2019 NBA Draft: Six undrafted players who will make teams regret passing on them
We've seen plenty of players have prolific NBA careers after going undrafted, and here's the next batch
NBA Draft night is a moment many players spend their whole life building towards. For a select few, dreams are reached. Tears are shed. Team hats are put on. If done right, champagne is popped.
For many others, though, draft night can be one of the most deflating evenings of their life. Players who spend years and years working towards hearing their name called wind up never hearing their name called at all, going undrafted and undiscussed on a night that many go into with tremendous expectations. Though their paths may be different than those of their drafted counterparts, their value and talents are still undeniable.
So who fits that mold in 2019? Through the years we've seen plenty who have made an impact in the NBA despite going undrafted, from Fred VanVleet to Raja Bell to Allonzo Trier; the list is endless. Here's a look at who could be next to imprint their name on that list -- players who can go from undrafted rookies to productive NBA players.
1. Luguentz Dort, Arizona State
CBS Big Board rank: No. 28
Entering Thursday, Dort was seen as a first-round talent. His slide from that projection to completely undrafted is a huge surprise. Making an impact in the NBA in the very near future, however, will not be.
Dort is a physically gifted wing who, in his lone college season at Arizona State, showed off defensive versatility (he was named to the Pac-12's All-Defensive Team) and impressive skills as a scorer. He excelled as a straight-line driver and has natural instincts to bowl over lesser opponents, making his projection to the NBA one most can make with reasonable confidence. According to ESPN, Dort's headed to the Thunder on a full two-way deal. When he's playing major rotation minutes in two years, remember this.
2. Terence Davis, Ole Miss
CBS Big Board rank: No. 41
He wowed at Portsmouth, at the G League Elite Camp and at the NBA Combine -- and still did not get picked. What else does Terence Davis have to do to show he belongs?
Davis took to Twitter after going undrafted and said he, "Can't take a two-way [deal]," meaning he's looking for a guaranteed contract. The chances of that happening after going undrafted are not high, but he's got a right to be stubborn about being snubbed. He will play summer league with the Denver Nuggets, according to ESPN, and he could easily wind up being one of the 30 most productive players to come out of this year's draft class despite going unpicked.
3. Zach Norvell Jr., Gonzaga
CBS Big Board rank: No. 45
Full disclosure: Many, myself included, thought Norvell would benefit from another year in college. But with a 6-foot-5 frame, a career 37 percent hit rate from 3 and a smoothness about his game that seemingly should be a perfect NBA fit as a role player, he was passed over by every single team.
The Athletic reported on Thursday that he'll be headed to the Lakers on a two-way deal. He has a real shot of being a more productive player than the prospect the team drafted at No. 46 overall: Talen Horton-Tucker. Good for the Lakers for snatching up major value -- not good for Norvell, who likely went into Thursday thinking he'd be an early second-rounder.
4. DaQuan Jeffries, Tulsa
CBS Big Board rank: No. 46
Like the aforementioned Davis, Jeffries did well for his stock at the G League Elite camp and showed off his built out, NBA-ready frame, then wound up going undrafted. At 6-foot-5 with a 7-foot wingspan, it's hard to imagine exactly why that's the case. He projects as a switchable defender at the NBA level and shot 37.7 percent from 3-point range in his three college seasons.
5. Shamorie Ponds, St. John's
CBS Big Board rank: No. 47
Shamorie Ponds going undrafted may just have been the best possible situation for him. Because late Thursday, he announced he's signed with the Houston Rockets -- an ideal landing spot for him (even if, for now, it appears it is just for summer league). Ponds is a combo guard who operates primarily on the ball but has no fear releasing it from anywhere on the court. In a Rockets system that affords players the freedom to shoot 3s in massive volume, Ponds could wind up being grateful he got to pick a pristine fit.
6. Zylan Cheatham, Arizona State
CBS Big Board rank: No. 54
In one season at Arizona State, Cheatham was a defensive monster. Blocking shots, switching ball screens, defending guards on the perimeter -- he did it all en route to being named to the Pac-12's All-Defensive team. That type of versatility doesn't come around often, and is a huge reason why I'm betting he'll stick with the Pelicans, with whom he signed on Thursday night after going undrafted.
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