Jeremiah Robinson-Earl Stats
- Height / Weight
- 81 / 230 lbs.
- Date of Birth (Age)
- 11/3/2000 (22)
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl Last 10 Games
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl News
Oklahoma City Thunder center Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (ankle) has been ruled out for Wednesday's game against the Heat due to a sprained right ankle that he sustained Monday. Robinson-Earl's role has fluctuated throughout 2022-23, but he has managed to average 8.5 points and five boards in just 21.1 minutes per contest. His absence in the frontcourt paves the way for Aleksej Pokusevski to see an elevated workload, with Mike Muscala also a candidate to garner added looks. Irrespective of who plays the five for Oklahoma City, it will be a difficult matchup with Miami yielding the fewest DFS points per contest to opposing centers this season.
Oklahoma City Thunder forward/center Jeremiah Robinson-Earl left Monday's game against Dallas early with an apparent right ankle sprain. He was injured in the fourth quarter and exited after scoring six points and grabbing two rebounds in 14 minutes. Robinson-Earl has been one of the main frontcourt contributors for the Thunder this season and he's popped up with some very good performances as of late. We should know more about his injury prior to Wednesday's meeting with Miami. Should Robinson-Earl miss time, Darius Bazley is in line for a nice boost in playing time and Aleksej Pokusevski looks set to benefit as well.
It's funny that every year at the NBA Draft, once the end of the guaranteed money and live appearances arrives at the end of the first round, everybody tunes out and refers to the 60th pick as "Mr. Irrelevant." That's not very accurate though, is it? Speaking historically, the title of "Mr. Irrelevant" could just as easily be applied to each pick in the draft, as organizations differ greatly in their evaluation of talent and their own needs, particularly in a year without the NCAA tournament. The nickname just doesn't reflect how basketball works anymore. Executives strategically stockpile second-round draft picks for the less burdensome financial obligations, and organizations in rebuilding mode get super creative to field a respectable team on a budget. Particularly in the NBA where worldwide talent is plentiful and positional lines continue to fade, opportunity is everything: in the right situation, the right under-the-radar player can make an immediate, poignant statement. With professional development leagues for 16-18-year-olds, an ever-expanding set of domestic/international opportunities due to the sheer growth of basketball, and widespread NIL rights for college athletes, players of all levels and localities are starting to get their due exposure and now have enough freedom to hone their skills in a place, and at a pace, that fits best with their path to the NBA. Plus, I am inherently skeptical and distrusting of scouting from the high school level to pre-Draft. That's why in this annual article, I tend to favor overlooked college players (love the mid-majors/non-power conferences) with either well-rounded, polished games, or specific statistical specialties. We are going to discuss a handful of 2022 second-round picks and undrafted free agent signees who, given their individual skillsets and circumstances, warrant the attention of Fantasy Basketball Managers as potential high-impact rookies for the 2022-23 campaign who can quietly be acquired on clearance once they start showing signs of emergence. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Herbert Jones, Ayo Dosunmu, Kessler Edwards, Brandon Boston Jr., and Aaron Wiggins were just a few of the second-round success stories from last year; while the likes of Duane Washington Jr., Trendon Watford, Austin Reaves, Brandon Williams, Terry Taylor, and Jose Alvarado strongly represented the UDFA class. So, in search of the next class of super slept-on rookie surprises, let's dive right into the deep end of this NBA Draft talent pool, starting first with a hard look at the second-rounders. Andrew Nembhard (PG/SG, IND, 31st Overall) 6'5, 22-year-old Andrew Nembhard had represented Canada in international 18U competition and racked up a bunch of accolades in four college seasons with Florida and Gonzaga (SEC All-Freshman, WCC Sixth Man of the Year, Second-Team All-WCC, WCC Tournament MOP, and First-Team All-WCC). While sharp at Florida, he had to shoulder a significant portion of the ball-handling & distribution over Tre Mann & Scottie Lewis. Syncing with Gonzaga teammates like Corey Kispert, Jalen Suggs, Joel