NBA Power Rankings: LeBron James and The 10 Most Overrated Players

Ryan MarshallCorrespondent IAugust 11, 2010

NBA Power Rankings: LeBron James and The 10 Most Overrated Players

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    What does it mean to be overrated? The definition I came up with is: "to be given more credit than one deserves".

    Merriam-Webster's opinion: "to rate, value, or estimate too highly".

    So you see it's a pretty simple word. Then why is it the cause of so much heated debate? Because fans will be fans and will root for and stand beside their favorite players. They will declare their favorite players to be the "best" player even if this is not true.

    This is where all the clashing of opinions comes in. And the fact that there is no actual way to rank players in a way that is both quantitative and qualitative lends itself to great discussion.

    But here is a list of players who are overrated by the general NBA community and beyond:

Honorable Mention

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Here are some of the players who were taken into consideration, but in effect, just missed the cut.

    - Emeka Okafor (still prized as the 2nd overall draft pick, Okafor averaged a boring 10 points and 9 rebounds last year)

    - Vince Carter (flying high off athleticism and scoring ability, struggles with consistency)

    - Richard Jefferson (just one of those guys who owes Jason Kidd a lot of money)

    - Andrew Bynum (played one good "half" season and fans in L.A. want to retire #17)

    - Josh Howard (3-hit wonder more interested in being injured - and smoking weed - than playing)

10. LaMarcus Aldridge

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    LaMarcus Aldridge is a unique big man.

    But not in a good way.

    He’s soft, his career average for rebounds per game is 7.1 despite being 6’11”/240 and he doesn’t block shots. He is a jump shooter stuck in a big man’s body and people give him credit for being one of the premier power forwards in the west.

    He’s a good player, but I’m curious what kind of player he would be if he were on the Toronto Raptors next season. Would he step up and be more aggressive? Hard to tell. He seems like one of those guys who was meant to play Robin instead of Batman.

9. LeBron James

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    LeBron James has built his NBA superstardom off athleticism. Sure, you can’t ignore his numbers (29.7ppg, 7.3rpg, 8.6apg) but let’s break them down.

    LeBron is a great scorer – one of the best in the game, and few know how to guard him. I’m not saying he isn’t good, he is well deserving of his top 5 NBA status. A player like him does not come around too often, he is a freak of nature athletically. That alone can make you a very good basketball player, but it can’t make you the greatest – something people give LeBron credit for.

    First of all let’s be honest with ourselves, LeBron is not a good shooter. He is getting better, and can be clutch at times, but to be one of the greatest in the company of Kobe and Jordan he gets blown out of the water as far as shooting.

    Good shooters usually have consistently good shooting percentages. Makes sense, right? LeBron shoots around 50% from the field, but take him out to the 3-point line and he’ll make one out of three attempts. This proves that his FG% is so high because he gets a lot of dunks and easy buckets. His FT% is also notoriously low (74.2% career).

    Second of all, 82% of his rebounds come from the defensive end, only getting about one offensive board per game. Now this may be because he is usually the one shooting the ball for the Cavs, but there are plenty of players in the league who can average seven rebounds per game off such lopsided statistics. Those are the rebounds you don’t have to fight for.

    Finally, his assists and floor-vision have been blown out of proportion by fanatics. Just because you average 8.6 assists per game doesn’t mean you’re a good passer. Now don’t take that too literally; LeBron is a wonderful passer. But people put him on point guard level and say he’s the best passer in the league which is not true at all.

    Last year his assist/TO ratio was 8.6/3.4, which is about 2.5 assists for every turnover. Take Chris Paul’s ’07-’08 season and he would have to average 4.6 turnovers per game to match his 11.6 assists at LeBron efficiency. But what did he average? 2.5 turnovers. That’s what one of the best passers in the league does. LeBron gets assists because he’s always the one with the ball and people focus on him so much that other players are wide open.

    LeBron is definitely one of the top 5 NBA players, don’t get me wrong. But putting him on the pedestal of being one of the greatest ever is just premature.

