What is one of the greatest parts of being a sports fan? Debate. We all love to argue about topics such as who the best players in the league are, modern players vs. older players, and who is overrated or underrated. These debates become even more fun in the offseason when there are no games being played and fans need something to talk about. As a general sports fan, I have noticed that the aforementioned debates tend to revolve around the NBA more than any other sport. I am not exactly sure why this is the case, but its perhaps because basketball is probably the number one team sport where an individual can dominate and single-handedly win a game. This leads to instances where players can become over-hyped and overrated.
It is hard to use the word overrated with professional NBA players, since they are all the top players in the world, but remember this is a relative comparison. So what makes an NBA player overrated in relation to this article? Well, they can be over-hyped in a numerous amount of ways, including but not limited to their contract status (not enough production based on the dollars they are earning), their team vastly over-hypes him, they are a media darling, inflated stats, durability, and of course, winning (or lack thereof). For the purposes of this article, we will focus on each NBA team's most overrated player heading into 2016-17.
30 Atlanta Hawks - Dwight Howard
Dwight Howard has always been the ultimate tease. Do not get me wrong, he had some dominant seasons in Orlando, but I always waited for him to take his game to that next level and become a true superstar. This never happened and now Howard's best days are clearly behind him, yet he is still making max money in Atlanta. Howard is still a good defender and rebounder, although he is not what he once was either. The same can be said about Howard on the offensive end, as he does not offer nearly as much as he once did. Let us not forget his woeful free-throw shooting, which can easily help other teams ruin Atlanta's offensive flow.
Do not believe me? Well, let us look at some of Howard's statistics from last season. His 13.7 points per game, 11.8 rebounds per game, and 1.6 blocks per game are some of his lowest numbers since his rookie season. Now 14 and 12 is no joke, but for a guy that used to be so much more, and the amount of money he is making, it is fair to call Howard overrated.
29 Boston Celtics - Al Horford
Al Horford is a good player. He can shoot, play defense, is a great passer, and can set very good screens. Many people also rave about Horford as a teammate. So why is he on this overrated list? It can all be seen in the financials. Horford recently signed a contract that would make people think he is a great player when in reality he is a good player. Four years and $113 million for a 30-year-old power forward is too much money. Now, if the Celtics are able to land a superstar in the next two years alongside Horford and Isiah Thomas, his contract numbers are irrelevant, as the Celtics will be instant contenders and Horford can be a number three option like he seems suited to be.
However, in the meantime, it is arguable that Horford does not make the Celtics that much better than they already were. Sure, he may help them get into the 2nd round, but after that I do not see him as a huge upgrade to what they had. Overall, Horford will put up some numbers, but not enough to justify his contract, especially in comparison to other players at his position.
28 Brooklyn Nets - Jeremy Lin
Jeremy Lin has carved himself out a fine NBA career while being a cultural icon and an inspiration for millions. Remember the days when he was sleeping on a teammate's couch because he did not know if he was going to stick around in the NBA? Fast forward to the present, and Lin has signed a hefty new contract with the Brooklyn Nets. This does not make him overrated, but what does is the whole "Linsanity" nonsense from his time with the Knicks. People will always remember the couple of weeks where Lin was dominant for the Knicks. As a result, many people expect him to play at this All-Star level every time he steps on the court. Well, reality check, Lin is not an All-Star. He could be a very good role player on contending teams, or start for some teams that are not in the playoff hunt. We should let the Linsanity go and stop overrating Lin.
27 Charlotte Hornets - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
The former second overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft has not been able to take that next step in his NBA career. Kidd-Gilchrist has always been known for his defensive skills more than his offensive skills, but you would still expect a number two overall pick to be a force on the offensive end. Although he did show some improvement in his short season last year, Kidd Gilchrist is still not a very good shooter, especially from the three-point line. Additionally, Kidd-Gilchrist has never averaged more than 13 points per game in a season. An argument can be made that the biggest issue with Gilchrist in his NBA career thus far has been health. In 2013-14, he played in 62 games, 2014-15 he played in 55 games, and only played in 29 games last season. If he is ever going to live up to this number two status, he needs to find a way to stay healthy. Overall, he still does have the time to improve his game, as he is only 22 years old.
