Perhaps one of the most underappreciated players of all time.
If I were a basketball coach, I'd feel relieved and probably wouldn't care the slightest if my team made this list.
Do you think Gregg Popovich cares what Skip Bayless or any national pundit has to say about his team?
Great teams don't care about what hits the tabloids or what's trending on Twitter. They go out and they win games, repeatedly, until there isn't any left to win.
With that being said, there's a morsel of human ego that lends itself to every player and every team. I'm sure a little part of the San Francisco Giants wasn't happy when ESPN talked about the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox all offseason.
All of these basketball teams share one quality: winning. They're all in the playoffs and all legit contenders to make it to their respective conference finals.
So why haven't they received the name recognition that others have absorbed so heavily in an enthralling NBA regular season? It's simple: They weren't necessarily exciting in their play, lacked a proven "superstar" or didn't play a brand of basketball that was termed "watchable."
Everybody loves a good Dwayne Wade-to-LeBron James dunk-fest, but that isn't plausible with all teams, and these lack the pizzazz and the exposure.
So yes, the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers are very good teams this year, but we've heard way too much about DeAndre Jordan's dunk and J.R. Smith's Sixth Man of the Year candidacy to include them on this list.
These are the five most underappreciated and underrated teams in the NBA.
Josh Smith leads an underrated Hawks squad into another playoff appearance.
The Atlanta Hawks don't win NBA championships. They don't make it to the conference finals. Hell, it's a pretty strong year if they make it to the second round.
But the thing that they keep doing is winning and making the playoffs. The Hawks, led by Al Horford and Josh Smith, have made the playoffs the last five seasons, and this will be their sixth straight.
That's no small feat, especially for a small-market team such as theirs. They don't necessarily attract big free agents and have had to overpay for players like Joe Johnson. They'll also likely lose Josh Smith this offseason.
Through all of that, there's been more talk about teams like the Boston Celtics and even the Philadelphia Sixers.
They also don't get enough credit for growing their own players like Smith, Horford and now Jeff Teague. They have identified talent and put that to use in their system.
The Hawks are currently ranked sixth in the league in three-point percentage, at 37.5 percent per game.
They probably won't make the conference finals, but they haven't gotten enough credit in the the last decade for their success. Look at the New York Knicks: a couple first-round exits and nonstop coverage.
Imagine the coverage if we switched the two fanbases.
Don't be surprised if they upset the Brooklyn Nets or whomever they play in the first round. It's too bad not many people will give them the credit for doing so.
Hibbert is key if the Pacers want to upset the Heat.
The Indiana Pacers nearly upset the Miami Heat on their way to their first conference finals appearance since Mark Jackson and Reggie Miller led the team under Larry Bird.
Then LeBron James happened.
Regardless of his superhuman acts, the Pacers may pose the likeliest threat to the Heat this year because of their defense. The Eastern Conference's version of the Memphis Grizzlies, the length of the Pacers has led them to best defense in the NBA, according to Hoopdata.
Another underrated aspect of the team is Frank Vogel's coaching. Paul George's ascension into a bona fide franchise player has gotten a little recognition with the All-Star selection, but there aren't many coaches who have done what Vogel has.
He has turned players like Lance Stephenson and Tyler Hansbrough into above-average players and overall nuisances on the defensive side of the ball.
The in-season averages of Roy Hibbert have almost gone up because of Vogel's trust in his play. While he doesn't have many offensive options on the floor, he could have cut Hibbert's minutes down when he was shooting sub-40 percent from the field in January.
Hibbert is now shooting 44.8 percent from the field (over 57 percent in April) and remains the defensive stopper in the frontcourt.
While the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks get the publicity as Eastern Conference teams with upset qualities, the Indiana Pacers remain the Heat's toughest test.
But we won't hear of them until they get it done.
Iguodala leads a group of athletic freaks into another playoff appearance.
The Denver Nuggets, despite their magnificent record and play, have had some bad luck when it comes to notoriety among the NBA.
When they were in the midst of a 15-game winning streak, the rest of the league was focusing on the Miami Heat's legendary 27-game winning streak.
In a league that treasures and glamorizes the superstar aspect of a basketball team, the Nuggets own none, instead employing a battalion of athletic wings and guards who outrun and outshoot opponents night in and night out.
How about Ty Lawson's speed and wizardry with the ball, Andre Iguodala's suffocating defense, Andre Miller's masterful passing and Kenneth Faried's frenetic energy? None matter as much as the storyline of a James Harden or Kobe Bryant.
Even with Danilo Gallinari's season-ending ACL injury, the Nuggets should get past the first round and do own the requisite athletes to match up against the West's best. However, many people are already writing them off because of their "unsustainable up-tempo system" and poor road record.
So despite a winning record, fun system and great coaching, the Denver Nuggets won't get enough credit for another great regular season (third seed).
Maybe Carmelo Anthony has been doing better in the past few years out there on the East Coast?
Marc Gasol is the best center in the league.
Marc Gasol is the best center nobody knows. Nay, he is the best center in the NBA.
Not only can he shoot (49.5 percent), pass (four assists per game) and defend (1.7 blocks), but he's the leader of the the Memphis Grizzlies offense and defense.
Since the Grizzlies traded Rudy Gay, Gasol has upped his usage rate from 18.5 percent to 21.7 percent while bringing up his PIE (player impact estimate, which measures statistical player contribution to the games he plays in) from 13.9 to 15.3, according to NBA.com's stats database.
So he has played even better when having the ball in his hands and shouldering most of the responsibility.
But enough about Gasol, the Grizzlies don't get enough credit in the league because they play a bland style of basketball, mirroring the Indiana Pacers. With a starting lineup of Tony Allen, Tayshaun Prince and Mike Conley, the Grizzlies won't impress on offense.
However, they impose their will on defense in a way that mirrors the Nuggets' ability to make other teams play faster.
This is why they named themselves "Grit 'n' Grind" and not "Showtime." Defense is considered boring in the NBA, and they won't get the credit they deserve. Does that make them any less of a contender in the West?
Go watch Gasol's hook shot.
Perhaps the most underrated point guard in the NBA.
It's fitting the team with the greatest power forward of all time owns the title of the most underappreciated team in today's NBA.
Because they haven't won the championship since 2006-07 despite making the playoffs and winning 50-plus games for the past 13 years, fans have become spoiled by their excellence.
Winning gets boring, apparently.
As a Golden State Warriors fan, I'll never know the experience.
It wasn't so long ago that the Spurs had the No. 1 seed, lost to an upstart Memphis squad and then lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder the year after, despite going up 2-0 in the series.
People seem to forget that Manu Ginobili was hobbled in that Memphis series and that the Spurs lost several close games to Kevin Durant's Thunder before being finally overwhelmed.
This team is aging but in no way is it declining. As a matter of fact, Tim Duncan has had one of his better seasons at the young age of 36. He's posted his highest PER in three years and second-highest since 2006-07.
Although PER tends to help the people with the ball more, Duncan is still a savvy defensive player. With Manu hopefully on the mend and Tony Parker just coming back from injury, the Spurs are poised to make another run at a championship.
Tiago Splitter, Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard form an elite group of role players.
However, there is one question that encapsulates the doubt and exemplifies the lack of credit for the Spurs: Would anyone be relatively surprised if the San Antonio Spurs lost to the Houston Rockets in the first round?
The notion that the Spurs are only a great regular-season team has allowed them to slip under the radar. We'll find out if they get back on it this postseason. Here's saying the greatest power forward of all time will have something to do with it.