Here are the top draft-eligible players who were NOT drafted on Thursday night.
Note: You are about to read A LOT about a “two-way contract.” So, it’s worth clarifying, briefly, what that is. This option was introduced in the Collective Bargaining Agreement of 2017 (which applied through this past season). The two-way contract is meant to allow teams to invest in young players inexpensively and allow them the play time and adequate opportunity to develop. “Two-way” refers to the relative freedom with which teams can choose to assign the players to the G-League and roster them for an NBA game. In this past CBA (from 2–17–2023), teams were allowed two two-way slots on the team. In the new CBA, which will soon go into effect, teams will be permitted three two-way roster spots. There are many success stories from the land of two-way, but here are a few: Alex Caruso, Austin Reaves, Lu Dort, and Max Strus.
Without further ado, here are the 2023 top undrafteds!
Drew Timme — Unquestioned leader of a top national program. WCC Player of the Year. Second Team AP All-American. Finalist for the Wooden Award and the Naismith Trophy. And now, undrafted. Drew Timme is the classic story of a player who dominates college, but is seen as a guy with a game that does not quite “fit” the modern NBA. Still, I will say what we all already know: There is a better-than-small chance that Drew Timme can indeed latch onto an NBA roster, and maybe even stick around the league for a year or ten. Indeed, he already has a contract signed with the Bucks. They, like any NBA team, could make use of his vast array of offensive abilities. And let’s see if the defensive / length / quickness shortcomings can be overcome.
Adama Sonogo — This one was a slight surprise. After a decorated college career at UConn, including a National Championship, the aggressive, powerful forward with a decent face up mid-range game was not selected Thursday night. Scouts had some pause over a perceived lack of athleticism. Despite having good length (nearly a 7’3″ wingspan!) his overall lack of size (6’8″ height”) and lack of mobility was not enough to get his name called. Still, as noted, he has a lot to offer on the court, so no surprise he is already spoken for. He’s signed a two-way deal with the Chicago Bulls.
Terquavion Smith — The NC State sophomore failed to progress much from his first to second collegiate season. And as a slight surprise, this Bones Hyland type high-octane-offensive-weapon-in-a-slight-frame failed to hear his name called on Thursday night. But as expected, Smith still was picked up by an NBA squad. The 76ers have signed him to a two-way deal.
Ricky Council IV — Ricky Council transferred from Wichita State to Arkansas last season, and immediately made a splash. He’s a good all around guard with standout athleticism. What likely held teams back is that, despite his incredible physical tools, he is a bit on the older side (22) in this draft for still being seen as such a raw prospect. Philadelphia, an active player in the undrafted-players market, is taking a change on him — they have signed him to a two-way contract.
Azuolas Tubelis —Another slight surprise (that he wasn’t drafted). Tubelis is a lefty big who has excellent hands and finishing ability around the hoop. And overall we love his feel. If he was 2–3″ taller or 10–15 pounds heaver OR just a tad quicker, he likely would have been a first rounder. The margins are so slim given the depth of basketball talent in the world today. Philly (see a theme here?) has identified his talent and has signed him to a two-way deal.
Oscar Tchiebwe — Hot off the presses: Tchiebwe has agreed to a two-way deal with the Indiana Pacers. It is said that one skill that translates exceptionally well from college to the pros is rebounding. And if anyone in college basketball could be called a tough rebounder, it’s this powerful forward right here. But he was not drafted Thursday night. Likely working against Tchiebwe was his age. He is quite old for the draft at nearly 24 years old. And he is not the most mobile player in the draft. He also isn’t the tallest forward around, but his nearly 7’4″ wingspan makes up for it. It wouldn’t be surprising to see such a powerful player with an undeniable skill (rebounding) and tenacity carve out a spot on an NBA roster full time.
Adam Flagler — A little bit of a surprise this scoring guard who gracefully stepped into a leadership role at Baylor as his collegiate career progressed was not drafted Thursday. Teams were probably hesitant given he is slightly small for a scoring guard, and slightly inexperienced as a lead guard. But a team with a sharp eye for talent has recognized his overall abilities. Flagler been signed by the OKC Thunder. The Thunder also drafted defensive dynamo Cason Wallace. While Flagler are similar size and similar position (Wallace is a bit bigger), stylistically they are very different.
Drew Peterson —Is it fair yet to say that Pat Reilly has a “type?” Peterson will not blow anybody away with athleticism, but he really shoots it and has a nice all-around game. At 6’9″ he averaged 4 assists per game last season at USC. As you can guess from the opening line, Drew has been scooped up by the Heat. Peterson is not on a two-way deal. He signed with Miami on an Exhibit 10, which is a one year non-guaranteed minimum salary contract with a stipulation that the franchise can convert the contract into a two-way contract before the season starts if it so chooses.
Jacob Toppin — Go New York Go New York Go! Toppin should be a familiar name, especially to anyone who read the prior line in the form of a chant at MSG. Jacob, like his brother Obi, is an ultra athletic Forward. Jacob reportedly has a 45″ max vertical leap! He was not expected to be drafted, due to lack of development in most other areas. Still, fans in New York can enjoy the high flying game of two Toppins, at least for now. Jacob has been signed to a two-way contract.
Omari Moore — Omari was not drafted on Thursday, but he’s already been picked up by a formidable team in the Milwaukee Bucks (on a two-way deal). Omari was a 4-year guard at San Jose State who improved each season and is of prototypical wing size / very good size for a lead guard. The one area in which he had a slight setback was that in his junior to senior year, he took a major leap in responsibility, upping his usage significantly. And his turnover rate dropped, but his shooting efficiency dropped off a cliff. This is likely what gave scouts some pause on draft night. Milwaukee sees reason to be optimistic, and there is plenty to like in this guard with a good all-around game.
Jazian Gortman — Gortman did not go the traditional route — or is it becoming a traditional route? The Overtime Elite lightning quick and explosive point guard was not drafted on Thursday night. Gortman was a 5-star recruit before opting to skip college. Likely what gave scouts pause is his (relative lack of) size. The Bucks have signed him to a two-way contract.