Ayayi, Drew Timme, and Chet Holmgren provided the freedom he needed to expand and make significant improvements to the lagging areas of his arsenal. While his usage rate and ball-handling responsibilities declined, he produced 10.5 points, 2.9 boards, 5.1 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.3 makes from deep at a 35.8% clip, and a 4.3% increase in free-throw accuracy to 81.3%. Moreover, while his assist rate decreased with his usage, he measured more efficiently in steal rate (2.3%), offensive rebounding (1.2%), turnover avoidance (TOV rate from 20.2% to 14.6% from Florida to Gonzaga), effective field goal rate (54.1%), and true shooting percentage (56.9%). He also posted career-high figures for steal rate (2.7%), defensive win shares (2.2), defensive box plus/minus (3.4), three-point shooting (1.6 makes per game at 38.3% accuracy), and free-throw shooting (87.3%, 9.8% better than his previous season-best) in 32.2 MP in 32 games over his final college season. The Indiana Pacers took Nembhard with the first pick of the 2022 second-round. They also: got Bennedict Mathurin #6 overall, extended Jalen Smith, traded Malcolm Brogdon to Boston; essentially for Aaron Nesmith; Daniel Theis; and a 2023 first-rounder, waived Duane Washington Jr., lost out on Deandre Ayton, and signed Deividas Sirvydis. The frontcourt should be mostly Myles, Oshae, and Jalen, with Isaiah trending upward and Goga/Theis bottom priority. Nembhard, Haliburton, McConnell, Hield, Duarte, Taylor, and Nesmith occupy PG to SF. This Pacers lineup is going to be super small and extremely fluid in position boundaries. I can easily envision rotations of those seven players, with up to four in at once in several combinations. This team could easily rank worst in rebounding by a huge margin this season whether they play small or not; so logic suggests that they should play to their strengths and opt for speed, perimeter defense & shooting, and skilled ball-handling. Nesmith has been a disappointment since going lottery in 2020 from Vanderbilt, failing to transition his much-touted scoring and shooting capabilities, while Taylor's 2022 run came in providing two-point scoring with boards in a desperate stretch that saw Indiana drop 26 of 33 games. Mathurin and Sirvydis are more on the SF side and much less polished products than Day 1 Nembhard. He can break in immediately, either in reserve for the guard pairs or in supplanting Nesmith/Taylor at SG/SF where he will provide greater versatility at both ends of the floor and many more options for Coach Rick Carlisle. I have tremendous confidence in him to succeed as a rookie, but the Pacers franchise took that confidence to a whole new level following the Summer League, signing him to a four-year, $8.6MM deal--the largest ever rookie contract for a second-round pick (according to The Indianapolis Star). There seems to be both a plan and opportunity; so with PT within reach and a wide-open world of rotation possibilities, I expect a successful, well-rounded rookie season from Andrew Nembhard in Indianapolis. Jaden Hardy (PG/SG, DAL, 37th Overall) In projecting short-time NBA success, I usually avoid prospects directly from Europe/Africa/etc., the G League, and now Overtime Elite. I'm crossing that threshold for the first time now because several aspects of Jaden Hardy's season with G League Ignite and his new situation with the Dallas Mavericks have caught my attention. This pick definitely surprised some people because of the notion that Hardy will need further development before seeing legitimate NBA minutes for a Mavericks team that seems stockpiled with wings of similar skillsets. That is what intrigues me here: what does Dallas see as different between Hardy and the other Maverick guards? While it likely won't be immediate, those differences and consistent improvement will be what earn Hardy a spot in the rotation by the time the seasonal weather changes from chilly to freezing. The former McDonald's All-American is 6'4, 200-lb., with a 6'9 wingspan. While we don't have official combine numbers for other physical measurements, after viewing assorted G League highlight reels, rest assured that Jaden Hardy is noticeably quick/agile on the floor and appears to jump quite well when he goes up to disrespectfully dunk in the defender's eye. In 12 games for the 2021 G League Ignite, Hardy put up 17.