8. Hedo Turkoglu

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    House is packed, by the way...Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Hedo Turkoglu had one good season in Orlando and everyone thinks he is a premier player. He was the hype of the summer free agency a year ago and now he sounds like old news. After a terrible season in Toronto, people are jumping back on his bandwagon with high hopes for him in Phoenix.

    But why?

    He has no chance at replacing Amare Stoudemire, not even a little bit. I see him doing a little better than he did in Toronto but people need to let go of his Orlando Golden Boy reputation.

7. Lamar Odom

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    How does a player average 10.8 points off 9 shot attempts at 46.2%, you may ask? Because that’s the only source of his points. He does not know how to get to the foul line.

    But maybe that’s a good thing looking at his career 70.1% from the charity stripe.

    Lamar Odom is a good rebounder and can score when called upon, but because he is on the Lakers people think way too highly of him. He is quietly losing his athleticism, tipping rebounds to himself instead of jumping to go get them.

    Sure he’s proven he can be a solid option, but on what teams? The Los Angeles Clippers, the Miami Heat (Dwyane Wade’s rookie season), and for three years on those struggling Los Angeles Laker teams. Besides that he is not much more than a solid role player on a good team.

6. Rajon Rondo

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    What's interesting is that Rajon Rondo actually used to be one of the underrated players in the NBA. So what happened? People played that card over and over, and now that he actually is one of the better players in the NBA people give him more credit than his game deserves.

    Rajon Rondo’s career took a lift-off when the Big 3 was formed. Who knows what he would have been on a struggling Boston Celtics team.

    Rondo’s job is to facilitate Boston’s offense, getting the Big 3 involved and taking what the defense gives  him. And what the defense gives him is whatever they can’t afford to give Ray Allen, Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett. The existence of the Boston Big 3 (I guess we should distinguish between Miami now) clears up so many scoring opportunities as well as assist opportunities for Rondo.

    Take two separate scenario’s:

    - Rondo is shipped to Minnesota in the trade that brought KG to Boston. Let’s see how Rondo flourishes in the stagnant Timberwolves’ franchise. He would not have attained the sort of improvement he has attained from playing with such Hall-of-Fame-ers. He would have been one of those mid-level college stars turned mediocre starting NBA point guard.

    - Rondo of today is shipped to a team like Minnesota. He would instantly be considered the best player on that team and defenses would key on him every game. How to shut down Rajon Rondo? If they do that, they win the game. There’s no Paul Pierce, Allen or Garnett for them to worry about and Rondo would be left vulnerable and exposed.

    We’ll see what he’s really made of when the Big 3 retires, and his poor shooting abilities start to get noticed.

5. Rodney Stuckey

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    Ever since Joe Dumars declared Rodney Stuckey the only untouchable on the Pistons’ roster for shooting 40% from the field his rookie season, there hasn’t been much improvement.

    All that’s changed is an increase in playing time and field goal attempts. And he still is sitting around 40%. Rodney Stuckey is a sorry excuse for a franchise point guard and was one of the worst investments ever.

    He played two years of college ball at Eastern Washington and turned into an almost-lottery pick? He better average 16.6 points when he shoots the ball 15.2 times. Another example of poor scoring efficiency from today’s young guards.

    His percentages clearly indicate that he’s not a shooter: 42/25/82. If he considers himself a point guard he should reconsider getting less than five assists per game at the expense of two turnovers.

    So what is he? An exaggeration, that’s what he is.

4. Trevor Ariza

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Ever wonder why there was such a big jump in production during Ariza’s stint in Houston compared to his time as a Laker? Phil Jackson and the Lakers’ management saw him for what he was: a high-flying defensive spark-plug.

    Not a scorer/shooter, like the Rockets made him out to be.

    He averaged 14.9 points per game as a Rocket but this guy has taken scoring inefficiency to another level: 15 points per game off 14 FG attempts at 39%! Who would let him shoot that much? 5.7 3-point attempts at 33%? There’s a reason he only played 24 minutes a game as a Laker.

3. Dwight Howard

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    Not a chance this went in...Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

    While Dwight is one of the best players in the league, he has the potential and body to be so much better.

