There are many high-profile players in the NBA, players like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Kobe Bryant that you see in Nike ads and on ESPN highlights, who are no doubt the faces of the NBA.
But what about the players who don't have all the flash and media around them, what is their value and worth in the NBA? They obviously don't play as much of a star-studded role, but are important in many ways.
He may not be as flashy or skilled as other point guards like Chris Paul, Deron Williams, and Steve Nash, but Derek Fisher gets the job done. Night in and night out, he does whatever is asked of him, whether it's provide leadership to younger players on and off the court or put a clutch three-point dagger in the heart of the opposing team.
With the many years of gritty plays and clutch shots he's made, Fisher has more than earned a spot in Springfield and in the rafters at Staples.
Kendrick Perkins is one of the league's most underrated big men.
He doesn't have numbers that blow you away, but his value and what he brings to the table go far beyond what the stat sheet can show. His toughness and rebounding are part of what make the Celtics a great defensive team. Arguably the best post defender in the league, Perkins can swat shots away from the basket and hold his own against his own man in the paint.
When Andrew Bynum is healthy, he's easily the most dominant big man in the game (offensively). His length and offensive fundamentals (catching high and finishing high) make life so much easier for the Lakers, and make their post game that much better.
Whether he's on one leg or both, Bynum plays a huge role for the Lakers and still makes a difference. If Bynum can stay healthy, look for him to be the starting center for the Western Conference at the All-Star game in the next three years.
I love Joakim Noah, he embodies everything that's great about basketball.
The intangibles, grittiness, youth, and technical fouls are what is great about him. When he steps on the court, you know that you're going to get hustle, passion, and energy from one of the league's best rebounders. Though he's hated by many, Noah is a player that I would love to have on my team any day.
Paul Pierce has always been one of the NBA's most underrated players, as he has never really got the recognition he deserved for his skill-set and determination.
One of the many things that makes Pierce great, besides his skills, is his loyalty to the Boston Celtics. After years of pain and suffering (on and off the court), there was doubt as to if he would end his career in green & white, but he stayed the course and succeeded by winning an NBA championship. When Pierce's career is over, he will no doubt be known as one of the greatest players of his generation and one of the greatest Celtics of all time.
Shane Battier is one of the NBA's best defenders.
I once read somewhere that defense is played with three things: Your head, heart, and feet, Battier utilizes all three on a constant basis to try to slow down his man. How Battier is not an All-NBA defender is beyond me, he possesses the tools and acumen to be on that list, and it's a clear snub that he's not.
Danny Granger is a great all-around player, he can shoot, drive, rebound, pass, and defend. He's a great young talent to have and build a team around, I love his quiet edginess and demeanor on the court.
Kirk Hinrich can do it all, he can play and defend three different positions, can shoot with range, has a high basketball I.Q., and could run almost any team in the league. If Hinrich was a starter, he would definitely be a constant figure year after year on All-NBA Defense, as he doesn't gamble and can play his man straight up. Hinrich has good playmaking ability and makes good decisions with the basketball, knowing when to find his own shot and when to distribute.
Andre Igoudala has all the tools to become an elite superstar, he's a great passer, good rebounder, great defender, and underrated scorer. The only thing Igoudala doesn't do well is shoot a good percentage from three, so if he improves his long-range shot, there's no limit to what he can achieve.
Brandon Roy has been a great performer since he first came into the league. The former Rookie of the Year has excited and brought life back to the city of Portland.
Roy's great at getting into the seams, using his speed to make plays for himself or other players. The unquestioned leader of the Trail Blazers, he is always ready to take the big shot. He often gets lost in the shuffle behind Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant, but there's a good chance that he's the league's next top shooting guard in the years to come.