Tacko Fall, Brian Bowen and the Top 2019 Undrafted NBA Free-Agent Prospects

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 21, 2019

Central Florida center Tacko Fall (24) listens to instructions during a timeout in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Cincinnati Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, in Orlando, Fla. Cincinnati won 49-38. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

There were 60 players selected in the 2019 NBA draft, but teams still left off some notable players who could make a difference at the next level.

From past stars like Ben Wallace to current contributors like Fred VanVleet and Bryn Forbes, several players have shown you can be successful in the NBA even after going undrafted. Everyone wants to go in the lottery, but it's clearly not the end of the world.

Here are the top players who went undrafted in Thursday's draft.

       

  • Naz Reid, C, LSU
  • Jontay Porter, C, Missouri
  • Brian Bowen, SF, Sydney Kings
  • Tacko Fall, C, UCF
  • Luguentz Dort, SG, Arizona State
  • Shamorie Ponds, SG, St. John's
  • Jared Harper, PG, Auburn
  • Dedric Lawson, PF, Kansas
  • Ethan Happ, PF, Wisconsin
  • Ky Bowman, PG, Boston College
  • Terence Davis, SG, Ole Miss
  • Louis King, SF, Oregon
  • Zylan Cheatham, PF, Arizona State

       

Potential Sleepers

Naz Reid, C, LSU

In the modern NBA, teams want centers who can score from anywhere on the court, and that's what Naz Reid provides.

The 6'10" center averaged 13.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game this past season at LSU, knocking down 33 percent of his shots from beyond the arc. Although consistency was a problem, he was nearly unguardable at times with a high release point that is difficult to stop.

At just 19 years old, there is still a lot of potential for him to improve his shot selection and defense.

Matt Norlander of CBS Sports has high hopes for the big man:

He signed a two-way contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves, per Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic, so he can prove a lot of people wrong if he develops like he can.

       

Jontay Porter, C, Missouri

After Michael Porter Jr. missed nearly all of the 2017-18 season for Missouri with a back injury, his brother Jontay Porter missed all of 2018-19 with a torn ACL.

The reality is the younger Porter would have likely been drafted last season if he had declared, potentially in the first round. The talent is still there, and a team just has to wait for him to be healthy.

At his best, the 6'11" center showed he can be an elite shot-blocker averaging 1.7 blocks per game as a freshman. He also showed a lot of offensive versatility while averaging 9.9 points per game while shooting 36.4 percent from three-point range.

This skill set would be exciting if he ever gets back to full strength.

        

Brian Bowen, SF, Sydney Kings

It's been a long path for Brian Bowen, who was initially committed to Louisville but was ineligible to play after his father allegedly took $100,000 to get his son to go to the school.

He tried to continue his career in Australia, where he averaged 6.5 points and 3.0 rebounds per game for the Sydney Kings.

Despite the modest statistics, he got decent playing time on a team filled with older players, including Andrew Bogut.

It's also important to remember Bowen was considered a 5-star prospect out of high school thanks to his smooth scoring ability. If he gets an opportunity to prove himself in Summer League, the wing can put the past two years behind him.

    

Tacko Fall, C, UCF

It's impossible to miss Tacko Fall, measuring at 7'7" in shoes at the combine with a wingspan of 8'2½", setting a record for both.

This alone might've been a lottery pick a few decades ago, but there are now questions about how he will fit in with the speed of the current NBA.

Of course, he doesn't have to be a full-time player to make a difference. Fall showed his skill throughout his career at UCF, averaging 10.1 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game over the four years. 

In the NCAA tournament, he even showed he can cause problems for Zion Williamson:

It seems like some team should have at least used a second-round pick on him.

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