26 Chicago Bulls - Rajon Rondo
We all know Rajon Rondo puts up some of the best assist numbers in the NBA. He has also shown the ability to play through injury and play well in the playoffs. However, he gets a little bit too much credit when it comes to ranking NBA players. For a guard, Rondo is a poor shooter and it is hard for him to keep defenses honest. Sure he can get you 10 or more assists as mentioned above, but what about the other possessions where he holds on to the ball for way too long, costing his team quality shot opportunities. Let us also not forget Rondo's attitude problem. He was a nightmare for the Dallas Mavericks, as he often feuded with Rick Carlisle. He also had his fair share of troubles with Doc Rivers in Boston. For what he brings to the table, is the headache he causes really worth it? Overall, it will be interesting to see how Rondo fits in this season with two other ball dominant players in Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade.
25 Cleveland Cavaliers - Kevin Love
We all know Kevin Love was able to stuff the stat sheet during his tenure in Minnesota. However, despite his best efforts, Love was never able to lead the T-Wolves to the playoffs. Many people attributed this to poor management and stated Love would truly shine on a playoff team. This is partly true, as he won the championship as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers last season. However, shockingly, Love did not contribute nearly as much as expected, especially in the NBA Finals. Now, he did rebound the ball exceptionally well in Game 7, but for a $110 million man, we expect more. Who knows, maybe it is the system that Love is playing in and we do not get to see his true skills. For now, it looks like all of those years Love was a player that could put up All-Star stats on a bad team and be more of a role player than all-star on a playoff-contending team.
24 Dallas Mavericks - Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes is a nice player, but is he a max contract type player the Mavericks made him out to be? Definitely not. Barnes did average close to 12 points per game last season, while shooting 47 percent. Not bad numbers at all, especially considering Golden State did not rely on him to score the ball. However, when they did need him to score, particularly in the finals last season, Barnes could not deliver. Cleveland dared Golden State to beat them with Barnes by leaving him open on numerous possessions and he just could not contribute. I will be fair by acknowledging that Barnes looked much better in the first half of the season before injuring his ankle. After this injury, he never quite looked the same. Well, the bright side for Mavericks fans? Barnes is only 24 years old and maybe, just maybe, he can still be the guy that was so highly touted in high school.
23 Denver Nuggets - Danilo Gallinari
Danilo Gallinari was the main piece that Denver received back from the New York Knicks in the trade of Carmelo Anthony. He showed early promise, but he has never really developed into the difference maker many expected him to be. I know he had a bit of a bounce back season in 2015-16 by averaging 19.5 points per game, but the common theme of his career was seen yet again: missing tons of games. Gallinari has never played all 82 games in his careers, and has not been able to hit the 60 game mark the past two seasons. Based on the hype Gallinari has received, he needs to find a way to stay healthy for the majority of the season and help lead his team to the playoffs. The days of him being a number one option are probably long gone, but if he is still a number two or three option like many say, he needs to prove it by staying on the court and playing consistent ball.
22 Detroit Pistons - Reggie Jackson
Reggie Jackson certainly has talent, but his defense and lack of offensive efficiency make him overrated. This is especially true considering he is being paid a boatload of money by Detroit for the next several years to be their top point guard. Yes, I also know that this past season was the first time the Pistons made the playoffs in several years with Jackson running the show. However, I attribute most of this to the brilliance of Stan Van Gundy and other players on the team such as Andre Drummond, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Tobias Harris (yes, I know he was a late season addition).
The other part you cannot forget about Jackson is his history in Oklahoma City. He showed that he was not a true team player when he started to complain about playing time. Will the Pistons be able to make the next leap with him running the show? Maybe they will be able to find a situation like when Boston had the big three and Rajon Rondo as the point guard.
