NBA Free Agency 2012: 10 Most Overrated Players Set to Hit the Market

Dan FavaleFeatured ColumnistApril 11, 2012

NBA Free Agency 2012: 10 Most Overrated Players Set to Hit the Market

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    The 2012 NBA free-agency class is laden with gems but it is also comprised of a number of overrated prospects as well.

    These are not necessarily athletes that should be avoided at all costs, but rather players who are held in higher regard than they should be.

    As teams pillage through the list of available names in search of a game-changing acquisition, they run the risk of expressing interest in a player who simply won't meet expectations. 

    And given that Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook are all officially off the market, the former is liable to become an epidemic.

Aaron Brooks, PG Phoenix Suns

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    Age: 27

    2011-12 Salary: $2.0 million

    Free-Agency Status: restricted free agent

    2010-11 Per-Game Stats: 10.7 points, 3.9 assists, 1.3 rebounds, 0.0 blocks, 0.5 steals, 1.8 turnovers, 43 percent shooting

    Limitless potential has been bestowed upon Aaron Brooks his entire career, and that is unlikely change despite him not seeing NBA action this season.

    However, while Brooks is extremely agile and a solid jump shooter, his playmaking and leadership abilities are below average. He is a shooting guard trapped in the body of point guard and has now missed the opportunity to be groomed by the near-perfect Steve Nash.

    Moving forward, Brooks is best suited coming off the bench for a team that needs him solely for his scoring, because he simply doesn't have the attributes necessary to develop into a starting floor general. 

DeShawn Stevenson, SG New Jersey Nets

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    Age: 31

    2011-12 Salary: $2.5 million

    Free-Agency Status: unrestricted free agent

    2011-12 Per-Game Stats: 2.9 points, 0.8 assists, 2.0 rebounds, 0.1 blocks, 0.4 steals, 0.3 turnovers, 28.7 percent shooting

    DeShawn Stevenson has established himself as one of the premier perimeter defenders in the NBA.

    That said, the same athleticism that fueled his claim to defensive fame is wavering, and subsequently, so has his potential to make a positive impact.

    Stevenson's legs have over a decade's worth of miles on them, and his ability to make sharp and abrupt movements in various directions is becoming less prominent by the possession.

    Combine that with the shooting guard's ineptitude in terms of both shooting and decision-making on the offensive end, and you have a recipe for disappointment, not a championship-caliber defender. 

J.J. Hickson, PF Portland Trail Blazers

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    Age: 23

    2011-12 Salary: $2.4 million

    Free-Agency Status: restricted free agent

    2011-12 Per-Game Stats: 6.8 points, 0.7 assists, 5.4 rebounds, 0.6 blocks, 0.5 steals, 1.2 turnovers, 44.6 percent shooting

    At one time, J.J. Hickson was the player who could have landed Amar'e Stoudemire in Cleveland, but luckily for the Suns, they passed on the opportunity.

    The 6'9" Hickson is in great shape and extremely athletic, but outside of easy dunks, his offensive game is underwhelming. His defense is also lackluster, as he often allows himself to get overpowered in the paint as well.

    Is the power forward a lost cause?

    No. At only 23, there is still time for Hickson to live up to his potential, but only if the ceiling on that potential is lowered.

Shannon Brown, SG Phoenix Suns

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    Age: 26

    2011-12 Salary: $3.5 million

    Free-Agency Status: unrestricted free agent

    2011-12 Per-Game Stats: 10.5 points, 1.1 assists, 2.6 rebounds, 0.2 blocks, 0.6 steals, 1.1 turnovers, 41.8 percent shooting

    Shannon Brown was supposed to come into his own when he stepped outside the shadow of Kobe Bryant to join the Suns.

    However, not much as changed.

    Brown is still noticeably athletic, but his production is that of a role player, one who is no more prominent in Phoenix than he was in Los Angeles.

    While the shooting guard's leaping ability and aggression is invaluable, his ability to parlay those attributes into actual statistics has proven to be average at best.

    Brown is a great complementing piece to any team looking for a reliable player off the bench, but he is unfit for anything more than that. 

Robin Lopez, C Phoenix Suns

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    Age: 24

    2011-12 Salary: $2.8 million

    Free-Agency Status: restricted free agent

    2011-12 Per-Game Stats: 5.2 points, 0.3 assists, 3.2 rebounds, 0.9 blocks, 0.3 steals, 0.7 turnovers, 42.6 percent shooting

    After nearly four years of experience, Robin Lopez is still a discouraging work-in-progress.

    In a center-starved league, Lopez has the size that every team in the market for a big man is looking for, but outside of standing at 7'0", there isn't much upside to Brook Lopez's twin brother.

