Skip to content

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

Jun 28, 2013, 8:00 AM EST

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Nets doctor expects Mirza Teletovic to make full recovery

    Jan 28, 2015, 1:55 PM EST

    Washington Wizards v Brooklyn Nets Getty Images

    Teletovic being released from hospital today

  2. Phil Jackson once admitted championship Knicks deflated balls

    Jan 28, 2015, 1:17 PM EST

    Jackson AP

    Jackson said breaking rule gave New York an edge due to team’s style of play

  3. Kevin Durant out against Knicks

    Jan 28, 2015, 12:42 PM EST

    Oklahoma City Thunder v New York Knicks Getty Images

    Thunder remain heavy favorites

  4. Report: Terrence Ross riding bench in Toronto but will not be traded

    Jan 28, 2015, 12:05 PM EST

    Philadelphia 76ers V Toronto Raptors Getty Images

    The Raptors are trying to be patient and tap into his potential.

  5. Nikola Mirotic’s unique style rewarding Bulls for waiting on him

    Jan 28, 2015, 11:17 AM EST

    Chicago Bulls V San Antonio Spurs Getty Images

    Mirotic, drafted in 2011, is a darkhorse challenger to Andrew Wiggins for Rookie of the Year

  6. Report: Executives have proposed moving up NBA trade deadline

    Jan 28, 2015, 9:59 AM EST

    Dallas Mavericks v New Orleans Pelicans Getty Images

    It probably would matter less than before, but why change the date?

  7. Report: Potential first rounder Robert Upshaw could sign in D-League after Washington dismissal

    Jan 28, 2015, 9:22 AM EST

    Robert Upshaw, Gary Payton II AP

    Upshaw reportedly failed multiple drug tests at Washington and Fresno State

  8. Stephen Curry had a great passing night (VIDEO)

    Jan 28, 2015, 8:30 AM EST

    Chicago Bulls v Golden State Warriors Getty Images

    He can do more than just shoot the rock.

  9. Report: Bucks to sign Kenyon Martin through end of season

    Jan 28, 2015, 8:00 AM EST

    Kenyon Martin, Chris Bosh AP

    They like his veteran leadership on a young team.

  10. Report: Pistons looking into Norris Cole trade

    Jan 27, 2015, 11:33 PM EST

    Miami Heat v Detroit Pistons Getty Images

    Hornets also reportedly had interest in Heat point guard

  11. It’s official: Zach LaVine, Greek Freak Antetokounmpo headline All-Star Dunk Contest

    Jan 27, 2015, 7:23 PM EST

    Milwaukee Bucks v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

    The best news may be the return to the classic dunk contest format.

Featured video

Stephen Curry leads NBA MVP race mid-season
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Bryant (7885)
  2. H. Whiteside (7327)
  3. R. Rubio (6945)
  4. N. Batum (6565)
  5. L. Aldridge (6550)
  1. K. Martin (6479)
  2. C. Anthony (6251)
  3. K. Walker (6242)
  4. J. Noah (6196)
  5. D. Howard (5893)