Fred VanVleet. Udonis Haslem† Alex Caruso† Duncan Robinson† Gary Payton II† TJ McConnell† Joe Ingles† Gabe Vincent†
That’s just the tip of the iceberg of unwritten players making a difference on NBA rosters. Some great players haven’t heard their name in the 2022 NBA Draft – Shareef O’Neal of LSU, Shaq’s son, for example (he will play in Summer League for the Lakers).
Here are five names you may not know, but are worth checking out both in Summer League and in the years to come. Players who could later make a difference for their teams.
• Dom Barlow, 6’9″ power forward/center, Overtime Elite. He signed a two-way contract with the San Antonio Spurs almost immediately after the draft.
Barlow was the top player in the OTE class this year, he has NBA size, height (7-3 wingspan) and athletic ability. He can engage the defense and hold his own, and he showed some skill as a ball handler and shooter last season. That said, Barlow is still raw and is a development project – the NBA Draft Combine scrimmes showed he has a way of catching up with the speed of decision making and reactions that must take place. But he has all the rough tools. The Spurs are the perfect organization to take him.
† Julian Champagne† 6’8′ forward, St John’s. He signed a two-way contract with the 76ers shortly after the draft ended.
‘s brother Justin Champagne of the Raptors, the hope is that the younger Champagnie brother can be a 3&D player in both front seats. He was asked to go all out for last season’s Red Storm attack and, in a positive sign, showed the ability to get tough shots in college. If he can develop as a catch-and-shoot man and prove he can defend better athletes at the next level, he could become a rotational forward in the NBA.
† Justin Lewis† 6’7′ ahead, Marquette. He quickly signed a two-way contract with the Chicago Bulls after the draft.
He has the physical tools and athletic ability everyone hopes to find in a wing – 7-2 wingspan, physical and strong, can jump out of the building, engage the defense and hit a jumper. He is a force when playing downhill. Lewis was inconsistent and didn’t play with a motor high enough at Marquette to keep everyone happy, and there are concerns about his lateral speed in defense. But he competes. Lewis could be a solid wing rotation player in a few years.
† Jean Montero† 6’2″ guard, Overtime Elite. He’s signed an Exhibit 10 contract with the Knicks, which means he’ll play for them in the Summer League, be invited to training camp, and get a bonus to join their G-League team (unless he plays his way to the big club).
A pass-first point guard with impressive handles and speed, he was a top-20 projection in this class in early 2020, but his development seems to have stalled. He is considered undersized, but without the athletic ability to counter that, leading to concerns about his defense and ability to finish indoors. The hope is that if his jumper can be developed, he can be a backup point guard.
† Dereon Seabron† 6’5′ shooting guard, state of North Carolina. He signed a two-way contract with the New Orleans Pelicans almost immediately after the draft.
He is quick and has a natural ability to get downhill and into the paint against a defense (where he doesn’t shy away from contact and is a decent passer). That speed and desire to get to the rim makes it fantastic in the transition. However, if he wants to stay in the NBA, he has to become a much better shooter (25.4% from 3 last season). His defense will also have to improve. He’s a project, but it’s hard to learn speed and the ability to go downhill, so not a bad roll of the dice by the pelicans.
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Five Unwritten 2022 NBA Draft Players Worth Watching originally appeared on NBCSports.com