The Most Overrated Player on Every NBA Team This Season
The NBA is filled with All-Stars, superstars and players who are labeled as superstars. Every team in the league has at least one player that is recognized by the typical basketball fan. That player may not be a superstar-caliber player, but he is the face of the franchise.
However, some players are just not as good as the community makes them out to be. Whether they're having a subpar season by their standards, or they just don't do enough on the court as they are advertised.
This slideshow will examine the most overrated player on every NBA team. Bear in mind that the term "overrated" is subjective, and not everyone may have the same opinion, so I will try to create this list from the perspective of the common fan.
Don't get this wrong, as Smith is still one of the most versatile two-way forwards in the league and stuffs the stat sheet on a nightly basis.
However, he also believes his contributions on the court makes him max-contract player (via Jeff Schultz of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution), which he probably doesn't deserve to be.
Smith is a great defender, but an inefficient offensive player. His true shooting percentage hasn't even been above 50 percent for the past two seasons (per Basketball Reference), and most of it has to do with shot selection.
He jacks up nearly three treys a game, but is only hitting them at a 33 percent clip. On top of that, his free-throw percentage has plummeted to 49.6 percent this season, which is downright terrible.
The numbers don't say everything when it comes to Rondo.
He's unquestionably one of the best pure point guards in the business. He was leading the league in assists by an exceptional margin before he went down with his season-ending ACL injury.
However, his play on the court hasn't translated to team success for his Boston Celtics since the start of the season. His team was only 20-23 in the midst of a six-game losing streak when Rondo was sidelined, and on the outside of the playoff race.
Now with Rondo gone, the Celtics have won 15 of their last 21 games and now basically stapled themselves in the playoff picture.
Does this mean that the Celtics are better without Rondo? Not at all. But it does mean that they are playing better without their superstar point guard.
Is Deron Williams still an elite point guard?
That has probably been going through people's minds for most of the 2012-13 campaign so far.
He's been stepping up his game recently, but he hasn't been a major part of the Brooklyn Nets' success. He's putting up a respectable 18.0 PPG and 7.6 APG, but he has been very inefficient.
Williams' PER is the lowest since his sophomore season, and he was one of the reasons (if not the reason) why Avery Johnson lost his coaching gig. His style of play didn't fit Johnson's game plan, but he just couldn't adjust to make it work.
Everything is fine right now for him and his team, but his play this season doesn't translate to the superstar-caliber player that he is.
Mullens may not be overrated by anybody outside of the Charlotte Bobcats organization, but he definitely doesn't deserve the number of minutes that he's recording this year.
He's averaging the third-most minutes per game out of any other Bobcat with 28.5 per contest, but his play has been rather unconvincing.
For a 7'0", 280-pound center, Mullens is averaging 11.4 PPG and 6.9 RPG on a pathetic 38.5 percent field-goal percentage. Furthermore, he's recording a measly 12.4 PER, which is the 10th highest on his own team (per Basketball Reference).
Mullens is still young, and his potential is still up in the air. But perhaps we have already seen the best of him.
No matter how hard he tries, Boozer will never shed the "overpaid" label off his back. After he signed a bloated five-year, $80 million contract a few years ago, he was expected to give the Chicago Bulls a significant lift toward contention.
However, that hasn't happened yet.
In his first season, he played decently, but it was the emergence of the young Derrick Rose that turned the Bulls into a championship-contending team. In his second season, Boozer didn't show up when the Bulls needed him most, as his team witnessed an early playoff exit.
Now in his third season with the team, Boozer is overshadowed by Joakim Noah's breakout season and is still very inconsistent.
At times, he would play at an All-Star level, but at other times, he would just disappear.
Waiters was the fourth pick of the 2012 NBA draft, and he hasn't disappointed at all.
He's the second leading scorer on a bad Cleveland Cavaliers' squad, but he's been scoring at a high volume throughout most of the season.
Waiters has already been mentioned to be on the brink of stardom, but has he really proved anything yet?
He's the same as most rookie shooting guards who came into the league. He's an incredible athlete, but also an inconsistent shooter who can shoot his team out of a game.
It's too early to make a judgment on Waiters, but he's nowhere near the level of an All-Star yet.
This obviously wouldn't be the case a few years ago, but Nowitzki just isn't himself anymore.
His numbers have dropped across the board, and it looks like he is entering the twilight years of his career, where he's expected to slowly drop off until his retirement.
