Former Pistons standout Ben Wallace has become a pioneer for undrafted NBA players, accomplishing things that have never been done before. Not only was he a four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year and one-time NBA Champion, but he’s now the first undrafted player in history to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
This truly shows how important never giving up on your goals are, as the league continues to see more undrafted players have success at the next level. One of the best players to fall in that category in today’s NBA is Lu Dort of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
During Wallace’s induction speech over the weekend, he made sure to touch on how important it is for undrafted players to stay focused and never give up.
"Undrafted players who get to the door and don't have their name called...it's a blessing," said Wallace.
Earning Hall of Fame honors is no easy task, but guys like Dort should certainly set their goals high, especially after seeing Wallace's accomplishments.
While they play completely different positions, Wallace and Dort are actually pretty similar players. Neither are known for their offense, but rather for playing extremely hard with a chip on their shoulder while thriving on the defensive end of the floor.
In fact, Dort is already a better scorer than Wallace ever was. In his highest scoring season ever, he produced just 9.7 points per game. It was his defensive intensity and playing larger than himself that always made him stand out and impact his team.
Similarly, Dort is already becoming one of the better defenders in the entire NBA, even as a player with less than two full seasons under his belt.
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At the professional level, it’s all about finding your niche and capitalizing on the ways you can impact winning. For Dort to this point, that’s been by guarding opposing teams’ best players and bringing energy while playing hard at all times.
Again, Wallace has broken the barrier on undrafted players making the Basketball Hall of Fame, so who’s next? There’s still several former players that have a chance to make it in, but not many current players at this point.
Outside of Fred VanVleet, you could make the case that Dort is the best undrafted player in the entire NBA today. Does that mean he’s got a good shot of being a Hall of Famer? Certainly not. But among active players, if anyone’s going to accomplish this, it might be him.
Dort is far from being the decorated player that Wallace was, winning awards of all types throughout his career, leading the league in several statistical categories, and ultimately being a huge reason the Pistons were able to win a title in 2004. However, he’s still just 22 years old and a key part of the Thunder’s rising young core.
Only time will tell who will become the next undrafted NBA player to make it into the Hall, but Dort has as good of a shot of anyone currently on a roster.
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