The Ten Most Unappreciated Players In The NBA Today

Basketball, Bull City — By on January 17, 2012 at 1:52 am


It’s almost time for the All Star Game, and in a lockout-shortened season, there are a few guys who just continue to put up numbers, yet you don’t really hear a lot about them getting any all star considerations. They aren’t fan favorites, because they play in markets where getting votes is unlikely. They also play for teams that are either loaded with more recognizable talent or they just get overlooked because they are on a team that is just awful.

Having NBA League Pass the past couple of seasons, I have been able to see a lot of basketball. I have watched games that the average fan wouldn’t even bother to watch. That’s me though; I am a sports fanatic and I just have an appreciation for the game. I am that dude who could walk by a gym, see a good game of pickup basketball or a good game of one on one and I will stop to see if it is going to be a battle. Competition is the spice of life for me. Since I was young G, the thrill of the game made me appreciate the ability of others that most people take for granted. I see the quiet assassin on the team. I see the person that is the glue. I see the hot man off the bench. I also see the guy who does all of the dirty work (the blue collar guy.. you know they guy who wears the blue shirt with his name stitched in over the left pocket).

With that being said, I decided that it was time to do a NBA ten most unappreciated list. These are the guys who just get it done, night-after-night, and people have either just started to take notice or they have taken it for granted.

Take a look at the list:

10. Jason Terry, Dallas Mavericks: Jason Terry didn’t get any recognition until last season when he overwhelmed the league and put on a show earning him a sixth man award and showcasing his ability to be a great player. Now, he is turning into a household name. JT would have been higher on the list without last year’s performance propelling him to a slightly rated player.

9. Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks: Probably one of the five best athletes in the NBA. He can run, jump, defend and he is very exciting. The only problem I have with him is his ability to shoot the jump shot. If he does get a jumper, he becomes an instant all star.

8. Andrea Bargnani, Toronto Raptors: One of the best shooting big men in the NBA. Andre can kill you quietly by going thirty and ten or he can punish you with stellar post play and incredible passing.

7. Monta Ellis, Golden State Warriors: Having seen Monte play a high school game, I knew this kid was destined to be great. The man is an offensive machine. Not to mention that he one of the best off-the-ball defenders in the NBA.

6. LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers: The young man is a monster in the league right now and not many people are noticing. He fills up stat sheets and is third in the league in points in the paint. He has been everything the Blazers hoped oft-injured Greg Oden would be.

5. Jamal Crawford, Portland Trail Blazers: The man is an offensive machine. He has the ability to go off every night. He doesn’t get the appreciation he deserves, because he can’t stay in one place long enough to get his due. He can go for fifty off the bench, and no one can stay in front of him. Maybe the NBA owners will take note at some point and give him his due.

4. J.R. Smith, Free Agent: This one is actually tricky, because he’s not in the NBA right now and needs to be rescued from China. However, I can’t say enough about this guy. He just gets buckets. He has earned the name J.R. Swish, because he comes in off the bench and, at any point from any area on the floor, he can put the biscuit in the basket. His offensive game gets a lot of credit, but his defense is underrated as he usually does a good job on opposing players.

3. James Harden, Oklahoma City Thunder: No doubt the man is one of the swing men in the league. He is the spark plug for the team that everyone loves to question. No one question’s Harden’s game as he just dominates the game when he enters mid-first quarter. If OKC is to prosper as a contender this year, Harden will have to become a household name.

2. Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies: Injuries this year have slowed Z-Bo this year, but it’s great that Zack finally got his life and his game together. The man was up and down and was considered a waste of talent. He is now what everyone thought he would be and is dominating the NBA ranks, when healthy. ZBo single-handedly carried the Grizzlies through the playoffs last season.


1. Stephen Jackson, Milwaukee Bucks: Jackson is an old-school player. He is greatly under appreciated and gets moved a lot, due to his personality and image. He can score 25 or more any game and he is as clutch as they come in the big game or when it’s time for the big shot. He is also a good and physical defender.

