The Best Undrafted NBA Players Ever

Over 100 Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best Undrafted NBA Players Ever
Voting Rules

Vote up the best undrafted players in NBA history.

Who are the best undrafted NBA players of all time? Every year, all 30 NBA teams convene in auditoriums around the country to decide which amateur basketball players are destined to become the NBA's next generation. Over multiple hours, teams draft two rounds worth of picks, 60 in total. Outside of lottery picks - the top 15 or so - the majority of draft selections are busts, and crash out of the league. There are also diamonds in the rough. Some come in the second round. Some come in undrafted free agency, a free-for-all process that begins only seconds after the last card is read on the NBA draft stage. A few of these late bloomers make teams because from jump street undrafted free agents must work extra hard to make NBA rosters. So, who is the best undrafted NBA player of all time? Which undrafted NBA players do you love to watch?

When it comes to the greatest undrafted NBA players, NBA champion Ben Wallace must be near the top of the list. The legendary center was a 4-time NBA All Star and 4-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Not bad for a free agent out of a small mid-major college. Then there's top undrafted NBA players such as John Starks, Bruce Bowen, and Udonis Haslem. Other notable undrafted NBA players 2022 are playing today like Fred VanVleet and Jose Alvarado.

Vote up the best undrafted NBA players ever and help decide whose journey from joe to All-Pro was the greatest!

Most divisive: Bo Outlaw
Ranked by
  • Ben Wallace
    White Hall, Alabama
    163 votes
    • Team: Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic
    • Position: Center

    Draft Year: 1996

    Benjamin Cameron Wallace (born September 10, 1974) is an American retired professional basketball player. A native of Alabama, Wallace attended Cuyahoga Community College and Virginia Union University and signed with the Washington Bullets (later Wizards) as an undrafted free agent in 1996. In his NBA career, Wallace played with the Washington Bullets/Wizards, Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers. He won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award four times, a record he shares with Dikembe Mutombo. In nine seasons with the Pistons (2000–2006; 2009–2012), Wallace made two NBA Finals appearances (2004 and 2005) and won a championship with the Pistons in 2004. The Pistons retired his jersey number 3 in 2016. He was named a finalist for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2019, but narrowly missed induction.
  • Fred VanVleet
    Rockford, Illinois
    140 votes
    • Team: Toronto Raptors
    • Position: Point Guard

    Draft Year: 2016

    Fredderick Edmund VanVleet (born February 25, 1994) is an American professional basketball player for the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association (NBA). In college, he has contributed to a resurgence of Wichita State Shockers basketball that included a final four run in the 2013 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament by the 2012-13 Shocker team as a freshman and an undefeated regular season by the 2013-14 team as a sophomore. He was named as a 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball All-American by a variety of media outlets. As a junior for the 2014-15 Shockers, he was an All-Missouri Valley Conference first team selection and received All-American honorable mention recognition from the Associated Press. He is the Wichita State career assists leader.
  • John Starks
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    90 votes
    • Team: New York Knicks, Golden State Warriors, Chicago Bulls, Utah Jazz
    • Position: Shooting guard

    Draft Year: 1988

    John Levell Starks (born August 10, 1965) is an American retired professional basketball shooting guard. Starks was listed at 6'3" and 190 pounds during his NBA playing career. Although he was not drafted in the 1988 NBA draft after attending four colleges in his native Oklahoma, including Oklahoma State University, he gained fame while playing for the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association in the 1990s.
  • Udonis Haslem
    Miami, Florida
    115 votes
    • Team: Miami Heat
    • Position: Power forward

    Draft Year: 2002

    Udonis Johneal Haslem ( born June 9, 1980) is an American professional basketball player for the Miami Heat of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college basketball for the University of Florida, where he was a key member of four Florida Gators NCAA tournament teams. He played professional basketball in France for a year, and then signed with the Miami Heat in 2003. He has won three NBA championships while playing for the Heat.
  • Avery Johnson
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    77 votes
    • Team: San Antonio Spurs, Golden State Warriors, Denver Nuggets, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets
    • Position: Point guard

    Draft Year: 1988

    Avery DeWitt Johnson (born March 25, 1965) is an American basketball coach who is the former head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide men's basketball team. Johnson spent 16 years in the National Basketball Association as a player, and subsequently served as the head coach of two NBA teams: the Dallas Mavericks and New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets. He led the Mavericks to their first NBA Finals appearance and to three consecutive 50+ win seasons. During his playing days, Johnson was known as the "Little General" for his small stature (by NBA standards), his leadership skills as a point guard (floor general), and his close friendship with former San Antonio Spurs teammate David Robinson - himself nicknamed "The Admiral" based on his tenure at the Naval Academy.
  • Bruce Bowen
    Merced, California
    92 votes
    • Team: San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics
    • Position: Shooting guard, Small forward

    Draft Year: 1993

    Bruce Eric Bowen Jr. (born June 14, 1971) is an American former professional basketball player. Bowen played small forward and graduated from Edison High School and Cal State Fullerton. He went on to play for the National Basketball Association's Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, San Antonio Spurs and the Continental Basketball Association's Rockford Lightning, and also played abroad in France. One of the most feared perimeter "lockdown" defenders in NBA history, Bowen was elected to the NBA All-Defensive First and Second Teams eight times, and was a member of the Spurs teams that won the NBA championships in 2003, 2005 and 2007. Off the court, Bowen became an informal ambassador for child obesity awareness.