The NBA Draft isn’t far away and while it’s extremely unlikely Florida’s graduates Kevarrius Hayes, Jalen Hudson, and KeVaughn Allen will hear their names called that isn’t to say their hoop dreams are dead. There are more undrafted free agents in the NBA now than ever before and a recent change in the contract structure of the league expanded NBA rosters to 17 with two more two-way contracts per team being made available for players to jump between the NBA and the developmental G League.
Functionally, that means there are going to be 60 more contracts available to unsigned free agents this year. Considering the fact each team usually signs at least one unsigned free agent a year already that means each team now realistically has space for 3 of these players and 90 undrafted players could still see guaranteed money this year.
With that in mind there’s still a chance that the trio of graduated Gators could follow in the steps of Dorian Finney-Smith, Devin Robinson, and Chris Chiozza and make the league despite not being drafted.
Since the college season ended Hayes, Allen, and Hudson have all been busy. Each one has signed with an agent and has begun looking at ways into the NBA. KeVaughn Allen even participated in the Professional Basketball Combine.
Nowadays more important than any combine (and even college sample size in some cases) are individual workouts with NBA teams when it comes to earning another look. Here is a list of every team each Gator has had an individual workout with:
Workouts are ongoing (Jalen Hudson just worked out with the Hornets today, for example) so the list could continue to grow for each player.
If you’re like me you may find it interesting the Jalen Hudson has had the most workouts considering the tough redshirt-senior year he had. All these teams bringing him in shows that he’s got believers who think he may capture the same shooting he had as a redshirt-junior. The NBA is a shot maker’s league and if Hudson can find that shooting touch again a team might be interested in seeing him more.
Most modern NBA centers are defensive anchors and Kevarrius Hayes fits that bill. He doesn’t have the bulk you generally see from NBA 5-men and he doesn’t offer a ton of offensive upside but Hayes’ shot blocking and ability to switch onto smaller guards will offer some intrigue and it’s good to see him getting some workouts. It makes sense that defensive minded coach Duane Casey from Detroit has interest as well as a young roster like Atlanta that struggled to get stops last season.
Allen only having one workout with the nearby Orlando Magic is a bit unfortunate and it will be interesting to see if more workouts come. He didn’t perform particularly well at the Professional Basketball Combine and that could hurt his stock and prevented some scouts that saw him there from desiring an individual workout. The guard position is also the most competitive in the NBA with so many players in that size range and for that reason it could be difficult for Allen to differentiate himself.
The next step for these three players will be to try to get on some NBA Summer League rosters which I think each one will be able to do. Contracts are won and lost on NBA Summer League floors and a good showing could definitely see a two-way deal being offered. Even if the two-way deal doesn’t come there is an opportunity for G League-only contract and while that wouldn’t be quite as desirable it’s at least a stepping stone.
If the G League isn’t what these guys want Europe is always an option as well though I think it should be noted there aren’t as many spots in Europe available as a lot of people think. Most teams have limits on how many American players can be brought in and put on rosters and for that reason it’s fairly competitive for division one players. If you can get into a decent league the money in Europe is actually way better than the G League offers and for that reason it could be a great option for the Gator grads.
Immediately after the conclusion of the NBA Draft undrafted players start signing deals so keep on eye on that to see if any of the Gators get inked. If not, watch for when NBA Summer League rosters are announced to see where they may be. From there, the professional journey will begin.