A Little Bit of Everything: The Top 10 Underrated Forwards
Recently, I wrote a slideshow that can be found here in regards to the most underrated big men in basketball history. Now, I'm going to go over the top 10 underrated forwards in basketball history.
There are recognizable forwards such as the extremely athletic Dominique Wilkins, there's Larry Bird, Julius Erving, Elgin Baylor, and James Worthy. Those are the small forwards.
The power forwards include Tim Duncan, Charles Barkley, Bob Pettit, Kevin Garnett, and Karl Malone.
So, lots of talented forwards. Now who are the most underrated forwards in NBA history?
10. Scottie Pippen
One of the greatest defensive players in NBA history, Scottie Pippen is often overlooked because he was the sidekick to the greatest player in NBA history in Michael Jordan.
Yet, what made the Bulls so great was Pippen's ability to defend, pass, score, and drive the ball to the hoop.
Later on in his career, he bounced around a little bit, playing a season in Houston, four seasons in Portland, and one last hurrah in Chicago.
He's an example of a player who stayed a little bit too long in the league, which is why his numbers aren't as impressive as they seem to be.
For his career, he scored 18,940 points, to go along with 7,494 rebounds, 6,135 assists, and 2,307 steals.
Pippen averaged 16.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 2 steals, on 47.3 percent shooting, 32.6 percent from three, and 70.4 percent from the free throw line.
The best season for Pippen came in 1993-1994 when he averaged 22 points, 8.7 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 2.9 steals, on 49.1 percent shooting, 32 percent from three, and 66 percent from the free throw line.
Pippen participated in seven all-star games, he was an eight time First Team All-Defense selection, three time First Team All-NBA selection, two time Second Team All-Defense selection, two time All-NBA Second Team selection, and a Third Team All-NBA selection.
With the Bulls, Pippen was on six championship teams, ranks sixth all-time in steals, 15th in steals per game, 21st in minutes played, and 26th in assists.
9. A.C. Green
A.C. Green is by far one of the greatest role players in NBA history. He doesn't get enough credit for what he did throughout his career.
He wasn't going to blow anyone away scoring the basketball, but he rebounded, played defense, and was equally effective starting or coming off the bench.
He also set the record for most consecutive games played with 1192 straight and that only ended because he decided to retire.
Green played 16 seasons in the league scored 12,331 points, grabbed 9473 rebounds, dished out 1400 assists, and had 1033 steals.
Overall he averaged 9.6 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists, .8 steals, on 49.4 percent shooting, and 73.4 percent from the free throw line.
His best season came in 1993-1994 when he averaged 14.7 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists, .9 steals, on 50.2 percent shooting, and 73.4 percent from the free throw line.
There was one all-star game he participated in, he was named Second Team All-Defensive once, was apart of three NBA Championship teams, ranks 17th in games played, and 44th in total rebounds.
8. Charles Oakley
Charles Oakley is another guy who doesn't get as much recognition as he should. He was as physical as they came towards the end of his career, but before that he was a capable scorer and superb rebounder.
Like many on the list, he played a little too long and became more of a role player later on in his career.
He played a total of 19 seasons. In his career he scored 12,417 points, grabbed 12,205 rebounds, dished out 3217 assists, and had 1351 steals.
His career averages were 9.7 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.1 steals, on 47.1 percent shooting, and 76.1 percent from the free throw line.
The best season of his career came in 1986-1987 when he averaged 14.5 points, 13.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists, a steal, on 44.5 percent shooting, and 68.6 percent from the free throw line.
Was selected to one All-Star game, made All-Rookie First Team, had one First Team All-Defense selection, one Second Team All-Defense selection, ranks 16th all-time in games played, 20th all-time in total rebounds, and 25th in minutes played.
7. Shareef Abdur-Rahim
Shareef Abdur-Rahim was one of the more underrated players in the NBA.
Another reason why he isn't talked about much is because he played for the Vancouver Grizzlies a franchise that didn't do too well and was eventually moved to Memphis.
Abdur-Rahim was the only bright spot for the Grizzlies, but as his career went on he bounced around a few times to a couple of different teams.
In his career, he scored 15,028 points, grabbed 6239 rebounds, dished out 2109 assists, had 820 steals, and 638 blocks.
He averaged 18.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, a steal, and .8 blocks in his 12 year career in the NBA.
His best season came in 1999-2000 when he averaged 20.3 points, 10.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.1 steals, 1.1 blocks, on 46.5 percent shooting, and 80.9 percent from the free throw line.
He had one All-Star game selection and an All-Rookie First Team selection.
6: Paul Arizin
Paul Arizin was an excellent scorer and rebounder in his day and he was one of the more efficient scorers in his era.
For his career, he scored 16,266 points, grabbed 6129 rebounds, had 1665 assists, on 42.1 percent shooting, and 81 percent from the free throw line.
In his career, he averaged 22.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 2.3 assists. For Arizin his best season came in 1951-1952 when he averaged 25.4 points, 11.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists, on 44.8 percent shooting, and 81.8 percent from the free throw line.
