With only 60 draft picks there are some talented players who won’t get to hear their names called on draft night.
And thanks to some teams preferring to use their second round selections on European projects they can stash overseas for a couple years, there’s bound to be fans up in arms over some of the players who aren’t picked.
Here are some of the surprises from Thursday’s NBA Draft, including a point guard who some thought had a shot of getting into the first round at one point in time.
1. PG Scott Machado (Iona)
Machado not being drafted was a surprise, especially when his hometown Knicks could have used some help at the point with pick number 48. But the Knicks went in another direction, selecting small forward Kostas Papanikolaou instead. All Machado did last season was lead the nation in assists per game (9.9), and for a draft that so many said was weak at the point guard position it’s bizarre that he wasn’t picked.
2. SF Kevin Jones (West Virginia)
Have to wonder if the fact that Jones played power forward for much of his time in Morgantown hurt his draft prospects. But the fact remains that Jones averaged 19.9 points and 10.9 rebounds per game, and there were more than a few people who felt that he should have been Big East Player of the Year.
Is he in some regards a man without a position at the next level? That can definitely be argued, but given Jones’ production it’s hard to believe that no one felt compelled to draft him in the latter stages of the second round.
3. PF Drew Gordon (New Mexico)
Gordon’s career may not have gotten off to the best of starts at UCLA but he was highly productive in two seasons at New Mexico. Gordon averaged a double-double both seasons, leading the Lobos to the Mountain West tournament crown and a five-seed in the NCAA tournament last season. Having averaged 13.7 points and 11.1 rebounds per game, Gordon’s going to warrant a long look for a summer league spot.
4. PG Tu Holloway (Xavier)
Holloway’s senior season was short-circuited in some regards by the brawl between the Musketeers and rival Cincinnati in December. But in spite of his (and Xavier’s) mid-season issues they still reached the Sweet 16. Holloway averaged 17.5 points and 4.9 assists per game, and he’s a tough floor general who can get his own offense while running a team.
5. SG William Buford (Ohio State)
Buford returned to school looking to redeem himself from his offensive performance in Ohio State’s Sweet 16 loss to Kentucky. But while he left Columbus as one of the school’s all-time leading scorers Buford’s shooting percentages dropped considerably, as he shot 42% from the field and 36% from three. If Buford can show himself to be a consistent shooter on a summer league team he could earn a training camp spot.
The good news for these players (and the others who weren’t drafted) is that they’ll get chances to prove themselves in the NBA Summer League.
While draft night is the “glamorous” way in which to enter the NBA, there’s no rule saying that an undrafted free agent can’t play their way in.
Plus, going undrafted allows players to find the situation that best fits their skill set while also giving them the best chance to make a roster.