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.3 steals in 32.2 minutes per game. While he also committed 3.5 turnovers in those minutes and shot 26.9% from three in 6.5 attempts per contest, his overall FG accuracy was 35.1% and he shot an impressive 88.2% on free throws. It wasn't a major difference over the short season, but he did end up taking his field goal rate from 31.5% to 38.1% and his three-point rate from 25.9% to 27.5% from November to December of last year. In five Summer League games (147.3 MP), Hardy continued his microwave scoring, putting up 28 with four rebounds, three assists, and a steal. He ended up averaging 15 points, 4.6 boards, 2.6 assists, and 1.2 steals in that time, and the learning curve was apparent in taking care of the ball. Even though his accuracy across the board was slightly down in the limited sample size, it is important to note that he shot six for 17 from deep in the first three contests (35.3%), but was weighed down by a 0-for-6 outing against the Bucks. Of course, it can read like he's still a raw 20-year-old, but it wasn't that long ago that 19 was the age that all of the league's best players were starting ROY campaigns after a single year in college. I wouldn't necessarily call him "raw," because he is a very well-rounded, yet physically gifted player. I would instead say that his ceiling is probably much higher than your average second-rounder, and I question how much more he can develop for the next level by spending another year in the G League. As far as his place with the Mavs, he'll likely have to contend with Tim Hardaway Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Josh Green, and Theo Pinson for reserve minutes. When considering the strengths and limitations of those players, I would say that Hardy already encompasses more of a complete package, especially with his scoring. They're all about the same size, but Hardy has the physical gifts to be a nuisance on perimeter defense (a category in which Dallas did not excel last season), and while he might not currently shoot as well as Hardaway or Green, that at least appears to be the result of very cold moments broken up by stretches of solid accuracy. When he's cold, he has other moves in his repertoire to put points on the board, which is perhaps the direction that the Mavericks wanted to go in making this selection. Maybe I'm way off, but with the current roster makeup and identity, it seems like Dallas would have plenty to gain by utilizing Jaden Hardy sooner rather than later in his rookie season. EJ Liddell (SF/PF, NOP, 41st Overall)* As a 6'7, 243-lb. forward (mostly PF to this point), Ohio State's EJ Liddell is the classic scenario of a player getting looked over because he doesn't fit the physical mold of his position at the NBA level. But there is looking like your position, and playing like your position (P.J. Tucker and Chuck Hayes earned long NBA careers as 6'6 centers who bumper-carred themselves into the hips of taller players). Last year, Liddell was Big Ten All-Defense, First-Team All-Big Ten (2x), and a Third-Team All-American off of 19.4 points, 2.6 blocks, 7.9 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in 33.2 MP while shooting a ridiculously improved 37.4% from three on 123 total attempts and 76.5% from the line. And guess what? I had already started writing this when he tore his ACL in the Summer League on July 11th. Am I replacing him with another second-rounder? NO. First, upon yet another review of the second round, I am confident that the players listed here originally were the ones with the best routes to short-term results. Guys like Kennedy Chandler, Tyrese Martin, and JD Davison might have their moments, but considering who makes up the Memphis, Atlanta, and Boston backcourts, those chances will be few and far between. Guys like Bryce McGowens and Ryan Rollins are impressive, but they're at the back of long lines of young, rising talent on the Charlotte and Golden State rosters. The best argument I could make for someone would be for Jabari Walker, but there are plenty of like-sized forwards on Portland's roster, and I don't think he has a single quality at the moment that would give him an edge over any of them other than the fickle nature of Justise Winslow. It seems like every second-rounder and UDFA has a fighting chance in Toronto this season, but that might apply more to Ron Harper Jr. rather than a traditional 7'1 center like Christian Koloko. If you're not a point guard in OKC, Chet Holmgren's injury just cleared a mile-wide path to PT based on the Thunder's last few seasons, so Jaylin Williams is now an honorable mention-plus. This would've been a solid year for Yannick Nzosa to make moves on the Wizards roster, but he's still on loan this year to his club in Spain. The rest of the second-rounders just weren't impressive enough in their demonstrated abilities to climb