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Top 10 Best Undrafted NBA Players Today

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Top 10 Best Undrafted NBA Players Today

In a normal season, we would have had time during the Summer League to reflect on what players could try and contend for a spot on an NBA roster. Instead, we flashed through the playoffs and start the regular season just two months later. During those months, undrafted players usually use that time to fight for a spot in the G-League or end up playing overseas to get their big break.

What these players have in common is that they are tough. They had to be. These top-10 players are the best undrafted NBA players in the league and give hope to past and future undrafted picks that they too can play on an NBA roster.

10. Garrett Temple

Garrett Temple

After a four-year career at LSU, Temple went undrafted in 2009 but joined the G-League affiliate Rio Valley Grande Vipers. Temple has bounced back and forth between the G-League and NBA for the last 12 seasons. He owns a career average of 6.4 points and has played for 12 different franchises.

9. TJ McConnell

TJ McConnell

When McConnell came into the league in 2015, he played so well in the Summer League and in the preseason that he earned a spot with the Philadelphia 76ers. After his rookie season, he averaged over 20 minutes per game as a key member off the bench. Thanks to his ability to run the offense and play hard, he quickly grew as a fan favorite in Philadelphia.

McConnell owns a career average of 6.4 points and 4.8 assists per game. In the summer of 2019, he inked a two-year, $7 million contract with the Indiana Pacers.

8. Royce O'Neale

Royce O'Neale

O'Neale spent half of his college career at Denver and then played at Baylor until 2015. After going undrafted, he played his first professional season in Germany for MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg. He had a stint with the Golden State Warriors Summer League team but didn't cut, signing with the Spanish club Herbalife Gran Canaria. He followed that up with a stint in Lithuania in 2017.

In 2017, he caught his big break, trying out for the Utah Jazz's Summer League squad. In his first two seasons, he was a key bench player. Now, he has started each game of the season for the Jazz, playing as a key member of their top-5 defense. He is currently averaging 7.9 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.

7. Wesley Matthews

Wesley Matthews

The former Mr. Wisconsin standout had a stellar four-year career at the University of Marquette but it wasn't enough to get drafted in 2009. He later joined the team that year but became the team's starting shooting guard that season after the Jazz traded away Ronnie Brewer. After averaging 9.4 points on 48.4% shooting from the field, the Portland Trail Blazers signed Matthews for five years and $34 million.

In return, Matthews averaged 15.4 points for five seasons with Portland. He owns a career 38.1% shooting clip from three-point range and is now playing in his 12th season in the league.

6. Maxi Kleber

Maxi Kleber

Kleber entered the 2014 NBA draft after spending three seasons playing professional ball in Germany. He went undrafted and then spent the next three seasons playing for German and Spanish Clubs. In 2015 and 2017, he was a German League All-Star, which led to him joining the Dallas Mavericks in 2017.

Kleber's breakout season came last year where he averaged 9.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, and shot 37.3% from the three-point range. He has gone back and forth starting for the Mavericks this season. This year, he is spotting an impressive 47.5% clip from the three-point range.

5. Derrick Jones Jr.

Derrick Jones Jr.

Jones is a former Southeastern Pennsylvania Player of the Year winner that spent just one season with UNLV. After an investigation about his ACT scores resulted in his scores being canceled, he was deemed ineligible to play despite starting 15 of the team's 30 games. That prompted Jones to enter the NBA draft; however, he was not selected in 2016.

The high flyer joined the Phoenix Suns and later became a finalist in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest. After two seasons with the Suns, he joined the Miami Heat. He saw his playing time increase and he averaged 7.0 points and 4.0 rebounds as a member off the bench. Last season, Jones averaged a career-high 8.5 points and won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in a hard-fought battle with Aaron Gordon.

4. Kendrick Nunn

Credit: USA Sports Today

Credit: USA Sports Today

How do the Heat find these guys? Nunn was a former four-time state champion in high school that played three seasons at the University of Illinois. However, he was dismissed from the team after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor battery charge. Nunn transferred to Oakland, sat out a year, and then won the Horizon League Player of the Year award. He led the NCAA in made three-point field goal (4.47) and was second to only Trae Young in points-per-game (25.9).

Nunn joined the Santa Cruz Warriors in 2018-2019, where he averaged 19.3 points per game in 49 contests, which led the Heat to sign him to a guaranteed contract. Nunn impressed during his rookie season, averaging 15.3 points per game, and finished as a member of the First-Team All-Rookie squad.

3. Seth Curry

(via 6abc Action News)

(via 6abc Action News)

Compared to his older brother Steph Curry, Seth has fought tooth and nail to get to where he is today. Curry broke Liberty's single-season scoring record for a freshman after averaging 20.2 points. That led to Curry transferring to Duke, where he eventually became a Second-Team All-American. He spent time in the developmental league and was a two-time D-League All-Star in 2014 and 2015.

Curry broke out during the 2016-2017 season as a member of the Dallas Mavericks, averaging a career-high 12.8 points per game. He spent time with the Trail Blazers before returning to the Mavericks last year. Over the offseason, Curry was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers and is on pace to set a record that his brother hasn't even done. Curry is on pace to be a member of the 50-50-100 club as he is shooting 50.7% from the field, 50.3% from the three-point range, and 100% from the free-throw line.

2. Christian Wood

Christian Wood

Wood has a great story ever since going undrafted in 2015. After spending three seasons with UNLV, Wood bounced around the D-League, spending with the Delaware 87ers, Greensboro Swarm, and Wisconsin Herd. It wasn't until 2019 that Wood found a consistent home on an NBA roster. Despite averaging 16.9 points per game in eight games, the New Orleans Hornets waived him during that summer, which led to a contract from the Detroit Pistons.

In his only season in Detroit, Wood averaged 13.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, and shot 56.7% from the field. The Pistons elected to complete a sign-and-trade with the Rockets that basically netted Detroit a second-round pick. For Houston, Wood has looked like an All-Star averaging 22.0 points and 10.2 rebounds.

1. Fred VanVleet

(via NBA.com)

(via NBA.com)

VanVleet went from a no-named star in Rockford, Illinois to starting at Wichita State. After going undrafted in 2016, he helped the D-League Raptors 905 win a D-League championship. Then, two years later, VanVleet was the outside shooting presence off the bench that helped the Toronto Raptors win their first-ever NBA championship.

In 2020, VanVleet set a record for the most guaranteed money for an undrafted player by signing a four-year, $85 million contract with the Raptors. On January 6, 2021, VanVleet set a franchise record for scoring a three-pointer in 39 straight games. Then, on February 2, VanVleet set a franchise record for 54 points in a game against the Orlando Magic. It also set an NBA record for most points by an undrafted player, breaking Moses Malone's record of 53 points.

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