NBA Draft

NBA Draft: Notable undrafted players from years past

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J.J. Barea of the Dallas Mavericks guards the Toronto Raptors Fred VanVleet (Getty Images)

It happens every year.

With more draft hopefuls entering their names than there are selections, dozens of talented players from the collegiate and international ranks end up going undrafted.

However, not hearing your name called on draft night does not mean the NBA dream is done. Undrafted talents often take to the NBA's Summer League and G League to prove they belong in the NBA.

Four-time Defensive Player of the Year and likely Hall of Famer Ben Wallace is one of many undrafted players to play a major role for a championship team. Wallace was the defensive anchor for the Detroit Pistons that made two Finals appearances, winning in 2004.

Chris Andersen, J.J. Barea, Bruce Bowen and Udonis Haslem all went undrafted but would eventually go on to help their respective teams win NBA titles. Both Haslem and Marquis Daniels earned All-Rookie team honours after going undrafted in 2003.

With the rich history of undrafted talent going on to make big impacts in the NBA, here are 10 notable undrafted players from the past 10 years…

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Fred VanVleet, 2016

Career: 6.8 ppg, 2.5 apg, 2.0 rpg over two NBA seasons

After going undrafted in 2016, VanVleet signed to play in the NBA Summer League with the Toronto Raptors. The 6-0 guard made the most of his Summer League opportunity, earning an invite to the Raptors' training camp. VanVleet made Toronto's final 15-man roster and appeared in 37 games as a rookie.

VanVleet had a breakout sophomore year, averaging 8.6 points, 3.2 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game while leading the best second unit in the NBA. He is one of three finalists for the 2017-18 Kia NBA Sixth Man Award as a result of his play off the bench.

If his breakout season is any indicator, VanVleet will be a solid lead guard in the NBA for years to come.

Yogi Ferrell, 2016

Career: 10.2 ppg, 2.9 apg, 2.8 rpg over two NBA seasons

Ferrell played with the Brooklyn Nets in the 2016 NBA Summer League, earning a training camp invite with his play. He was waived by Brooklyn prior to the 2016-17 season, but was called up after a stint with the G League Long Island Nets. Ferrell was waived by Brooklyn after appearing in 10 games with the team.

The 6-0 guard signed a 10-day contract with the Dallas Mavericks in January 2017. Ferrell stuck with the Mavs, averaging 11.3 points, 4.3 assists and 2.8 rebounds over 36 games.

Ferrell became one of three undrafted rookies to score 30 points in their first 15 games, when he sank an NBA rookie record nine 3-pointers in a 32-point performance on Feb. 3, 2017.

Ferrell finished his rookie season averaging 10.0 points, 3.7 assists and 2.4 rebounds over 46 games. He was named Western Conference Rookie of the Month for February 2017 and earned All-Rookie Second Team honours.

T.J. McConnell, 2015

Career: 6.4 ppg, 5.1 apg, 3.1 rpg over three NBA seasons

McConnell received an invite to the 76ers' training camp after standing out in the 2015 NBA Summer League. McConnell earned the Sixers' final roster spot and appeared in 81 games as a rookie in the 2015-16 season, posting averages of 6.1 points, 4.5 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game.

The 6-2 guard's role has changed throughout his time with Philadelphia, as he started in 68 games in his first two seasons and just one in his third season. On Feb. 12, 2018, McConnell became the first player in 76ers franchise history to record a triple-double off the bench (10 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists).

Tyler Johnson, 2014

Career: 11.0 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.4 apg over four NBA seasons

Johnson earned a training camp invite with the Heat after impressing in the 2014 NBA Summer League. He was waived by Miami prior to the 2014-15 season and joined the Sioux Falls Skyforce, the team's G League affiliate.

The 6-4 guard made his NBA debut in January 2015 while on a 10-day contract with the Heat. He signed a second 10-day contract with the team in late January and signed a multi-year contract with Miami on Feb. 8, 2015. Johnson appeared in 32 games his rookie year, scoring in double figures nine times and earning one start.

The Heat matched a four-year $50 million offer sheet Johnson signed with the Brooklyn Nets in July 2016. In December 2016, Johnson scored a career-high 32 points off the bench against the Orlando Magic.

Matthew Dellavedova, 2013

Career: 6.0 ppg, 3.7 apg over five NBA seasons, NBA Champion (2016)

Dellavedova went undrafted in 2013 but earned a partially guaranteed deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers after a solid performance in the 2013 NBA Summer League. Dellavedova appeared in 72 games in his rookie season, averaging 4.7 points and 2.6 assists per game.

The Australian point guard saw an increased role in his second season, earning a spot on Team World in the 2015 Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star Weekend. Dellavedova made two Finals appearances with the Cavs, winning an NBA title in 2016.

