The NBA has pretty much always been a star driven league. From the Days of Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West, to Lebron James, and Steph Curry, the NBA has relied on its superstars to drive the popularity of the league. With this approach to a drawing a broader audience the NBA has, from time to time, aided some of its bigger personalities on their way to stardom. One of the key words in that last sentence is personality. The bigger a players' personality the easier it is for the league to prop them up as a face of the league.
Another factor in a players' exposure and over/underrating is where they play. It is easy to become a mega star in New York, or Los Angeles, take Jeremy Lin for example. It is not as easy to get national recognition when you play in, say Portland. With a league littered with incredibly gifted players it can become easy to overlook some of the greats playing around the league. Also as ESPN and other media outlets force feed us only the best highlights it is increasingly easier to miss out on what players are actually playing the best ball. Today we will clear the clutter and break down the 8 most overrated and 7 most underrated players in todays NBA.
15 Overrated: 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.
14 Underrated: Marc Gasol
At 32 years old, Marc Gasol is still at the height of his game. He has been hidden in Memphis since being traded from the Lakers for his brother Pau back in 2008. While in Memphis, Gasol has grown into a top center in today's game. A game that has morphed into a game that no longer utilizes the center like it once did. Gasol, however has found ways to evolve his game and still be a valuable piece to a contending team.
13 Overrated: Rajon Rondo
I personally had a hard time putting some players on this list, but I have to be fair and objective, and clearly Rondo is highly overrated. Rajon has made many incredible plays and he has some of the flashiest assists in NBA history, but there is a reason he seemingly can’t stay with a team longer than one season anymore.
12 Underrated: Draymond Green
This entry contradicts everything nearly everything that was talked about in the intro. Green has one of the biggest personalities in the NBA, and plays for a big market team with back to back NBA Finals appearances. However, Green tends to get overshadowed by some of his more flashy teammates. Perhaps if Green was on a less talented team, his true value would be more on display, but he still is one of the best all around players in the league today.
11 Overrated: Kevin Durant
It has become embarrassingly easy to knock Kevin Durant these days. He left his team and his best friend for the enemy. That alone undermines whatever legacy you hope to have as an NBA superstar, which KD was (and still is.)
10 Underrated: Rudy Gobert
Now in his fourth season, Gobert is clearing coming into his own right before our eyes. He is the leading candidate for most improved player, as well as a top candidate for Defensive Player of the Year. On top of that he is helping lead the Utah Jazz into the playoffs, and potentially home court advantage in the first round.
9 Overrated: Chris Paul
Chris Paul has been one of the most reliable players in the league over the past decade. Many people even say he is the best point guard in the NBA over that time frame. He just might be, if you only included regular season. Some people even mention CP3 in the conversation for greatest point guard of all time, and that is simply ignorant.
8 Underrated: Gordon Hayward
The Jazz have clearly found a couple cornerstone pieces for their future. With Rudy Gobert locking down the middle and Hayward putting it on from the wing, the Jazz are poised for many deep playoff runs in the coming years. Hayward has long been viewed as a young player with great potential, and he is finally realizing that potential. He was named to his first All-Star Game this season and he is the best player on a team sitting in fourth place out West.
7 Overrated: DeMarcus Cousins
The recently traded Cousins is a stat monster. He averages a double-double, and routinely puts up thirty plus points and over fifteen rebounds. The thing about Boogie is that most of those stats are empty, meaning they usually come in blow-out losses, in which he is the only decent player on his team.
6 Underrated: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis is only 22 years old, but is already one of the best players in the game. He is beginning to get his name out there, as he was named to his first All-Star Game this season, but he still has a long way to go before he is finished.
5 Overrated: Carmelo Anthony
Melo is this generation’s Dominique Wilkins. There is no question that Carmelo Anthony has been one of the premier scorers in the NBA since his arrival in 2003. He has put together a scoring resume that rivals any who have ever laced em up, but there is so much more to an NBA game than just scoring.
4 Underrated: Damian Lillard
Two years in a row Damian Lillard has been left off the Western Conference All-Star roster. Granted the points guards in the West are as good as they have ever been, but this man deserves to be recognized.
3 Overrated: Blake Griffin
There are some things that you can never take away from Blake Griffin; that dunk on Timofey Mozgov is one of them. But Blake has been in the NBA for about eight years now, and he has proven to be a one trick pony. Blake has attempted to work on his jumpshot, and I guess if you compare it to his rookie year jumpshot it has improved, but he still lack consistency.
2 Underrated: Isaiah Thomas
The 5'9" point guard has been playing at an MVP level this season. He is leading a team with no superstars to the number two seed in the Eastern Conference, and a potential run-in with the defending champs.
1 Overrated: Steph Curry
Steph’s rise to glory was perhaps the fastest rise in NBA history. It only makes sense that in this generation of instant everything, Steph would skyrocket to GOAT status in only two years.
After winning back to back MVP awards, the NBA was Curry’s playground. He was already anointed as the new face of the league, and he seemingly ended LeBron James’s reign before its time. There were those stray critics out there who accused Steph as being a one trick pony, but they were quickly shot down by those enamored with the 30 foot three pointer. With Kevin Durant joining his side this season it has only enhanced his opportunity for greatness. However, Durant's presence, and ball dominance has somewhat limited Steph's ability to be what he once was. With Durant currently out with an injury this will be a huge opportunity to Steph to prove me and other doubters wrong.
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