Brooklyn Nets News: Two Undrafted Free Agents Signed


Brooklyn Nets News: Nets Sign Two High Profile Undrafted Free Agents In Ryan Boatright and Cliff Alexander

The Brooklyn Nets had a rather successful Thursday night at the 2015 NBA Draft. They acquired the draft rights to Rondae Hollis-Jefferson in a trade for Mason Plumlee, also receiving veteran point guard Steve Blake. With their own selection, they took forward Chris McCullough from Syracuse. They weren’t done after that, trading for the rights to international player Juan Vaulet from the Charlotte Hornets for two future second round picks.

They added to that strong class by signing two high-profile undrafted free agents. The first one was point guard Ryan Boatright from Connecticut. By signing a contract with the Nets, he will be playing on their Summer League team. Boatright is a familiar name around here because of his performance with the Huskies during his four-year collegiate career.

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Boatright was on the national championship team from 2014, as the backcourt of he and Shabazz Napier were the backbone of the team and led them to glory. This past season the results weren’t as good from a team perspective, but Boatright continued to perform even with the attention of opposing defenses on a nightly basis. In his senior season, Boatright averaged 17.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. He also has range on his jump shot, as he knocked down three-pointers at an impressive 41.1 percent clip despite averaging more than six attempts per game.

The thing that held Boatright back from being selected this past Thursday more than likely was his size. He only stands at 6-feet tall, and without elite athleticism to make up for it, teams were not willing to use a pick on him. Also, at 22 years old, Boatright is kind of old for an NBA rookie nowadays. Teams are selecting players that have the most upside, but at his age there isn’t as much upside as selecting a Freshman or Sophomore.

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But, he will be able to showcase his abilities in the Summer League with the hopes of latching on somewhere. There i obviously talent here, and Boatright has the leadership qualities and winning experience teams look for in a point guard. He has a solid chance to make the Nets roster, as they are looking for an infusion of talent in any way possible.

The second undrafted free agent that the Nets signed was Cliff Alexander from Kansas. Unlike Boatright, who experienced a lot of success in college, the same cannot be said for Alexander. Alexander came to Kansas as one of the most highly touted prospects, being a consensus top-five player out of high school ranking above even Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell.

He was looked at as a player with the ability to overpower opponents with ease in the paint and be dominating force on the glass. But things never got on track for Alexander at Kansas, as he had multiple injury ailments and lost playing time because of inconsistent play. He averaged a modest 7.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, well off what Kansas and he was expecting from the highly touted Freshman.

But that was better than no production at all, which is what Alexander provided after his season was ended in late February. An NCAA investigation founded that Alexander’s mother accepted improper benefits and he was ruled ineligible.

Jan 31, 2015; Lawrence, KS, USA; Kansas Jayhawks forward Cliff Alexander (2) warms up before the game against the Kansas State Wildcats at Allen Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Despite that, many people still projected Alexander to go in the late first round of Thursday’s draft. But, then the draft process happened and his stock plummeted. He measured out a little undersized for a power forward at 6-feet-7 inches and suffered a knee injury that hampered him throughout workouts. Because of the injury, he was unable to convince skeptical scouts that he had the skills to be an NBA player.

Alexander has become only the second ever top-five rated recruit to go undrafted since began rankings high school athletes 11 years ago. Scotty Hopson was the first, and will now be joined in the infamous group by Alexander. It is quite a fall for a player that was mentioned in the same breath as Towns and Jahlil Okafor just a year ago, and he will undoubtedly be out to prove his freshman season was just an aberration and he is still capable of doing the same things that got him to reach those levels.

While there are obviously reasons that Boatright and Alexander went undrafted, the Nets have to feel good about both players falling right into their laps. You know what you will get from Boatright, and with the potential Alexander had the Nets could potentially getting a huge steal. For a team looking to add talent in any way because they are strapped by the salary cap, they have to be extremely pleased with how things have turned out the last couple of days.

Next: Is Jason Kidd trying to sign Brook Lopez?

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