Neither EJ Montgomery nor Nick Richards are included in any major mock drafts, so why would they keep their names in the draft? In recent years, the number of teams giving second round picks guaranteed contracts has increased, making it more and more tempting for fringe prospects to keep their names in and roll the dice.
Ahead of last year’s draft, NBC Sports’ Rob Dauster broke down the numbers and discovered that 91 of the 132 college players picked in the second round of the last six NBA Drafts received at least a one-year guaranteed contract. With that in mind, I looked at last year’s draft and the trend continued. Of the 27 college players selected in the second round, 16 received at least a one-year guaranteed contract, meaning they made at least the league minimum for one season. The league minimum was $838,464 for 2018-19, up from $815,615 the season before. Two of those players were Jarred Vanderbilt and Hamidou Diallo, who each signed three-year, $3.92 million contracts with Denver and Oklahoma City, respectively, the first two years guaranteed. Of the college players who didn’t receive guaranteed contracts, four signed two-way contracts, two signed G League contracts, and two decided to go overseas to make money while the NBA retained their rights.
EJ Montgomery is participating in a Pro Day tomorrow in Santa Monica, California. Even though he may not seem like an NBA prospect to us right now, an NBA GM might see the potential and promise to take him in the second round. As recent history shows, this path to getting paid isn’t exactly the dream most prospects have growing up, but it is becoming more and more common.
That being said, another year as the star of Kentucky’s frontcourt would do that stock wonders. But that’s easy for a writer with nothing on the line to type.