Undrafted NBA Free Agents 2017: Predictions for Top Prospects Available

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJune 23, 2017

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 24:  Johnathan Motley #5 of the Baylor Bears shoots the ball against the South Carolina Gamecocks during the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament East Regional at Madison Square Garden on March 24, 2017 in New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

John Starks, Ben Wallace and Brad Miller: What do they have in common?

In case the headline didn't give it away, all three players were undrafted free agents who eventually latched on with an NBA team.

More importantly, all three became All-Stars, and they each enjoyed long and prosperous NBA careers.

Therefore, all is not lost for those who didn't get a call on Thursday night.

Here's a look at the 2017 NBA draft board as well as analysis and predictions on three top prospects who didn't get picked.


NBA Draft Board

Johnathan Motley

Baylor power forward Johnathan Motley was the highest-ranked player on Jonathan Wasserman's big board to not get selected in the draft.

Motley was a force to be reckoned with for a Baylor team that had next to no expectations coming into the season (it didn't even receive a vote in the Associated Press preseason poll).

The 6'9", 230-pound player averaged 17.3 points and 9.9 rebounds for the Bears, who made the Sweet Sixteen before running into a buzzsaw (the scorching-hot South Carolina Gamecocks).

Motley had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in April, which hindered his draft stock. But, if he can return to his old form, then a lucky team will be getting a force to be reckoned with down low.

The guess as to who that lucky team will be? After throwing a dart on a board, the guess here is the Oklahoma City Thunder, who could use some more depth and toughness in the paint.


Isaiah Briscoe

Four Kentucky players averaged double digits in scoring last season. Three of them landed in the lottery, and the fourth didn't even get drafted.

Now, Isaiah Briscoe doesn't have the upside of De'Aaron Fox, Malik Monk or Bam Adebayo, but it's surprising that no team took a shot at him before the draft concluded.

The 6'3" sophomore guard averaged 12.1 points per game last year while shooting 47.0 percent from the field. However, Briscoe was ice-cold from the three-point line, making just 28.8 percent of his attempts. He also averaged just 63.5 percent from the charity stripe.

That's not going to cut it at the next level, but it's not like Briscoe is a four-year college player who never found his shooting stroke. He'll be just 21 when next season starts after having played two seasons in Lexington.

The Los Angeles Lakers seem like a good landing spot for Briscoe. Even with their drafting guards, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart, they still need players to fill their backcourt after D'Angelo Russell and Nick Young left. Briscoe can fill a reserve role as a combo guard.


Kennedy Meeks

Pardon the NCAA tournament bias for a moment. Yes, Kennedy Meeks is a 6'9", 280-pound big man who might have some trouble with taller, longer, leaner and more athletic power forwards and centers, but he was also fantastic when it counted the most.

Against lottery pick Adebayo and Kentucky in the Elite Eight, Meeks grabbed 17 rebounds and blocked four shots.

Against second-round pick Jordan Bell and Oregon in the Final Four, Meeks poured in 25 points and grabbed 14 rebounds alongside three steals.

Against 10th overall pick Zach Collins and Gonzaga in the national championship, Meeks got into foul trouble (like everyone else during an ugly affair) but still managed to grab 10 boards in 22 minutes.

Meeks improved mightily over his four years in Chapel Hill, and teams are sleeping on him a bit.

The Timberwolves should take a chance on Meeks and let him earn an opportunity to come off the bench as a frontcourt reserve.

Karl-Anthony Towns, Justin Patton and Gorgui Dieng will take up much of the time in the frontcourt next year, but Meeks could spell one of them, and the rebounding effort won't miss a beat.


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