I am sure someone you liked was missed. Who did we leave out?

Stay Breezy ~ I’m Out!

Joe Simmons

Color Commentator for Time Warner Cable Sports Network NC/SC/OH and NCCU Sports Network. Washed up athlete who used to ball, now I write and call.

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    8 Comments

  • JAG says:

    Derek Fisher

    He’s not flashy and has never been mentioned with the elite point guards but his 5 rings and consistency merit some respect. He shoots over 40% from 3 in the playoffs and has always been clutch. Point guards don’t get numbers in the triangle because the ball is more evenly distributed but you never heard a peep out of Fisher. He didn’t even complain when they brought a past his prime G Payton in to replace him in ’04. He just went to work and hit his famous “0.4” shot.

    Also, I cannot fathom the patience and temperment the man must have in the thankless job as Kobe’s PG. If it weren’t for DF, I can easily see Kobe burning through two or three PG’s per season. In fact, he and Kobe are the only players who were on all five recent Laker championship teams.

  • J. Tinsley says:

    Fisher deserves credit for managing Kobe’s personality over the years. That, in itself, is underrated. That being said, he’s still a defensive liability and can go on crazy cold streaks and his best days are long gone. I say all that knowing he hit a HUGE game winner last night. I just don’t think teams would knock their doors down to get him.

    Any list with Captain Jack is good by me.

  • JAG says:

    @JT

    I can’t disagree with anything you said. Fisher’s a defensive liability. But being a defensive liability didn’t stop Nash from winning two MVP’s. Magic played free safety for showtime; they had to hide his atrocious defensive skills. Stockton? Don’t get me started. Yes, DF’s best days are long gone but he’s still running the show as if he’s an assistant coach on the floor. True, no one would try to get Fish, he’s only useful to the Lakers much like your favorite, starting to fade and fray T-Shirt is only useful to you.

    I’m not saying he’s one of the greats, I’m saying that he’s underrated and was the perfect PG for what Phil Jackson wanted to do. In PJ’s offense, the PG often makes the pass that makes the pass that makes the shot. You don’t get an assist or much recognition for that. Even in his Bulls days, PJ made the PG position a role player, a facilitator.

    Can you imagine CP3, D Rose, Rondo, Westbrook or Deron playing next to Kobe? In their rookie contract while they’re still trying to get paid? Ne Meither.

  • Joe Simmons says:

    Any time anyone does a top 10 list it is usually somewhat controversial. I like them because they allow people to bring an argument to the table about a player that they either stan for or believe in. Like most I don’t take it personal when I get the information, it just allows me to watch to see if I see what that person is so passionate about. I love seeing the arguments because it brings things to a light. Like Jag and J Tinsley pointed out, There are pros and cons to every player. Man this comment right here in itself is priceless:

    “Can you imagine CP3, D Rose, Rondo, Westbrook or Deron playing next to Kobe? In their rookie contract while they’re still trying to get paid? Ne Meither.”

    I love it fellas.

  • I don’t know man, I think James Harden gets talked about a whole hell of a lot. Love most of the list, but I definitely wouldn’t put him that high. Not because he’s not really good, but because I’ve been hearing him get more and more pub the past year.

    I can’t believe I’m gonna say this because he frustrates the hell out of me a lot, but Andre Iguodala may be on the list for his defense.

    • Kenny says:

      I’m with The Rev on Harden. That man is LOVED by fans, commentators and people who know the game. I don’t think he’s unappreciated at all.

      As for Monta Ellis…I just…I think he’s overrated. He doesn’t do anything that makes me think we’re seeing someone special. So, for me, I can never co-sign on him being unappreciated, because I think he gets too much hype as it is.

  • E Dub says:

    I love list bro!!… Great stuff.. i see we both talked about Harden and Crawford today. Both of those guys are bonafide scorers and I enjoy watching them play. Z-Bo is “dat dude” and LaMarcus has next.
    I have no problems with the list.

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