The NBA is certainly full of superstars and big egos, but it's also full of players who fly under the radar and never get the appreciation or respect that they truly deserve.
Whether the lack of appreciation is because they either play on teams that continually end the season with more losses than wins, or because they've yet to truly realize their full potential, these underappreciated players are performing at a rate this year that demands at least a little bit of appreciation and respect.
Ahead is a list, not necessarily a ranking, of the 10 most underappreciated players in the NBA.
While respect isn't just handed out, it's earned, the players on this list have shown especially this year that they are deserving of respect and appreciation from their teams and fans alike.
2011-12 Averages: 17.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game
It's amazing that in the 171 games James Harden has played in, he's only started in a total of six of them. Over the last two seasons, especially in Oklahoma City's 2011 playoff run that ended in the Western Conference finals, Harden has earned a reputation of being able to get open and hit big shots in the clutch.
In addition to his reputation as a player who consistently steps up in big moments, Harden has been one of the most consistent bench players in the NBA, especially this season averaging 17.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.5 per games in just 29.9 minutes per game. That solid production has earned Harden a PER rating of 23.69 which ranks 13th in the NBA, which is pretty impressive for a bench player.
James Harden is playing at an All-Star caliber rate this year, and if he can find his way into the Thunder's starting lineup over struggling shooting guard Thabo Sefolosha, there's a high likelihood that Harden could earn his first All-Star appearance. If Harden does that, he will begin to earn the appreciation and respect that he deserves in the NBA.
2011-12 Averages: 17.3 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game
Kevin Martin has averaged 20-plus points per game five times in his career, and he has yet to make an All-Star appearance, mainly because he's never played on a team that has been a legitimate playoff team aside from his two first years in Sacramento that ended in first round playoff exits.
Sure Martin hasn't been the most efficient player over the past few years, but there's no doubt that he can score, averaging 22.6 points per game over the past five seasons in the NBA, which is a pretty impressive number considering the talent that has been on both the Kings and Rockets rosters that he's played on.
One of the main reasons why Martin is under appreciated is the fact that he doesn't do much aside from score, with weak career numbers in both assists (2.0) and rebounds (3.5) per game.
If Martin can manage to either become more of a complete player or find his way onto a team that can win games in the playoffs (which could be the Rockets this year), he might be able to earn some well-deserved respect.
2011-12 Averages: 14.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.6 steals per game
When Brandon Roy announced his retirement and Blazers fans found out that Greg Oden wasn't going to be available for the majority of the season, there was reason to panic in Portland, but Gerald Wallace has helped ease that panic. Like usual, Wallace is putting up consistent production that has helped the Blazers run out to a surprising 7-5 record.
Wallace is averaging 14.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game this year, which has helped solidify a TrailBlazers roster that lacks legitimate depth on the bench. Wallace made his first NBA All-Star appearance last year, which shows that people are finally starting to appreciate the leadership and athletic play that Wallace brings to the court.
If Wallace can manage to help the Trailblazers make the western conference playoffs and do something he's never done before in his career, win a first-round playoff series, he will be on his way to finally receiving the respect he deserves and has earned throughout his now 11-year NBA career.
2011-12 Averages: 17.8 points, 6.6 rebounds an 1.6 assists per game
With career averages to the tune of 17.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game it's somewhat shocking that Rudy Gay has yet to make an NBA All-Star roster, as more than a dunk-contest contestant.
Sure, his career has been slightly hampered by nagging injuries and the fact that he plays on the Memphis Grizzlies, but Gay's production on a slightly above average team is an impressive feat.
Coming into the league, there were high expectations for Gay to be one of the next great talents in the NBA, and he hasn't quite lived up to those expectations which is why he's underappreciated in the NBA.
If Gay can manage to stay healthy until the All-Star break and bump his production up to the 20-plus points and seven-plus rebound level, and the Grizzlies can get above .500, he might be able to manage his first All-Star appearance on his way to becoming more appreciated in the NBA.
2011-12 Averages: 14.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game
DeMar DeRozan hasn't necessarily lived up to the hype built around him since entering the NBA in 2009 out of USC, but aside from his rookie season, he's done a solid job on an extremely below-average team over the last two years.
DeRozan has averaged a total of 16.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.0 steal per game over the span of the last two years, which is pretty impressive regarding the talent that has been on the Raptors' roster around him.
DeRozan won't get the respect he deserves until he becomes more of a complete player in the NBA by bolstering his assist and rebound production or until he's able to find his way onto an established team that can fit him into a pure shooting guard role.
All DeRozan is known for right now is his ability to jump out of the gym and compete in NBA dunk contests. Until he proves he can do more than that, he won't get the respect that he deserves, but there's no doubting that DeRozan is one of the most exciting young talents in the NBA who will create a lot of interest in teams over the next few years.
