Top 8 Best Undrafted NBA Players in Basketball History
There are often eligible players who are not selected during the NBA Draft. This raises the question of why they were overlooked in the first place. The acquisition of franchise-altering players who can help mold the future of a club is a goal for each organization. However there are certain players who were not drafted, and when they’re discovered, people are scratching their heads as to why they were overlooked in the first place. There have been players in the history of the NBA who went undrafted and instead walked on and fought their way up the ranks. Eventually these best undrafted NBA players gained playing time and produced a significant impact on the floor.
Top 8 Best Undrafted NBA Players…
#1 – JJ Barea
J.J. Barea is the least successful player on our list in terms of career accomplishments. His postseason performance last season, as well as his involvement in leading the Dallas Mavericks to their first NBA Championship, earn him a spot in our list. In the playoffs last season, he averaged 8.9 points and 3.4 assists per game. He did this while coming off the bench for the Mavericks — despite only getting 18 minutes of playing time per game.
#2 – Tony Parker
After being selected by the San Antonio Spurs with the 28th pick in the 2001 draft, Tony Parker chose to withdraw from the draft in order to play in Europe. He went undrafted as a result of his decision to play in Europe. After a successful international career, he was re-signed by the San Antonio Spurs. He has remained with the franchise for the entirety of his career, helping them to win four NBA Championships.
He has been named to the NBA All-Star team six times. He was crowned Finals MVP in 2007 when the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Simply said, Parker is one of the best point guards in NBA history. The fact that he went undrafted only adds to his already amazing resume.
#3 – Steph Curry
Steph Curry is without a doubt the most talented player on this list.
The Golden State Warriors originally selected him with the 7th pick in the 2009 NBA draft. But he went undrafted after injuring his ankle and falling out of favor with organizations after he went undrafted in 2010. He ended up playing for the Warriors’ D-League squad. Eventually made his way into the NBA with the organization in 2010.
Since then, Curry has established himself as one of the finest players in the league. He won two MVP awards and led the Golden State Warriors to two NBA championships.
He’s a three-time champion, a six-time all-star, and a two-time MVP. And… he still has plenty of time to add to his impressive list of accomplishments in the NBA.
#4 – Manu Ginobili
Manu Ginobili was selected by the San Antonio Spurs with the 57th overall pick in the 1999 NBA draft. But he went undrafted after deciding to pursue a professional basketball career in Europe.
He joined with the San Antonio Spurs in 2002 and has remained with the organization for the entirety of his career. He has helped the Spurs to achieve four NBA Championships.
Having won four championships, been selected to six all-star games, and been named Finals MVP, Ginobili has established himself as one of the best players in Spurs history.
#5 – Carl Landry
He was originally picked by the Houston Rockets in the 2007 draft with the 31st overall pick. But he was passed up for selection after failing a medical examination as a result of a cardiac problem. He began his professional career in the D-League until being signed by the New Orleans Hornets in 2007.
Prior to being on the Sacramento Kings and Philadelphia 76ers, Landry spent two seasons with the Golden State Warriors,
#6 – Isaiah Thomas
Although Isaiah Thomas was originally picked by the Sacramento Kings with the 60th overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft, the team decided not to take him because of his lack of physical presence.
He began his career with the Sacramento Kings’ D-League team before being signed by the Phoenix Suns in 2012. Having previously played for the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers, Thomas inked a contract with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018. Thomas has been selected for two All-Star games and was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2017 All-Star Game.
#7 – Jamal Crawford
After initially being selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the 8th overall choice in the 2000 NBA, Jamal Crawford was passed over for the remainder of the draft after refusing to play for the organization. He began his professional career in the D-League before being signed by the Chicago Bulls in 2001.
Crawford joined the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2018 after playing for the New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks, and Los Angeles Clippers.
A three-time recipient of the Sixth Man of the Year Award, Crawford also appeared in 4 all-star games.
#8 – Raja Bell
After initially being selected by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 36th overall pick in the 1996 NBA draft, Raja Bell was passed over for the remainder of the draft after refusing to sign with the organization. He began his professional career in the D-League until being signed by the Utah Jazz in 2000.
The Miami Heat acquired Bell from the Charlotte Hornets in 2012 after he had previously played for the Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors. Bell has been chosen to three all-star teams in his career.
These are some of the best undrafted NBA players in history. They may not have been drafted, but they proved that they belonged in the NBA. These players have earned several awards. They won multiple championships, all-star nominations, and the Sixth Man of the Year Awards, and they continue to impress fans and experts alike. Undrafted players are often overlooked, but these eight players are some of the best that basketball has to offer. Thanks for reading!