After a night filled with trades, surprising picks and a few names who tumbled down the board, the 2019 NBA Draft is now in the books. There was plenty of drama as fans attempted to keep track of which picks their team had with all the wheeling and dealing. Fortunately, even if you weren’t satisfied with how a team’s draft haul turned out, the action isn’t over.
After the second round wrapped up, it meant that there were a number of talented players who didn’t hear their names called. Obviously, this doesn’t mean that their NBA dream is over, but it instead it means they’ll attempt to find their next home as an undrafted free agent.
We’re going to take a look at a few of the top undrafted free agents and names to watch in the hours and days following Thursday’s draft.
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Best NBA Undrafted Free Agents: Forwards & Centers
To start, we’ll evaluate the frontcourt by looking at the forwards and centers who were left on the board when the draft wrapped up. Needless to say, there’s quite a bit of talent among the players who didn’t hear their names called, including towering UCF center Tacko Fall, which is where we’ll start.
- Tacko Fall, C, UCF
- Jontay Porter, C, Missouri
- Jaylen Hoard, PF, Wake Forest
- Zylan Cheatham, PF, Arizona State
- Dedric Lawson, PF, Kansas
- Louis King, SF, Oregon
- Naz Reid, PF/C, LSU
- Sagaba Konate, C, West Virginia
- Oshae Brissett, PF, Syracuse
- Kris Wilkes, UCLA, SF
While quite a few of these names are noteworthy, it’s interesting to see that two specific young players in Jaylen Hoard and Naz Reid found themselves on this list. Hoard played one season at Wake Forest, averaging 13.1 points and 7.6 rebounds while flashing quite a bit of upside throughout the 2018-19 season.
Reid finds himself in a similar spot, as he opted to head to the draft following his first year at LSU. While the 6-foot-10 big man posted a few up-and-down performances throughout the year, he finished the season with marks of 13.6 points and 7.2 rebounds while shooting 46.8 percent from the field.
Among the strong single-game performances from Reid, he scored 29 points with nine rebounds during a win over Mississippi State late in the year, along with a superb postseason showing. Reid was exceptional for LSU in their lone conference tournament game, scoring 26 points with 14 rebounds while shooting 55.0 percent from the field.
One other noteworthy name is Fall, the 7-foot-6 center from UCF who could wind up as a matchup nightmare wherever he lands. He averaged 10.1 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.4 blocks and shot 74.0 percent from the field over throughout his career. Fall impressed during his senior season by posting marks of 11.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and knocking down 74.8 percent of his attempts.
Best NBA Undrafted Free Agents: Guards
There are a number of well-known guards who weren’t selected, and the bulk of these players will likely be seen when Summer League play gets underway.
- Luguentz Dort, SG, Arizona State
- Terence Davis, SG, Ole Miss
- Jalen Lecque, PG, Brewster Academy
- Shamorie Ponds, PG, St. John’s
- DaQuan Jeffries, SG, Tulsa
- Justin Robinson, PG, Virginia Tech
- Jared Harper, PG, Auburn
- Adam Mokoka, SG, France
- Ky Bowman, PG, Boston College
- Zach Norvell, SG, Gonzaga
- Tyus Battle, SG, Syracuse
- Kerwin Roach, PG, Texas
UPDATE: Jalen Lecque signed with the Phoenix Suns, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Jalen Lecque is an interesting prospect, as he was initially committed to play at NC State and was a top college prospect. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony explained that Lecque was eligible to enter the draft due to the fact that he wrapped up his fifth year of high school at Brewster Academy.
Lecque’s decision to head to the NBA draft was a tough blow for NC State, and it was somewhat surprising to see him fall out of the second round entirely. Regardless, the 19-year-old combo guard managed to find a home quickly.
Another name I’m a big fan of is St. John’s guard Shamorie Ponds, who has a knack for finding the bottom of the hoop and improved his shooting numbers in a big way from 2017-18 to this year. Ponds posted marks of 19.7 points, 5.1 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 2.6 steals while knocking down 45.3 percent of his field goals and 35.3 percent from beyond the arc.
Ponds is a player who could make an impact as a scorer early in his career, and whoever adds him as a free agent could wind up getting one of the biggest steals from this draft class.