Ben Wallace and the top-10 undrafted players in NBA history

ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 03: Ben Wallace #6 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 03: Ben Wallace #6 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons are hoping to find another star in the 2022 NBA Draft, but not every star player was even drafted, just ask Ben Wallace.

This year roughly 280 players have declared for early entry into the NBA draft. However, not even half of these young hoopers will hear their name called by Adam Silver.

What’s tougher is that out of the 60 players drafted, only about 17 of them on average will make a real impact in the NBA. To measure “impact” we’ll look at Win Shares. For example, an all-time great like LeBron will have over 200 win shares for his career, while a players like Darko Milicic had just over seven.

However, not all impact players were actually taken in the NBA Draft.

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Some stars were the guys that were glanced at and shoved to the side. This is especially true with Hall of Famer, and Detroit Pistons legend Ben Wallace. Most people already place Ben Wallace atop the Mount Rushmore of undrafted players, but If Wallace is number one, then who are the other nine players that were shewed aside and counted out? Who else is on that list of top-10 undrafted players in NBA history?

Ben Wallace and the top-10 undrafted players in NBA history

Raja Bell: Kicking off the list is the key member of the Suns’ seven second or less offense. One of the legit knockdown shooters during his time, Raja Bell defined the term 3 and D for his era.

Stats: 9.9 PPG 2.8 RBG

VORP: 3.5

W/S: 32.7

Bruce Bowen: A Spurs legend and inductee of the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame. He acquired eight All-defensive selections and three rings during his career.

Stats: 6.1 PPG 2.8 RPG

VORP: 7.2

W/S: 42.9

Darrell Armstrong: A player turned coach, Armstrong is the definition of basketball fanatic. The 6-foot-1 guard from North Carolina and Fayetteville State, Was passed over in the 1991 draft. He didn’t immediately sign with an NBA team though, first he bounced around the USBL, Cyprus, GBA and CBA. After making a name for himself among the smaller leagues he signed with the Magic. A few years later he was the MIP and 6th man of the year. He even had some MVP votes. He was top 20 in Assists and steals multiple times as well.

Stats: 9.2 PPG 4.0 APG

W/S: 49.8

VORP: 21.4

John Starks: One of the few undrafted players to pull off the trifecta: Getting an All-Star selection, an All-League honor and an annual award. He was a 14 year veteran, and arguably one of the top 10 greatest New York Knicks players ever.

Stats: 12.5 PPG 3.6 APG

W/S: 49.9

VORP: 16.5

Wesley Matthews: The son of former NBA player Wes Matthews. Wesley has been a very productive player in the league. Many people don’t realize just how consistent he really is only dipping below double digit points per game in five out of 15 seasons. He is also 9th among active players in 3pt field goals made, and 23rd all-time.

Stats: 12.2 PPG 2.9 RPG

W/S: 53.8

VORP: 12.9

Avery Johnson: Next up is none other than “Little General”. Johnson was a 5-foot-10 point guard that went undrafted in 1988. Many remember Johnson as the heart of every team he played for. He most notably helped lead the San Antonio Spurs to their very first championship in 1999.

Stats: 8.4 PPG 5.0 APG

W/S: 56.5

VORP: 13.7

Jose Calderon: A well accomplished Spanish hooper. A 4-time Olympic gold and silver medalist for his home country of Spain. Calderon was recruited to the NBA by the Toronto Raptors and put up good numbers before bouncing around the league a bit and eventually ending up on the Detroit Pistons. He didn’t get an All-star nod or All-league selection, however his value over replacement player number and win share total is too high to ignore.

Stats: 8.9 PPG 5.8 APG

W/S: 58.3

VORP: 17.7

Brad Miller: Brad was a 2-time NBA all-star, and at the height of his career was a double-double beast. The 6-foot-11 center was one of the best rebounders in the league for several years, usually in the top 20 among eligible players. He played 14 years in the NBA averaging double digit points multiple times. He also has one of the highest win share totals among undrafted players in NBA history.

Stats: 11.2 PPG 7.1 RPG

W/S: 76.5

VORP: 23.2

Connie Hawkins: known as “The Hawk”, Connie Hawkins is widely regarded as a New York City park legend. He was a star in the ABA before the merger in 1976. Once he entered the NBA he played on the newly established Phoenix Suns team, later becoming a Suns’ legend. He’s also a Hall of Famer and a 5-time all-star.

Stats: 18.7 PPG 8.8 RPG 4.1 APG

W/S: 76.7

VORP: 4.9 (the first 5 years of his career VORP wasn’t being recorded)

Ben WallaceI’ll keep this one short, because it’s pretty much common knowledge that Ben Wallace is the best undrafted player of All-time. He’s a a hall of famer, a 4 time DPOY, a 4 time All-Star. He has his number retired in Detroit, he’s an NBA champion, a 6-time All-defensive team selectee and a 5-time All-NBA selectee. On all accounts Wallace defied expectations and excelled into an NBA legend.

Stats: 5.7 PPG 9.6 RPG

W/S: 93.5

VORP: 36.1

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