Undrafted NBA Free Agents 2019: Latest Details on Top Rookie Signings

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJune 21, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 29:  Justin Robinson #5 of the Virginia Tech Hokies passes the ball during the East Regional game of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament against the Duke Blue Devils at Capital One Arena on March 29, 2019 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

The odds are significantly stacked against undrafted players eventually carving out successful NBA careers, but there's precedent to get it done.

No one picked Ben Wallace out of Virginia Union University in 1996, and all he did was play 16 NBA seasons, make five All-NBA teams and win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award four times. Bruce Bowen was a key cog on three NBA championship teams for the San Antonio Spurs and made eight All-NBA Defensive teams.

The examples continue, including 16-year veteran and three-time NBA champion Udonis Haslem and 13-year NBA vet J.J. Barea.

The bottom line is that some undrafted players have enjoyed better careers than No. 1 overall picks. It's uncommon, of course, but it wouldn't be shocking to see any of the players listed below carve out solid NBA careers.

Here's a look at some top undrafted players and their NBA destinations.

     

Tyus Battle (Syracuse, G, Junior)

Syracuse guard Tyus Battle will join the Minnesota Timberwolves after agreeing to a deal, per The Athletic's Jon Krawczysnki

Battle's career trajectory went the wrong way during his three years at Syracuse. He looked like a potential star after averaging 11.3 points and shooting 36.6 percent from three-point range. 

As a sophomore, Battle's scoring average went up (19.2 points per game), but his shooting percentage went from 43.3 percent to 39.9 percent. Last season was a mixed bag for the New Jersey native with 17.2 points per game, but his 32.1 three-point percentage was the worst of his three-year college tenure. 

Scouts weren't enamored with Battle as an NBA prospect leading up to the draft, per The Athletic's Seth Davis

“I’m not a big fan. I don’t know what he does at a high level. He’s an average shooter, average athlete, average playmaker. He’s a decent finisher but, he’ll have to become a three-and-D guy. His shooting range definitely has to improve. Despite the fact that he played at Syracuse, he could be a really, really good defender. Probably somewhere in the second round, or he could go undrafted.”

The Timberwolves will give Battle a chance to prove his skills are better than average as he attempts to carve out an NBA career. 

Terry Harris (North Carolina A&T, G/F, Senior)

North Carolina A&T's Terry Harris has agreed to a deal to play with the Philadelphia 76ers' summer league team, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium. 

Harris is the younger brother of Tobias Harris, who is due to become a free agent next week after finishing last season with the Sixers.

Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer noted on June 3 that Harris was one of six players the 76ers hosted at their first pre-draft workout. 

The younger Harris had an eventful college career. He played for three different schools, including Houston Baptist and Eastern Baptist before landing at North Carolina A&T last year. The senior averaged 8.1 points and 2.8 rebounds in 32 games during the 2018-19 campaign. 

Robert Franks (Washington State, F, Senior)

Washington State forward Robert Franks agreed to a two-way deal with the Charlotte Hornets, per Charania

Franks has the potential to carve out an NBA career as a specialist off the bench thanks to his shooting prowess. The Washington native made 40.2 percent of his three-point attempts over the past two seasons. 

The Hornets need help throughout their roster, especially if Kemba Walker doesn't re-sign. Franks can compete for a spot on the roster if he has a strong summer and training camp. 

Zach Norvell (Gonzaga, G, Sophomore)

Gonzaga sophomore Zach Norvell has joined the new-look Los Angeles Lakers on a two-way contract, per Charania

Norvell was a key piece of Gonzaga's rotation the past two seasons. He averaged 13.8 points and 4.1 rebounds while shooting 37 percent from three-point range in 74 college games. 

Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype highlighted the things Norvell does that could make him a fit for the Lakers roster:

One reason the Lakers missed the playoffs last season is because they didn't have shooters around LeBron James. Norvell has shown the ability to make shots from behind the arc in his college career and will have an opportunity to prove that can translate to the NBA this summer and in training camp.

Fletcher Magee (Wofford, G, Senior)

Wofford star Fletcher Magee is joining the Milwaukee Bucks for summer league, per Charania

Magee became the NCAA Division I record-holder for career three-pointers made in his four years at Wofford. The 22-year-old made 509 shots from behind the arc in 134 games. 

The Bucks could be a perfect landing spot for Magee if he's able to make their NBA roster. Head coach Mike Budenholzer's system revolves around Giannis Antetokounmpo, who commands so much attention that it leaves open threes available to his teammates. 

JaKeenan Gant (Louisiana, F, Senior)

Louisiana forward JaKeenan Gant agreed to an Exhibit 10 with the Indiana Pacers, per The Athletic's Michael Scotto

Gant had a steady progression throughout his college career before becoming one of the best scorers in the country in 2018-19. He transferred to the school after the 2015-16 season following two years at Missouri. 

Last season saw Gant average 20.5 points and 8.7 rebounds in 31 games. He also shot a career-high 37.5 percent from three-point range. 

