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The Top 10 Undrafted NBA Players

Anklesnap May 19, 2009 Blogs 39 Comments

Kobe Bryant Top Shooting Guard

May 19, 2009 – ‘T-Dot’ Daniel

Daniel is a die-hard NBA basketball fan whose favourite teams are the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors.

In honor of the NBA Draft Lottery tonight, and in case your favorite team doesn’t fair so well with the bounce of the ping pong balls, we thought we’d bring you a ray of hope. Here is a list of the Top 10 Current NBA Players Not Drafted.

Note: The following are players who joined during or after the 1987 season, the first year the NBA reduced the amount of rounds in the draft to 2.

Jannero Pargo (Free Agent - PG)

After declaring for the draft in 2002, Jannero Pargo went undrafted. The 6’2″ point guard was signed by the Lakers in the 2003-04 season. Despite averaging around 10 minutes per game, Pargo was only able to average 2.5. points per game. After another season with the Lakers and a season in Toronto, he was traded to Chicago where he put up career high numbers in minutes (26.5), points (13.5), and assists (3.6). He is currently a free agent.

Kelenna Azibuke (Golden State Warriors - SG)

Kelenna Azibuke, a Shooting Guard for the Golden State Warriors, began his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers, playing a few preseason games before being waived. But that didn’t stop Azibuke from working hard to accomplish his dream. He was signed by the Fort Worth Flyers of the NBA D-League and led them to the championships. Along the way he collected several honours and opened the eyes of NBA scouts. Houston was the next team to pursue Azibuke but shortly waived him and rejoined his former NBA D-League team. After leading the D-League in scoring, he was finally given a permanent chance to play in the NBA. The injury-plagued Golden State Warriors signed Azibuke. He finished the season with career highs in minutes (32.1), points (14.4), rebounds (5.0), and assists (1.6). He is currently considered one of the best upcoming young players in the NBA at the young age of 25.

Jamario Moon (Miami Heat - SF)

Jamario Moon, a highflying small forward from Goodwater, Alabama, currently plays for the Miami Heat. He has spent most of his career playing with teams in several different countries, including the legendary Harlem Globetrotters in 2004, and in the NBA D-League. He is known for his superb dunking and jumping abilities. He exceeded expectations of Toronto’s coaching staff after being invited to a 3 day mini-camp with the Raptors. His performance gained him a 2-year deal. He was the Rookie of the Month for January, 2008, was invited to the Rookie-Sophmore game at the All-Star Weekend in New Orleans, and participated in the Slam Dunk competition where he finished in 3rd place.

Udonis Haslem (Miami Heat - PF)

Udonis Haslem, a standout at the University of Florida, helped lead them to 4 straight NCAA Tournament appearances. Despite his success, he went undrafted in 2002. After signing with a team in France, he made it into the NBA Summer League and was later signed by the Miami Heat. In his rookie season, he was named to the 2nd NBA All-Rookie Team and was a starter in the Rookie-Sophmore game during the All-Star Weekend He was an instrumental part of Miami’s success in 2006, winning the first and only NBA championship of his career.

Raja Bell (Charlotte Bobcats - SG)

After signing with the San Antonio Spurs in 2000, Raja Bell never played a game with them and was released. The next season, Bell helped rally his team from a large deficit in game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, scoring in double figures. During the 2005-06 season, Raja Bell put up career highs in minutes (37.5), points (14.7), assists (2.6), and steals (1.0). In addition, he was selected to participate in the Footlocker 3-Point Shootout however declined the opportunity for personal reasons. During his career, Bell was named to the NBA All-Defensive First and Second team, one time each.

Bruce Bowen (San Antonio Spurs - SF)

Bruce Bowen, an alumni of Edison High School, went undrafted 1993. Despite going undrafted, he is considered one of the best defenders in the game today. From 2001-2008, he received consecutive nominations for the NBA All-Defensive Teams. In addition, Bowen finished 2nd in NBA Defensive Player of the Year 3 times, to Ben Wallace twice and Marcus Camby once.

Mike James (Washington Wizards - PG)

After 3 seasons in the Euroleague, Mike James decided to join the NBA after going undrafted in 1998. He played for the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons, Milwakee Bucks, Houston Rockets, and Toronto Raptors. His most memorable season was with Toronto where he averaged career highs in virtually every category, including 20.3 points per game. He is the first undrafted player in NBA history to average more than 20 points in a season.

Jose Calderon (Toronto Raptors - PG)

Jose Calderon, who is of Spanish decent, is a point guard for the Toronto Raptors. Calderon started out his professional basketball career in the Euroleague where he spent 6 successful seasons with several teams. In August 2005, Calderon signed with the Toronto Raptors. During the 2006-07 season, he helped lead the Toronto Raptors to the playoffs and in the 2007-08 season, he exceeded his expectations and eventually took over the role of starting point guard from T.J. Ford. Last season was definitely Calderon’s best where he averaged career highs in minutes (34.3), points (12.8), assists (8.9), rebounds (2.9), and steals (1.1). In addition, he abolished the NBA free-throw shooting percentage record, shooting 981% from the line, has an Olympic silver medal, and a gold medal from the World Championships in 2006.