Was selected to 10 All-Star games playing in nine of them, made First Team All-NBA Selection three times, one Second Team All-NBA selection, was part of one championship team, ranks 12th all-time in minutes played per game, 25th all-time in points per game, 34th all-time in free throws made, and 37th all-time in free throws attempted.
5. Chris Mullin
Chris Mullin was one of the greatest shooters in NBA history; he was even better than Bird in that aspect of the game.
Mullin is one of the more underrated forwards in basketball history; not only could he score, he had a good handle with the ball, rebounded, and defensively he was solid as well.
Another problem for Mullin in his career and why he doesn't get as much attention was because of injuries.
Even though Mullin played in more games than Bird in his career, he doesn't get anywhere near the respect as a shoooter that Bird did.
Mullin when he was healthy was a truly efficient scorer and besides Wilt Chamberlain he is the only other player to average at least 25 points per game in five consecutive seasons in Warriors franchise history.
Towards the end of Mullin's career he became a valuable role player off the bench.
Mullin in his career scored 17,911 points, grabbed 4034 rebounds, dished out 3450 assists, and had 1530 steals. His average for his career was 18.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.6 steals, on 50.9 percent shooting, 38.4 percent from three, and 86.5 percent from the free throw line.
His best season came in 1988-1989 when he averaged 26.5 points, 5.9 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 2.1 steals, on 50.9 percent shooting, 23 percent from three, and 81 percent from the free throw line.
Played in five all-star games, has one Firs Team All-NBA selection, two Second Team All-NBA selections, one Third Team All-NBA selection, ranks 24th all-time in free throw percentage, 33rd in steals, and 36th all-time in steals per game.
4. Dennis Rodman
Dennis Rodman was a member of the Detroit "Bad Boys" team. Those teams were known for their physical play and defense.
Rodman was the rebounder in the group and he played excellent defense as well.
There's one thing that keeps him from being mentioned in the top 10 group of forwards is the fact that he wasn't interested in scoring the basketball, but even because of that he's still underrated because he did the little things to help his teams win.
Rodman scored 6683 points, grabbed 11,954 rebounds, dished out 1600 assists, and had 611 steals. For his career he averaged 7.3 points, 13.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists, .7 steals, on 52.1 percent shooting, and 58.4 percent from the free throw line.
His best season came in 1991-1992 when he averaged 9.8 points, 18.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, .8 steals, .9 blocks, on 53.9 percent shooting, 60 percent from the free throw line.
With Rodman he only made two All-Star games, won the Defensive Player of the Year Award twice, seven time All-NBA First Team All-Defense selection, two Third Team All-NBA selections, one Second Team All-NBA Defense selection, was part of five championship teams, ranks 11th all-time in rebounds per game, 22nd in total rebounds, and 41st in field goal percentage.
3: Bernard King
Bernard King was a tremendous scorer in his career. One of the reasons he isn't talked about more is because he did miss time with injuries, which included missing in the entire 1991-1992 season.
In his career he scored 19,655 points, grabbed 5,060 rebounds, dished out 2,863 assists, had 866 steals, shot 51.8 percent from the field, and 73 percent from the free throw line. This meant he averaged 22.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and a steal for his career.
His best season came in 1977-1978 when he averaged 24.2 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.5 steals, on 47.9 percent shooting, and 67.7 percent from the free throw line.
King made four All-Star teams, an All-Rookie First Team selection, two First Team All-NBA selections, a Second Team All-NBA selection, a Third Team All-NBA selection, ranks 30th all time in points per game, 36th in field goals, 42nd in total points, and 46th in field goal percentage.
2. Alex English
Alex English is a forward who doesn't get much attention. He was an excellent scorer; he had a point in his career where he had eight straight seasons of averaging over 25 points per game and also was a solid defender.
In his career he scored 25,613 points, grabbed 6538 rebounds, dished out 4315 assists, had 1067 steals, and 833 blocks. Career wise he averaged 21.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.6 assists, .9 steals, .7 blocks, on 50.7 percent shooting, and 83.2 percent from the free throw line.
His best season came in 1982-1983 when he averaged 28.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.5 blocks, 1.4 steals, on 51.6 percent shooting, and 82.8 percent from the free throw line.
Played in eight all-star games, had three Third Team All-NBA selections, ranks ninth in field goals, 10th in field goals attempted, 16th in total points, 29th in games, 35th in points per game, and 36th in minutes played.
1: Adrian Dantley
Adrian Dantley is one of the most underrated players in NBA history. He was an dynamic scorer and had an impressive 15 year NBA career.
For his career he averaged 24.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal. Totals for Dantley were 23,177 points, 5455 rebounds, 2830 assists, 944 steals, on 54 percent shooting, and 81.8 percent from the free throw line.
Best season for Dantley came in 1980-1981 when he averaged 30.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, 4 assists, 1.4 steals, on 55.9 percent shooting, and 80.6 percent from the free throw line.
Dantley made six All-Star Teams, was Rookie of the Year, made First Team All-Rookie selection, two Second Team All-NBA selections, ranks sixth all-time in free throws, 11th in free throws attempted, 18th in points per game, 22nd in field goal percentage, 25th in points, and 31st in field goals.