2. Ben Wallace, Center
While the Wizards gave up on Ben Wallace too soon, they also gave the greatest undrafted player in NBA history his chance in the association. Washington scooped Wallace up off the street in 1996, but he started only 32 games over three seasons during which Washington did not make the playoffs.
Despite the big man showing some really intriguing defensive upside with 1.1 steals and 2.0 blocks per game in just 26.8 minutes in his third year, he was traded to the Orlando Magic for Isaac Austin before the 1999-2000 season. Don’t know who Isaac Austin is? Go look him up and have yourself a laugh.
Future Hall Of Famer traded before blossoming
After one year with the Magic Wallace was sent to Detroit as part of a sign-and-trade deal that brought Grant Hill to Orlando, which was another win-now trade that worked out in Detroit’s favor. Wallace became the defensive centerpiece for a Detroit Pistons team that was the toughest in the league while Wallace was there.
With the Pistons Wallace won the 2004 NBA Title, earned four straight All-Star nods from 2003-06, was named to five straight All-NBA Teams and NBA All-Defensive First Teams from 2002-06, led the league in rebounding twice, led the league in blocks once, won four NBA Defensive Player of the Year awards in five years, had his No. 3 jersey retired by the Pistons in 2016, and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall Of Fame in 2021.