At any given time, around 15% of NBA rosters are made up of guys who went undrafted. These are really talented guys — Jeremy Lin, Udonis Haslem, JJ Barea — that teams just had not caught up with. Or who had questions about parts of their game but go on to prove they can fix or overcome those issues.
That was also true of the wide-open 2020 NBA Draft; some outstanding players got passed over.
Here are five players to watch who went undrafted.
• Devon Dotson, 6’2″ point guard, Kansas. The Chicago Bulls quickly jumped in and signed Dotson to a two-way contract. He was the engine behind the powerhouse Kansas offense last season, averaging 18.1 points and 4.1 assists a game. Dotson is one of the quickest players in the draft with the ball in his hands, he is fantastic in transition and can blow by a defender in the halfcourt without a screen and get to the rim. Teams seemed overly concerned about his shooting and passing skills, but with a little development Dotson would make a fantastic change-of-pace point guard off the bench.
• Killian Tillie, 6’10” power forward, Gonzaga. He is reportedly signing a two-way contract with Memphis. The big man out of France, via the Pacific Northwest, should be a perfect fit in the modern NBA: He’s got good size, shot 40% from three last season, is a solid defender, and he’s a high IQ player with a good feel for the game. What held teams back is he’s not athletic by NBA standards, and may have been slowed by a litany of injuries while at Gonzaga, including to feet and knees (a concern area for big men). Still a good roll of the dice by Memphis.
• Mason Jones, 6’5″ shooting guard, Arkansas. The Houston Rockets are reportedly going to sign him after he went under the radar. He’s got NBA size, and he plays with an intensity and energy that makes up for average athleticism. He’s decisive with the ball (something hard to find in rookies) and is good at finishing around the rim. Teams were concerned that his athleticism is not enough for the NBA (more G-League), but he’s the kind of player a coach would love. He deserves the chance to figure it out.
• Ty-Shon Alexander, 6’3″ guard, Creighton. He projects as a 3&D combo guard. With a 6’8″ wingspan, he is a powerful defender, particularly on-ball, plus shot 39.9% from three last season. He’s the kind of pesky defender that never quits and gets under opponents’ skin. However, some scouts doubt he has a good NBA role because of his size, that he cannot scale up a small forward on the wing. He’s also not a playmaker, he’s going to have to play the two and be paired with a more traditional point guard.
• Markus Howard, 5’11” point guard, Marquette. He agreed to a two-way contract with the Denver Nuggets, a team with a strong player development program. Howard is a knock-down shooter, hitting 41.2% from three last season, and he thinks shot first. He’s got Trae Young range on his jumper, and he is dangerous on the catch-and-shoot. Howard is a smart player who knows how to relocate and find space along the arc. The problem is shooting is all he does — he’s not much of a playmaker (he got better as a senior but still is not great) and is more of a combo guard. Also, he is very much undersized and will be a defensive liability at the next level.