If he can't lead his team to the playoffs now, how can he do it when he's a year older?
Granted, Nowitzki's playstyle should age gracefully, but he's obviously not the franchise player that the Mavericks could build their future around.
There was much hype surrounding the arrival of Iguodala to an already-great Denver Nuggets team. It was questioned whether or not he could elevate the Nuggets into true contenders, and his team has been playing remarkably as of late.
However, Iguodala himself hasn't been the reason why the Nuggets are streaking.
Known as a defensive specialist, the Nuggets are registering a mediocre defensive rating of 105 when Iguodala is on the floor. On top of that, Iguodala is holding opposing shooting guards to a respectable PER of 15.5 (per 82games.com).
As a point of reference, he held opposing small forwards to a dismal PER of 8.7 last season with the Philadelphia 76ers. He may have dropped off a bit, but it hasn't been that evident because his team has been playing so well.
Stuckey has been having a mediocre season, to say the least. He's not regarded as a borderline star or a future building block for the Detroit Pistons anymore, but he probably should never have been.
Throughout his whole career, Stuckey has just been a combo guard who scores inefficiently and doesn't possess the court vision to run an offense.
This season, he's shooting a terrible 26 percent from beyond the three-point line, but he's averaging a career high in three-point shot attempts with 2.3 per game.
On top of that, his per-36 minute points and assists numbers are the lowest of his career, as well as his field-goal percentage. The Pistons would probably love to part ways with him, but his $25 million contract is hard to move.
Golden State Warriors
The photo says it all.
Bogut's acquisition last season was supposed to be a stepping stone to getting the Golden State Warriors back on track and into the playoff mix.
Half of the prophecy has come true, though. The Warriors have stapled themselves in the playoff race, but it had nothing to do with Bogut.
He has suited up for only 18 games this season and registers just 24 minutes per game.
Make no mistake, his contributions on the court are definitely game changing when he's healthy. But he just hasn't been able to stay healthy, and the Warriors don't need him anymore—if they ever did.
This selection would probably be more accurate if the list was created near the beginning of the season, but oh well.
Lin has probably already gotten past the "overrated" label, since nobody expects him to live up to his hype anymore. But anyone who nearly snatches the starting guard spot in the All-Star game while playing average basketball for most of the season deserves to be on this list.
He isn't the player we expected him to be when he came to the Houston Rockets. His play could've merely been a product of an offensive system that suited him.
With that being said, there is still room for Lin to improve. He's only 24 years old, and this is his first full NBA season. He may not become a superstar, but he could definitely become a borderline All-Star in the future.
They don't need him.
That's what I'm trying to say. He's only played five games for the Indiana Pacers this season, and put up unconvincing numbers in four of the games.
Obviously, it's difficult to come back from a major knee injury and expect to be the same player, but Granger will not elevate the Pacers to contender status anymore.
He seems to have re-aggravated his knee as well, so it's unlikely that his next comeback will be anymore polarizing than his first attempt.
Even without Granger for most of the season, the Pacers still held on to the top two or three seed in the Eastern Conference and posed the biggest threat to the defending-champion Miami Heat.
Los Angeles Clippers
Bledsoe is a great young player with star potential and incredible athleticism, but that's all he is right now.
It's amazing that he was one of the most sought-after players before this year's trade deadline, and even more shocking that the Los Angeles Clippers didn't try to give him up.
He is already a great perimeter defender, but his offensive skills still aren't there yet. He's not a great passer, aside from the occasional alley-oop pass to Blake Griffin or DeAndre Jordan, and his shooting touch from outside is still spotty.
Bledsoe makes an incredible highlight-reel play once every game, but he hasn't shown that he could take over primary point guard duties for an extended period of time.
The Clippers want to keep him, but is there any reason to when they already have the best point guard in the NBA—Chris Paul?
Los Angeles Lakers
Howard has been on a roll and is a major contributor to the Los Angeles Lakers' recent success, but it hasn't been that way for most of the season.
Whether he was still struggling with injuries or not, he hasn't lived up to his hype since coming to Los Angeles. It was championship or bust for this super team, and it's looking more like a bust.
For the season, he's putting up a solid stat line of 16.4 PPG, 12.4 RPG and 2.4 BPG, but he hasn't been the game-changing presence that he was during his days with the Orlando Magic.
