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Who were the best players not taken in the draft? Here are five.

Jun 28, 2013, 8:00 AM EDT

Missouri v Colorado State Getty Images

About 20 percent of the NBA at any given time is made up of guys who were not drafted. They went to Europe, they went to the D-League, they went where they had to that they could work on their game, become late bloomers and get to the Association.

Who were the best guys not drafted this time around? The guys with the talent to make it in time? There are a number of guys that could qualify, but here is my top 5:

• Phil Pressey (5’11” point guard, Missouri). He is a pass first point guard who had a strong sophomore season with shooters around him to set up; his junior year was tougher without efficient guys to finish around him. He is very quick with the ball, he is dangerous in transition and can attack off the pick-and-roll. But he is turnover prone and not an efficient scorer (he shot 37.6 percent last season). Also, his size leads to questions about his defense.

• C.J. Leslie (6’9” forward, North Caronia State). He’s long, athletic, quick, the kind of tools teams look for in a modern forward. He’s also very inconsistent (much like the Wolfpack) and he needs to add strength and some semblance of a post game. But this guy just seems too athletic not to get a second round pick and a shot.

• Myck Kabongo (6’3” point guard, Texas). A pure point guard, a great athlete with a quick first step who breaks down defenses then looks to set his teammates up first. He has a fantastic basketball IQ. He needs to work on his scoring — both finishing in the paint and his jumper — but the guy can play. He may have fallen short of his high expectations coming out of high school, but a number of teams could use a point guard as good as him.

• Jackie Carmichael (6’9” power forward, Illinois State). He has the body (a strong 241 pounds) and the athleticism of a genuine NBA four. He can rebound, he can defend in the paint, he finishes well at the rim and he plays smart. What scared teams off is he has a limited offensive game once you get him five feet from the rim. Also of concern is that seniors don’t have the same upside as younger players. But he can ball.

• Trevor Mbakwe (6’8” power forward, Minnesota). His great skill is rebounding, which is one thing that translates from the college to NBA games pretty well. He’s a good athlete with an NBA build and a real motor. He’s one of the older guys in the draft at 24 and he is very raw on the offensive end, which did him in, but energy guys can overcome some of those deficiencies.

  1. jcmeyer10 - Jun 28, 2013 at 8:13 AM

    I want the Celtics to bring in Mbawke and Roberson in for a look.

    • jcmeyer10 - Jun 28, 2013 at 11:32 AM

      Roberson was drafted by the Thunder, my bad. Go Buffs!

      • cmehustle - Jun 28, 2013 at 9:34 PM

        Yea I was gonna say, someone wasnt paying attention! But credit for catching your own mistake, we all been there.

  2. mungman69 - Jun 28, 2013 at 8:43 AM

    It looks like the Celtics will bring in a lot of guys for a look.

    • jcmeyer10 - Jun 28, 2013 at 9:01 AM

      That’s definitely what she said.

  3. tcclark - Jun 28, 2013 at 9:02 AM

    Richard Howell. He’s never going to be a super star in this league, but he’s someone that a team like the Spurs will fall in love with. He has a high motor, a strong work ethic, and can rebound better than just about everyone in this draft. He sounded like a perfect late second round pick.

    • mr2cents - Jun 28, 2013 at 10:00 AM

      But he was born in the U.S. That’s why the Spurs won’t take him

    • jamieaadams - Jun 28, 2013 at 7:06 PM

      Howell had some ACC games this season where I thought he was hands down the best player on the court. And not against, like, Wake Forest or something, either.

      • tcclark - Jun 28, 2013 at 9:39 PM

        definitely. He’s a little undersized, but he’s a beast in the paint

  4. kb2408 - Jun 28, 2013 at 9:17 AM

    Mbakwe is a Reggie Evans clone.

    • jcmeyer10 - Jun 28, 2013 at 11:32 AM

      But he is younger at least… or is he? He looks like a Greg Oden clone in that regard.

  5. saint1997 - Jun 28, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    VANDER BLUE??!! Also Knicks just signed Leslie

  6. hack0059 - Jun 28, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    Mbakwe dominated Zeller, thus Zeller will suck.. He should be a role player on some team, he is a nba player.

  7. pl4tinum514 - Jun 28, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    bring in kabongo to back up kyrie in cleveland. make it 3 canucks on the roster at the same time!

  8. rxv5854 - Jun 28, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    James Southerland

    He’s the next Danny Green

  9. gd200799 - Jun 28, 2013 at 6:00 PM

    What about Khalif Wyatt? Good offensive scorer.

    • jonevans511 - Jul 1, 2013 at 2:05 PM

      Whoever thumbed this down is a dumbass. Khalif’s a stud who, assuming he loses some weight and gets a little quicker, could be smaller version of Paul Pierce. Go ahead and laugh, I followed him through his whole college career and watching him shred not just A-10 squads but Duke/Syracuse type opponents as well has me believing in this guy. If Michael Carter-Williams made it to the NBA, Wyatt should have gone one pick earlier for the abuse he unleashed against the Orange.

  10. 00maltliquor - Jun 28, 2013 at 11:59 PM

    Myck Kabongo. Lakers…please! For the love of God give this man a look see. Have NO idea how he fell out the draft.

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