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League's top underrated players


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#1 MDI

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Posted January 02, 2009 - 01:54 PM

http://msn.foxsports...errated-players?

Who are the NBA's most underrated players?

By Charley Rosen

Who are the NBA's most underrated players?

These are the guys who don't necessarily dominate either the ball, the print media or the highlight shows, yet still have an enormous impact on their team's destinies. These are the guys who can't turn losing or mediocre teams into champions, but who can turn also-rans into serious contenders. The guys who never take a game off. The guys whom coaches love to coach and with whom other players love to play.

Tayshaun Prince

He was the only Pistons starter who failed to make the All-Star team in 2006, but he's always been a vital cog in Detroit's success. Defense, of course, is his specialty, but his offense is mostly noteworthy for its versatility: Prince can carry the ball safely into the attack zone, post up smaller defenders, take full advantage of isolations on the right side, and drop critical treys.

What with Rasheed's periodic temper tantrums, Rip's machine-like scoring, and A.I.'s being a media-magnet, Prince is the quiet wheel that rarely gets noticed.

Andris Biedrins

Rebounds, works hard, defends and keeps his mouth shut while Stephen Jackson does all the talking and posturing. Indeed, amid the whirlwind of discontent that has engulfed the Warriors, Biedrins' unselfish play has been the team's only source of stability.

Raja Bell

Bell is still quick, active and athletic at both ends. On defense, he delights in pressuring the ball, and playing ball-denial on the weak side (which often makes him vulnerable to reversal passes and back-door cuts). Proving that his chops remain functional, Bell was voted to last season's second All-Defensive team.

On offense, he can ride the crest of a fast-break as well as any of his peers, and finishing in rush-hour traffic is no problem. He has worked hard to become a better shooter and, as a result, Bell is extremely dangerous from beyond the arc.

Although Bell is not an outstanding passer or ball-handler, his extraordinary work ethic enables him to out hustle any opponents who might foolishly underestimate his abilities and fail to show up with their A-game.

Kevin Ollie

Ollie has nearly the whole package to be a premier point guard: Terrific speed and quickness. A willingness to push the ball. Outstanding ability to penetrate into the guts of any defense — he can go both ways but prefers attacking his defender with a left-to-right crossover and then taking his right hand into the paint. Great court vision which manifests in impeccable decision-making. A desire to pass first and shoot only when necessary. An effective stop-and-pop move. An aggressive, dribble-hawking mind-set on defense. As well as the determination to play all-out all of the time.

What can't he do? Shoot consistently beyond midrange or get any younger.

Notice that he's getting increasing time — and has even started several games — for the T-wolves.

Shane Battier

If Battier isn't the smartest player in the league he's right up there. And nobody — nobody! — plays harder than he does. Not a bad parlay right there.

Once his feet are set, Battier is a dead-eye 3-point shooter. He can take the ball to the rim with either hand (he prefers to drive right) and shoots best on the move going left. At 6-8, 220, Battier can also score in the pivot — he can seal his defender almost as well as Shaq can — and after affecting one of his tricky pump fakes, he's liable to shoot a turnaround jumper or a jump hook. But with T-Mac, Yao, and Ron-Ron on the roster, Battier's scoring opportunities are severely limited. Battier's handle is good enough for him to be employed in screen/roll situations.

His defense is rock solid and he never backs down from a challenge. When playing defense in the low-post, Battier wants to strip the ball from his man before the shot-mechanism can be initiated. Drawing charges is another specialty, although he will flop on occasion. He has also mastered the arcane and semi-legal art of face-guarding.

Battier can also run, rebound, and win games with do-or-die shots. Whatever it takes to get his team to the finish line, that's what Battier will do.

Andre Miller

After he led the NBA assists (2001-02), Cleveland traded Miller to the Clippers where his talents were wasted with the wild and furious burn-on-burn game plan. At Miller's next stop, his talents were also wasted when Carmelo Anthony did his own thing with Denver.

It was only when he wound up in Philadelphia that Miller found his niche. He was instrumental in last season's up-tempo resurgence. But even as the Sixers struggle to adjust to Elton Brand grind-it-out offense, Miller has retained his remarkable unselfishness, his incredible court vision, his unparalleled drive-and-kick game, his quick first step, his underrated strength, and his wonderful spin moves.

Can he regularly hit the three? No. How's his defense? A slight cut above average.