21 Golden State Warriors - Stephen Curry
Yes, I know some people are going to be upset with this pick. I also know Stephen Curry is a great player, the back-to-back MVP, the first unanimous MVP, and probably the greatest shooter in NBA history. He is also probably the most relatable superstar in NBA history, in terms of not being overly athletic, and he does not have the biggest body frame. Yet, I have to put him on this list because who else is there to put? To me, Klay Thompson does not get enough credit, especially for his defensive work. Draymond Green is the ultimate competitor and shows up in the biggest games. Kevin Durant is a scoring machine. Curry meanwhile, does not usually guard the opposing team's top guard (Klay does that) and if his shot is not falling, it is hard for him to make a significant impact on the game, as seen in the NBA Finals. Overall, we will see how great Curry truly is this upcoming season by watching his adjustments to the new blueprint on how to guard him set by the Cavaliers.
20 Houston Rockets - Eric Gordon
Want to know an impressive number relating to Eric Gordon: 16.5. This is how many points per game Gordon has averaged in his NBA career. Want to know a not so impressive number: 417. This represents the total number of games Eric Gordon has played in his 8 seasons in the NBA. In total, he has never played an 82 game season in his career. Clearly injuries have limited what Gordon really could have been. Undeniably, Gordon is a talented scorer, but this lack of durability has been a major issue throughout his career. Despite these issues, the Houston Rockets still signed him to a four-year $53 million contract. In the end, it would be easy to remove Gordon off of this list if he can remain healthy for the majority of an NBA season, but he has not yet proven this, so sadly for him, he is on this list.
19 Indiana Pacers - Jeff Teague
Jeff Teague had one All-Star season and has never reached that same level since. I am not even sure if he is an upgrade for the Pacers, considering he replaced one of the most underrated players in the game: George Hill. Hill is a much better defender and a very good three-point shooter. Meanwhile, this past postseason was the second straight year where we saw the Atlanta Hawks go with Dennis Schroder in late situations over Teague. This is not an encouraging sign for Teague, to say the least. Overall, in a league stacked with elite point guards, Teague has to step his game up this year if he wants to get paid all-star type money the following off-season (scheduled to be a free agent). I do not know if this will be accomplished, as the NBA is stacked with elite talent at the point guard spot with more athleticism and ball skills.
18 Los Angeles Clippers - DeAndre Jordan
I know DeAndre Jordan is a very, very good defensive player, but I still include him on this list because of his offensive limitations. We all know Jordan is a very poor free throw shooter. There have been games where he has cost his team with his inability to hit free throws. He also does not have that many post moves down low, and scores most of his points off of put backs or alley oops. Additionally, unlike the modern NBA center, he cannot step out of the paint to knock down a jumper. Therefore, he is crowding the offensive end for players like Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.
The other major factor people overlook when worshiping Jordan is that he is playing with Chris Paul, one of the great point guards. I am curious to one day see how lost Jordan will be on the offensive end without Paul.
17 Los Angeles Lakers - Lou Williams
I still do not understand what the Lakers were thinking when they made this signing last year. I know Lou Williams was coming off a 6th Man of the Year Award, but the fit in L.A. just did not seem to make sense. They already had a player coming off the bench that needs the ball in his hands to be successful in Nick Young. Like Young, Williams can score in bunches, but he needs to shoot at a high volume to be successful. You can see this in his field goal percentages over the years, which is usually around 40 percent. The other issue with Williams is his defense. In the era where guards are the dominant players, Williams cannot be relied on to stop anybody. This is nothing against Williams, but he just has a small frame compared to most NBA players and has always had trouble on the defensive side of the ball.
