Success is not about how you start but how you finish. Playing in the NBA or any other professional league is no different from professional athletes pursuing their dreams. Usually, the stars are selected in the NBA draft, but some players slip through the cracks owing to many different reasons.
Those who are undrafted sometimes choose to play overseas or in the G-league to sharpen their skills. After that, they have their plans to either re-enter the draft or get signed by some team. Some undrafted players never attain their spotlight again, whereas others have become an integral part of the high-performing teams. Here are some of the best undrafted NBA players in the history of the NBA.
Undrafted NBA players
One of the most decorated defensive players in the history of the league is Ben Wallace. He is referred to as the greatest undrafted player of all time. He earned a great name in the early 2000s. He made the two NBA final appearances in 2004 and 2005 and anchored the Detroit Pistons teams that went straight to the eastern conference. Not only this, but he also won the championship in 2004. Thus, he has been the winner of the hall of fame four times and made his mark.
He played for 16 years in the NBA and six different teams. But he was best known for his 10 seasons only during the three separate stints with the San Antonio Spurs. He served as a reliable point guard and averaged 8.4 points along with 5.5 assists for his career. In addition, he played a significant role in helping the Spurs win the championship in the 2000s. He also served as a coach at the NBA and college levels. Presently, he is a basketball analyst with CBS sports.
In the early 1990s, Starks scored a tryout with the New York Knicks. He also attempted to dunk Patrick Ewing during one of those practices. Unfortunately, he ended up injuring himself and was not released for recovery.
He became a fan favorite for his scrappy play and never-backed down attitude for the eight seasons in Madison Square garden. Then, in 1993, he came with his team. Not only this, but he also won the sixth man of the year award.
He spent five years between France and the Chinese Basketball Association. Bowen also served four years at Cal State Fullerton. On joining the San Antonio Spurs, he became one of the league’s top defensive players. Eight times he was selected to the all-defensive team and has also won three championships.
He had a long 14-year career as a stretch center a decade ago before the bigs. Miller averaged 11.2 points for his career and was best known for the time he spent with Sacramento Kings when they were playoff contenders.
He served as an offensive spark and a defensive pest with the Orlando magic. After averaging 13.8 points and 6.7 assists, he bagged the sixth man of the year and most improved player award. In total, Armstrong played 14 NBA seasons. Presently, he is serving as an assistant coach with the Dallas Mavericks.
Before joining the New Jersey Nets, Wesley spent one year in the continental basketball association. He also served 14 years in the NBA as a strong combo guard and persistent defender. In 10 straight seasons, he averaged double figured points. Presently, he works at fox sports southwest and covers the New Orleans Pelicans.
He served as a 3-and-D wing and played 2 seasons before anyone knew about it. He was selected for the all defense twice and served as a career 40.6% shooter from beyond the arc. The best years of Bell was designated as a critical cog in the seven seconds or less along with Steve Nash.
Udonis Haslem played a year in France. Later on, he signed with the Miami Heat and hasn’t left them yet. He is one of the most beloved players in NBA history as a critical piece of three NBA title teams as an insider defender and rebounder. Recently, he announced that he is planning to return in 2020-2021 for his 18th season.
VanVleet spent three years as a starter at Wichita State under Gregg Marshall, who parted ways with the university when an investigation was conducted against him for treating his players. After this, he signed with the Toronto Raptors and served most of his season in the G League.
Very few people know that VanVleet was one of the significant contributors to the Raptors championship 2019 and signed a 4-year contract with them. The deal was worth $85,000,000 after he averaged 17.6 points per game in 2019-20.
He gave his 16 years to the NBA and was a solid player. While averaging 5.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1. 6 assists per game, he played for five different teams. He played for three seasons following a stint in the CBA before signing with the Los Angeles Clippers.
He served four seasons at Harvard and was the best-undrafted player in 2010. Still, the Dallas Mavericks invited him to join them in Las Vegas and be a part of their summer league team. He will also get an opportunity to serve with his hometown team, the Golden State Warriors, on a two-year contract, but unfortunately, he got injured during the NBA 2011, and it sidelined him.
Due to the season’s uncertainty, he would play a few games in the Chinese basketball league. Later on, he signed with the Knicks. After finding fame in New York, he played six more seasons and won a championship in 2019 with the Toronto Raptors. Earlier this off-season, he was working out with the Golden State Warriors as he makes an effort to return to the NBA.
Alex Caruso went undrafted in 2016 after serving for four years at Texas A&M University but later on joined the Philadelphia 76ers for the NBA summer league in 2016. He then signed the contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder but was waived later on.
The wait did not last long for him as he was signed with the G league for the rest of the season. The very next season, he was signed by the Lakers for a two-year term to play in the G League. He was expecting a call-up in 2019. It is well known to everyone that he was a vital part of the Lakers championship that was run this past season.
As a part of the 2015 NBA draft, Quinn Cook was undrafted. Later on, he collaborated with the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Orlando part of the summer league. Then he joined the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Las Vegas summer league. However, he was cut by the Cavaliers after the six pre-season games, and he also served some time in the G league before signing a ten-year contract with the Dallas Mavericks.
He signed another 10-day contract with the New Orleans Pelicans after the deal expired with the Dallas Mavericks. It is expected that he will win the championship with the Golden State and then again with the Lakers. After being waived in the earlier season, he re-signed with Los Angeles.
These were the best undrafted NBA players of all time. It will be exciting to see how and where they land up.