Top Undrafted Players from 2018 NBA Draft

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterJune 23, 2018

Top Undrafted Players from 2018 NBA Draft

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Every year, undrafted prospects find their way to NBA rosters by making impressions during summer league, training camp and G League play. 

    Luke Kornet, Kobi Simmons, Rodney Purvis, Antonio Blakeney and Antonius Cleveland are a few from last season who can attest. 

    Fit and opportunity play big roles. Players who aren't drafted clearly have limitations and need to land with teams that need their specific strengths.

    These are our top 10 prospects whom nobody picked Thursday night, and all will have the chance to finish 2019 on NBA teams.

    Rankings differ from draft projections.

10. Brandon McCoy (UNLV, C, Freshman)

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    Otto Kitsinger/Associated Press

    Final mock draft prediction: Undrafted

    Current status: Milwaukee Bucks, presumably summer league/training camp

    Nobody selected Brandon McCoy despite the fact that he averaged 16.9 points and 10.3 rebounds per game as a freshman and went for 33 points and 10 boards against former Arizona star Deandre Ayton, the draft's No. 1 pick.

    He can blame the evolution of an NBA game that now favors bigs who can stretch the floor and switch defensively. McCoy isn't a shooter or even a good shot-blocker.

    It doesn't mean strong interior-oriented offensive players can't carve out roles. At 7'0 ½", 250.4 pounds, McCoy is a presence around the basket, particularly as an offensive rebounder. A team looking to beef up its front line could consider him for his potential to give it second-chance points and easy baskets off low-post moves, finishes and pick-and-rolls.

    He did show some mid-range touch as a freshman, something he'll have to build on. And since it's unlikely he'll ever guard the perimeter, it's imperative he improves his timing and reads in rim protection. 

    For the Milwaukee Bucks, whom he'll join, per Yahoo Sports' Shams Charania, it was worth bringing in McCoy to see how much he's added to his game since March. 

9. Dakota Mathias (Purdue, SG, Senior)

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    Steven Ryan/Getty Images

    Final mock draft prediction: Undrafted

    Current status: Cleveland Cavaliers, presumably summer league/training camp

    Dakota Mathias wasn't expected to hear his name called Thursday night. But it wasn't surprising to learn how quickly he found a team to bring him in.

    He's been one of the country's most accurate shooters over the last two seasons, making 168 of 365 three-point attempts (46 percent) since the start of his junior year.

    In 2017-18, he ranked in the 97th percentile in points per possession on jump shots off the dribble while making 43.9 percent of his catch-and-shoot chances.

    And though he's not known for being an offensive creator, he also ranked in the 87th percentile as a pick-and-roll scorer and the 93rd percentile as a ball-screen passer.

    Over the years, Mathias became a tough, hardworking defender and earned the coveted three-and-D label. 

    He will now have the opportunity in Cleveland to outwork and outshoot his competition in summer league and training camp. 

8. Theo Pinson (North Carolina, SG/SF, Senior)

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Final mock draft prediction: Undrafted

    Current status: Brooklyn Nets, two-way contract

    Theo Pinson was a late addition to the NBA combine invite list, and there appeared to be a slight chance over the last month that one team might take him late in the second round.

    He remains intriguing for his two-way versatility in a lineup that can surround him with scorers. Pinson can't get his own, but his 6.5 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.404 points per possession as a cutter highlight the ancillary services he offers.

    At 6'6 ¾", he can also guard both wing positions.

    Pinson's ceiling is capped at role player as a 22-year-old non-scorer. But the right fit could optimize his particular supporting-cast strengths.

    After going undrafted, he'll sign a two-way contract with the Brooklyn Nets, per ESPN's Jonathan Givony.

7. Trevon Duval (Duke, PG, Freshman)

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    Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

    Final mock draft prediction: No. 52

    Current status: Houston Rockets, summer league

    Once the nation's top high school point guard, Trevon Duval has suddenly become college basketball's next undrafted freshman. 

    Length, athleticism and passing weren't enough to interest any team Thursday night. Duval's troubles scoring and shooting proved to be too problematic for NBA evaluators. 

    But he's also 19 years old with impressive tools and speed, and he still averaged 5.6 assists per game, showing the ability to break down defenses and find teammates. He ranked in the 95th percentile as a pick-and-roll passer.

    The window isn't closed on Duval, though he must improve his jump shot and his one-on-one shot creation. 

    He'll get his first crack at making a roster with the Houston Rockets, per Charania.

6. Allonzo Trier (Arizona, SG, Junior)

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Final mock draft prediction: Undrafted

    Current status: New York Knicks, two-way contract

    Allonzo Trier had his best season at Arizona in 2017-18, producing efficiently across the board with averages of 18.1 points, 3.2 assists and 2.1 threes per game on 62.0 percent shooting inside the arc, 38.0 percent from three and 86.5 percent from the free-throw line.

    He even measured in at 6'5 ¼" and had a 40-inch max vertical at the combine.

    Fit was the likely issue scouts saw with Trier. He could score in college, but will he able to contribute within an NBA offense when he isn't a featured option?