16 Memphis Grizzlies - Chandler Parsons
Chandler Parsons can offer any team tremendous outside shooting for his size, can rebound the ball well, and also has the ability to be a good play-maker. So what is the problem and why is Parsons on this list? Like many of the players on this list, he is a good player when healthy. Parsons has never played all 82 games and also missed a combined 37 games the last two years in Dallas due to various knee problems. Knee problems are a bit of a turnoff for me personally, but Memphis most know something we do not, because they agreed to pay Parsons max money for the next several years. Even when healthy, it is debatable that Parsons is worth this type of money. Yes, he is good, but he has not yet proven he can be an all-star that can average 20 points per game. Let us see what he can do in Memphis, especially since he is now entering his prime.
15 Miami Heat - Hassan Whiteside
I might get a lot of 'heat' for this one and people are probably wondering why I would choose Hassan Whiteside over Goran Dragic for this spot. Yes, Dragic would have been an easier choice. I also know Whiteside is a dominant defensive player that can rebound the ball extraordinary well. However, I just do not see him worthy of the max contract he received, nor do I see him as a number one option that can carry a team to the playoffs. The other funny part relating to Whiteside is how many people say Miami would have beaten Toronto in the playoffs had he been healthy. My question is this: do people not remember Jonas Valancunias taking him to school when they were both healthy? Now, I am not blaming this on Whiteside, just the media that tends to over-hype him. Overall, Whiteside can surely impact many games, but he tends to be over-hyped by media and fans.
14 Milwaukeee Bucks - Matthew Dellavedova
Another product of the great LeBron James. I hope Matthew Dellavedova personally called LeBron to thank him for the contract he received. Do not get me wrong, Delly can be a good backup point guard and sometimes even spot start, as we witnessed in the 2015 playoffs. He also has some valuable traits, such as being very pesty on defense, underrated play-making skills, and the ability to shoot from the three-point line. However, thanks in large part of being a teammate of LeBron and receiving the LeBron effect (where average players can look much better than they truly are when playing with a once in a generation talent), he was able to secure a nice hefty contract. Count me as one of the curious people to see how Dellavedova will perform without LeBron creating wide open shots for him. Let us see if he is going to be a Booby Gibson type and go unheard of after life without LeBron, or if he will create a solid role for himself in Milwaukee.
13 Minnesota Timberwolves - Ricky Rubio
Ricky Rubio is fun to watch and there is no denying that. You can always see glimpses of why he was chosen 5th overall in the 2009 draft. He plays a fast-paced style and loves to get his teammates involved, but overall, he is very one-dimensional. Yes, he is one of the better passers in the league, but he is a pretty poor jump shooter by NBA standards, and especially a point guard's standards. To his credit, it looks like he has improved his jumper a little bit, but it still does not appear to be where it needs to be for the Timberwolves to take the next step.
The other problem with Rubio is his durability. There have been three seasons in his five-year career where he has played less than 60 games. With all due repsect, at this point it is tough to see Minnesota taking the next step with Rubio as their starting point guard, unless he continues to improve his durability and jump shot.
12 New Orleans Pelicans - Omer Asik
Remember the days when Omer Asik was in Chicago and many people thought he would be one of the next great centers in the NBA? Well, it is fair to say that has not exactly worked out for Asik. He did have a good first season in Houston in 2012-13, but his play has dropped off ever since. Somehow, he was still able to secure a five-year $60 million contract from the Pelicans that began in the 2015-16 season. The seven footer is a defense-first center that makes for a long interior partner with Anthony Davis. The problem is that his defense is not at the same level it was a few years ago. Additionally, Asik is very limited on the offensive end, so what is his role for the team? Overall, for a guy making $12 million a year, Asik is extremely overrated and I think Alvin Gentry sees this as well, as Asik only averaged 17.3 minutes per game last season, almost a nine minute decrease from the previous season.
11 New York Knicks - Carmelo Anthony
One of the harder decisions on this list. You could make a case for Derrick Rose or Joakim Noah to be on this list, but I am going to go with Carmelo Anthony. We all know Melo is probably one of the greatest scorers in recent NBA history. So is it fair to criticize him because he has not won a ring? Probably not, but remember he is the one that forced a trade to the New York Knicks when he was on a pretty good Denver team. If he really wanted to go to the Knicks, he could have waited for free agency instead of forcing the team to trade all of it's assets to get him.
