Best Undrafted Players in the League
Not being picked in the draft isn’t the end of the world. These players, who all didn’t hear their name called on draft night, all managed to make it into the NBA, and make a name for themselves.
Covington managed to make a name for himself as a 3-and-D player for the Philadelphia 76ers during the ‘Process’ era. He was one of the players that survived and managed to grow during the dark days in Philadelphia.
A lot of people were probably skeptical when the 76ers offered him a 4-year, $62 million deal, but Covington managed to become a player worthy of his contract.
To be fair, it’s quite funny that Covington is praised because of his work on the defensive end, as the reason that NBA teams didn’t draft him was his ‘lack of defensive skills’.
Ingles went undrafted back in 2009, and it took another five years before he found his way to the NBA. Back in 2009, the Australian still played in the NBL for the South Dragons, but the club folded due to financial problems. Then, Ingles decided to go overseas to Europe, and joined Granada in Spain, but soon after signed a club with FC Barcelona. His last club before joining the NBA would be Maccabi Tel Aviv, where Ingles became Euroleague Champion.
The Utah Jazz wasn’t Ingles first team in the league, as he originally joined the LA Clippers in the pre-season, but was sent to the Utah Jazz before the season began. Only two days later, Ingles made his debut. In his first season, he already played 79 games and averaged more than 20 minutes per game.
VanVleet was a strong force on the Raptors’ team in last year’s Championship run. After a slow start in the playoffs, he was a key factor, together with Kawhi Leonard, to get them into the Finals.
His career started went he went undrafted, as he declined offers to play in the G-League for $20.000. That turned out to be a great choice for him, as he joined the Toronto Raptors in the Summer League, and earned himself a spot on the roster. The Raptors even signed him to a multi-year contract. In that first year, he did have some assignments to the Raptors 905, but he did play 37 games in the NBA. That would be his only season in the G-League, as he developed into a key player off the bench for the team.
Cook is probably underrated in the NBA, but he has managed to have quite a good run with the Warriors, before signed with the Lakers this off season.
Cook didn’t immediately got a contract offered to him after he went undrafted, as he joined the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Summer League. Then, things started to look up, as he signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but he was waived after a couple of pre-season games. Then, he spent two seasons with the Canton Charge, followed by a ten-day contract with the Mavericks, and a rest-of-the-season contract with the Pelicans.
His breakthrough moment in his career came when he signed a two-way contract with the Golden State Warriors. He turned out to be a key factor to replace Steph Curry whenever he was injured, and he even won an NBA championship with them.
Baynes only joined the NBA five years after he originally went undrafted. He ended his European career with Union Olimpija in the Euroleague, but left them, as he wanted to find a team in the NBA.
He found that team in the San Antonio Spurs, and ended up playing 16 games in the NBA that season. The interesting thing was that he did get to start a game in the playoffs, as they needed him to guard Dwight Howard.
After a successful few years, two years with the Detroit Pistons, two years and several highlights with the Boston Celtics, Baynes was traded to the Phoenix Suns.