At any given time, 15 percent or more of the NBA is made up of players who were not drafted, but played their way onto rosters (sometimes after a few years in Europe to improve their game).
Thursday night 60 men were drafted into the NBA fraternity, but here are four players who did not hear their name called who could find their way into the league.
• Gary Payton II, 6’3” point guard (Oregon State). The Houston Rockets already signed him to a three-year (non-guaranteed) contract, which was smart. Payton has impressive speed and fantastic body control, which combined with good handles lets him drive through defenses and get to the rim. He’s a strong pick-and-roll ball handler. He’s not the defender his father was (who is?), but he’s good, particularly off the ball. He needs to work on his jumper, but this is a guy who just gets the game.
• Robert Carter, 6’9” power forward (Maryland). He has already reached a deal with the Golden State Warriors, a non-guaranteed contract that gets him to camp. Carter knows how to score the ball and has the kind of jumper that can make him a good pick-and-roll big in the NBA because he can pop out, not just roll. He also is physically strong and is long with a 7’3” wingspan. There’s a lot of potential, but right now he is a defensive liability and needs to improve on that end to stick.
• Prince Ibeh, 6’11” center (Texas). He will be playing in Summer League for the Bucks, trying to catch on. A strong defensive big man for the Longhorns, the London native can defend bigs in the post and protect the rim (plus he can defend the pick-and-roll fairly well). He’s a good rebounder on both ends of the floor, and he moves fairly well for a man his size. Just don’t expect any offense, he can finish at the rim but that’s it. If he can be developed, he could become a rotation big.
• Wayne Selden, 6’6” shooting guard (Kansas). Seen as a potential “3&D” guy if he develops, but there is a lot of work to do. He has a good physical profile, and he shot 38 percent from three last season, but is considered a streaky shooter. He’s an average athlete at the NBA level, and because his handles aren’t great, he can’t create his own shot. There are questions about his ability to develop into a role in the NBA, but surprised he didn’t at least get a shot.