Taken with the 10th pick of the 1987 NBA Draft, by the Chicago Bulls; Horace Grant was a workhorse from the moment he entered the NBA. His Rookie year saw him average 7.7 points and 5.5 rebounds a game.
One thing was very clear about the way Horace Grant played and that was his tenacity. Known for his iconic look of wearing the goggles! Grant would become a pivotal player for the Chicago Bulls and would become the grunt man who would help Jordan, Pippen & Co win 3-straight titles from 91-93. Horace Grant would have some sensational years during the 3-peat, however his best year statistically wise came the year after Jordan retired for the first time. Grant put up numbers of 15.1 points and 11 rebounds which earn him his only All-Star selection in 1994.
The next phase in Horace Grant’s career came in when he signed with the Orlando Magic for the 1995 season. The young Magic team that had Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway made it all the way to the NBA finals, but were swept by the Houston Rockets. Grant did more of the same with his time in Orlando and by that I mean continuing to be a beast that rebounded just about anything that came his way. Grant spent some time in Seattle before heading to the LA Lakers in 2001. Here he would win his 4th ring to cap off what was a tremendous career. Horace Grant is a true icon of the game.
Taken with the 24th pick on the 1993 NBA Draft, The Houston Rockets had found a hidden gem by the name of Sam Cassell. He would end up having a career that would span over 15 years! Cassell’s Rookie year saw him average 6.7 points and 2.9 assists, but more importantly the Rockets would win the NBA Championship. He would go back to back the very next season, not a bad start at all to what would be a great career in the NBA.
After 3 years at the Rockets, Cassell would find himself at 3 teams over the next few seasons. He was traded to Phoenix, Dallas and New Jersey. None of that would distract Cassell from putting up great numbers. His best amongst that period was when he averaged 19.6 points and 8 assists a game for the Nets in 1998.
Cassell would find his most constant tenure at an NBA team, when he played for the Milwaukee Bucks from 1999-2003. He would become a great fit alongside Glenn Robinson and a young Ray Allen. Twice he would average 19.7 points a game in that era with the Bucks. His next destination was the Minnesota Timberwolves where Cassell would become an All-Star for the first time averaging 19.8 points and 7.3 assists in his first year at the Timberwolves in 2004. Cassell would also spend time at the Clippers and the Celtics before his career would end. Fittingly he would win his 3rd NBA ring playing for the Celtics in 2008. Sam Cassell should be remembered as a fantastic player in the NBA, with career averages of 15.7 points and 6 assists he is a true icon for the game of basketball.
Sam Cassell wore the numbers #10, #19, #20 and #28 across his career.
Taken with the 7th pick of the 1991 NBA Draft, by the Minnesota Timberwolves, Luc Longley stood at 7 foot 2 from the shores of Australia. His Rookie season saw him average 4.3 points and 3.9 rebounds a game. His first 3 seasons in the league were a little underwhelming whilst playing for the Timberwolves, however in a trade to the Chicago Bulls in 1994 would change his career for ever.
Australia’s most famous big man is largely considered to be Andrew Bogut, who was a number 1 Draft Pick. Longley however, was a pioneer for Australian basketball and a massive part of the Bulls second 3-peat. Longley was the pivotal big man that Jordan and his Bulls required averaging 9.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks a game for the Bulls 95-96 Championship season. The next Championship year 96-97, he almost put up identical numbers. His best season would come when the Bulls completed the 3-peat in 97-98, when he averaged an impressive 11.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks a game.
Before Longley’s career finished he spend some time with the Phoenix Suns and New York Nicks, but ultimately nothing could top winning a 3-peat of Championships and playing along side the great Michael Jordan. Longley was a great story for Australian basketball and a durable big man of the NBA.
Longley wore the number #13 his whole career in the NBA.
Longley is a member of the Australian Basketball Hall Of Fame.
One of the most consistent performers in the Milwaukee Buck’s history; Glenn Robinson was drafted with the 1st pick of the 1994 NBA Draft. His Rookie season did not disappoint with Glenn ‘Big Dog’ Robinson averaging 21.9 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists a game.
Robinson could just about do it all on the offensive end, with an arsenal of old school mixed with the new moves. He was so offensively gifted that he averaged over 20 points a game for the Bucks in 7 of the 8 seasons he spent at a franchise. Robinson’s best scoring season came in 1998, when he averaged 23.4 points a game. Robinson’s best years in Milwaukee however, came when he teamed up with a young Ray Allen and Sam Cassell to form the Milwaukee ‘Big 3’. They made it to the Eastern conference finals in 2001, and Robinson would become a 2 x All-Star during that stretch. Robinson perhaps went under the radar a little during his NBA career, purely because he wasn’t a flashy player, he simply went out on the court and got the job done.
His time at Milwaukee came to an end in 2002, when he was traded to the Atlanta Hawks. He once again put up numbers of 20 + points pre game, and was then traded the following season to the 76ers, before again finding himself traded to the Spurs in his final season in the NBA. Fittingly he earned himself a Championship Ring as the Spurs would become the 2005 NBA Champions. Glenn Robinson had an extremely good career in the NBA, and will go down as one of the Bucks all time greats. All you have to do is look at his career stat line to know that ‘Big Dog’ was an icon of the game.
Robinson wore the numbers #13, #31 and #3 during his career.
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.