The 2013 NBA Draft is in the books and among all the twists, turns and surprises were several guys who were not among the 60 players to hear their names called. While we’d never question the decision making of NBA general managers given their incredible track records (yes, that was sarcasm) we were pretty surprised at some of the guys who didn’t make the cut.
Here is our list of the top 10 guys who went undrafted this year.
1. C.J.: Leslie, forward, N.C. State
Leslie is an explosive athlete who runs the floor like a guard, not a 6-9 forward and has phenomenal quickness for someone his size. He can handle the ball and finishes at (and even way above) the rim. But he needs to add a ton of strength to his 209-pound frame and he’s a terrible free throw shooter. Still, I’m shocked Leslie wasn’t drafted, especially because he wowed scouts with his athleticism in workouts.
He left school after a junior season in which he averaged 15.1 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 32.4 minutes per game as a junior in 2012-13.
Status: Signed by New York Knicks
2. Myck Kabongo, guard, Texas
Kabongo is a pure point guard with great floor vision and an outstanding first-step to the hoop. He’s an excellent defender, a leader and a very good athlete. He has some range to his shot but isn’t a pure three-point shooter yet. He’s 6-3, which is fine, but is also a tad skinny at 180 pounds.
The main knock on Kabongo is that he sat out most of the 2012-13 season thanks to NCAA sanctions. He went from being a potential lottery pick after his freshman year to falling completely out of the draft as a sophomore. When he did play during his second collegiate campaign, he averaged 14.6 points, 5.5 assists and 2.0 steals in 37.3 minutes per game.
Status: Will play for Miami Heat in Summer League
3. Trevor Mbakwe, forward, Minnesota
Some would have Mbakwe lower than this but I loved how he played in college. He’s undersized as a power forward at 6-8 and 236 pounds, but the dude goes after it on the floor. He plays extremely hard, is tenacious on the glass and is a phenomenal athlete with a 7-4 wingspan. That said, at 24 he’s older than most guys in his class and doesn’t have a great offensive game. I just figured someone would give him a shot as an energy guy off the bench.
During his final collegiate season, Mbakwe averaged 10.0 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 24.9 minutes per game.
4. Jackie Carmichael, forward, Illinois State
Carmichael is another really good athlete I figured would get drafted as a rebounder and defender off the bench. He’s a strong power forward with decent size at 6-8 and 241 pounds. He’s an outstanding rebounder with huge hops who can finish around the rim and works extremely hard. But he has virtually no perimeter game and isn’t developed offensively at all, despite the fact that he’s already 23 years old.
During his final collegiate season, Carmichael averaged 17.4 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in 30.6 minutes per game.
5. B.J. Young, guard, Arkansas
Young is a scoring combo-guard whose only chance in the NBA will be if he somehow sticks at the point, and I think he can do that. He doesn’t have a great jumper yet, but could improve that and he needs to cut down on turnovers. That said, he has good size for a point guard at 6-4, is very fast with the ball and has an incredibly quick first step. He is always in attack mode, has good vision and is explosive, something that’s not easy to find in a point guard.
He left school after his sophomore year, and during his final season he averaged 15.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 27.9 minutes per game.
6. Phil Pressey, guard, Missouri
Pressey may have been the most maddening player in college basketball last season. He has the floor sense, vision and passing ability to be a great pass-first point guard, but as ESPN’s Chad Ford has said, he clearly doesn’t see himself that way. His shot selection is awful and when he tries to go into “scoring mode” he often turns the ball over or jacks awful jumpers.
Pressey thinks he’s a scoring guard when he should be focused on running a team. He’s a pass-first guy who is quick, confident and knows how to lead. He doesn’t have a great jumper, but too often he falls in love with it. He’s also undersized at 6-feet and 177 pounds. If Pressey can focus on being a facilitator and stop trying to be Allen Iverson circa 2001, he’ll stick on an NBA roster. If not? Well, I hear Europe is lovely.
Pressey jumped to the draft after his junior season, during which he averaged 11.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 7.1 assists in 33.9 minutes per game.
Status: Signed by Boston Celtics
7. James Southerland, forward, Syracuse
Southerland didn’t do much until his senior season where he showed himself to be a phenomenal shooter. At 6-8 and 221 pounds, he’s a big guy who can knock down shots and is a pretty good athlete. That’s what you’re getting with Southerland, no more, no less. He is 23 and finished all four years at Syracuse, so there isn’t a ton of hope he’ll develop much more. But still, this is a guy with almost unlimited range who could definitely help an NBA team right now.
As a senior he averaged 13.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 29.5 minutes per game. He also hit 39.8 percent of his three-point shots.
Status: Will play for Philadelphia 76ers in Orlando Summer League and Golden State Warriors in Las Vegas Summer League
8. Seth Curry, guard, Duke
Curry is another guy who can flat-out shoot the ball. He’s not the athlete his brother Stephen is, but man can this kid stroke it. He has a high basketball IQ, is pretty good in the open floor and if he gets his feet set he’ll almost always hit a shot. The knock on him is that he’s a 6-3 shooting guard, which is vastly undersized for his position in the NBA. On top of that, he looks like a stiff breeze would knock him over. But if he could figure out how to be a serviceable backup point guard, he could make an impact as a shooter off the bench.
During his senior season Curry averaged 17.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 0.9 steals in 32.3 minutes per game. He also hit 43.8 percent of his three-point attempts.
9. D.J. Stephens, forward, Memphis
This 6-6 small forward was undoubtedly the best athlete in the draft. The 22-year-old Stephens is simply unbelievable athletically. The problem is, he has virtually no offensive game. He has the potential to be a top-10 defender in the NBA because of how athletic he is, but he’s insanely raw despite the fact that he can finish at the rim, particularly in transition.
Stephens has a non-stop motor, a great wingspan and can guard several positions. He is also already and elite shot-blocker. But he’s a little undersized as a small forward, needs a ton of work offensively and suffers from asthma. Still, if a team thinks it can at least turn him into a serviceable offensive player, the upside on the defensive end is tremendous.
During his senior season Stephens averaged 7.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in 23.6 minutes per game.
Status: Will play for Miami Heat in Summer League
10. D.J. Cooper, guard, Ohio
I don’t typically like undersized guards, but there’s something about Cooper that made me add him to this list. At 5-10 and 173 pounds he’s tiny at point guard by today’s standards, but he might be the quickest guy in this draft. He’s also amazing at finding ways to penetrate against all types of defenses. Cooper is the kind of guy who is great at creating havoc and opening things up for others. But, as I said, he’s undersized and needs to improve his shot selection and decision-making. He’s a decent shooter that must improve because of his lack of size.
During his senior year, Cooper averaged 14.1 points, 7.1 assists and 2.0 steals in 31.6 minutes per game.
Status: Will play for Philadelphia 76ers in Orlando Summer League and Golden State Warriors in Las Vegas Summer League.