In the recent NBA draft, the dream came true for 60 young men. They all all saw their long hours in the gym shooting baskets, and countless more at practice pay off. They are now on NBA teams and will get paid to play the game they love.
But they aren’t alone.
Getting drafted makes the road to an NBA roster a little less daunting. But it is not the only road players can take. Sixty players are drafted. But there are more than 60 college players that have the skill it takes to play in the NBA.
Those other guys will get their shot as undrafted free agents. A lot of guys have started out on the road and went on to fame and glory eventually. Teams will be hoping that is the case with the undrafted free agents they picked up:
- Joel Berry II, North Carolina (signed with the Los Angeles Lakers): Berry managed to do a couple of things that players with NBA-level talent rarely do in college. He stayed four years and won a national title (2017). He is a good, young player that knows how to win. Berry should have no problem proving his worth during summer league play.
- Dakota Mathias, Purdue (signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers): Purdue’s career three-point leader will just need to do one thing to earn his roster spot. He needs to hit three’s in the NBA as he did for the Boilermakers (46.6 percent).
- Theo Pinson, North Carolina (signed with the Brooklyn Nets): His chances of catching on with someone should be pretty good. His outside shot isn’t the greatest, which could limit his options. But he is pretty good at just about everything else. He’s a solid defender, capable passer, hits the boards, and he’s athletic. His hustle alone will help keep him on the radar of many NBA coaches.
- Gary Clark, Cincinnati (signed with the Houston Rockets): You would think someone good enough to win Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in his conference would get drafted. But somehow he didn’t. He signed a two-way deal with the Rockets and will try to work his way up to the NBA
- Malik Newman, Kansas (signed with the Los Angeles Lakers): He would have been a first-round pick straight out of high school. But a tough time at Mississippi State followed by a transfer to Kansas took him off the radar of many teams.
- Kendrick Nunn, Oakland (signed with the Golden State Warriors): When you are a team that scores a ton, you are going to want to kick the tires on scoring threats. Nunn, the second-best scoring threat in college basketball last season, certainly qualifies.
- Angel Delgado, Seton Hall (signed with Los Angeles Clippers): It’s a little surprising that the best center in college didn’t get drafted by someone. With DeAndre Jordan probably leaving town, he could get a chance to prove his worth sooner rather than later.