After the NBA's top-ranked "pure" point guards — Deron Williams, Chris Paul, and (maybe) Steve Nash — Miller is a solid, if unheralded citizen of the league's second-tier play-makers.

Jeff Foster

A quietly effective defender, Foster is also one of the league's best rebounders in traffic. The standard for centers is to grab one rebound every three minutes, for power-forwards it's a rebound every four minutes. While swinging between both of these positions, Foster averages a rebound every 2.95 minutes.

What about his offense? Shooters need to shoot to maintain their hand mechanics and to smooth their strokes, but because Foster gets to shoot maybe two jumpers per game, he's mostly a bricklayer. But he does have a decent touch, and with more shots he'd prove to be a dependable shooter.

As he is, however, Foster is an extremely valuable player.

Renaldo Balkman

Whether he plays for two minutes or twenty, all he does is defend, rebound, dive for loose balls, run, and hustle his butt off. Every team would be happy to have a guy just like Balkman.

Steve Blake

The headlines (rightfully) go to Brandon Roy and Greg Oden, but Blake's ball-distribution, savvy decisions, and clutch shooting go largely unnoticed.

Michael Finley

He may be the Spurs' fourth option overall, but in the clutch, when opponents key on Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili, it's Finley who often takes (and makes) the clutch shots.

Udonis Haslem

Still plays adhesive defense, rarely makes mistakes, and sticks the mid-range jumper. Still one of the best role players extant.

Honorable Mention: Jared Jeffries, Anthony Parker, Ryan Gomes, Roger Mason, Andres Nocioni, Kendrick Perkins, Keyon Dooling, and Delonte West.


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Props to sidthekid871


#2 Smart Alex

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Posted January 02, 2009 - 02:03 PM

Trevor Ariza?, Joe Johnson?, Kevin Martin?,

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#3 androsays

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Posted January 02, 2009 - 02:18 PM

joe johnson has got to be the most underrated player in the league.


john salmons (who's consistently putting up 18-20 points a game at a 40+ fg%) is also pretty underrated/unknown

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#4 lakerfool

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Posted January 02, 2009 - 05:00 PM

Joe Johnson- no explanation needed. Does everything very well, and has better numbers than Brandon Roy, yet Roy gets much more press.

Rashard Lewis- it's not his fault the Magic overpaid him. Regardless, he's a huge reason why the Magic are doing so well this year. He spreads the floor for the magic, averaging 20 pts, 6 reb, and shooting 40% from 3pt land. His presence allows more room for Dwight to dominate down low.

Paul Milsap- as a starter, averaging 18 pts, 11 reb, 1.5 steal, 1 blk, 58% FG in 36 minutes a contest

Kevin Durant- his team is god AWFUL, yet he's still putting up 23 a game, along with 6 reb, 1 blk 1 steal, while shooting over 40% for 3. These are ALL-STar numbers, yet few are noticing.
Gooden>> Lamar Odom. Mo Williams>> Ray Allen>> Gasol. Nene= Gasol.

#5 azk81

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Posted January 02, 2009 - 10:48 PM

andris isnt under-rated, he jsut started playing solid minutes this year. i think marcus camby is a bit under-rated

Edited by azk81, January 02, 2009 - 10:49 PM.

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#6 SaintNicholasVanExel

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Posted January 02, 2009 - 10:50 PM

Paul Milsap- as a starter, averaging 18 pts, 11 reb, 1.5 steal, 1 blk, 58% FG in 36 minutes a contest

where i was going

#7 ファイナルファンタジ

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Posted January 03, 2009 - 01:46 AM

I sai Kevin Durant and Joe Johnson. There's a whole bunch but those two come to me first when I think about who's underrated.

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#8 Superstar Basketball

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Posted January 03, 2009 - 01:48 AM

no Ariza?
Charley Rosen is a Lakers hater.
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#9 netlord

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Posted January 03, 2009 - 02:27 AM

Steve Blake!!??? come on give me a break, he is underrated, because he is a below average guard.
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Posted January 03, 2009 - 05:05 AM

LOL @ Biedrins...
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#11 Imadogg

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Posted January 03, 2009 - 05:45 AM

This guys mentioning underrated guys who get little to no talk at all. Joe Johnson is not in there as a lot of people see him as an all star. Kevin Durant? Cmon. Kevin Martin a few years back, definitely not now. Ariza, nope, he's getting national attention this year, being lauded for his skills. Salmons is getting some talk now but I do think he's highly underrated, he's got some damn game, but with the Kings losing and Martin being the main man, he's forgotten by a lot. Lewis, nah. Millsap yes, but not to such an extent anymore as he's being recognized by many more, but the dude is a beast.

