Is There Gold Among Those Undrafted?
Written by Hayden Coombs, past writer for the Bleacher Report
Edited by Bobby Macey
Every year, there seems to be a player or two that slip through the cracks and goes undrafted. Maybe he was playing in a system that didn’t suit his game, he could have been just a late bloomer, or perhaps he never got to prove himself against elite competition. Whatever the reason may be, chances are that there is a hidden gem out there that didn’t get drafted.
Undrafted free agents are such a valuable commodity because they almost always sign for the league minimum. Utah struck gold when they signed Wes Matthews following the 2009 NBA Draft. More recently, New York experienced “Linsanity” after signing undrafted free agent Jeremy Lin (although he did have stops in Golden State, Houston, and the NBA D-League).
There were quite a few college stars that went undrafted in this year’s draft. Utah has a few holes to fill, especially if some of the recent trade rumors involving Utah materialize. Here is a list of three special undrafted free agents that could help improve Utah’s roster.
#1 Scott Machado, Point Guard, Iona
Scott Machado isn’t very fast, he lacks explosiveness, and isn’t particularly tall. He isn’t really even much of a scorer. So why is he number one on this list?
Because he is a pass-first point guard and a proven leader.
Machado lead the NCAA in assists per game (9.9), while maintaining a 3:1 assist to turnover ratio. He may even have the best court vision of all the players in this draft (yes, Kendall Marshall included). He was by far the best player on his team, yet still managed to improve his shooting percentage every year he started.
Machado could help the Jazz as they look forward to the future. With Mo Williams back in Utah, the Jazz could let either Earl Watson or Jamaal Tinsley walk in free agency, allowing Machado to develop behind Williams and their backup guard (probably Tinsley) as he gets accustomed to the NBA game.
Besides, once Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, and Enes Kanter are all ready to start, it seems like a pass-first point guard would be exactly what the doctor ordered to keep everyone happy.
#2 Hollis Thompson, Guard/Forward, Georgetown
During his three years in college, Hollis Thompson proved one thing to us all: That he can shoot. With great size (6’8”) to go along with his silky-smooth jump shot, all Thompson would have to do is be average in every other facet of the game. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done, Thompson also showed everyone that he is a one-trick-pony.
Having designated three point shooters is a proven need (see: Miami Heat, NBA Finals). This has been an area of need for the Jazz seeing that Utah has struggled shooting the ball ever since Kyle Korver left town.
A pure shooter like Hollis Thompson would help open up the lane for Utah’s slashing wings like Alec Burks and Gordon Hayward. Thompson would also be guaranteed quite a few great looks as Utah is sure to be constantly feeding Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors, and Enes Kanter down low.
#3 Henry Sims, Center, Georgetown
Henry Sims stands at about 6’11” with a 7’4” wingspan. Weighing in at over 250 pounds, Sims has the size to immediately come in and bang with any of the bigs in the NBA.
While he wasn’t a very efficient scorer in college, Sims did lead Georgetown in assists, which demonstrates his ability to operate from the high post.
At the very least, the athletically limited Hoya could become an imposing presence on defense, while blocking a decent amount of shots during his career.
It should also be noted that Sims has been added to the Utah Jazz’ summer league team. We’ll see how he does there.
Editor’s note: You may ask, why would the Utah Jazz draft another center? They can work him out, keep him for a year and see if he’ll give the high paid players some competition that scares them into working harder for their spots on the roster. Competition has been proven to breed excellence.
Big Al needs more fear struck in him, Favors needs to stay motivated in order to reach his potential, and Kanter could also use another good center to block him in practice so he learns to go up strong in the games.
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