    People say he's dominant just cause no other center in the league can really match up with him, but he doesn't actually "dominate". With his body (ridiculously tall, heavy - but in muscle, athletic, jumping ability, good footwork, impossible to box out...), he should be able to throw everyone who tries to guard him to the ground (save Shaq).

    If someone developed a robot set-up to be the one of the best centers ever, it would come out with the body of Dwight Howard.

    Maybe it has to do with his mentality, maybe it has to do with his role on the Magic (solid offensive option down low, but immense defensive presence -- Carter/Lewis/Nelson can score points) that he isn't producing like I know he should.

    I can guarantee if he was on a bad team he could average 25 and 15 pretty easily. If he was a good free throw shooter: 30/15...scary. So maybe it's that his Orlando team is a title contender that he only needs to average 18 and 12 for them to be successful.

    But if that's the case, he should put so much more into his defense. Every year, I am upset if he averages less than four blocks per game. This should be happening for him.

    And he should not get away with games under 10 rebounds. Like why would that happen? Who ever heard of rebounding inconsistency? There's no excuse for a player of his caliber and size to miss out on rebounding in any game of the season.

    But it happens.

    I can understand a little dip in scoring every now and then (shots don't always fall, happens to everyone) but if you're the best rebounder in the league you should be that way all the time. We can only conclude that you weren't playing hard that game if you come up with 5 rebounds. You can't even factor luck into it, the biggest part of rebounding is going and getting the ball, that's not a matter of luck.

    I would love to see him do himself justice and play like Los Angeles Lakers Shaq. I think the biggest difference between Shaq in his prime and the current Dwight Howard is their ability to take over a game.

    Dwight can dunk and rebound and score and play good defense consistently in an entire game (and he does most games), but he lacks the ability to put the team on his shoulders. He can't bang every possession. He can't handle being fed the ball every possession successfully.

    In my opinion he is the best center in the NBA right now. So why do I think he's overrated? Because people give him credit for more than he actually is.

2. Derrick Rose

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    I’ve never seen so much hype come from so little. Two years into the league and somehow he’s revived the Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls days? I don’t think so.

    Sure he has immense potential, but lay off him a little he’s not there yet.

    Another case of averaging almost as many shot attempts as points makes his 20.8 average last year seem redundant. He can’t shoot from beyond the arc and his FT% for a point guard is abnormally low.

    Aside from what I’ve said, there just isn’t all that much to rave about a guy who averages 21 points and 6 assists per game. Especially when those six assists come with three turnovers. If he wants to be the point guard everyone thinks he is, he needs to be more efficient and work on his shooting. If not, I see him becoming an under-achieving, under-sized shooting guard who can’t find a job in the future.

1. Al Harrington

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    There exist people out there who think Al Harrington is an All-Star caliber player. That’s just wrong. Just because he can score a lot of points and get a few rebounds here and there doesn’t mean he’s Carmelo Anthony or something.

    Heck, the guy shoots around 15 times a game, anyone can average 17.7 points on that many shot attempts. He is not a good free throw shooter (career 73%), and he is not a good 3-point shooter.

    The reason he makes 1.9 three's per game is because he catapults 5.7 of them. That’s a mediocre 34.2%. Ever wonder why the first seven years of his career he attempted on average less than one 3-pointer per game? Because he’s not a 3-point shooter.

    The last six years of his career he has averaged over four 3-point attempts per game (6.5 in ’08-’09). Reason being? He has played for Golden State and New York. Of course he’s shooting three’s on those teams, and of course: the more three’s you shoot, the more you’re going to make.

    Aside from the mediocre percentages, his game is not an efficient one. He averages more turnovers than assists on his career – and that is not a misleading statistic. It has been that way in almost every year of his career, with exceptions being a mere 0.5 higher average in assists.

    A lot of players are either score-first/pass-second players or pass-first/score-second players. Al Harrington is score-first/nothing-second.

    And heck, there are point guards who average 5.6 rebounds, if you’re 6’9”/250 you should be getting better luck in rebounding than Chris Paul. And the numbers prove it: 73% of his rebounds are defensive (about five per game), which are the ones that just come to you. Point guards do that.

    Al Harrington is a distraction off the court as well. He thinks as highly of himself as anyone does.