He's still the best center in the league with healthy, but the fact that the Lakers struggled all season to sniff the playoffs is alarming, especially with Howard in the lineup.
Allen has been in the league for one reason alone, and that's his defense.
However, his defense hasn't been covering up for his poor offensive skills this season. According to 82games.com, he's registering a net rating of just plus-0.5 this season, compared to his plus-6.2 last season.
Perhaps his age is finally starting to catch up to him. Allen turned 31 a few months ago, and he will only get slower from here on out, until his feet won't be able to keep up with his mind.
I know Allen has provided steady offensive production off of the Miami Heat bench this season, but he can't do much besides that.
He was never a great individual defender, especially not at the age of 37 right now. When he's on the floor, he contributes to an offensive rating of 114, but also a defensive rating of 107. He's improving the Heat offense just as much as he's hurting the defense.
There aren't any doubts about whether or not he can still play.
He can, but can he win the Sixth Man of the Year award? Of course not. He's simply another three-point shooting role player on a team filled with them.
I wanted to put Monta Ellis here, but he's been on an absolute tear lately. Besides, we all know what kind of player Ellis is—a combo guard who can explode at any moment.
However, Jennings hasn't shown significant improvement since last season. His true shooting percentage has actually dipped, and his assist percentage is similar to his past three seasons in the league.
He's an undersized scoring point guard who cannot score efficiently enough, kind of like a poor man's Allen Iverson. Unlike Ellis, Jennings is smaller and cannot handle defensive duties at the 2.
Furthermore, he's not very effective if he doesn't have the ball in his hands. In the last three games, Jennings only averaged 9.3 points on 8.7 shot attempts because he took a backseat to Ellis.
It's no surprise that the Milwaukee Bucks didn't offer him a contract extension last offseason, because they are still unsure of Jennings being their franchise player.
The young Rubio is a rarity in this league. There aren't many point guards anymore with the pass-first mentality that he wields, but there's probably a reason for that.
In the past decade, the only point guard who won a championship and can be considered the best player on his own team is Chauncey Billups of the 2003-04 Detroit Pistons.
Rubio worked his way back from injury and has put together a string of good games, but he hasn't proved that he could carry a team further.
He might develop into a great point guard in the future in the mold of a Jason Kidd or Rajon Rondo, but he is more hype than anything else right now.
His shooting is still shaky and he's averaging nearly four turnovers per-36 minutes. If Rubio could improve in these areas of his game, he will definitely be on his way to stardom.
New Orleans Hornets
Gordon is one of the best shooting guards in the league when healthy, but that's been hard to say when he has only played a combined 36 games for the past two seasons.
Even when he was healthy for parts of the season, he hasn't lived up to his maximum contract that the New Orleans Hornets matched in the offseason.
In 27 games this season, Gordon has put up averages of 16.9 PPG and 3.2 APG on a career-low 40 percent shooting from the field.
The injury-prone Gordon may not ever live up to his potential, and he could be one player in a long line of superstar-caliber athletes who will decline after a contract year.
New York Knicks
Make no mistake, Smith is having one of his best seasons in his career, but he has been largely the same player he was five years ago.
At times when Carmelo Anthony isn't on the floor, Smith jacks up more shot attempts than anybody else on the Knicks team. Sure, he may have the green light to shoot when Anthony is on the sideline, but he's still just a high-volume scorer.
The New York Knicks rely on Smith to spark their offense off the bench, but that's mainly because nobody else on the team has his shot-creating ability.
When Stoudemire returned, Smith's touches instantly dropped because Stoudemire is a much more efficient scorer.
His numbers are inflated because there is no other player on the team besides Anthony who could create their own shot, and Smith is relied on way too much.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Ibaka is slowly becoming a more complete player, but does he really deserve to be mentioned as an All-Star-worthy power forward?
He may have the potential to become one of the best power forwards in the league, but he's not even close to there yet.
He's simply a good role player on a very good Oklahoma City Thunder team, which coincidentally features two of the top-10 players in the entire league.
Ibaka can block shots, dunk and hit a mid-range jumper. That's about it. His post game is improving, along with his face-up ability, but he still isn't an elite power forward.
For lack of any other player to choose from on the Orlando Magic, Turkoglu's second stint with the team hasn't been very promising.
