The Golden State Warriors have a pretty good track record of finding talent among the ranks of the undrafted.
Just on this year's roster, they had James Michael McAdoo and Ian Clark, who helped the Warriors win a Las Vegas Summer League title as 2013 Tournament MVP before beginning his career with the Utah Jazz. Prior to that, they had Kent Bazemore, who became a cult classic among Warriors fans before becoming a starter with the Atlanta Hawks.
And, of course, they were the first ones to give Jeremy Lin a shot.
This year, they're already off to a solid start.
Warriors signed Maryland's Robert Carter
After drafting Damian Jones with the 30th pick and Patrick McCaw through a trade with the Milwaukee Bucks during the second round, the Warriors immediately signed undrafted Robert Carter of Maryland. And with Carter, Jones, and McCaw the Warriors already have a draft night haul that beyond what you'd imagine for a team selecting 30th.
Ed says we got #24 McCaw, #35 Carter (undrafted), #52 Jones. https://t.co/OcxnJSE3xh— Eric Apricot (@EricApricot) June 24, 2016
Carter is a 6-foot-9 power forward, who appears to be of the stretch variety, based on DraftExpress' description. Josh Riddell of DraftExpress describes him as someone who, "...certainly has the look of a NBA big man with his impressive length, scoring instincts and solid mobility" and boasts the third-highest assist average of any of the power forwards in their database and crazy wingspan that gives him some defensive potential as well as an emergent 3-point shot.
And Carter is probably the kind of player who you'll usually find among the undrafted: good players statistically who have physical shortcomings who just need a little seasoning before they blossom.
So who else is out there for the taking?
DraftExpress offered aa list of undrafted players shortly after the draft and here's a few who stood out to me:
1. Jameel Warney, PF (6'8", Stony Brook)
Jameel Warney is an undrafted free agent to keep an eye on - think he could find a role on a team.— Conrad Chow (@chowster24) June 24, 2016
Former Golden State of Mind contributor Conrad Chow has been talking about Warney even well before the draft and Kevin Pelton of ESPN, Ed Weiland of Hoops Analyst, and Ed Bemiss of National Sports Rankings all had Warney ranked among their top 30.
But you can see how he fell out of the draft: being undersized doesn't exactly help. But among the things he does well is scoring in bunches, which Weiland has listed as a positive indicator. With that and the versatility Pelton describes, he could be a fit.
2. Jarrod Uthoff, 6'10" (F, Iowa)
Uthoff was a guy who some people assumed thought could make the first round, but eventually fell out of the draft altogether. Chad Leistikow of the Des Moines Register got this insight on him from an anonymous scout.
"Physically skilled. Needs to get stronger. He's like Gumby with his ability to contort himself around the rim. Such a weird game. Can he rebound just enough to play four? I don't think he can guard threes. NBA guys will eat him up in the post. I just picture him going up against (Washington Wizards forward) Markieff Morris. He's a good shooter but it takes a little time for him to get it off."
Jared Stearne wrote a bit more about Uthoff earlier this year.
3. Thomas Walkup, 6'5" (Wing, Stephen F. Austin)
Walkup is the classic guy who is skilled, but doesn't have the physical tools as described by Josh Riddell of DraftExpress.
Walkup has good size for a combo guard, measured at 6'4", with a solid 6'8" wingspan and a muscular 202 pound frame that he uses to body up players in the half-court. This strength could allow him to defend wings as well as guards, which would help his cause immensely. He may not be the most physically imposing player athletically, but he makes up for it with technical skill, confidence, and a great feel for the game...If he can prove that he can play a role as the type of versatile point forward/combo guard many teams are actively looking for, he could certainly find a way into a NBA roster with his competitiveness and feel for the game, possibly after some seasoning in the D-League.
Given that the Warriors have a strong D-League franchise in Santa Cruz, perhaps they're a team that could give Walkup a chance.
Update: the Warriors have signed Walkup to their summer league roster (h/t CurryUpOffense for mentioning it in the comments)
4. Fred VanVleet, 6'0" (PG, Wichita State)
VanVleet certainly doesn't have prototypical size for a NBA player, but Kevin Pelton had him ranked 22nd in his rankings and Ed Weiland had him at 32nd so there's something people like in his statistical ability. But he also has defensive intangibles that are noteworthy, according to Josh Riddell of DraftExpress.
VanVleet was one of the best defensive point guards in college basketball, but there are some question marks about how his below average size and length will allow this part of his game to translate to the professional level. He's constantly talking to by calling out plays and directing his teammates to where the action is heading. He can also pick up the ball before halfcourt to tire out his opponent and burn the shot clock by putting some pressure on the ball. He generated 2.5 steals per 40 minutes pace adjusted with his quick hands on the ball and will definitely provide some energy and toughness defensively.
Whether any of these guys fit the Warriors remains to be seen, but some of them might have a shot to shine in summer league.