Following the 2015-16 season, he signed a four-year $38 million deal with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Ian Clark, 2013

Career: 5.3 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 1.1 apg over five NBA seasons, NBA Champion (2017)

Clark played in the Orlando and Las Vegas NBA Summer Leagues after going undrafted in 2013. Clark's performance with the Golden State Warriors Summer League team resulted in him winning MVP honours in the Las Vegas league. Clark signed a two-year contract with the Utah Jazz after his summer league performance.

Clark appeared in 46 games with Utah over two seasons before being waived and claimed by the Denver Nuggets in March 2015. He signed with the Warriors in July 2015.

In two seasons with Golden State, Clark averaged 5.3 points per game and was a reserve on the Warriors' 2016 championship team. The 6-3 guard averaged 6.8 points during the team's postseason run in 2016.

Clark signed a one-year deal with New Orleans in August 2017, averaging a career-best 7.4 points per game in the 2017-18 season with the Pelicans.

Kent Bazemore, 2012

Career: 8.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.8 apg over six NBA seasons

Bazemore participated in the 2012 Orlando Summer League with the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors in the Las Vegas Summer League after going undrafted. His play in Las Vegas resulted in a contract with the Warriors.

Bazemore appeared in 105 regular season games and six postseason games with Golden State before being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in February 2014. It was in Los Angeles that the 6-5 guard would make a name for himself - he finished the 2013-14 season averaging 13.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.3 steals over 25 games with the Lakers.

Bazemore signed a two-year deal with the Atlanta Hawks in September 2014. In July 2016, he signed a four-year $70 million deal to remain in Atlanta.

He has started in 207 of 288 games in his four seasons with the Hawks, averaging 10.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.2 steals per game.

Jeremy Lin, 2010

Career: 12.0 ppg, 4.5 apg, 35.0 3P% over eight NBA seasons

After going undrafted in 2010, Lin impressed many while playing for the Dallas Mavericks Las Vegas Summer League team. He signed a partially guaranteed deal with the Warriors in July 2010 and spent his rookie year playing behind Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis. He was waived after appearing in just 29 games in his rookie season.

The New York Knicks claimed Lin off of waivers in late December 2011, but he played sparingly throughout his first month with the team. Lin got his first opportunity to make a mark on Feb. 4, 2012; he responded well, scoring 25 points and dishing out seven assists to lead the Knicks to a win over the New Jersey Nets. The win was the first of a seven-game streak in which Lin averaged 24.4 points, 9.1 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game. Linsanity was born.

In the 2011-12 season, Lin became the first NBA player to score at least 20 points and have seven assists in each of first five starts, and he participated in the 2012 Rising Stars Challenge with the sophomore team. Lin finished the year averaging 14.6 points, 6.2 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game.

Since Lin's breakout season with the Knicks, he has spent time with the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Charlotte Hornets and Brooklyn Nets. Lin suffered a season-ending knee injury on the opening night of the 2017-18 season but is expected to make a full recovery and have a big impact on the Nets' 2018-19 campaign.

Wesley Matthews, 2009

Career: 13.8 ppg, 38.3 3P% over nine NBA seasons

Matthews earned a contract with the Utah Jazz after impressive showings with their Orlando Summer League team as well as the Sacramento Kings in the Las Vegas Summer League. The 6-5 guard appeared in all 82 games during his rookie season, earning 48 starts. He averaged 9.4 points on 38.2 percent 3-point shooting in the 2009-10 season.

After one season in Utah, Matthews joined the Portland Trail Blazers on a five-year $34 million deal. In five seasons with the Trail Blazers, he averaged 15.4 points per game on 39.4 percent shooting from beyond the arc. His time in Portland came to an abrupt end, as he suffered a torn Achilles tendon in early March 2015.

As a free agent in the 2015 offseason, Matthews signed a four-year $70 million contract with the Dallas Mavericks. In three seasons with Dallas, Matthews has averaged 12.9 points per game while shooting 36.7 percent from deep. Matthews' 1,405 made career 3-pointers is 15th among all active players and 33rd all time.

Anthony Morrow, 2008

Career: 9.4 ppg, 41.7 3P% in nine NBA seasons

Morrow, a sharpshooter out of Georgia Tech, earned a contract with the Golden State Warriors after playing with the team in the 2008 Las Vegas Summer League. He played in 67 games during his rookie season, averaging 10.1 points while shooting a league-leading 46.7 percent from 3-point range.

Morrow set the record for most points in a game by an undrafted rookie when he scored 37 against the Los Angeles Clippers in his first career start. He set another record when he scored 47 points against the New Orleans Hornets in the 2009 Summer League.

In 2010, Morrow was traded to New Jersey where he would spend two seasons. Morrow participated in the 2012 3-point Contest as a Net and scored a career-high 42 points in February 2012.

After his time in New Jersey, Morrow has played for Atlanta, Dallas, New Orleans, Oklahoma City and Chicago, with his last NBA action coming in 2017. Morrow's career 41.7 percent shooting from deep is the 13th highest percentage in league history.

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