The ball doesn’t stop bouncing after college for a lot of Syracuse basketball players, even the ones who don’t quite make the league out of college. While Alan Griffin and Quincy Guerrier are probing the NBA draft waters with a lot of skepticism, it’s time to check up on the guys still trying to make the NBA, and stay there this time.
3. Chris McCullough, F, 2014-2015
If there is one word Syracuse fans should identify McCullough with it’s “potential”. The former five-star started the first 16 games for SU before going down with a knee injury. Despite the setback, the Nets still drafted him in the first round, 29th overall. In his rookie season, McCullough was given four starts in 24 games as a 20-year-old one year removed from the worst injury of his career. After that, the two-way track never gave him a shot.
The reason McCullough makes sense for a two-way contract this summer, and maybe even a shot at an NBA roster spot is the fact that he’s the ideal power forward in today’s NBA. At 6-foot-9 all he needs is a consistent perimeter shot, which he says has really come along in his international career playing in China, the Philippines and South Korea. If McCullough can shoot consistently, he’s a worthy gamble for NBA teams.
2. Andrew White, G/F, 2016-2017
It’s all about being on the NBA radar. It’s McCullough’s hope to land back on the NBA radar, and if he does there should be a path for him. White, on the other hand, is already on the NBA radar. The single-season three-point champ for SU spent this season with the Westchester Knicks in the G-League. He signed an exhibit 10 deal before being waived that day by New York. But the Knicks clearly see something in him. Nobody can dispute his ability from outside, but the question is, and always will be, if he is a good enough NBA defender.
1. Malachi Richardson, G, 2015-2016
I would be surprised if Richardson never touches an NBA floor again. It’s abundantly clear that shooting is at a premium in today’s NBA. Richardson checks that box, hitting 45% of his shots from beyond the arc this season for the Canton Charge of the G-League. While his scoring is down (8.4 ppg), that number jumps off the page.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the guy with the most NBA experience of the three has the best chance of earning an NBA contract. Richardson was a one-and-done first round pick in 2016 by the Hornets 22nd overall. Despite the hype, he never got a real shot to break into the rotation. But he did log 70 games at the NBA level. At just 25, there’s still a lot of bounce in the former McDonald’s All-American’s step. Like White, the question with Richardson is defense, but if he keeps shooting at a 45% clip, defense won’t matter off an NBA bench.