2011-12 Averages: 18.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game
Al Jefferson has been a big bright spot on a Utah Jazz roster that's seriously lacking any top-tier NBA talent. His production this year so far of 18.8 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game is among the best production when it comes to centers in the NBA this year.
In addition to Jefferson's production this year, he has also earned himself the 23rd-best PER rating, with a solid 22.27 rating which ranks above other potential NBA All-Star centers like Andrew Bynum, Roy Hibbert and Marc Gasol.
Like a majority of other players on this list, one of the main reasons why Jefferson is under appreciated is because throughout his career, he has been on teams that haven't been able to win, like the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Boston Celtics (pre Ray Allen and Garnett days).
There's not much else Al Jefferson can do to start earning the appreciation and respect than find his way onto a team that can get him into the playoffs and into the limelight of the NBA.
I highly doubt that will happen this year with the Utah Jazz, but who knows, crazier things have happened.
2011-12 Averages: 8.1 points and 10.2 rebounds per game
Udonis Haslem has been with the Miami Heat for the entirety of his now nine-year career, which includes an NBA championship and a few deep runs into the Eastern Conference playoffs.
In that nine-year career, Udonis Haslem has been a constant source of defensive pressure and near double-digit production in both points and rebounds both off the bench and in the staring lineup.
Udonis Haslem has never received any kind of accolade or honor in his nine years in the NBA, and he most likely never will, but if you ask any Miami Heat player which player on their roster is the most valuable in the locker room, you'll undoubtedly hear the name Udonis Haslem come up more than once.
Udonis Haslem is a gritty defender, a tenacious rebounder and one of the best free-throw shooters on the entire Heat roster, with a career free-throw percentage of 76.5 percent, which is pretty impressive for a 6'8'' power forward.
Haslem might never earn the respect that he deserves, which just adds more to his case of being one of the most underappreciated players in the NBA.
2011-12 Averages: 12.3 points, 10.1 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game
JaVale McGee is having the most impressive year of his career, with season averages of 12.3 points, 10.1 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game.
The main reason why McGee doesn't get much respect is that he plays on the abysmal 1-11 Washington Wizards, who are one of the youngest and most inexperienced teams in the NBA.
While McGee hasn't necessarily helped himself out by failing to add any resemblance of a polished post game to his offense skill set, but the Wizards haven't utilized him in their offense outside of lob passes and the transition game, which holds him back. McGee, because of his seven-foot frame is an absolute monster on the glass and in the paint on defense, altering almost every shot that comes from inside the paint.
If he can find his way onto a team that knows how to develop young raw talent when his contract runs out with the Wizards at the end of the 2012-13 season, and he continues to polish his offensive ability in the post, he might be able to become a more complete player on his way to becoming one of the best centers in the NBA.
2011-12 Averages: 14.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.2 steals per game
What if I told you there was an NBA player who's never made an All-Star roster that has averaged 15.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.8 steals for his career without legitimate talent around him, and he's led his team to the playoffs in four out of his seven years in the NBA?
I'd say his production is a little low but still he deserves more respect than he's actually received over the span of the past seven years.
That player is 76ers shooting guard Andre Iguodala, and he's undoubtedly been one of the most underappreciated players in the past few years in the NBA. All Iguodala has done this year is help the 76ers to the best start in recent memory with a 9-3 overall record, which is the second-best overall record in the entire Eastern Conference.
I highly doubt Iguodala will make his first, much-deserved, All-Star appearance this year, but if he can continue leading the 76ers to a top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, he will be well on his way to earning some much-needed respect in the ranks of the NBA.
2011-12 Averages: 25.0 points, 14.6 rebounds per game
Kevin Love is without a doubt one of the most underappreciated players in the NBA, and it's mainly because he's spent his entire now four-year career in Minnesota, a franchise that just can't seem to get it's act together.
In addition to earning the most-improved player award last year, Love earned his first of many expected All-Star appearances but still it doesn't seem like Love still get's the respect he deserves.
NBA fans love to hate on Kevin Love, whether it's for being a boring player, being too fundamental or not being able to help his team win games, but there's no doubt that he's a player that every team would love to get their hands on at the end of the 2012-13 season if the Timberwolves fail to sign him to a long-term contract.
There's no doubt that Love will always have haters, just because of the way he plays the game, but if he can continue to produce at a double-double average year in and year out, there's no way that he won't earn the respect that he deserves from around the NBA and fans alike.
Career averages of 15.6 points and 11.9 rebounds per game aren't bad averages for a 23-year-old budding NBA superstar.