the ladder this year (Max Christie, Moussa Diabate, Caleb Houstan, Trevor Keels, Josh Minott, and the rest of the international prospects) given their spot on the depth chart barring a slew of injuries, which granted, is always possible. We might've lost this opportunity to meaningfully discuss the possibilities for EJ Liddell in-depth, but try to look at it symbolically: every draft probably has an EJ Liddell who has terrorized college offenses for years while steadily improving all weaker aspects of their game, yet still gets disregarded by the masses. I hope Liddell is able to return and forge himself a career because there's a guy like this each season that could end up being the difference in category leagues. Vince Williams Jr. (SG/SF, MEM, 47th Overall) The Memphis Grizzlies have been the team I root for in the Western Conference since the Conley/Randolph/Gasol era, and after a meteoric year that saw Ja Morant hit mega-superstar status and the pieces clicking, Grind City found a way to trade for first-rounders (the kind of college players I really like) Jake LaRavia and David Roddy, Kennedy Chandler; whose talent makes him a second-round steal for any franchise, drafted Vince Williams Jr. from VCU, and still grabbed one of my favorite UDFAs of the 2022 class. The same thing can happen for each player I just named in the same fashion it did for Desmond Bane, Xavier Tillman, John Konchar, and Brandon Clarke. But I digress, let's talk about Vince Williams Jr.: A 6'6, 210-lb. G/F combo, Williams was a 2x All-A-10 selection in four years for Virginia Commonwealth and managed to improve by leaps and bounds across the board with each season. He averaged just 15.9 minutes per game for his first two years in college, shooting just 12-55 from deep (21.8%). In 2022, he put up 14.1 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists (to 2.9 turnovers), 1.6 steals, and 1.1 blocks in 32.4 MP across 30 games. What's more: he shot 60.5% from two-territory last year, and in total for his junior and senior seasons, he shot 108-272 on threes (39.7%) and 148-184 on free throws (80.4%). He ultimately netted by-far career-high marks for true shooting percentage (62.9%) and effective field goal rate (59.1%) to cap his amateur career. While he didn't see the floor very much and didn't shoot great in seven Summer League games, he still contributed in each statistical category, took care of the ball, and managed to average 1.0 steals in just 20 minutes per game. His ratios show that he was always an efficient player, but he expertly navigated the learning curve that comes with added volume and responsibility and became a true threat from beyond the arc in the process. I tend to value players that showcase vast improvement in their offensive deficiencies, all the while having the athleticism and skill to grab boards, distribute the ball, and make full use of their 7'0 wingspan in recording at least one steal and one block per game like Williams and Liddell. As a result, when the time comes during the NBA regular season for rotation and experimentation, there won't be much downside to testing Williams out for meaningful increments. Not only does Williams have to compete for PT with the sleepily-stacked Grizzly rookie class, but there's newly acquired Danny Green, sophomore Ziaire Williams, and Konchar, all outside of the starting lineup. Everyone on that list also packs their own brand of versatility and specialty. Despite that, there is something about an unheralded recruit who stays at the same mid-major for four years that just screams Memphis Grizzly culture, and so the fit seems fantastic. A role increase might come gradually after making the most of limited, early opportunities, but his honed skills and physical makeup present a more complete package than his teammates on the roster's fringe. Not to mention that if he continues to get better like he constantly did at VCU, he could turn into the sneakiest three-and-D rookie of 2023. Perhaps that's ambitious thinking of me, but Vince Williams Jr. has everything at his disposal to be an asset from day one for Taylor Jenkins and the Grizz. Isaiah Mobley (PF/C, CLE, 49th Overall) At 6'10, 235-lb., Isaiah Mobley has all of the physical presence and guard-like agility required to be able to join his brother Evan in the Cleveland Cavaliers rotation, and not a particularly stout group of reserve forwards in his way. Mobley's role for the USC Trojans didn't begin to really take off until last season, and while it was only six minutes more per game, the statistical output and responsibility far exceeded that. In 34.1 MP, he averaged 14.