The 2017 NBA Draft is officially in the books, an unforgettable night where 60 of the best young basketball players in the world fulfilled a life-long dream by hearing their name called in Brooklyn. But what about those who weren’t drafted?
Truth is, the NBA is littered with players who weren’t selected on draft night, from key role players (Ron Baker on the Knicks, T.J. McConnell in Philly) to starters on playoff teams (Wayne Selden in Memphis).
So who are a few guys who went undrafted Thursday who could make their way onto NBA rosters next year? Here are five names who signed after the draft worth keeping an eye on:
USA Today SportsNelson Chenault
Cameron Oliver (Houston Rockets)
When the draft went final and all 60 selections had been made, there was only one player that this writer was genuinely shocked wasn’t drafted: Nevada’s Oliver. Oliver had been looking like a second-round value pick throughout the draft process, a hyperathletic, 6-foot-8 forward who crashes the glass, can step out and hit a three and – because of his athleticism – defend multiple positons.
Ultimately, what was 29 other teams' loss was Houston’s gain as Oliver has the skills to not only make the Rockets’ roster but work his way into their rotation. His skill set – which includes size, length, athleticism and shooting ability – is especially valuable in coach Mike D’Antoni’s system. The Rockets can never have too many athletes and scorers around James Harden, and Oliver should be a near-perfect fit.
James LangJames Lang-USA TODAY Sports
P.J. Dozier (Los Angeles Lakers)
Outside of the Sacramento Kings, a case can be made that the Lakers had the best draft night of any team. Not only is Staples Center about be one, massive “Big Baller Brand” pop-up shop thanks to the selection of Lonzo Ball, but Los Angeles added some nice pieces later in the draft, including Josh Hart and Kyle Kuzma.
Then the shrewd maneuvering of the new Lakers front office extended beyond the draft and into free agency, where they added Dozier, a 6-foot-5 guard from South Carolina, late Thursday night.
Though Dozier’s offensive skills are a work in progress (even if he averaged 13 points at South Carolina), he is a fierce competitor on defense, where he tallied nearly two steals per game. The Lakers were looking to not only upgrade their talent on draft night but also their toughness and culture, and they’ll do both with the addition of Dozier.
Devin Robinson (Orlando Magic)
The forward from Florida is the perfect modern-day 3-and-D NBA wing, a guy who knocked down 39 percent of his threes last season and also averaged right around a steal and block per game. At 6-8 with a near 7-1 wingspan, he should be able to guard multiple positions.
Ultimately, Robinson’s skills and athleticism would be a value on any team, but he couldn’t have found a more perfect landing spot than Orlando. The Magic may have the least talented roster in the NBA besides Brooklyn, which means minutes will be available. The fact that the Magic ranked 29th of 30 NBA teams in three-point field goal shooting last season will only help Robinson’s case to get early playing time.
USA TODAY SportsLogan Bowles
Bronson Koenig (Milwaukee Bucks)
Koenig is from La Crosse and played for the University of Wisconsin, so he won’t have to go too far to start his pro career. He also doesn’t have too many barriers to potentially earning minutes for a playoff team.
The 6-4 Koenig is a versatile guard who should fit perfectly in Milwaukee, where size, athleticism and length – all attributes he has for his position – are valued. He also should be able to provide some scoring punch off the bench for a team that ranked just 20th out of 30 teams in points scored last season.
Associated PressBill Wippert
Isaiah Briscoe (Philadelphia 76ers)
Poor Briscoe never could get on the right side of the numbers game at Kentucky, playing a supporting role to Jamal Murray and Tyler Ulis as a freshman in 2016 before once again serving as third-fiddle alongside De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk this past season.
But despite being overshadowed, let’s never forget that Briscoe was once considered one of the top high school prospects in the country, meaning that his talent is there. It’s also fair to wonder whether he would have had a better chance at ending up being drafted had he gone to any school other than Kentucky.
Regardless, Philly could be a perfect fit, a place where he can find a supporting role behind the hyped young backcourt of Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz. As a versatile guard who can both run an offense and create for himself, Briscoe can fill in at either spot as a backup, and have immense value for an exciting young 76ers team.