Overrated, by a very crude definition, is when a player receives much more credit than he actually deserves. For whatever reason, this player's reputation rises far above his skills or impact on the court.
Underrated, then, is exactly the opposite. These players shine, seemingly, when nobody else is watching. Their skills far outweigh the relatively little respect they get from fans and analysts alike.
In considering which players on the roster were over and underrated, I took into account a player's player efficiency rating (PER) and their impact on the team's play. If taking the player off the roster and replacing him with an average player would not hinder the team's play, then that player was considered overrated. Again, the opposite is true for underrated players.
Controversial as it may be, it's important to bring to light which players deserve more credit—and which players don't deserve the attention.
The Rockets received a ton of new fans when point guard Jeremy Lin signed with the team prior to last season. The three-year deal he signed was met with much controversy, as the New York Knicks had previously stated that they would match any offer made by an opposing club.
Well, that was before Houston offered him $25 million over three seasons. The Knicks were able to realize that the market was overrating Lin for his strong play down the stretch during the 2011-12 season but, without a larger sample size, it was just too risky to invest all that money.
Lin is a perfect example of what it takes to be an overrated player. Don't get me wrong, he appears to be a stand-up guy and hustles night in and night out, but that doesn't change the fact that he's not really as valuable as some of his strongest supporters believe.
Lin's PER last season was just 14.94. With the league-average PER being set each season to 15.00, that would make Lin a below-average player in the NBA—even if only by a little. Lin definitely went through some growing pains in his first full season as a starting point guard, but even the Rockets should have known that would happen before shelling out that type of cash.
The way he took the NBA world by storm the season prior was great for business, great for the fans and really put the NBA in the limelight. That's the exact hype that leads to being overrated. Players go through great stretches of play all the time—Lin's was just blown out of proportion because of his rise from anonymity.
If Lin was not in Houston, then Patrick Beverley would more-than-likely start in Lin's place. Without getting into who should start and who should sit, it's important to note that Beverley's 2012-13 PER clocked in at 15.42. While not much better than league-average, it was still higher than Lin's.
To use a baseball statistic (in a very, very crude way), let's take a look at WAR (wins above replacement). Again, this is not exactly the way the stat was intended to be used, but I'm modifying it in this situation.
Beverley would be Lin's replacement. The disparity between the two players' PERs is .48. This means that Lin would have a negative-.48 WAR, as he performed that much worse than the player who would be his replacement. See what I'm saying here? Lin is overrated because he could easily be replaced by one of his teammates.
On a team with names like James Harden, Dwight Howard and Lin, Chandler Parsons sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. Harden was the reason the team went through a quicker rebuilding process than expected, and Howard is probably going to be the reason why Houston contends in the Western Conference this season, but not nearly enough credit is thrown Parsons' way.
Parsons progressed well from his rookie season in 2012-13, raising his scoring average six points, his rebounding total by .5 and his assist total by 1.4. He shot 4.8 percent better from three-point territory and even shot 3.4 percent better from the field. For a player drafted 38th overall in the 2011 NBA draft, that's pretty impressive.
This type of growth is what helped Harden and Co. along last season and turned Houston into one of the best up-and-coming teams in the NBA. If Parsons continues to progress, then the Rockets are in great shape. Not only will he give them yet another option offensively, he becomes a star is his own right.
His PER of last season was 15.33—not great, but certainly respectable. It could have been higher had he improved upon his free throw shooting (72.9 percent) and defensive impact (just 1.0 steals per game).
Even still, Parsons is a weapon offensively and should be treated as such. Honestly, who could have replaced him last season had he gotten hurt. Carlos Delfino? Francisco Garcia?
Delfino's PER of 13.39 was nearly two points below average, and Garcia's 11.06 mark is almost laughable. Garcia is a great role player and someone the Rockets will rely upon in limited minutes this season, but it's unrealistic to think he could replace Parsons.
Parsons' back-ups this season, Omri Casspi and Robert Covington, fall into the same category. Casspi put up a 12.94 last season, and Covington hasn't even played in a regular season game. His first NBA action came during the Orlando Summer League.
Parsons is underrated not only because of the numbers he puts up, but because of the impact he has on the Rockets. Even with the big names they've brought aboard the past two offseasons, Houston would not be where it is without their small forward. He's the glue that keeps the team together and is the emergency option offensively when nothing else is going right. He deserves much more credit.
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