Last week’s NBA Draft offered plenty of surprises. Between blockbuster trades and questionable fashion choices (I’m looking at you Trae Young), it left hoops fans with plenty to discuss.

In the midst of all the #WojBombs and suit-and-short combos, four former USC Trojans found destinations in the NBA. It wasn’t the ideal showcase for USC head coach Andy Enfield — only two of his former players were drafted and none were selected in the first round. Still, each will at least get a shot at a successful pro career.

I’ll be grading each player’s fit with the organization that selected them (either through the draft or free agency). In addition, I’ll offer their chances of making a team’s 12-man roster once the season starts. Let’s get started:

G De’Anthony Melton– 46th overall to Houston Rockets

It was an odd and tumultuous collegiate career for Melton. He showed flashes of brilliance as a freshman, averaging 8.3 points, 3.5 assists and 1.9 steals per game. However, an ongoing NCAA investigation kept him from seeing the court in 2017-18 (he maintains he was not aware of any improper benefits). The lack of playing time, plus concerns about his playmaking ability made him a surprise slide in Thursday’s Draft.

Despite his offensive deficiencies, Melton has NBA potential as a 3-and-D role player. There’s a reason Draft Express once referred to him as “USC’s Swiss Army Knife.” He’s a jack of all trades. In an increasingly spread-out NBA, Melton’s ability to guard multiple positions is especially in demand.

Melton has a desirable skill-set, but it won’t be easy for him to earn playing time in Houston. The 65-win Rockets are loaded with talent at both guard spots. Melton needs an impressive Summer League campaign in order to stick in Houston.

Team fit: 4/10

Likelihood of making roster: Low

F Chimezie Metu– 49th overall to San Antonio Spurs

Metu entered this year’s draft as USC’s most intriguing prospect. In college, he proved himself to be a dependable inside scorer and rim protector (1.7 blocks per game as a junior). Yet, Metu’s real upside will come if he can develop a jump shot. He made just 13 3-point attempts during his career, and often struggled to convert in the mid-range. The Spurs’ would like to see shooting mechanics improve before employing him as a stretch-four or five.

Luckily for Metu, he fell into an ideal situation in San Antonio. The Spurs may lose star power forward Kawhi Leonard. Plus, Gregg Popovich and co. are known for developing similarly raw prospects. Bonus points for team fit, because the Spurs tend to get more out of later picks than any other team. Leonard, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili were all selected outside of the lottery.

Team fit: 7/10

Likelihood of making roster: Medium

G Jordan McLaughlin– signed by Brooklyn Nets

McLaughlin spent four years as USC’s unquestioned heart and soul. Unfortunately, his leadership and command of the floor weren’t enough for McLaughlin to hear his name called on Thursday night. NBA scouts had concerns about his size and lack of elite athleticism.

But McLaughlin still has the opportunity to chase a successful NBA career, in the form of a Summer League deal with the Nets. Brooklyn is a bit full at the point guard position — DeAngelo Russell, Jeremy Lin and Spencer Dinwiddie are all under contract for next season. Still, a successful showing in Las Vegas could do marvels for McLaughlin, whether it leads him to another team or a G-League roster.

The former USC captain possesses all of the intangibles necessary for a lengthy pro career. Now, he needs to prove he can hang with NBA-caliber talent.

Team fit: 2/10

Likelihood of making roster: Low to Medium

G Elijah Stewart– signed by Indiana Pacers

Stewart is an above-average athlete with a decent 3-point shot. During his time at USC, he set the school record for 3-pointers made with 245. However, there are concerns about his consistency and overall playmaking ability.  He landed on the Pacers’ Summer League roster, where he will likely aim for a spot on their G-League affiliate.

Stewart still has a ways to go before becoming an NBA-level player. For now he’s in good hands in Indiana — the franchise that developed guard Victor Oladipo into one of the league’s elite scorers.

Team fit: 7/10

Likelihood of making roster: Low

https://twitter.com/USC_Hoops/status/1010248254125064192

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Author Details
Content Creator at Armchair USC , The Armchair All-Americans, LLC
I’ve been a diehard college football fan for as long as a remember. I grew up in SEC country, rooting for the Georgia Bulldogs since birth. Now, I attend USC where I passionately cover Trojans athletics as Sports Editor of the Daily Trojan. If my two favorite schools ever faced, my brain would most certainly explode, which would be a very bad thing. Outside of my obsession for college football, I enjoy Star Wars (even the prequels), soccer (even the MLS), The Office (even season 8) and the musical stylings of Kanye West (even Ye).
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Content Creator at Armchair USC , The Armchair All-Americans, LLC
I’ve been a diehard college football fan for as long as a remember. I grew up in SEC country, rooting for the Georgia Bulldogs since birth. Now, I attend USC where I passionately cover Trojans athletics as Sports Editor of the Daily Trojan. If my two favorite schools ever faced, my brain would most certainly explode, which would be a very bad thing. Outside of my obsession for college football, I enjoy Star Wars (even the prequels), soccer (even the MLS), The Office (even season 8) and the musical stylings of Kanye West (even Ye).
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