Though the NBA is moving more and more to a quantitative model when it comes to evaluating prospects, players still have to pass certain eyeball tests and gut checks just to be considered. Whether or not you think that's right or wrong, the record speaks for itself, as few undrafted players go on to have a meaningful impact in the league. At best, one might surmise that undrafted players must overcome a lasting stigma: if a guy isn't worthy of being drafted, he must not be worth much to an NBA team, and so those guys rarely get a fair chance to play, even if they've got the talent. (Don't get me started on how Mike Gansey's college performance matched up favorably to J.J. Redick's.)
Devan Downey will have to prove he belongs in the NBA, despite scoring oodles and oodles of points for an SEC team. The main problems? He was a volume scorer, not particularly efficient, and he tops out at 5 foot 9. While there are plenty of players under 6 feet tall who have contributed to NBA teams' success, it's not exactly a sterling record of success, and I think it's hardly controversial to say that all else being equal, the taller guy should absolutely get the nod, given size's role in basketball.
But there's also evidence that Downey is different from the rest of the crowd. Let's dispense with the negatives:
-- He shot only 34% from three.
-- For a guy with the ball in his hands all the time, he had very few assists.
-- He'll get lit up on defense because he's so small.
The potential arguments in favor of Downey?
-- He was the only legitimate scoring threat on South Carolina, so defenses were probably geared toward stopping him.
-- He might be able to run an offense, but we wouldn't know because, as the primary scorer for the Gamecocks, he wasn't tasked with creating offense for others.
-- Just about any way you slice it, he was great at getting steals this past year, mitigating his size disadvantage.
Though the Bobcats already have D.J. Augustin, and it could cause roster issues to have both Augustin and Downey since it would be crazy to play them together in the same backcourt (a la Augustin and Sean Singletary), it might be worth the Cats' while to see if Downey is a Daniel Gibson type.
Would you even bother trying to sign Downey?