    Lopez navigates the floor extremely well, but he hasn't exhibited the same offensive awareness that his other half has. He is a liability on defense and not nearly aggressive enough on the boards for someone his size.

    Yes, Lopez towers over others, but at some point, that's no longer enough. 

Jerryd Bayless, PG Toronto Raptors

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    Age: 23

    2011-12 Salary: $3.0 million

    Free-Agency Status: unrestricted free agent

    2011-12 Per-Game Stats: 11.4 points, 3.8 assists, 2.1 rebounds, 0.1 blocks, 0.8 steals, 1.7 turnovers, 42.4 percent shooting

    Injuries aside, Jerryd Bayless, at times, has been phenomenal for the Raptors. 

    That said, his bursts of what appear to be excellence can easily be attributed to playing on a subpar, identity-less Toronto team.

    Bayless knows how to score and create his own shot. Involving and creating for his teammates, though? That's a different story.

    Bayless has a penchant for selfishness and relies too heavily on his jump shot to get him by, which aren't exactly desirable virtues a team looks for in a point man.

    The Raptors may be ready to throw dollars Bayless' way, but must do so at their own risk, as the fourth-year point guard is nowhere near as polished as he would have us believe.

Rudy Fernandez, SG Denver Nuggets

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    Age: 27

    2011-12 Salary: $2.2 million

    Free-Agency Status: restricted free agent

    2011-12 Per-Game Stats: 8.6 points, 2.4 assists, 2.1 rebounds, 0.1 blocks, 1.0 steals, 1.3 turnovers, 44 percent shooting

    When Rudy Fernandez is on, the points pile up, but his tendency to disappear on the offensive end has become all too prevalent over his four-year career.

    Fernandez has been hindered by back issues all season, but his shooting prowess is likely to earn him a slew of suitors this summer.

    That said, what you see with the shooting guard is what you get. There will be nights when he is effective, but he's an expert in inconsistency and far from the star many had him pegged to be.

    And ultimately, familiarity with capriciousness doesn't warrant a significant investment.

Boris Diaw, PF San Antonio Spurs

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    Age: 29

    2011-12 Salary: $9.0 million

    Free-Agency Status: unrestricted free agent

    2011-12 Per-Game Stats: 6.7 points, 3.9 assists, 4.9 rebounds, 0.5 blocks, 0.7 steals, 2.1 turnovers, 42.5 percent shooting

    Boris Diaw can play all five positions, a rare commodity in the NBA.

    That said, the forward's inconsistencies and perpetual lack of effort eclipse the versatility he brings to the table.

    Diaw has battled not only weight, but also commitment issues entire career. And after nearly a decade of ups and downs, the cons are beginning to outweigh the pros.

    A motivated Diaw is a dangerous Diaw, but keeping the perennial underachiever engaged has proven near impossible.

JaVale McGee, C Denver Nuggets

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    Age: 24

    2011-12 Salary: $2.5 million

    Free-Agency Status: restricted free agent

    2011-12 Per-Game Stats: 11.3, 0.6 assists, 8.3 rebounds, 2.4 blocks, 0.6 steals, 1.6 turnovers, 53.6 percent shooting

    Aside from a heightened presence of athleticism, JaVale McGee bears a striking resemblance to Andrew Bynum at this stage of his career.

    With nearly four years of experience under his belt, McGee remains incredibly raw. Like Bynum, he has the physical skills to become a dominant big man, yet he continues to lack the necessary knowledge and understanding of the game.

    It has taken Bynum nearly seven full seasons to hone his skills and develop a sound basketball IQ, and he's still learning. McGee presents the same type of project.

    So, while the center is not a prospect that should be completely avoided, any interested teams must look beyond the 7'5" wingspan and obnoxious athleticism, and understand the type of commitment a work-in-progress like McGee entails, as he still has a long way to go.

Nick Young, SG Los Angeles Clippers

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    Age: 26

    2011-12 Salary: $3.7 million

    Free-Agency Status: unrestricted free agent

    2011-12 Per-Game Stats: 14.9 points, 1.0 assists, 2.3 rebounds, 0.3 blocks, 0.7 steals, 1.4 turnovers, 39.7 percent shooting

    Nick Young can put up points in bunches, but he's liable to do so through voluminous inefficient shooting.

    After nearly five years in the NBA, the shooting guard has failed to establish himself as anything other than an inconsistent scorer.

    Young lacks discipline on the defensive end and, at times, has a superstar-like selfishness about him, sans the execution.

    While his presence helps stretch opposing defenses, Young's limited abilities should ensure that he doesn't receive the monster contract he'll undoubtedly be looking for this summer.