Ben Wallace: The Best Undrafted Player of All Time by Chris Allen
Chris Allen explains why Ben Wallace is the best undrafted NBA player of all time...
Ben Wallace, a 6'9 240 pound center from Alabama, he played the part of his college career at Virginia Union University. The Washington Bullets then signed him in 1996 as an undrafted rookie. By the 2000s, Ben Wallace found himself as a member of the Detroit Pistons, and the rest is history.
Wallace was arguably the best defensive player in NBA history. In his first run with the Pistons(2000-05), Wallace never averaged BELOW 2 blocks and ten rebounds a game. On top of that, he also averaged no less than 1.4 steals a game. There's no doubt that he was a defensive anchor on that Pistons team. As a result, the Pistons found themselves going to six straight Eastern Conference Finals and, winning the 2004 NBA title, taking down the iconic Los Angeles Lakers duo of Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. Wallace was also named a five-time all-NBA player and made the NBA all-defensive team six times. In addition, during his dominant defensive run, Wallace found himself awarded the defensive player of the year award four times.
Wallace is one of the most efficient defenders of all time. He is one of the only players in the league history to average more blocks than fouls. Wallace is also one of the only players to have more steals than turnovers. Although he lacked offensive production, he never found himself as a liability on the offensive end. He was able to have a consistent defensive presence on the court without worrying about foul trouble, a coach's dream.
If you look up effort and toughness in the NBA dictionary, you should find a picture of Wallace under both of those words. The energy and intensity that he brought as an undersized big was phenomenal, even in a league that had prime Shaquille O'Neal, Tim Duncan, and Yao Ming. Wallace still found himself as one of the best centers to have in your franchise.
You could argue that possibly Dennis Rodman is a better defender than Wallace was. Nevertheless, Wallace is now the first undrafted NBA player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. A feat that no one has accomplished before. His toughness and effort got him to places that his skill set could not. His outlook on life and career should be a source of inspiration. You don't have to have hype coming into the league to be a Hall Of Famer.