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.9 blocks while shooting a much-improved 68.2% from the free throw line (up from 54.5% the year before) and going 43 for 122 from deep (35.2%) after shooting 17 for 39 (43.6%) in 2020-21. What's more, on those 3.3 assists per game, he produced just 1.9 turnovers, while producing a ratio of 1.6:1.2 the season prior. His effective field goal rate was nearly static for all three years of college basketball, but his true shooting percentage (measuring two-point, three-point, and free throw shooting) went up every year, culminating in a 53.5% measurement. That, along with his 18.8% assist rate and 12.4% turnover rate, is what could help him see the floor early as a professional. His defense is solid; he doesn't have the best vertical leap, but with a 7'3 wingspan, he worked his way to a 3.0 defensive box plus/minus in his career for the Trojans, although it might not always translate to statistical outputs. The defensive effort will help to get him on the floor, but the superior size and aesthetic ball-handling will ultimately keep him there. He didn't shoot well in the Summer League, but he did average 8.8 points, 8.0 boards, 3.0 assists, and 1.0 blocks in 26.2 MP across five contests. The idea of playing Evan Mobley and Isaiah Mobley together in any way has to have the Cavs frothing at the mouth, and while the Cavs have a solid young and dangerous starting lineup with plenty of options at center, and the frontcourt reserves have held up well over the last few years, it shouldn't take many microwave scoring nights for Isaiah to leapfrog the likes of Dean Wade, Lamar Stevens, and Jamorko Pickett in the season's early months. If he capitalizes on the right opportunity, that could leave Isaiah Mobley as a sleeper rookie with the potential to produce in points, rebounds, assists, and threes, in the short term. Honorable Mentions: Jaylin Williams (OKC), Kennedy Chandler (MEM), Jabari Walker (POR), Christian Koloko (TOR).
It's funny that every year at the NBA Draft, once the end of the guaranteed money and live appearances arrives at the end of the first round, everybody tunes out and refers to the 60th pick as "Mr. Irrelevant." That's not very accurate though, is it? Speaking historically, the title of "Mr. Irrelevant" could just as easily be applied to each pick in the draft, as organizations differ greatly in their evaluation of talent and their own needs, particularly in a year without the NCAA tournament. The nickname just doesn't reflect how basketball works anymore. Executives strategically stockpile second-round draft picks for the less burdensome financial obligations, and organizations in rebuilding mode get super creative to field a respectable team on a budget. Particularly in the NBA where worldwide talent is plentiful and positional lines continue to fade, opportunity is everything: in the right situation, the right under-the-radar player can make an immediate, poignant statement. With professional development leagues for 16-18-year-olds, an ever-expanding set of domestic/international opportunities due to the sheer growth of basketball, and widespread NIL rights for college athletes, players of all levels and localities are starting to get their due exposure and now have enough freedom to hone their skills in a place, and at a pace that fits best with their path to the NBA. Plus, I am inherently skeptical and distrusting of scouting from the high school level to pre-Draft. That's why in this annual article, I tend to favor overlooked college players (love the mid-majors/non-power conferences) with either well-rounded, polished games, or specific statistical specialties. We are going to discuss a handful of 2022 second-round picks and undrafted free agent (UDFA) signees who, given their individual skillsets and circumstances, warrant the attention of Fantasy Basketball Managers as potential high-impact rookies for the 2022-23 campaign who can quietly be acquired on clearance once they start showing signs of emergence. