Top 4 Undrafted NBA Players in History

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Ben Wallace in a shootaround session for the Chicago Bulls.
(Wikimedia Commons/Jauerback)
Anatoly Pimentel @AnatolyPimentel Dec 05, 2023, 1:27 AM
  • Here’s a list of the top four undrafted NBA players.
  • John Starks leads the list.

The Miami Heat is arguably the best team in the NBA to scour through undrafted players, but it proved to be solid pickups for the team. In fact, they have seven undrafted players (Duncan Robinson, Max Strus, Omer Yurtseven, Gabe Vincent, Marcus Garrett and Dewayne Dedmon) in the regular rotation. These players are vital in their place in the NBA championship odds.

Even Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers is in awe of this fantastic scouting job of Miami and stated, ‘’I don’t know where they keep getting these guys from. They can all shoot, they know how to play.’’ This scouting by the Heat and statement from Rivers proves that not all-star players are found in the draft lottery.

Today, we will be looking at the top five undrafted NBA players in history who significantly impacted the teams they have played and added excitement to basketball betting. This list excludes active players who are still in the league, such as Fred VanVleet, Duncan Robinson, Wesley Matthews and Joe Ingles.

John Starks

After a short stint with the Golden State Warriors in the 1988-89 season, John Starks was forced to regroup out of the league. He then saw himself signed by the New York Knicks for the 1990-91 season as a back-up point guard, but his role was promoted two seasons after becoming the Knicks’ main floor general.

Due to his grit and tenacity, Starks became an NBA All-Star in 1994 and earned the Sixth Man of the Year award in 1997, but more importantly, he won the hearts and respect of many Knicks fans, thus obtaining his fanbase. Starks averaged 12.5 points, 3.6 assists and 2.5 rebounds throughout his 13-year career.

Avery Johnson

A rough start in his career didn’t hinder Avery Johnson from reaching his full potential as a player. During his eighth season with the Golden State Warriors in the 1993-94 season, he put up 10.9 points, 5.3 assists and 2.1 rebounds to regain his spot with the Spurs. In the next seven seasons in San Antonio, Johnson established himself as the team’s primary point guard.

Johnson was also a vital piece in the team’s championship run in 1999, where he helped them win the franchise’s first-ever title as he averaged 9.2 points, 7.2 assists, and 2.6 assists in the finals. Overall, Avery Johnson spent 16 years in the league and accumulated career numbers of 8.4 points, 5.5 assists and 1.7 rebounds.

Bruce Bowen

Another San Antonio Spurs legend, Bruce Bowen, makes the top undrafted players in history. He was one of the premier 3-and-D guys that the league has ever seen. This defensive prowess has gained him eight All-NBA Defensive team selections, on top of three NBA Championships with the Spurs (2003, 2005, and 2007) that helped the franchise become the fifth-winningest NBA franchise in history.

Although his career stats of 6.1 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists don’t reflect his overall influence on the court, his pesky defense was known to slow down the production of superstars like Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki, LeBron James and Steve Nash.

Ben Wallace

Ben Wallace is arguably the best undrafted NBA player of all time and his resume can back up this claim. After a tough four seasons with Washington and Orlando, Wallace was picked up by the Detroit Pistons to make him the defensive anchor, and Big Ben has rewarded the Pistons with several accolades.

The undersized center won the record-tying four defensive player of the year award in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006. Also, he was selected to be an NBA All-Star in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 and assisted Detroit to take down the Lakers in 2004 to win an NBA title. Overall, Wallace amassed a career average of 5.7 rebounds, 9.6 rebounds and 2.0 blocks. Additionally, he is the first and only undrafted NBA player to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

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About the Author

Anatoly Pimentel

Read More @AnatolyPimentel

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.