Trying to find hidden gems in the draft

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

You know he's out there: the hidden gem who becomes a star, a player who may not be the best known or most hyped but who will have an All-Star career, perhaps something more.

Andy Vasquez takes a look at the top five non-lottery players who became not just perennial all-stars, but future Hall of Famers, three of who are still playing.  Vasquez selects current Hall of Famers John Stockton, taken at No. 16, and Dennis Rodman, who didn't get picked until No. 27, along with future Springfield honorees in Tony Parker, who was taken at No. 28; his Spurs teammate Manu Ginobili, who lasted all the way to the next to last pick in the second round and Steve Nash, the two-time MVP who went No. 15th.

What do they have in common? Perhaps nothing. Nash and Stockton played for small schools. Parker was too young, too skinny. Rodman was 25 on Draft Night. Ginobili was stuck in a long-term European contract.

There are other Hall of Famers who had to wait on Draft Night, Vasquez notes, including Drazen Petrovic, taken at No. 60 in 1986, then the third round, by the Trailblazers; Arvidas Sabonis, taken two spots ahead of Rodman, also in 1986.  In fact, the three Hall of Famers in that class were all taken No. 24 or later.

And what about after the 60 names are called? Vasquez doesn't list those undrafted stars, but they include Ben Wallace, four-time Defensive Player of the Year with Detroit. In fact, there is a pattern among those who went from undrafted to star: they played defense.

So come Thursday night, know this: a high draft position, even in a great draft, is no guarantee of success in the NBA ... and the reverse can sometimes be true!

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