5. Kyle Korver, Atlanta Hawks
Through 10 NBA seasons, Kyle Korver has made his way up to 29th in career threes made with 1,323. If he continues at the pace he's on, he should reach 2,000 in about five years. Currently, only Ray Allen and Reggie Miller are in that club. And Korver's three-point percentage is comfortably better than both.
His career mark of 41.9 is 12th all time and the 53.6 percent he shot from that range in 2009-10 is the highest mark for a single season in NBA history.
So while Korver's current compensation with the Hawks might show he's not underrated at all, ignoring the historical context of his shooting suggests he is.
4. Harrison Barnes, Golden State Warriors
It was just a few short years ago that Harrison Barnes was considered one of the top prospects in the country. Three solid but not spectacular seasons (two with North Carolina and one with Golden State) have tempered the hype.
But the 2013 playoffs gave us another glimpse at the raw talent Barnes possesses. As a small-ball 4, he averaged 16.1 points and 6.4 rebounds in 38.4 minutes a game (up from the 25.4 he averaged during the regular season).
Whether he starts opposite Andre Iguodala on the wing or comes off the bench as a sixth man, Barnes could emerge as one of the best combo forwards in the NBA this season.
3. Omri Casspi, Houston Rockets
Omri Casspi's production has declined in each of his first four seasons in the NBA. And I'm talking about everything—minutes, points, rebounds, assists, you name it.
But like a lot of the players on this slideshow, it looks like Casspi's numbers dipped because of where he played, not for lack of skill.
It looks like he may have found the right situation in Houston. In six preseason games, Casspi has averaged 13.7 points and 5.7 rebounds while shooting 56.4 percent from the field and 41.9 percent from three-point range.
There has been a lot of talk about the Rockets trading Omer Asik for a stretch 4, but the team may already have one in the 6'9" Casspi.
2. Thaddeus Young, Philadelphia 76ers
Though he often plays the 4, I included Thaddeus Young here because he's listed as a small forward on ESPN and has the ability to play either position.
His ability to slash to the rim makes Young a difficult matchup for opposing power forwards and his size does the same thing for him when he lines up as a 3.
Whatever spot he's playing, Young is an efficient scorer and a disruptive defender.
Let's start with the offense. Josh Smith should take a page out of Young's book. During his first three seasons, he averaged over 100 three-point attempt attempts a year and had a player efficiency rating of 15.2. He pretty much cut that shot out starting in 2010-11—as he's taken only 34 threes since the start of that season. His PER over that stretch? 18.4.
Where he's really underrated is on defense. In 2012-13, he finished ninth in the NBA in total steals and according to HoopData.com, 17th in defensive plays (the combination of blocks, steals and charges taken).
1. Wilson Chandler, Denver Nuggets
I may be one of the only people who believes the demise of the Denver Nuggets has been somewhat overstated. Yes, losing Andre Iguodala will hurt, but it won't be as everyone expects if Wilson Chandler gets the minutes he deserves.
Just look how the two stacked up last season on a per-36 minute basis.
|Per 36 Minutes
All the mourning over the loss of Iguodala's defense might be overblown too. In 2012-13, Chandler's defensive rating (an estimate of the number of points allowed per 100 possessions) of 105 was the exact same as Iguodala's.
In a bigger role, Chandler should thrive.