Sorry Jeremy Lin, but Ben Wallace is about to become the NBA’s new king of the overlooked players.
When entered the game for the Pistons late in the first quarter Sunday against Washington it was his 1,054 game, tying him with Avery Johnson for the most games ever played by an undrafted player since the NBA/ABA merger, something first pointed out at Mlive.com.
Wallace should break the record on Tuesday when the Pistons play the Spurs.
(To be fair, Moses Malone was not drafted in the NBA, but he was by the ABA. He went on to play 1,329 NBA games and 1,455 total.)
Wallace was almost unnoticed coming out of high school in Alabama and went to Virginia Union University. There he played two years but wasn’t really blowing anyone’s doors off, averaging 12.5 points and 10.5 rebounds a game. He didn’t bring crazy athleticism or great statistics out of college. But the then Washington Bullets gave him a shot, and he got in 34 games as a rookie.
Wallace never averaged even 10 points a game, but what can do — defend the paint, grab some boards — he does as well as anyone. He is a four-time defensive player of the year and a four-time All-Star. The Pistons don’t win the 2004 NBA crown without him anchoring the middle on one of the best defensive teams ever in the NBA.
For NBA role players, they need to do a lot of things pretty well or one thing exceedingly well. Wallace did one thing — play defense in the paint — at an elite level. He covered a lot of mistakes and anchored great teams.
Not bad at all for a guy who slipped under NBA scouts radar.