Brad Miller (Chicago Bulls - C)

During his career, Brad Miller has bounced around the NBA, playing for the (now defunct) Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, and Sacramento Kings. Brad Miller has represented the United States at the World Championships twice, where he has won 2 bronze medals and is a 2 time All-Star. Miller is regarded as one of the best shooting big men in the league.

Ben Wallace (Cleveland Cavaliers - C/PF)

Ben Wallace, who is nicknamed Big Ben, is a 6’9″ center/power forward for the NBA’s best team currently, the Cleveland Cavaliers. He has received countless awards recognizing his defensive ability. He was an NBA champion in 2004, is a 4 time All-Star, 4 time Defensive Player of the Year (a record which he shares with Dikembe Mutombo), a 6 time All-Defensive Team member, and a 5 time All-NBA Team member.

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  • gibbs12

    unrelated, but best 2nd round pick: Michael Redd

  • Truth About It

    Yea, you mention Pargo is a free agent … so I guess he’s “technically” not current since he played in Euro last year.

    Kinda bummed you left out Chris Anderson, Jose Juan Barea or Reggie Evans …. any one could replace Pargo.

  • KellerMaverick

    Hey T-Dot…don’t forget my boy Marquis Daniels. He was the only Maverick who could begin to contain D-Wade in the Finals, and would still be in Dallas if it weren’t for Avery Johnson. We sure could have used him this year…

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  • joe

    I like number 3 on list

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  • Anklesnap

    Brad Miller and Ben Wallace are work horses. Although Miller had a bit more ball handling and scoring ability than Big Ben I can still see a team overlooking them not realizing their character and work ethic.

    Now guys like Calderon, James, Pargo etc. I can’t believe they were overlooked based on their offensive ability alone. It’s a scorer’s draft and they didn’t even get a look in Round 2? That’s amazing to me…

    Bell and Bowen may have been overlooked for similar reasons to Ben and Miller. Defensive ability/work ethic are not necessarily the easiest skills to spot in a pre-draft workout.

  • Rackbauer

    “Udonis Haslem, a standout at the University of Florida, helped lead them to 4 straight Final Four appearances”
    Get your facts straight moron, UF only went to one final four when Udonis Haslem played there ,in 2000… the other 3 final fours happened before and after he was there..Journalistic FAIL!

  • T-Dot Daniel

    The reason I had Pargo at #10 instead of Anderson, Daniels, or Evans (actually, I had a toss-up between Pargo and Evans for the 10 spot), was I felt that Pargo had some much better seasons. Although his whole career may not have been consistant, he had the best single season out of those guys in my opinion.

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  • Anklesnap

    @rackbauer – easy tiger. Since i’m the online editor I’ll take the heat on that one for our guest writer, as his post was supposed to say NCAA tournament appearances not final four appearances. But glad to see you are reading carefully. You win the reader of the day award. Unfortunately we are all out of prizes. :)

  • WeS

    I’m a die hard Florida Gator and this is definitely wrong…

    Udonis Haslem, a standout at the University of Florida, helped lead them to 4 straight Final Four appearances.

    We went to the championship game in 2000, but we definitely did not go to 4 Final Fours with Udonis….the others came in 2006

  • James

    You forgot Zach Feinstein on your list – http://www.draftfeinstein.com

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  • http://www.thesportsbank.net Peter Christian

    Not to nitpick, but why leave out that Mike James played for the Timberwolves? He had his 3rd highest points/40 min. ratio of his career and was the only season in which he played in every regular season game.

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  • http://lifeondumars.com/ Ryan

    Chucky Atkins!!!

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  • Vince

    Hey Daniel, this top ten list is fantastic. Ben Wallace was the best undrafted player when he was on the Pistons, but now not so much. Jose Calderon has so much upside, I think he will have an incredible 2009-10 season.

  • Joebob

    “In addition, he abolished the NBA free-throw shooting percentage record, shooting 981% from the line”

    So when Lincoln abolished slavery, did he really destroy it? Boy oh boy, Dwight Howard sure throws down some mean abolishing dunks! And next time the abolition derby comes to town, I’ll be sure to catch it.

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  • Rubio’s a gay-mo.

    Daniel’s isn’t that good. Good job keeping him off the list. I’m pretty sure D-Wade won the NBA Finals MVP against Dallas…so Daniels obviously wasn’t that good at shutting him down.

  • r.c.

    learn how to spell-azubuike

  • Anklesnap

    @r.c. hey glad you caught that one, because we are trying to polish up our skills for the all-world nba spelling bee coming up next month.

  • Georgie

    How is John Starks not on this list?

  • Georgie

    oops, my bad….just current ballers. that is a surprisingly weak lineup for a league that only has two rounds

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  • http://fullcourtpest.com Walter

    Hmm… I don’t think Big Ben will remain #1 for long. Calderone put up a 78:1 assist/turnover ratio for a month last year. He’s heading to big places.

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  • Joe

    Anthony Morrow 47% from 3 and that was his rookie year

  • hydro

    Putting Pargo and Azabuike on there ahead of Chuck Hayes is ludicrous. You are sort of laughing at franchises for overlooking these players, but you yourself overlooked Chuck Hayes so now I am laughing at you. The article loses all credibility…

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