Let’s take a second to remember that Jordan McRae was two selections from being undrafted after the 76ers picked him at No. 58 in the 2014 NBA Draft. Being selected at this point in the draft doesn’t come with many expectations, which is preferred for some players. It’s more common to see players picked in the first-round crumble to the massive pressure of holding a franchise on their nimble limbs.
It will take time to reveal who will shine from the 2014 NBA Draft class, but it’s safe to say that players like Shabazz Napier and Dante Exum haven’t exactly been lighting the court on fire. The pressure might be too much for these gentleman. But, at No. 58, the pressure is nonexistent, even though the odds of making it are few and far between. Remember any notable draft selections at No. 58 in previous years? Me either. It’s the double-edged sword.
The only thing that stood out about Jordan McRae when the 76ers selected him was the fact that he could shoot. Prior to his selection, the Sixers spent a barrage of picks on insane athletes that can jump out of the gym, but can’t consistently knock down a three-point shot.
A four-year veteran of Tennessee, McRae saw his minutes and scoring jump as he matured through the program. He lef the Volunteers shooting 34 percent in four years, making 179 three-point field goals in his career. Nothing about his 34 percent career percentage from three screams Klay Thompson or Ray Allen, but this has to be put in perspective. At this present time, the only viable shooters the Sixers have are…Jason Richardson? Maybe even Hollis Thompson, but those aren’t two players that should be relied on at this point.
Jordan McRae has as good of a chance as anyone drafted to make this roster. His shooting ability increases his chances, especially after his Summer League performance in Las Vegas.
McRae was a spark of consistency and a scoring threat during the summer Sixers adventures in Las Vegas. As it stands, the 6-foot-6 guard is the third leading scorer in the Vegas Summer League at 21.0 points per game, being paced by only Tim Hardaway Jr. and Glen Rice Jr. Not to mention, McRae dropped those 21.0 ppg on 50 percent shooting from the field while also grabbing 2.5 boards and close to two steals per contest.
Nothing was more indicative of his chances of making the roster as his performance against the Chicago Bulls in tournament play. Even in a loss, McRae was the standout player of the game by all accounts. He scored 25 points on 7-of-8 shooting and made all 10 free-throw attempts. The former Volunteer was shooting 100 percent from everywhere on the floor until he hoisted up a three-point attempt in the late fourth quarter that missed everything.
The 25 point performance marked his third 20-plus scoring outing in Vegas in four games. His only sub 20-point performance came in a loss to Cleveland, where McRae had 18 points.
In Vegas, McRae made 6-of-16 attempts from deep, which is a cool 38 percent. It’s an improvement from his numbers and Tennessee and above all, McRae showed his ability to be a reliable scorer. If he can keep improving on his shooting during the offseason, then he should be a lock for a roster spot.
That says a lot for a man who was two draft selections away from being undrafted and just another name on the UDFA list. For now, Jordan McRae is a member of the Philadelphia 76ers and has proven that he is worthy of a roster spot for the 2013-2014 season.