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Herbert Jones, Ayo Dosunmu, Kessler Edwards, Brandon Boston Jr., and Aaron Wiggins were just a few of the second-round success stories from last year, while the likes of Duane Washington Jr., Trendon Watford, Austin Reaves, Brandon Williams, Terry Taylor, and Jose Alvarado strongly represented the UDFA class. So, in search of the next class of super slept-on rookie surprises, let's dive right into the deep end of this NBA Draft talent pool, shifting our focus to the workhorses and specialists of the UDFA class with upward mobility and an eye on a quick promotion. Kenneth Lofton Jr. (F, MEM) Kenneth Lofton Jr. is a "round mound of rebound" type, standing 6'7 and weighing 275-lb. The 2021 C-USA ROY and 2022 C-USA First-Team selection spent only two years in college for Louisiana Tech, but in that time, he demonstrated top-notch grit and appetite, and so he seems like a phenomenal fit for the current identity of the Memphis Grizzlies. He'll have to compete for PT on a two-way deal with the likes of a great cast of Grind City rookies like Jake LaRavia, David Roddy, Vince Williams Jr., and Justin Bean, and that's not even touching last year's rotation. However, he has the specialist skillset to prove himself an asset come early opportunity. Lofton made some big leaps as a Louisiana Tech sophomore. In almost 5.0 more minutes per contest (27.0), he averaged a double-double with 16.5 points and 10.5 rebounds and demonstrated surprisingly coordinated skills with 2.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Importantly, he also went from converting 93 of 156 (59.6%) free throws and zero of zero three-point tries as a freshman to 123 of 183 (67.2%) from the line and hitting four of his 20 attempts from deep. His Summer League play upped his stock as well. In seven games (21.0 MP), he produced 14.9 points, 6.4 boards, and 1.9 assists, and went five of 17 on threes (29.4%) along with 15 of 20 (75%) on free throws. He didn't produce mass defensive statistics as an amateur, but his 2.2 DWS figure was the best on the team, he was second on the team in Defensive Box Plus/Minus (2.1), second in block percentage (3%), and third in steal percentage (2.4%). Memphis might be a young, loaded squad, but Kenneth Lofton Jr. offers very unique contributions, a body type that has proven capable of defending several positions, an ever-expanding offensive repertoire, and an animal-like hunger for eating what comes off of the glass. The Grizz have dealt with injury issues over the past couple of years, and Taylor Jenkins has shown that he won't shy away from getting creative with the rotation. Even with all of the highly-skilled youth that Memphis has to work with, Kenneth Lofton Jr. could quickly cement himself on the NBA floor if given the opportunity with his team in need. Kofi Cockburn (C, UTA) 2020 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, 2x First-Team All-Big Ten, 2021 Consensus Second-Team All-American, 2022 Consensus First-Team All-American, the winner of 68 regular season college games and a Big Ten regular season championship in three seasons at the University of Illinois (if you count the games where he was suspended for selling apparel & memorabilia--like a champ), and the title of "undrafted" to cap the current list. Kofi Cockburn is just one of those college prospects that everyone seems determined to talk themselves into discarding. There are plenty of typical knocks against the 7'0, 290-lb. Jamaica-native: he's too slow, not efficient enough from the field or line, and not in tune with the style of play in 2022's NBA. To use those criticisms to count Cockburn out is to assume that today's NBA rosters are formed with the goal of fast pace and high-volume three-point shooting when there is a larger umbrella philosophy that is the true driving force: very narrowed-down specialty roles. Importantly, Kofi was also noted during his college years for having great awareness and smart movement on the floor, and for operating very well in the pick and roll. Kofi Cockburn might not be with the Utah Jazz in short order; in fact, all of the players in this discussion could find themselves in a different location for two months before we even hear about it (that's the nature of life as a UDFA). But for the sake of argument, let's say that Cockburn is with the Jazz organization for the 2022-23 regular season in some form or fashion. Who is he competing with to crack the rotation? With Utah's house-cleaning of Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, the current depth chart lists Cody Zeller, Kelly Olynyk, Udoka Azubuike (recovering from ankle & foot surgery), and Auburn rookie Walker Kessler at center with notable power forwards Lauri Markkanen and Jarred Vanderbilt also on the roster. Azubuike has played a total of 252 minutes in 32 NBA games since 2020, and while Zeller, Olynyk, and Kessler each encapsulate a unique brand of basketball, the Jazz could be a team in dire need of Kofi's sturdiness, toughness, and durability before too long. He averaged 20.9 points and 10.6 rebounds in his final season at Illinois. He averaged 1.0+ blocks per game every year, played in sync with NBA-level guards, and while he didn't put