Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks drives to the basket during the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Feb. 11. Lin has recently become the toast of New York and an overnight sensation. All this from an undrafted player. (David Sherman/NBAE/Getty Images)
Lin-sational! Lin-credible! Lin-sanity! There is no doubt that New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin has made a lasting impression on the basketball world. In last two weeks, the 23-year-old has demanded your attention with his spectacular and shockingly consistent play. Lin-mania is the inspiration for this list of the Top 5 undrafted NBA players in the league right now.
Lin-sational! Lin-credible! Lin-sanity!
There is no doubt that New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin has made a lasting impression on the basketball world. In last two weeks, the 23-year-old has demanded your attention with his spectacular and shockingly consistent play. He's been scoring, rebounding, and racking up assists at the level of an all-star point guard.
His latest jaw-dropper came last week when he outscored one of the best - if not the best - guard in the league, Kobe Bryant 34-38.
Judging what Bryant told reporters after that game, even he was humbled by what Lin was able to do on the court that night.
Lin-Sanity has inspired this list of the NBA's best undrafted active players.
This article wouldn't be complete without some Jeremy Lin highlights, so I'll throw some in for good measure. If you didn't know who Jeremy Lin was before, you most definitely do now.
1. Ben Wallace
Wallace has always been a gritty player. His strength and tenacity is evidenced by his four Defensive Player of the Year awards. He's been an all-star four times, and even has a championship ring from his 2004 season with the Detroit Pistons to top it all off.
Over his career, he has averaged 10 rebounds and two blocks per game. Those numbers make it easy to understand why Wallace was such a defensive asset.
They might also explain why he was initially overlooked. Defensive numbers don't tend to catch the attention of NBA scouts quite as commandingly as offensive ones.
2. Udonis Haslem
Unlike others on this list, Haslem was a standout straight out of high school. He helped his college team, the Florida Gators, to four NCAA Final Four appearances, and when he was not drafted in 2002, he went overseas to play for a year. After that he was put on a summer league team with the Miami Heat and the rest is history.
In 2006, Haslem scored 17 points in the deciding game of the Heat's championship series against the Dallas Mavericks. The Heat won, earning this undrafted phenom an NBA title. Last season he averaged eight points per game and just as many rebounds.
Not bad for someone who had to fight his way into the league.
3. J.J. Barea
Barea - or 'Mighty Mouse' as he's more affectionately known - is another undrafted player who quickly became a household name.
Much like Haslem, Barea started in the Summer League and worked his way up. After playing for the Dallas Mavericks' D-League team, Barea was recalled in 2007 and was a member of the Mavericks squad until this season.
Last season, Barea become a sensation during the Mavericks' playoff run. His clutch shooting and incurable energy inarguably played a significant role in the Mavericks' championship victory.
Barea's offensive numbers have improved every year he's been in the league. This kind of obvious potential has undoubtedly gotten his new team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, looking forward to the next four years of his new contract.
4. Jose Calderon
This Spanish point guard started off his career in the Euroleague before being signed by the Toronto Raptors in 2005. During the 2006-07 season, Calderon led the Raptors to the NBA playoffs, and the following season he was rewarded with a spot in the starting lineup.
Last season, Calderon nailed 98.1 per cent of his free throws to break an NBA record. While he's not known for his stellar defence, Calderon sees the court well and is an excellent distributor; an important quality to have on an offensively challenged team like the Raptors.
5. Anthony Morrow
Despite going undrafted in the 2008 NBA draft, Morrow was signed the same year by the Golden State Warriors. In his first start he scored 38 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. It was the most points ever scored by an undrafted rookie.
While playing in the 2009 Summer League, Morrow broke the record for most points ever scored by an individual in that league with 47.
Entering this season, Morrow had the third highest three-point shooting percentage in the league, earlier this month he scored a career-high 42 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
It's hard to believe those numbers from someone deemed not worthy of being drafted just four years ago.
Kacie HollinsKacie is a journalism school graduate from Calgary who caught the sports bug, moved to Toronto, and wound up at CBC. Though basketball is her game, she's covered just about everything involving a stick, sword, ball or bat.
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