This season, he has only seen action in 11 games because of a broken hand. In those 11 games, he averaged 2.9 points on 26 percent shooting from the field before getting himself suspended for violating the NBA's drug policy.
Obviously, he's having one of his more forgettable seasons, but he's past his prime and isn't the player he was during his first stint with the Magic.
Young's primary job is to score the basketball, and he's been doing it for his whole career.
He's a major cog to the Philadelphia 76ers' offensive attack, but that's about it. His usage rate is over 21 percent when he's on the floor, but his scoring efficiency is rather low.
Young is still a huge contributor for the 76ers, whether he's in the starting lineup or coming off the bench, but he's still in the mold of a J.R. Smith-like contributor. The only thing he does is score, but he hasn't been doing it as effectively as when he was with the Washington Wizards.
The Phoenix Suns decided to give Beasley another chance to live up to his lottery-pick potential, but it just hasn't worked out for him this year.
He has all the tools necessary to become a great player, but his mind is just holding him back. He's on his third team in five seasons and hasn't developed into the type of player that he could be.
In his first year with the Suns, Beasley is averaging the lowest points per game and field-goal percentage of his career.
He may not ever get it together in the NBA, and it just proves that exceptional college athletes may not always translate well into the big leagues.
Portland Trail Blazers
Don't get me wrong, as Hickson is having one of his best seasons in his young career.
He's averaging a solid double-double, while playing less than 30 minutes per game.
However, his game is very limited. He primarily scores most of his points around the rim or from offensive rebounds. He's lucky that he's in the perfect situation for him, since LaMarcus Aldridge is a floor-spacing big men who complements Hickson very well.
Hickson is simply a scrappy, undersized center who gets by through sheer work ethic. He may deserve a bigger contract in the summer, but the Portland Trail Blazers shouldn't try to overpay him to keep him around.
The Sacramento Kings basically gave their full dedication toward Thompson when they inked him to a five-year, $34 million deal last summer, even though they selected Thomas Robinson in the first round of the draft.
Thompson is a solid power forward, but we already know what type of player he is. He's only 26 years old but his ceiling is already known. It's unlikely that he will improve much further, or live up to his contract. The Kings probably realized they made a mistake by inking him that hefty contract, but that shouldn't really be a surprise anymore.
He's decent at his position, but he will never be a starting-caliber power forward for any contending team.
San Antonio Spurs
Leonard is a solid role player for the San Antonio Spurs and does everything the team needs him to do. He can score (11.3 PPG), rebound (5.4 RPG) and defend at a high level, but he shouldn't recognized as anything more than that.
He certainly has the potential to blossom into a superstar, but he's nowhere close to that right now. He plays the second-most minutes out of any other player on the team, but his role is still unclear.
Leonard is a decent shooter and good defender with great size. However, he doesn't do anything extremely well on offense. Gregg Popovich has mentioned that Leonard will be the future face of the franchise, but it's still way too early to predict something like that.
The Rudy Gay trade was probably the biggest trade this season, in terms of impact for all parties involved.
The Memphis Grizzlies remained solid, but the Toronto Raptors received a major boost by acquiring Gay.
However, Gay isn't the franchise player who could turn around the Raptors' fortunes. Yes, he is a great building block for the future, considering he's only 26 years old. But he cannot single-handedly lift the Raptors out of mediocrity.
There's no question that the Raptors improved by acquiring Gay, but they will need much more to have a chance to compete for a playoff berth.
It's hard to label one of the best offensive centers in the league as overrated, especially since Jefferson never even made the All-Star team.
But he doesn't do much of anything other than score the ball into the basket. He has a variety of pivot moves and spins on offense, but he isn't adept at doing anything else when the ball isn't in his hands. He has never been a good defender, and isn't effective without the ball.
His team is also quickly slipping out of the playoff race, as the resurgent Lakers are finally starting to get it all together.
Since Jefferson will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, he will most likely receive a hefty contract that he probably doesn't deserve.
I know Wall should be given some slack, considering he recovered from a major stress injury earlier in the season. But he's three seasons into his pro career, and he's still the same player he was when he entered the league.
His jump shot looks to be improving, but it hasn't actually improved in games. The new breed of point guards entering the league, which includes Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard, come with the full package of skills.
They must be able to pass and shoot.
Wall is an incredible athlete, and his athleticism alone could help him get to the basket and make plays for his teammates. But his limited shooting range is the reason why he can't break into the next level of elite point guards.