Navigating the undrafted free agent waters

The 2012 NBA Draft has concluded but, as always, there are diamonds in the rough waiting to be uncovered. Those players are known as undrafted free agents. They offer little risk. If they produce anything at the NBA level, they’ve already exceeded their expected production. The best teams in the league typically find these players more often and harness their attributes into something positive.

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March 03, 2012; Lawrence, KS, USA; Texas Longhorns guard J

J’Covan Brown
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 203
DX rank: 45
DX projection: Undrafted

Draft Express actually ranked Brown higher than new Spur Marcus Denmon. They are similar players; they are trapped in the confines of their point guard bodies yet they tend to play like mini 2-guards. I prefer Denmon because he’s more efficient and explosive to the rim. Brown wasn’t as efficient because he hoisted up a lesser quality of shots. How much his weak Texas supporting class played into that is debatable. But, Brown is in the same scenario as Denmon: an NBA team will ask him to play point and he’s going to need to make an adjustment mentally to make it work.

Drew Gordon
Height: 6’8.5″
Weight: 241
DX rank: 40
DX projection: 43 (Atlanta Hawks)

Gordon didn’t get sufficient playing time in UCLA so he transferred to New Mexico his junior year. He parlayed his opportunity into two consecutive years of averaging a double-double and shooting better than 50% from the field. His rebounding prowess looks more impressive when you look at the percentage of rebounds he grabbed. He totaled 21% of New Mexico’s rebounds an amount buoyed by his elite defensive rebounding and above-average offensive rebounding. His block shot totals tailed off but he projects to be a decent rim protector in the NBA. I’m pretty surprised that no team was willing to take a flier on him. (sambunnell of Pounding the Rock noted that Gordon agreed to attend Mavericks camp.)

Tu Holloway
Height: 5’11″
Weight: 195
DX rank: 49
DX projection: Undrafted

It appears that NBA teams were deterred by his size. Holloway fits into the same category as Brown and Denmon but his size is an even bigger question. The Spurs reportedly worked him out prior to the draft and it wouldn’t be surprising to hear his name in the near future.

Kevin Jones
Height: 6’7.5″
Weight: 251
DX rank: 38
DX projection: 48 (New York Knicks)

What makes Jones’ exclusion from the draft even more surprising is that there was some talk that he received a promise in the latter portion of the first round. Whether that was purely conjecture or the team failed to make good on their promise remains to be seen. The fact of the matter is that Jones, like the aforementioned Gordon, is one of the guys that you can expect to do the little things. Jones improved his rebounding across the board and his 7’2″ wingspan makes covering 3′s and 4′s within the realm of possibility. That should make him a valuable commodity.

Scott Machado
Height: 6’1.75″
Weight: 205
DX rank: 80
DX projection: 54 (Philadelphia 76ers)

This is the last time I mention this but … Machado assisted on 44.2% of Iona’s possessions. 44.2 percent. That kind of passing ability has to account for something. I’m expecting Machado to be highly sought after from various NBA teams.

Leon Radosevic
Height: 6’9.5″
Weight: 238
DX rank: 57
DX projection: 60 (Los Angeles Lakers)

I noted in my piece on potential second-round values that Radosevic would be a great fit for the San Antonio Spurs. He’s tall, can shoot from mid-range and his IQ, like many Europeans, is high enough to withstand the complexity of the Spurs’ offense. I liked him a lot and so did John Hollinger’s Draft Rater (Insider).

Radosevic posted a mark of 8.77 which was the equivalent of Perry Jones III. (Key caveat: the stats Hollinger gleamed for his rater came from Europe.) Hollinger liked Radosevic as a second-round value as well (validation!) and ranked him as his 36th best player ahead of Andrew Nicholson who was selected at the 19th pick. He’ll likely head back to Europe but I don’t think there is a better stash option available than Radosevic. Someone should pounce.

Misc: Terrell Stergin, Maryland. Stergin is also an undersized combo guard but his red flags are more prominent. We’ll see if any team is willing to put up with him.

So what do you think Spurs fans? Is there anyone I missed that could be of some value?

Topics: Drew Gordon, J'Covan Brown, Kevin Jones, Leon Radosevic, Scott Machado, Tu Holloway

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