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15 NBA Stars You Didn't Know Were Drafted By Random Teams

Fadeaway World

Fadeaway World

When players have been around a team long enough, we tend to forget their past and actually believe they’ve been playing there throughout their entire career, something that’s almost never entirely true.

Other players wander around the league so much and play for that many teams that it’s almost impossible of actually keeping track of their history, so you never remember the team that drafted them in the first place.

And there’s another handful of players that you didn’t even know played for other teams because they barely played at all, just to blossom elsewhere as elite ballers. Regardless of the case, we’re going to let you know about 15 active players most fans forget were drafted by random teams.

15. JR Smith - New Orleans Hornets

Credit: Getty Images

JR Smith Houston NBA

JR Smith is one of the most polarizing players in the NBA. Most hate him because of his lack of basketball IQ and work ethic, while others admire the fact that he’s managed to even become an NBA Champion out of pure luck and talent.

Before playing in China and Denver, the troublemaker was actually drafted with the 18th overall pick by the New Orleans Hornets, who traded him a couple of years later in return for Tyson Chandler.

14. Jamal Crawford - Cleveland Cavaliers

Throughout his entire NBA career, Jamal Crawford has been a roadrunner. He’s never been in the same place for much time, mostly because he often gets nice offer sheets to carry the offensive load of a team’s second unit.

Even despite making his professional debut with the Chicago Bulls, Crawford was actually taken with the 8th overall pick of the 2000 draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers and then traded him to the Windy City.

13. Paul Millsap - Utah Jazz

Paul Millsap Denver Nuggets

Not so long ago, Paul Millsap was considered to be one of the best power forwards in the game, mostly because of his ability to play nice post defense, stretch the floor, grab boards and even throw a couple of dimes a game.

But, before establishing himself as a two-way stud with the Atlanta Hawks, he was taken with the 47th pick by the Utah Jazz, creating a deadly frontcourt duo with Al Jefferson for several seasons.

12. Eric Bledsoe - Oklahoma City Thunder


Most people didn’t trust Eric Bledsoe to become an elite point guard, and even though he hasn’t established himself at that level quite yet, it’s pretty safe to state that he’s outplayed what we all expected of him.

Bledsoe is quite a solid backup point guard and a streaky and strong scorer, but before emerging as a starter with the Suns, he was taken with the 18th pick of the 2010 draft by the Thunder, then immediately traded to the Clippers.

11. Zach Randolph - Portland Trail Blazers

Zach Randolph Kings

Regardless of what you may think of him and his off-court behavior, you can’t deny the fact that, during his prime, Zach Randolph was a deadly big man that dominated both sides of the glass with his physicality.

But, way before establishing himself as a walking double-double for the Knicks, Clippers and Grizzlies, Z-BO was known for being a troublemaker for the “Jail Blazers”, who drafted him with the 19th overall pick.

10. Kevin Durant - Seattle SuperSonics

Photo Credit: Fadeaway World

Photo Credit: Fadeaway World

Kevin Durant went from hero to villain in the blink of an eye, and even though most fans may never forget him for what he did, time has proven that he actually made the right choice and has become an elite two-way player.

Durant wasn’t actually drafted by a random team, as he was actually taken 2nd overall by the Seattle Supersonics, the team that eventually became the Oklahoma City Thunder. Problem is, young hoops fans often forget the Sonics existed.

9. Rudy Gobert - Denver Nuggets


Rudy Gobert quietly surged as the league’s best defensive big man and it’s not even close. The stifle tower is a top-tier rim protector and rebounder that’s a major factor down low for the surging Utah Jazz.

Being a yearly frontrunner for the Defensive Player of the Year accolade, he was actually taken with the 27th overall pick by the Nuggets and then traded away for the 46th pick of that draft. Needless to say, the Jazz won the deal.

8. Pau Gasol - Atlanta Hawks

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Pau Gasol is considered by many people as the greatest foreign player not named Dirk Nowitzki in the history of the game, and he’s; by far, the most successful player that has made it out of Spain.

When he first came from overseas, Pau was actually taken with the 3rd overall pick by the Atlanta Hawks but was later traded to the Memphis Grizzlies in return for Shareef Abdur-Rahim and the 27th overall pick of that draft.

7. Kyle Lowry - Memphis Grizzlies


Kyle Lowry was a total late bloomer, so people tend to forget about his first couple of years in the Association, where he was looking way more as a bust than as the scorer he’s slowly grown to be.

Before kind of surging with the Houston Rockets and then becoming an All-Star in Toronto, Kyle Lowry actually spent 3 seasons playing for the team that took him 24th overall, the Memphis Grizzlies.

6. LaMarcus Aldridge - Chicago Bulls

LaMarcus Aldridge, Chicago Bulls

LaMarcus Aldridge is something of the likes of the best 2nd tier big men in the league, an elite elbow scorer and dominant rebounder that has struggled to evolve and take his game to a different level.

Even so, the Chicago Bulls must still be regretting the dumb move they did when they traded him after drafting him with the 2nd overall pick for Tyrus Thomas, the 4th overall pick of that draft.

5. Kevin Love - Memphis Grizzlies

Photo by Gregory Shamus/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Gregory Shamus/NBAE via Getty Images

Kevin Love is a guy that doesn’t get the credit he deserves for all the hard work he puts on a nightly basis, let alone the fact that he didn’t hesitate to take a lesser role in order to help his team win a Championship.

Back in 2008, the Minnesota Timberwolves were well aware of Love’s potential, and that’s why they took OJ Mayo with the 3rd overall pick to make a blockbuster deal with the Memphis Grizzlies that involved 8 players.

4. Dirk Nowitzki - Milwaukee Bucks


Scoring over 30 thousand career points, Dirk Nowitzki is one of the best and most reliable scorers in the history of the game, the greatest Dallas Maverick ever, and the guy that changed the way the power forward spot was played.

But, what most fans don’t know, is the fact that Dirk was actually drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 9th overall pick of the 1998 NBA Draft, just to be immediately traded away in order to land Robert Traylor.

3. Rajon Rondo - Phoenix Suns

Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

Love him or hate him, Rajon Rondo simply does not give a damn. He’s the way it is, that’s just how he rolls, and he’s not afraid to let you know it. Moreover, he’s an elite playmaker and passer and used to be one of the most suffocating backcourt defenders in the league as well.

See, the Boston Celtics have always been known for making extremely good deals, and that’s exactly what they did when they traded for Rajon Rondo in 2006, who was just drafted by the Phoenix Suns.

2. Vince Carter - Golden State Warriors


Vince Carter has played in so many different teams, but most fans actually think he was drafted by the Toronto Raptors. Instantly taking the league for assault, Carter is, up to this date, one of the most beloved and respected guys in the league.

Air Canada was taken with the 5th overall pick of the 1998 NBA Draft and then immediately traded to the Raptors in return for his college teammate and brother in law, Antawn Jamison, something most people don’t know about.

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1. Kawhi Leonard - Indiana Pacers


Nobody, not even Gregg Popovich himself, was aware of Kawhi Leonard’s potential to become the league’s best two-way player, and according to himself; he was one of the biggest gambles of his career.

As a matter of fact, Kawhi Leonard was actually drafted 15th overall in 2011 by the Pacers, just to be traded to the Spurs in return for George Hill and several spare parts. Needless to say, the move definitely paid off.