The road to the NBA is not always a straight line, and talent can be found anywhere. Stars are typically selected at the top, but good players can be found at any spot in the draft. However, many didn't hear their names called on draft night at all.
It's difficult enough to reach the NBA, the pinnacle of professional basketball, as a high pick. It's even harder to make it as an undrafted player. Guys often play in minor leagues or overseas before getting a shot in the NBA.
With this year's draft behind us, here are the 10 best undrafted players to overcome the odds and reach the NBA, guys who can serve as inspiration for prospects like Kansas' Devon Dotson, Kentucky's Ashton Hagans and Marquette's Markus Howard who weren't selected Wednesday night.
10. Fred VanVleet
A three-year starter at Wichita State, VanVleet signed with the Toronto Raptors and spent much of his first season in the G League. VanVleet broke out as a key contributor during the Raptors' championship run in 2019 and is poised to cash in as one of the top names on this year's free agent market after averaging 17.6 points a game in 2019-20.
Fred VanVleet has become a proven playoff contributor in his four years with the Raptors. (Photo: Winslow Townson, USA TODAY Sports)
9. Udonis Haslem
After playing a year in France, Haslem, 40, signed with the hometown Miami Heat in 2003 and hasn't left. A key piece of three NBA title teams as an inside defender and rebounder, Haslem is one of the most beloved players in franchise history. He announced just last week that he intends to return in 2020-21 for his 18th season.
8. Raja Bell
Bell played 12 seasons as a 3-and-D wing before anyone knew what those were. He was a two-time All-Defensive team pick and career 40.6% shooter from 3-point range. Bell's best years came as a key cog in the "seven seconds or less" Suns of the mid-2000s alongside two-time MVP Steve Nash.
7. David Wesley
Wesley spent a year in the Continental Basketball Association before signing with the New Jersey Nets in 1993. He played 14 seasons in the NBA as a solid combo guard and tenacious perimeter defender. Wesley averaged double figures in points in 10 consecutive seasons from 1995-96 to 2004-05.
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