It is always difficult gauging whether a player is underrated, overrated, or properly rated. For example, Jeremy Lin went from being one of the most underrated players in NBA history to being a very overrated player in half a season. Just three years ago, Lin barely made it to the NBA after playing in the Summer League for the Dallas Mavericks before finally being picked up by the New York Knicks as their 13th man in the regular season. Of course, eventually Lin got the opportunity to showcase what he could do and soon enough Linsanity was born. Linsanity was no fluke, as Jeremy Lin put on a show game after game. Still, there were plenty of naysayers saying that he was nothing more than a back-up point guard in the NBA.
The Houston Rockets, however, didn’t think so and they inked Lin to a 3-year deal worth $25 million. And just like that Lin went from being one of the most underrated players in NBA history to one of the more overrated players in the NBA. Within just one-year of his three-year contract, Lin lost his starting job to Patrick Beverly who happened to be making less than $1 million a year, which made Lin look even worse.
So, as you can see, it is really difficult to gauge whether a player is underrated, overrated, or properly rated because they can slide up and down this scale in a matter of one-year or even less. And it is not solely about their level of talent, but their contract is also supposed to be commensurate with their ability, which of course can make a player underpaid, overpaid, or just right.
Below is a list of the top-20 players that are the most underrated in the NBA right now. Rookies from last year were excluded because it is impossible to tell whether they are underrated, overrated, or just right based upon a sample size of a single season. These are the players that are overlooked, perhaps underpaid, but most definitely underrated.
20 Patty Mills – San Antonio Spurs
19 Markieff Morris – Phoenix Suns
18 Ty Lawson – Denver Nuggets
17 Miles Plumlee – Phoenix Suns
16 Danny Green – San Antonio Spurs
15 Anderson Varejao – Cleveland Cavaliers
14 Trevor Ariza – Houston Rockets
13 Tobias Harris – Orlando Magic
12 Harrison Barnes – Golden State Warriors
11 Jose Calderon – New York Knicks
10 Robin Lopez – Portland Trailblazers
9 Spencer Hawes – Cleveland Cavaliers
8 Jimmy Butler – Chicago Bulls
7 Gerald Green – Phoenix Suns
6 Terrence Jones – Houston Rockets
5 Arron Afflalo – Orlando Magic
4 Wes Matthews – Portland Trailblazers
3 Isaiah Thomas – Phoenix Suns
2 Boris Diaw – San Antonio Spurs
1 Nikola Vucevic – Orlando Magic
You can count on one hand the number of players in the league that average a double-double with points and rebounds per game. Vucevic averaged 14.2 points per game and 11.0 rebounds per game last year. He is one of the most consistent players in the league and was a steal with the 16th pick in the 2011 draft. The real way of testing how underrated and undervalued Vucevic will be when his rookie contract expires this year and what he will eventually be re-signed to.
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