When you think about one of the best drafts in NBA history, 1996 is one the top of the list for numerous NBA fans. It featured numerous HOF’s, All-Star, and MVP’s and from top to bottom, you had several names that most fans would recognize. Ray Allen is one of those players, and in a recent interview for The Knuckleheads podcast, he talked about the greatness of that class and what made it unique from all the others.
Something very interesting that Allen mentioned was one name that doesn’t get enough recognition of being a part of the draft class of 1996. That man recently got inducted into the HOF, and his name is Ben Wallace. He went undrafted that year and was a later pick-up in the NBA, where he soon made his presence felt, especially on defense, and his name is up there among the best defensive players of all time.
Allen has a lot of respect for Wallace for achieving everything he did, even though he initially faced adversity trying to get drafted. That also adds to how great this draft class was that someone like Wallace was overlooked and had to take a different path to make it in the league.
I will throw something in there that needs recognition, and it’s Ben Wallace. Ben Wallace didn’t get drafted. He was just announced as the finalist for the Hall of Fame and the fact he had such an impact in the time he played based on where he came from speaks volumes to that class those rookies coming to the NBA that year. When you talk top to bottom, Derek Fisher has five rings, Steve Nash has two MVPs, Allen Iverson has an MVP. We have countless All-Stars and Olympians and now Hall of Famers. It certainly produced a lot.Ray Allen, via Knuckleheads Podcast
There are constant debates on which draft class is the greatest, with 1984, 1996, and 2003 mentioned the most in those discussions. However, it usually all boils down to personal preferences regarding particular players drafted that year. Nevertheless, nobody can’t deny the greatness of the 1996 draft class that featured so many great players, just like Ray Allen, who was one of the top picks that year, and Ben Wallace, who went undrafted.