the entire offensive package together for any one year, he had two solid years of FT shooting (65.5% & 67.7%) and two solid years from the field (59.3% & 65.4%). His overall Summer League stats are shaky, but he ended on a positive note and averaged seven points and eight boards in 18.1 MP over six games. He may not have the skillset or athleticism to be a star center in today's NBA, but he has everything it takes to be a fantastic role player with double-double upside if he gets a chance for the Jazz as a rookie. Trevor Hudgins (G, HOU) The Rio Grande Valley Vipers just got themselves an absolute beast; maybe not for too long though, because Trevor Hudgins is tailor-made to be a Houston Rocket in 2022. Per Jon Walker of Northwest Student Media, Hudgins received zero DI offers and landed at Northwest Missouri State (DII) after head coach Ben McCollum noticed him at a Kansas AAU game. It ended up being a jackpot find for Coach McCollum. Hudgins has been dubbed one of the top DII players in history, winning three national titles, two tournament MOP awards, three MIAA Conference POY awards, two First-Team All-American designations, two DII POY awards, and the 2022 Bevo Francis Award for the top small-school college basketball player. In four years and 139 games at NWMS, Hudgins averaged 20.4 points, 2.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists (with only 1.8 turnovers), and 1.4 steals in 36.3 minutes per game, hitting 435 career threes at a 46.5% clip and 502 total free throws at an 87.8% clip. He shot 90.1% from the stripe for each of his last two seasons, averaged 23.0 points per game last year, and never shot below 41.5% from three for a season, with two seasons above 50% (his best being 53.3% with 105 makes from deep in 2019-20). He shot with unbelievable accuracy, prolifically scored for four full seasons, played active perimeter defense, took care in distributing the ball, and probably would've ended with four DII championships instead of three if there had been a 2020 postseason. At 6'0, 180-lb., Hudgins is a bit undersized, but he is comparable to former Rocket guard Chris Clemons, except that he is three inches taller and displayed much better shooting accuracy throughout college. Between Kevin Porter, Jalen Green, and TyTy Washington, Houston has young talent at the guard positions (while also breaking in Jabari Smith Jr.). However, the spots of guys like Josh Christopher and Theo Maledon on the depth chart can be taken because of their mediocre shooting, and we've seen how a sharp-shooter like Garrison Matthews can step into success with as many games as Eric Gordon has missed since 2019. When you shoot as well as Trevor Hudgins for as long as he did, I don't care what division of college he played in. In consistently shooting 40%+/88%+ from three and the free throw line, demonstrating basketball IQ on both sides of the floor, and having experience within a winning culture, there is room for you to contribute in today's NBA. If he gets an early opportunity to show why he's possibly the best to ever do it at DII, we could be seeing plenty of Trevor Hudgins as a super-sleeper rookie for the Houston Rockets. Scotty Pippen Jr. (G, LAL) Scottie Pippen Jr. was a part of some Jerry Stackhouse Vanderbilt teams that ranged from bad to NIT-worthy over three seasons, having to shoulder most of the load on his way to 2020 SEC All-Freshman honors and then two-straight First-Team All-SEC honors. His dad, as you may have heard, is Scottie Pippen--and much like his dad, he seems focused on escaping a lofty shadow. The Lakers love to make headlines with even their second-round picks and UDFAs (Shareef O'Neal/Mac McClung) and have loved making use of their less expensive under-the-radar rookies in recent years with so much money being spent elsewhere. It's hard to say where his chances will come, but the Los Angeles Lakers have been so volatile the last couple of years that I'm confident in saying his skillset will be called on during his first NBA season. Over his final two seasons at Vandy, Scottie produced 20.6 points, 1.9 steals, and 4.6 assists in 32.6 minutes per game. While his shooting was up and down, he overall shot 34.3% on 411 three-point attempts and 76.3% on 655 free throws taken in 90 career games. With a total assist percentage of 31.9%, Pippen took better care of the ball with each year, reducing his turnover rate from 19.1 to 15.1% from 2019 to 2022. Also, his defense really came along, improving his steal percentage every year (2.1% to 3.4%) and capping his last campaign off with 1.9 defensive win shares and a 2.7 defensive box plus/minus after combining