The other reason people find it fair to criticize Anthony is because he does not play a winning style. He needs to trust his teammates more and refer to Kristaps Porzingis next year. His ball dominant style might have worked better when he was younger, but now he is at the point in his career where he needs to adjust.
10 Oklahoma City Thunder - Enes Kanter
This was an extremely difficult choice. Who can you really call overrated on the Oklahoma City Thunder? The current structure of this team was built to support two superstars in Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant (we all know how it worked out with Durant). The other players, for the most part, are role players, and they are pretty darn good role players. So since someone has to be chosen, let us go with Enes Kanter. Kanter is a beast on the offensive end, but the issue that cannot be disregarded with him is his defense. Kanter is regarded as one of the worst defensive big men in the league and perhaps this is why he was only able to average 21 minutes per game, despite averaging 13 points per game. It would be interesting to see how good Kanter could be if he improves his defense. He still has time for this improvement, as he is only 24 years old.
9 Orlando Magic - Jeff Green
There were definitely a couple of candidates to choose from on the Orlando Magic, but in the end Jeff Green was chosen for the most overrated. The Los Angeles Clippers traded for Green last season, in the hopes of legitimizing their contender status. It was clear the Clippers needed another legitimate scoring threat with Blake Griffin injured, and Green could not step up to be what many people have been waiting for him to be his whole career. Green had one of his lowest scoring careers last year, averaging around 12 points per game with a low shooting percentage of .431 percent.
Overall, Green is one of those players that shows flashes of brilliance, but cannot sustain it. He is on a one-year contract with Orlando so he should be highly motivated to cash in. Maybe this is the season we see finally see Green put everything together and have a consistent season.
8 Philadelphia 76ers - Joel Embiid
I may be in the minority, but even going back to his college days, I wondered why people had Joel Embiid on their draft board ahead of Andrew Wiggins. Did people not learn their lesson by seeing what happened with Greg Oden and Kevin Durant? Today, there is still so much hype for Embiid, but he has yet to play an NBA game. Yes, Embiid has the tools to be a dominant big man in the NBA, but with so many injury question marks at the age of 22, one cannot help but wonder what his future in the NBA will be. Will he ever be healthy enough to be the dominant force many expect? Do not forget that Philadelphia is stacked with young talent in similar positions, which makes it even harder for Embiid to establish a solid role.Again, remember, this was a player taken 3rd overall in one of the best NBA drafts since 2003 and he has yet to play an NBA game. Darko Milicic or Greg Oden anyone?
7 Phoenix Suns - Tyson Chandler
At one point in his career, Tyson Chandler was a main cog for one of the biggest upsets in NBA Finals history. When the Dallas Mavericks beat the Miami Heat, Chandler was praised for his great defense. This allowed him to cash in by signing a huge contract with the Knicks. Chandler never lived up to the standard he set for himself in those finals, but has still managed to receive large contracts and plenty of hype from the media. Chandler is now 33 years old and still has three years on his contract with Phoenix. He is not the defensive player he once was and has many offensive limitations. He scores most of his points on offensive rebounds and dunks via the alley-oop. He does not have a strong post-up game and cannot shoot jumpers. He has also had durability issues in recent seasons. I get the feeling that this is going to be a signing Phoenix deeply regrets.
6 Portland Trail Blazers - Evan Turner
After the huge contract he received this summer from Portland, Evan Turner needs to be inserted into the overrated category. Turner is not a bad player. He was able to revive his career in the past two seasons in Boston by averaging around 10 points per game. He is also still in his prime (27), and he will help boost Portland's 2nd unit. However, the problem is that he simply will not be able to meet the expectations of the contract he signed. To sum it up, Turner is a mid-range specialist, which is not a bad thing, but in today's NBA, most players that thrive can consistently drill three-pointers. If you cannot hit three-pointers, you need to be able to get to the free throw line consistently, which is unfortunately something Turner does not do, as he has only averaged 2.2 free throw attempts per game in his career.
