Today’s NBA is much different than that of yesteryear, notably in terms of evaluating a player. Today we have deeply formulated analytic stats, as well as the ability to fine comb our way through any players’ career. With all these detailed ways to showcase how good or not good a players is, we still often see players become overrated.
There are many reasons why certain players are unjustly more respected, or more valued than others. Sometimes fans and media are attracted to a specific style of play and there is that one player who suits them perfectly. Or perhaps, the media and fans fall in love with a player’s personality, ultimately letting it bleed into their view of them as a player. Other times, a player is part of an amazing team or franchise, but for whatever reason, they receive the lion’s share of the credit. There are obviously many ways to gain unjust praise, and it happens all the time. It’s normal for biases to form about a player, but for this list, we will try to take the emotion out of everything.
So let’s get into who are they 15 most overrated players of the past 20 years.
15. DeAndre Jordan
Jordan is an interesting first entry. When DeAndre arrived in the NBA he was a second round pick by the Clippers. The plan was to have him spend a couple years on the bench learning from some of the older veteran post player on the team. However, injuries forced Jordan into action earlier than the team would have liked. As a rookie Jordan showed that he had potential to become a solid big man in the NBA.
As Jordan proved to be better than what many thought he could, the praise came heavy and often. It was like a race to be the first person to have heard of DeAndre Jordan. It hit an apex when in 2015 many people were calling DJ the best center in the NBA. DeAndre has become a good piece with the Clippers, and he has turned himself into one hell of a defender and a quality rebounder, but to anoint him the crown of best center is simply silly.
14. Harrison Barnes
The Golden State Warriors have been the league’s model franchise when it comes to drafting talent over the past decade. They have drafted Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and Harrison Barnes during that time. Players like Steph and Draymond make everyone around them better, just ask Kevin Durant.
Since the core four were selected by the Warriors, only Barnes has left the Bay in hopes of leading a team of his own. Barnes was signed to a max deal by the Mavericks last offseason, and he has proven to be quite underwhelming thus far, averaging just 20.1 points on 46% shooting. Barnes was clearly a product of his environment with the Warriors, but hey, he is sure cashing in on it. He probably doesn’t mind.
13. Rajon Rondo
I personally had a hard time putting some of players on this list, but I have to be fair and un-objective, and clearly Rondo is highly overrated. Rondo has made many incredible plays and he has some of the flashiest assists in NBA history, but there is a reason he can’t stay with a team longer than one season.
As a younger player Rajon was lucky enough to play with some of the best leaders in NBA history in Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. So when he was with them, Rondo, for the most part, kept his mouth shut. Now that he is a vet in the league, he has no chill. He constantly gets on coaches, and teammates about whatever displeases him. He also is a stat chaser, and that is one of the worst things you can be in a team sport. Rondo has made a habit of passing up easy buckets in hopes of tallying an extra assist, or crashing the glass when his responsibility is to push the pace. Stats aren’t everything, sometimes it’s about making the right play for the team.
12. LaMarcus Aldridge
Aldridge has been a very consistent player during his ten plus seasons in the league. The thing about LaMarcus though, is that he is too consistent. He rarely takes games over, especially in postseason play. Having spent his first nine seasons in Portland, Aldridge always had quality players around him, yet he was never able to succeed in the playoffs.
There is a big emphasis on winning the big game when it comes to being a superstar in the league. Aldridge has yet to accomplish those big moment successes in his career. Now that he is with Coach Pop and the Spurs he could turn things around, but to this point he is a playoff failure. Having played with Brandon Roy in his early years, and having Damian Lillard more recently, there is no excuse for L.A. to not have at least one Conference Finals appearance under his belt.
11. Dwight Howard
Talk about having a million dollar body but a two cent head. Dwight Howard had all the gifts a person could ever ask for. He is a 6’11, 265 pound mountain of athleticism. In his prime, Howard may have had the highest vertical in the entire NBA, along with being the strongest player in the league too. What cost Howard his chance at reaching full potential was his inability to fit in with his teammates.
In only his third season, Dwight took his Orlando Magic squad all the way to the NBA Finals. It seemed clear that he was the future of NBA post play. Howard seemed to plateau after that magical season, and injuries began to become part of his game. In 2012 he left Orlando on less than ideal terms. But it seemed okay, because he was joining Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. But again, Howard was unable to get along with his teammates and skipped town after a couple seasons. Then the Rockets fell victim to the appeal of Dwight. The Rockets thought they had something special with Howard and Harden, but of course Superman didn’t stay in Houston long either.