An Exhibit 10 contract can be converted to a two-way contract before the first day of the regular season. It also allows a player to receive a bonus up to $50,000 if he signs with a parent team's G League affiliate upon being released and remains with the club for at least 60 days. 

Sagaba Konate (West Virginia, F, Junior)

West Virginia forward Sagaba Konate has joined the newly-crowned NBA champion Toronto Raptors, per Scotto

Konate's gamble to declare for the draft after being limited to just eight games in 2018-19 due to a knee injury that was initially expected to keep him out for two to four weeks.

Even though Konate didn't get the chance to hear his name called during Thursday's draft, he landed in a terrific situation with the Raptors. Few organizations in the NBA are better at developing young talent than they are. Fred VanVleet went from being an undrafted free agent to a key contributor during their run to the NBA title. 

Konate was averaging 13.6 points and 8.0 rebounds last season before injuring his knee. 

Kris Wilkes (UCLA, F, Sophomore)

UCLA forward Kris Wilkes has signed a two-way deal with the New York Knicks, according to ESPN's Tim Bontemps.

Wilkes averaged 17.4 points on 43.3 percent shooting and 4.8 rebounds during his final UCLA season.

The 6'6", 210-pound ex-Bruin impressed at the NBA Scouting Combine, per ESPN's Jonathan Givony:

Wilkes couldn't find a much better landing spot than the young and rebuilding Knicks, where he can carve out some playing time. It wouldn't be a surprise to see him on the active roster this season if he begins to fulfill the potential Givony referenced.

                   

Justin Robinson (Virginia Tech, G, Senior)

The Washington Wizards agreed with Virginia Tech guard Justin Robinson on a multiyear contract with a "substantial guarantee," per Charania.

Robinson averaged 13.5 points on 47.3 percent shooting and 5.0 assists for the Hokies during his senior season. He was limited to 24 games after suffering an injured left foot.

The 6'2", 195-pound point guard may find a role on Washington, who will be without starting floor general John Wall to start the season as he recovers from a ruptured Achilles tendon.

           

Dean Wade (Kansas State, F, Senior)

The Cleveland Cavaliers inked Kansas State senior forward Dean Wade to a two-way contract, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

Wade suffered numerous foot injuries that limited him to 25 games and forced him to miss the Big 12 tournament and NCAA tournament.

His numbers dipped from his junior to senior seasons: Wade posted 16.2 points on 55.0 percent shooting during his third KSU campaign before averaging 12.9 points on 49.2 percent shooting last season.

                    

Jalen Lecque (Brewster Academy, PG)

The Phoenix Suns agrred with Brewster Academy point guard Jalen Lecque on a four-year undrafted free-agent deal, per Charania.

Lecque, a 4-star recruit who ranks 40th in 247Sports' class of 2019 composite rankings, committed to play basketball at North Carolina State. However, he decided to skip college for the NBA draft, an option the 19-year-old had after a fifth year in high school.

Per Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman, Lecque had the No. 1 vertical at the NBA Scouting Combine at 43 inches.

      

Zylan Cheatham (Arizona State, F, Senior)

Arizona State junior forward Zylan Cheatham is a New Orleans Pelican as an undrafted free agent, per HoopsHype's Alex Kennedy.

Cheatham averaged 12.1 points and 10.3 rebounds during his lone season at ASU. He transferred to Bobby Hurley's program after two years with the San Diego State Aztecs. Wasserman wrote that Cheatham "could have something to offer right away in terms of energy and hustle."

     

Marques Bolden (Duke, C, Junior)

Duke center Marques Bolden agreed to a deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to Kennedy.

Bolden had 5.3 points on 72.6 percent shooting, 4.5 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 19.1 minutes per game during his junior season.

The rebuilding Cavs are stockpiling young talent, and Bolden could find his way into the rotation on a team years away from contending again. Kevin Love and Larry Nance are the only Cavs big men under contract in two years.

      


Naz Reid (LSU, F/C, Freshman)

LSU big man Naz Reid is a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves after agreeing to a two-way contract, per Charania.

The 6'10", 240-pound Reid averaged 13.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. The big man also showcased his range, hitting 33.3 percent of his three-pointers.

Reid is an excellent fit on a Timberwolves team that could be looking for more youth and depth in the frontcourt around franchise center Karl-Anthony Towns.

      

Luguentz Dort (Arizona State, G, Freshman)

Arizona State freshman guard Luguentz Dort agreed to a full two-way contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder, according to ESPN's Jonathan Givony.

Dort averaged 16.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists during his lone season at ASU.

Numerous basketball analysts were surprised Dort did not get drafted, including Doug Haller of The Athletic. The rest of the NBA's loss could be Oklahoma City's gain, however: Wasserman ranked him 33rd on his final big board.

     

Jaylen Hoard (Wake Forest, F, Freshman)

Wake Forest freshman forward Jaylen Hoard signed a two-way contract with the Portland Trail Blazers, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

The 6'8" Hoard averaged 13.1 points and 7.6 rebounds in his lone season for the Demon Deacons.

The 5-star recruit was ranked 24th overall and sixth among small forwards on 247Sports' list of the top class of 2018 prospects.

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