There are only 60 players who get picked in the NBA Draft. That means every year, there are always a handful of prospects who don’t get to hear their name called on draft night.
These players certainly have the talent to make NBA teams, but they just need somebody to give them a shot. Just ask the Toronto Raptors, who wouldn’t have won the 2019 NBA Finals without undrafted point guard Fred VanVleet.
Here are our top-five undrafted free agents from the 2019 NBA Draft class.
Jontay Porter, Missouri
The brother of Nuggets lottery pick Michael Porter Jr., Jontay Porter also only played one season at Missouri and struggled with injury issues. He tore his ACL twice in the past year but still kept his name in the pool of prospects.
Despite not getting picked, Porter had a decent freshman year season with the Tigers. He averaged nearly 10 points and seven rebounds per game, with an above-average true shooting percentage of 56.7 percent. At 6’11, Porter has good size for a forward in the NBA and also has displayed some shooting touch from the outside, knocking them down at 36.4 percent on a decent rate of attempts.
Despite the injury history, Porter is worth the gamble for any NBA team.
Shamorie Ponds, St. John’s
Ponds finished in the top five in scoring in each of the past three seasons in the Big East, but didn’t hear his name called on draft night. Despite standing only 6’1, Ponds has shown a knack for putting the ball in the hoop. He can use his quickness to get by defenders and finish — he shot 63.2 percent at the rim last season — and his mid-range game is solid as well. After a disappointing season shooting the three in his sophomore year, Ponds rebounded by shooting a more respectable 35.3 percent from downtown in 2018-19. Given his career average of 84 percent at the free-throw line, there is optimism that he can be a quality deep shooter in the future.
Ponds could thrive in a role off the bench, where he can provide a quick spark of offense. His size may be an issue defensively, but he can find himself a spot in the NBA due to his skill on the other side of the court.
Terence Davis, Ole Miss
After playing four years for the Rebels, Terence Davis went undrafted despite being the second leading scorer for an Ole Miss squad that made the NCAA tournament. He averaged 15.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.2 assists in 2018-19. He also shot decently from three, improving by six percentage points from his junior to senior year. Davis also improved defensively last season, showcasing the athleticism to help him stay in front of defenders. At 6’4 he’s able to also contest shots effectively, and is very active generating steals. With his defensive capabilities and shooting ability from three-point range, Davis should be able to get some minutes on an NBA roster.
Charles Matthews, Michigan
The Wolverines were one of the NCAA’s best defensive teams, and Charles Matthews was a huge reason. He is tenacious, often taking on the challenge of guarding the opponent’s best perimeter scorer. At 6’6, Matthews used his length and athleticism to make life difficult for the player he’s guarding. He also showed he’s a good team defender, with the ability to rotate over for help defense and then recover quickly.
Matthews does have issues on offense, where his lack of shooting really hindered his impact. He also tore his ACL during draft workouts, which ruled him out for this upcoming season.
But even with the shooting issues, Matthews’ defense is worth getting excited about. Any team that signs Matthews will be banking on his defensive upside more than anything. He can carve out a niche role as a stopper in the league.
Zach Norvell Jr., Gonzaga
Norvell signed a two-way contract with the Los Angeles Lakers once the draft ended, which is excellent news for Lakers fans. Given Norwell’s role as part of Gonzaga’s Big 3 alongside first-round pick Rui Hachimura and Brandon Clarke, it was surprising not to hear his name called on draft night.
Norvell can certainly hang his hat on shooting. He hit big shots for the Zags during his college career, and wasn’t afraid to shoot it at all. He was the Bulldogs best shooter last season, hitting 37 percent from three-point range while taking more than seven a game. He may struggle to guard bigger players given his lack of athleticism, but Norvell can add deep shooting to any team and will hold his own against smaller guards.