As recent seasons have proven, NBA teams are beginning to trust their respective D-League affiliates more and more. Thus, regardless of where a prospect is drafted, they could always find themselves on assignment in the minors if further development and/or more immediate playing time is deemed necessary.
Still, all such prospects need to focus on is improving their game in time to return to the squad that has already instilled some faith by drafting them in the first place.
For a select few undrafted prospects, however, the journey will instead be a bit more difficult. They'll have to work hard and begin fighting tooth and nail to earn a spot on an NBA squad. Should they choose to do so stateside, the NBA D-League may become a prime destination for such young guns to begin strutting their stuff come this fall.
Here's a look at five of the more promising prospects, who, although they went undrafted, could still catch the eye of an NBA executive or two by playing in the D-League next season.
Seth Curry, Guard, Duke University
Widely projected as a potential late second-rounder, it's not as much of a surprise to see Curry slip down and go undrafted. What may prove to be more of a shocker, however, is if the guard doesn't catch on with an NBA team in time for training camp.
In addition to coming from a big school like Duke, Curry's has recognition and family legacy on his side. Between all of the executives familiar with his father (Dell Curry) and brother (Stephen Curry), this youngster is almost assured to land somewhere soon.
The guard is able to push the tempo really well and his confidence is sky-high. Not afraid to take big and bold shots, Curry can knock down long-range bombs with ease.
That said, his defensive footwork needs work. What's more, not much of a distributer, Curry stands as an undersized shooting guard. Given his potential, however, it wouldn't be surprising to see him go through training camp with an NBA team, only to catch on with their D-League affiliate after not making the cut. Could spending training camp with his brother before donning a Santa Cruz Warriors uniform be an option for the younger Curry?
B.J. Young, Guard, Arkansas
Because he was in a similar position to Curry with regard to his draft position, it's not a shocker to see B.J. Young make this list.
Young has potential, but as a raw prospect, needs time to further hone his skills. Such a talent is all but made for the NBA D-League.
The guard can score in bunches and has the ability to catch fire in a hurry. He runs well in the open court, but his main objective is often gunning towards the basket to explode at the hoop. He's not one to dish it off.
Young is the type of player who stands to emerge as a potential spark plug off the bench for any number of NBA teams. The rest of his game needs work, but as players from John Lucas III to the more recent Jerel McNeal have proven in recent seasons, players with similar skill sets have no problem popping up from the minors midway through the season.
Myck Kabongo, Guard, Texas
Myck Kabongo went from projected first round draft choice to undrafted question mark in an awful hurry. His clouded and somewhat negative history with the NCAA this past season may have ultimately deterred NBA teams, but this kid has still got game.
The Canadian guard, who shares an agent with LeBron James, will find somewhere to be during training camp. Call it politics if you'd like, it just seems like a likely thing to happen. But should an NBA team decide now is ultimately not Kabongo's time, he could bring his fiery quickness to the D-League.
Just how much time he would spend there, however, remains to be seen. With a versatile offensive game, Kapongo likes to drive through the lane before deciding to take it to the hole or instead dish it out to an open teammate. He has potential and relatively solid instincts, so it would be interesting to see how such skills translate to the D-League and/or NBA level.
James Southerland, Forward, Syracuse
Could Sutherland be the next Syracuse alum in line to grace the D-League hardwood? Of course, it's not the most glamorous of distinctions, but the school saw a bevy of its past players attempt to work their way up to The Association via the D-League this past season.
With plenty of scoring prowess, Southerland would take the minor league by storm. He can put the ball on the floor and manipulate defenses in order to get the shot he wants on offense. He's a special player in that regard, who could be among the league-leaders in D-League scoring next season.
That said, the game of basketball is about much more than scoring, especially if you're attempting to stand out above the rest in the minors. Southerland will have to get quicker and see if his steady defensive skills and rebounding ability translates to the professional game sooner rather than later. Either way, his future is bright.
C.J. Leslie, Forward, N.C. State
Like Kabongo, Leslie is another player who dipped all the way down from a projected first round draft pick to someone chomping at the bit as pick number sixty came near.
Leslie is a forward with a lot of promise. He's someone who does a lot of things well, but no one thing especially great. He can score the basket inside, rebounds well, and his long frame helps him pester opponents offensively. Though he even shoots it well from long range for a big man, he'll need to bulk up and become a bit more bulky and physical if he wants to truly compete in the NBA.
Playing in the D-League would provide him with the time he needs to better acclimate himself to the professional level. Leslie is set to join the Knicks next month during Summer League. Could the relationship continue through training camp so much so that Leslie ends up with the Knickerbocker-affiliated Erie BayHawks this fall?