It’s rare that undrafted players forge successful careers in the NBA, but a man by the name of Ben Wallace went beyond that. He is a potential future Hall Of Famer and one of the greatest defensive players the game has ever seen. It didn’t exactly go to plan at first though and here’s why. Signed as a free agent by the Washington Bullets in 1996, Wallace’s first season saw him only manage 34 games with averages of 1.1 points, 1.7 rebounds and 0.3 blocks per game. The next two seasons at Washington, Wallace started to show some promise particularly on the defensive end with rebounding averages of 4.8, 8.3 rebounds a game with limited minutes. He was traded to Orlando the for the 1999-2000 season and put up similar numbers.
Wallace’s career would change dramatically when he was traded to the Detroit Pistons for the 2000-2001 NBA season, he immediately made an impact in with his first year at the Pistons with averages of 6.4 points, 13.2 rebounds and 2.3 blocks. The Piston’s faithful began to love ‘Big Ben’ and what would transpire over the next 6 seasons, was the 2nd coming of Dennis Rodman! Wallace would become a defensive machine putting up crazy rebounding numbers, with his career high coming in 2003, when he averaged an amazing 15.4 rebounds and 3.2 blocks a game. This would earn him his first All-Star appearance. Wallace had four straight All-Star appearances, but no doubt the best moment of his career at the Pistons came in 2003-2004 season with the Pistons becoming NBA Champions, and Wallace certainly brought back memories of the ‘Bad Boys’ with his tenacious never say die style of play.
Wallace was traded to Chicago in 2008 and then to Cleveland in 2009, by this stage with an ageing body, Wallace’s numbers were well down on his glory years, but fittingly he would be traded back to the Pistons where would finish his career at a franchise that will remember him as one of the all time great defensive specialists, he retired in 2012.
Ben Wallace’s #3 Jersey has been retired by the Detroit Pistons.
Ben Wallace was a 4 x Defensive Player Of The Year.