for figures of just 1.1 and -0.1 in each category, respectively, over his first two seasons. In the 2022 Summer League, he demonstrated every skill one would hope he would. In 22.3 MP over eight games, he put up 11.6 points, 3.6 boards, 4.8 assists, and 2.3 steals. He didn't shoot well from the field or from three, but he shot 77.1% on FTs and limited his turnovers to 2.9 a game. If the Lakers call his number, it won't be because they need him to hit microwave threes in reserve, it will be because they need a well-rounded, pesky perimeter defender who has the skill to effectively distribute the ball to the players they are paying to shoot and score in reserve (but if he sees an opportunity to drive and lay it up, he will). Especially if disaster strikes, Scottie Pippen Jr. could get thrown into the mix and be an instant life-saver for those specifically in need of assists and steals, a la T.J. McConnell. He should be a fun two-way contract rookie to follow in 2022-23 whether he's with the South Bay or the Los Angeles Lakers. Orlando Robinson (C, MIA) As a 2021 Second Team and 2022 First Team All-Mountain West selection at Fresno State, 7'0, 235-lb. Orlando Robinson isn't as decorated as some of the other UDFAs discussed here, but his versatility, size, and landing spot should not be overlooked. He finds himself signed to a Miami Heat squad that boasts Bam Adebayo at PF/C, but other current frontcourt components include Haywood Highsmith (who is largely unproven), Dewayne Dedmon (serviceable to a ceiling as a reserve), and Udonis Haslem (still somehow on the roster). His real competition for PT is thus Omer Yurtseven, who got 12.6 MP in 56 games in 2021-22 and had himself a nice G League season. Robinson had a great career in Fresno, but his final year was an absolute gem. In 36 games, he produced 19.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.0 steals, and 1.2 blocks in 33.2 MP. He also shot 71.6% from the free throw line, 51.7% in the two-point territory, and hit 37 threes out of 105 attempts (35.2%). In terms of metrics, he excelled and improved in his deficient areas. Last year, he notched a 51.9% effective field goal rate, 23% assist rate, 1.9% steal rate, 4.9% block rate, 12.6% turnover rate, 2.9 defensive win shares, and a 2.8 defensive box plus/minus (on his way to All-MWC Defense), all of which were career-best figures. In the 2022 Summer League, he proved himself an asset to the Miami Heat organization. In 22.4 MP across seven games, he averaged 9.1 points, 7.6 boards, 1.0 steals, and 1.1 blocks. He didn't shoot well from the field, but he did at least sink 19 of 24 free throws (79.2%), and he left off with a bang, recording five blocks and 21 rebounds combined over the last two games. The Heat have the roster to once again contend in the Eastern Conference, but frontcourt depth behind Bam is far from their strong suit. Even if they go small at power forward with a combination of Duncan Robinson and Caleb Martin in front of Highsmith, that still leaves many areas of basketball with plenty to be desired. Yurtseven is a little thicker, blocks and rebounds just as well, and shoots from the line and in the two-point range about as well. However, Robinson appears to be pretty far ahead of Yurtseven in three-point shooting; because where Yurtseven is right now at age 24 is where Robinson was last season with the Bulldogs as a 21-year-old. Additionally, Robinson has consistently been able to collect steals and find open teammates while steadily limiting turnovers; and while Yurtseven has the bigger frame at 7'0, Robinson's build and athleticism allow him to effectively play for 30+ minutes per game while Yurtseven tends to max out in the 22-28 MP range. Even if Miami is mostly playing small ball, there are minutes to be gained in Miami's frontcourt, and with the limitations of Highsmith/Dedmon/Haslem and the stylistic differences between Robinson and Yurtseven, there are minutes to be had. Especially in the case of injury to core rotation members, he stands a solid chance of breaking through if given the chance as a rookie, in which case, there isn't much on the floor that he can't do. In a year without many diamond-in-the-rough shot-blockers, I'll be watching Orlando Robinson very closely. Honorable Mentions: Johnny Juzang, Jeenathan Williams, Buddy Boeheim, Trevion Williams, Tevin Brown, James Akinjo, Michael Devoe, Justin Bean, Fabian White Jr., Jacob Gilyard, Jamaree Bouyea, John Butler, Collin Gillespie (INJ), AJ Green, Gabe Brown, Tommy Kuhse, Julian Champagnie, Keon Ellis, Jeriah Horne, Darius Days, Jordan Hall, Ron Harper Jr., Javon Freeman-Liberty.