
With only Kent Bazemore available to back up Thabo Sefolosha, the Hawks don't have much firepower at the 3 position. Cue Petteway, whose selling point is his knack for getting buckets.
Cliff Alexander, Portland Trail Blazers, PF
Despite a disappointing freshman year at Kansas, where he was ruled ineligible for the final nine games after an up-and-down first few months, Cliff Alexander going undrafted was a shocker.
He was a consensus top-five recruit (ESPN, Rivals, 247Sports) out of high school. And though clearly raw at the offensive end, Alexander's monster athleticism and bounce still translated to activity and production: 16.2 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks per 40 minutes in 2014-15. Plus, at 19 years old, the room for growth and improvement is there.
Though Alexander doesn't quite pack the upside many once thought he offered, his strengths could certainly hold value in an energizer role that asks him to run the floor, rebound and finish.
Meyers Leonard, Ed Davis and Noah Vonleh may make it difficult for Alexander to crack the roster, but if it doesn't work out in Portland, chances are someone else will give him a look.
Ryan Boatright, Brooklyn Nets, PG
Going undrafted may have ultimately been a blessing in disguise for Ryan Boatright. He couldn't have landed in a better spot than Brooklyn, where the Nets lack both depth and firepower in the backcourt.
Though undersized (6'0") with more of a shoot-first mentality, Boatright's quickness, athleticism and track record as a shooter suggest his playmaking and shot-making skills can translate.
He knocked down 43.1 percent of his threes in summer league after making 86 of them at a 41.1 percent clip as a senior at Connecticut. Physical limitations and questionable point guard instincts clearly lower his ceiling, but Boatright's ability to make things happen should hold value to a team that dresses Jarrett Jack, Shane Larkin, Bojan Bogdanovic and Wayne Ellington as its top four guards (assuming Joe Johnson plays small forward).
Boatright, who signed a two-year, partially guaranteed deal with the Nets, could have a legitimate chance to make the team and even eventually crack the rotation. Among those who didn't hear their names called in June, Boatright has as good of a shot as anyone to land an NBA job next year.
Corey Hawkins, Miami Heat, SG
Though he doesn't quite project as the 20.9-point-per-game scorer he was at UC Davis, Corey Hawkins does offer shooting and shot-making-specialist potential.
His numbers were flat-out ridiculous in 2014-15—he knocked down 81 threes at a scorching 48.8 percent clip.
Considering the Heat finished No. 24 in the league in three-point percentage a year ago, Hawkins will be a player to watch in Miami's training camp.
However, he can also create and pass to a degree, having averaged at least three assists per game in each of his final three seasons.
"I pride myself on my passing, being able to make the right reads, find open guys, just playing extremely hard," Hawkins told Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
Unfortunately, the Heat are loaded with guards, but given his basketball genes (he's the son of Hersey Hawkins, former NBA All-Star) and volume college production, Hawkins will still be one of the more interesting undrafted free agents to follow in camp.
Treveon Graham, Utah Jazz, SG/SF
The Jazz signed Treveon Graham to a three-year, partially guaranteed deal after nobody chose to draft him.
He had a solid all-around senior year at VCU, where he averaged 16.2 points and shot 38.1 percent from deep.
During training camp, Graham will be looking to sell Utah's coaching staff on his role-player potential, which is fueled by his ability to score and shoot within the flow of an offense. He knocks down jumpers off spot-ups and movement and capitalizes opportunistically on open lanes as a driver.
At 6'6", 220 pounds, Graham also happens to rebound noticeably well for his position (9.7 boards per 40 minutes in 2014-15).
Based on who the team has brought into camp, he could have a real opportunity in Utah, as ProBasketballTalk's Dan Feldman points out: "The Jazz have 13 players with guaranteed salaries. Graham will compete with four players on fully unguaranteed deals—Christopher Johnson, Jack Cooley, Elijah Millsap and Bryce Cotton—for the final two regular-season roster spots."
Christian Wood, Philadelphia 76ers, PF
Having emerged as a talking point in the first-round conversation for most of his sophomore year, it was a stunner to see Christian Wood go undrafted.
He'd seemingly broken out as a must-watch prospect at UNLV, where he averaged a double-double (15.7 points, 10 rebounds per game) and blocked 2.7 shots per game. Wood exploded a number of times throughout the 2014-15 season, having gone for 24 points against Arizona, 29 at Wyoming, 31 at Air Force and 28 against Nevada in the conference tournament.
A bouncy 6'11" athlete, Wood flashed unique two-way versatility, with the ability to face up and attack, stretch the floor as a spot-up shooter (25 threes made in 2014-15) and even provide some weak-side rim protection.
Though he'll need a few years to build up his 220-pound frame and overall offensive game, Wood's upside remains fairly enticing. The potential reward he offers long term should ultimately be worth waiting on for Philadelphia.
Jonathan Holmes, Los Angeles Lakers, SF/PF
Though the addition of Metta World Peace may have hurt Jonathan Holmes' chances of making the Los Angeles Lakers' roster, some team is bound to have him on its radar.
At 6'9", 242 pounds, Holmes projects as a stretch 4 who can shoot the three and guard multiple positions.
For what it's worth, he passes the NBA role-player eye test from both a physical and mental perspective. Holmes is tough, and at Texas, he showed a willingness to adapt to a lesser role for the benefit of the offense.
Even if he fails to stick with the Lakers out of training camp, Holmes will remain a prospect to monitor, both for fans and general managers.