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The top undrafted free agents

Updated: June 27, 2011, 12:24 PM ET
By David Thorpe

I live in a rather well-populated county, with 16 public high schools and just as many private schools. As I told my son on Thursday night, "There are more JV basketball players in the northern part of our county than there are players who will get drafted by NBA teams tonight -- and they have the whole planet to choose players from." That's just how hard it is to get drafted.

Amazingly, most people think the NBA draft is too long, that perhaps one round is sufficient. I don't agree, and neither do Manu Ginobili, Michael Redd or Landry Fields. But other players, like Udonis Haslem, Wesley Mathews and Brad Miller, would tell you the draft is overrated. They represent the growing list of players who make the league without hearing their names called on draft night.

I have a special insight into this phenomenon, as eight of my former students have made an NBA team after going undrafted -- Haslem, Rob Kurz, Reggie Williams, Curtis Jerrells, Gary Forbes, Josh Powell, Marqus Blakely and Tony Gaffney. A year from now, who has the best chance to join the list of undrafted players to make an NBA team? Here's a look at the best bets.

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