5 Sacramento Kings - Rudy Gay
I must admit I thought about putting DeMarcus Cousins over Rudy Gay. Then I remembered that Cousins has been the victim of the worst possible management in Sacramento, so it would be unfair to judge him based on this. Maybe one day Sacramento will figure things out, or Cousins gets traded to a real team. Then we will get to see his true value. Onto Gay, who may not be as overrated as he once was, but nonetheless is still overrated by many fans. Remember the times when people thought he was a franchise player based solely on his points per game production? Finally, at least some people have realized that yes, he can average 20 points per game, but has to do so by shooting a very low percentage and disrupting his team's flow. Additionally, although his salary would suggest otherwise, it is fair to say that Gay does not have one thing he is great at on the basketball court at the NBA level. Somehow, many people continue to hype him up as one of the better small forwards in the league.
4 San Antonio Spurs - Danny Green
Has Danny Green lost some of his touch? Some say it sure looked like it in the 2015-16 NBA season. You can also use stats to back this up as Green's three-point percentage dipped from 42 percent to 33 percent. Others are of the opinion that teams have figured out how to guard him more effectively. Green is not known for his drive and ability, so many teams ran him off the three-point line last season without fear of what he would do next. When he did have the opportunities, many felt that Green rushed, which is why the drop in percentages can be seen. To be fair to Green, we must acknowledge that he is still an elite defender. Overall, when you have a great team like San Antonio, someone has to be overrated and in this case Green was chosen. I also get the feeling Green will adjust this season and bounce back, but for now he stays in the overrated category.
3 Toronto Raptors - DeMarre Carroll
It might be too early to put DeMarre Carroll on the overrated list. However, Carroll did not come close to living up to the expectations of a $15 million per year contract. I understand he was dealing with injuries, but Carroll left Raptors fans wanting so much more. The main reason he was signed by the Raptors was to provide a lock-down defender come playoff time. This was not the case as Carroll had loads of trouble in the playoffs dealing with Paul George, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James. The other major disappointing factor with Carroll was his three-point shooting. In the Eastern Conference Finals, Cleveland dared Carroll to shoot. What happened instead? He missed open shot after open shot. Hopefully, this past season was a product of injury and Carroll is able to bounce back next season and prove his worth, but until then, overrated is what he is.
2 Utah Jazz - Joe Johnson
Surprisingly, this was a more difficult choice than expected. Utah has quietly built a solid team that barring any unforeseen circumstances, should make the playoffs next year. Although his absurd contract finally expired and he is no longer being paid $20 plus million, Joe Johnson still has to be included on the overrated list. Yes, he can be a valuable piece to the Jazz by spacing the floor and providing veteran leadership, but there are too many factors to ignore when rating Johnson. The main factor has to be that the media love for Johnson remains strong despite his noticeable decline and lack of playoff success over the years. Johnson has always been built up as one of the best perimeter players in the league, yet his teams have never felt like a viable threat to win the championship. Can we really call such a player an all-star or one of the best perimeter league players of his time, like many do with Johnson? My opinion: not a chance.
1 Washington Wizards - Bradley Beal
I have been waiting for Bradley Beal to take his game to another level. This has not happened and as a result, it is time to put Beal on the overrated list. Do not get me wrong, Beal still has the potential to reach these heavy expectations, as he is just 23 years of age. No one is doubting his shooting ability, or talent in general, either. Yet, there is so much to be desired when you watch him play because he has not consistently performed at this all-star level we expect and have seen on some occasions. This also makes his five-year contract worth around $130 million seem like just too much. He needs to vastly step up his game to meet the expectations of that contract. For Beal, the best place to start is by taking care of his nagging injuries. He has missed many games over his four-year career and needs to change that to meet the expectations of his contract.