    It's worth finding out. Spotting up off the ball, Trier ranked in the 86th percentile, having converted 10 of 24 pull-ups when run off the line and 11 of 14 drives.

    He was also terrific as a pick-and-roll ball-handler, finishing in the 90th percentile.

    Trier won't be the same go-to player he was for the Wildcats. But second units could value his ability to create and make shots, even if it means putting him on a shorter leash to stop the bleeding on nights when his shot selection and jumper are off.

    He will start his journey with the New York Knicks on a two-way contract, per Charania

5. Gary Clark (Cincinnati, PF, Senior)

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    Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

    Final mock draft prediction: No. 56

    Current status: Houston Rockets, two-way contract

    The fact that Gary Clark turns 24 years old in November didn't bode well for his draft stock. He's also undersized (6'8") for a player whose game mirrors a center in today's NBA.

    The right team may be able to get something out of him, though. The AAC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, Clark made a tremendous impact without needing to score. And that's what his calling would be in the pros.

    Per 40 minutes, he averaged 12.2 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.7 blocks. He's tough on the interior, but he also showed some improved shooting touch last season, having made 27 of 62 threes and 74.1 percent of his free throws.

    Playing to his strengths as a defensive specialist and hustler now and a potential shooter down the road, Clark could have a chance to stick in a supporting role. His first opportunity will come with the Houston Rockets, per ESPN's Chris Haynes.

4. Jaylen Barford (Arkansas, SG, Senior)

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    Michael Woods/Associated Press

    Final mock draft prediction: Undrafted

    Current status: Minnesota Timberwolves, presumably summer league/training camp

    Jaylen Barford wasn't often mentioned in the NBA draft discussion—until he won MVP of the Portsmouth Invitational in April and earned himself an invite to the NBA combine.

    He didn't do enough there, but he still looked like he belonged during scrimmages with other first- and second-round picks from Thursday night.

    Undersized at 6'2 ¼" as a 2-guard who isn't super explosive, it's understandable why NBA teams would be hesitant on the 22-year-old former junior college transfer.

    But he's become a prolific shooter, having made 2.5 threes per game at a 43.1 percent clip last season. He's also shown more creativity with his offense, ranking in the 90th percentile as a pick-and-roll ball-handler and the 80th percentile in isolation. 

    It looks like he'll have a chance to turn some heads with the Minnesota Timberwolves, according to his Facebook page.

3. Rawle Alkins (Arizona, SG, Sophomore)

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    Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

    Final mock draft prediction: No. 45

    Current status: Toronto Raptors, summer league/training camp

    After testing the waters in 2017 and returning to school as a sophomore, Rawle Alkins failed to take the steps scouts were asking for. 

    Per 40 minutes, his numbers were roughly the same (16.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists), and the inconsistent impact continued to frustrate, particularly for a second-year player.

    There is still hope, however, as Alkins has an NBA body, three-level scoring ability and enough toughness to interest the right head coach. 

    At this stage, he doesn't have one signature bankable skill. He'll have to sharpen each one, from his handle to his jumper, to become a big enough threat in the half court. But a skill set that features drives, pull-ups and spot-up shooting is in place. And when locked in, he's shown he can defend.

    Alkins will hope to make an impression this summer in Toronto, where, according to Sports Illustrated's Jeremy Woo, he'll participate in training camp.        

2. Kenrich Williams (TCU, SF, Senior)

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    Brody Schmidt/Associated Press

    Final mock draft prediction: No. 43

    Current status: Denver Nuggets, summer league/training camp 

    There isn't anything sexy about Kenrich Williams' game or age. He's a 23-year-old wing who just averaged 13.2 points per game as a senior.

    He's also a potential fit for the right team. Williams shot 39.5 percent from three and grabbed 9.3 rebounds, dished out 3.9 assists and racked up 1.8 steals per game.

    He'll never be a high-level shot-creator, but the role he'll fill won't ask him to be one. A deep team could use Williams' shot-making, passing and nose for the ball as glue between its featured scorers and playmakers. 

    According to SNY's Adam Zagoria, TCU head coach Jamie Dixon said his first chance to make an impression will come in summer league with the Denver Nuggets, who we predicted would take Williams in the second round.

1. Malik Newman (Kansas, SG, Sophomore)

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    Nati Harnik/Associated Press

    Final mock draft prediction: No. 46

    Current status: Los Angeles Lakers, two-way contract

    It's been a roller-coaster three years from Malik Newman, a projected lottery pick entering his freshman campaign at Mississippi State. Questions popped up, Newman transferred to Kansas, sat out a season and then resurfaced in the NBA draft discussion after a monster NCAA tournament. 

    It apparently wasn't monster enough—Newman didn't get picked Thursday despite averaging 21.6 points through March Madness in a five-game run that peaked with a 32-point outburst in an 85-81 win over No. 2 seed Duke.

    Since Newman's arrival at college, it became clear that he wasn't the lead guard he was billed as out of high school. But his scoring ability was presumed to still draw interest from teams in the second round.

    Instead, he'll try to stick as a two-way contract player for the Lakers, per Charania.

    Newman should still have a chance to carve out a role and career as a streak-scoring combo off the bench.


    Stats are courtesy of Synergy Sports.