Agree with most of the writer's choices, Tay is always forgotten, Andre Miller definitely, Foster for sure, Balkman/Blake/Finley/Haslem. Biedrins eh maybe, I thought people know of him by this year, and know he's the only real big out there doing work, getting mad rebounds. Raja cmon, might be overrated these days, his defense isn't where it used to be but he's always had his 3 shot and everyone's known it. Battier is talked about a lot but is still underrated for what he brings. Kevin Ollie??? Where the hell does he play. I didn't know dude was still in the league, or even if he was, I thought he was a 15th man.

#12 SaintNicholasVanExel

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Posted January 03, 2009 - 06:07 PM

Steve Blake!!??? come on give me a break, he is underrated, because he is a below average guard.

12ppg, 5apg, and a steal a game, running one of the more versatile offenses in the league... i'll take it.

#13 Master Zen

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Posted January 03, 2009 - 08:02 PM

There is this guy named Gerald Wallace... <_<

Edited by Master Zen, January 03, 2009 - 08:03 PM.



#14 fido

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Posted January 03, 2009 - 11:16 PM

Seriously, Joe Johnson has got to top that list.

The guy busts everyone down and gets almost no press for it.

To some extent, though it sounds odd, I still think Chris Bosh doesn't get nearly enough run. The guy is unstoppable. If he had a team (outside of Calderon) around him, the guy would be on prime time every night.

I do think (even outside of the bias) that Ariza has got to get an honorable mention at least.

Wilson Chandler will be poking in on that list really soon as well.

#15 androsays

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Posted January 04, 2009 - 05:31 AM

There is this guy named Gerald Wallace... <_<


he's in the same boat as joe johnson, great player but terrible team, although the hawks are on their way up.

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#16 L.A.K.E.R

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Posted January 04, 2009 - 02:15 PM

"League's top underrated players". Isn't that an oxymoron? :lol:

#17 kobynum

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Posted January 04, 2009 - 02:18 PM

Seriously, Joe Johnson has got to top that list.

The guy busts everyone down and gets almost no press for it.

To some extent, though it sounds odd, I still think Chris Bosh doesn't get nearly enough run. The guy is unstoppable. If he had a team (outside of Calderon) around him, the guy would be on prime time every night.

I do think (even outside of the bias) that Ariza has got to get an honorable mention at least.

Wilson Chandler will be poking in on that list really soon as well.

Bosh has parker, Bargnani, JO, and Moon-he has help, and Joe Johnson plays in ATAL so many people arent going to know him until he gets into the playoffs again, or he gets "pookie" commercials
Again - this team, as currently constructed won't make it out of the second round of the playoffs, let alone the West or win the Finals.---fido on 2011 Lakers

#18 Jeffs

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Posted January 04, 2009 - 02:27 PM

I don't know how underrated JJ is... he's a great player, but I think people know he's great at this point. Durant isn't underrated either. He's a GREAT player, and will be a top-5 NBA player in a few years, IMO, but I don't think anyone underrates him. The hype he and Oden had coming into the NBA is just a step below that of LeBron. I wouldn't call that underrated.

I like the Chris Bosh choice. Yeah, he gets a lot of love, but not nearly enough. It's obviously because he is in Canada and not in the states. Bosh is a top-10 talent in this league, and a lot of people haven't realized that yet.
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#19 L.A.K.E.R

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Posted January 04, 2009 - 02:30 PM

Bosh has parker, Bargnani, JO, and Moon-he has help, and Joe Johnson plays in ATAL so many people arent going to know him until he gets into the playoffs again, or he gets "pookie" commercials


Bargnani is a bust, JO isn't the player he once was, Moon and Parker are decent role-players. The only real support he has is Calderon, the aforementioned don't show up every night.

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Posted January 04, 2009 - 04:09 PM

Bargnani = BUST BUST BUST BUST BUST
JO = hurt (I am so shocked, I really do :mellow: )
Moon = roleplayer
Parker = roleplayer
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