NBA's 20 Most Underrated Players, Starring OKC Thunder Forward Jeff Green
All Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jeff Green does in every game is come through in the clutch and provide solid leadership to a young team. But obviously this is not good enough to keep him off of a current list of the most "underrated" players in the league.
Players like Jeff Green are appreciated by the people who know what's being done behind the scenes and in the trenches on some of the most successful teams in the league.
Often these guys are overlooked when it comes down to choosing players for the All-Star team because they just go out there and play basketball to the best of their ability and don't worry about the accolades that eventually go with the territory for playing well.
Usually when a player is underrated, he is also underpaid and undervalued, but players like Jeff Green are special to the "big picture" aspect of their team's success. Green has come-up "big" in several last-minute situations that allowed the Oklahoma City Thunder to win several games.
So with that being said, let's do a countdown and look at some of the most underrated players in the NBA today.
Nate Robinson, PG, Boston Celtics
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Nate Robinson joins the list for the NBA's Most Underrated Players. Nate is small package that contains a big punch. Everyone can see how talented little Nate is. Basketball comes so easy for this guy and he has been blessed with some God-given talents.
I am really doing Nate a disservice by making him the 20th pick on my most underrated team, but at least I am acknowledging his talents.
Nate Robinson checked his ego at the door and agreed to play in a reserve role for a championship caliber team like the Boston Celtics. He has been a solid-producer in this role and is able to step-in and be a starter at any time if he has to. Nate Robinson would start on a lot of other teams in the NBA.
Nate Robinson is underrated because there is no other player in the league "his size" that can do the things that he makes look very simple. He is pound-for-pound, arguably the best athlete in sports.
Aaron Affalo, SG, Denver Nuggets
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Affalo is 6'5" tall and played his collegiate career at UCLA in the shadow of more celebrated players. But playing in the shadow of great players is one of the reasons why Aaron Affalo makes this list.
All he has done this year is average 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists to remain one of the most consistent players on a Denver Nuggets roster that already includes All-Stars Chauncy Billips and Carmelo Anthony.
Andris Biedrins, C, Golden St. Warriors
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Andris Biedrins is one of two players from the Golden St. Warriors to make the list. He is definitely underrated for a big man because he is overshadowed by another underrated player on his own team (Monta Ellis).
Biedrins is a true seven footer and averages ten rebounds per game. He is also prolific at blocking shots and "protecting the paint" for Golden St. and remains one of coach Don Nelson's "aces in the whole" when he experiments with different match-ups.
Hey Josh Smith, "I'm sorry I had to put you in this poster" because most of the time you're always the one dunking on somebody else.
George Hill, G, San Antonio Spurs
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George Hill makes the list as being one of the most underrated players in the league because of the "intangibles" that he does night-in and night-out to help his team win. George Hill gives coach Gregg Popovich another versatile guard to use in the rotation.
Hill has long arms and deceptive leaping ability. He has good passing skills and can run an offense to perfection. George Hill came seemingly came out of nowhere and now is currently being counted-on to pay big dividends for the San Antonio Spurs.
Hills makes the list of the league's most underrated players because of his relentless attitude to help his team win and the fact that he plays in a smaller market so most people aren't even familiar with his contributions to the team.
Glen "Big Baby" Davis, F, Boston Celtics
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Glen Davis needs no introduction as one of the unsung heroes responsible for the success of the Boston Celtics. All Glen does is do what the coach tells him to do and play where the coach tells him to play.
By flying under the radar, Davis is an upgrade coming off the bench for the Celtics because he can do so many things so well. Now that he gave the media the green-light to call him "Big Baby" again, it creates a unique imprint that has a definite impact on the game when he comes in off the bench.
Davis has a nice mid-range jumper and bang with the best of them down low. He could probably start on a lot of teams around the league.
Nene, C, Denver Nuggets
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Nene makes the list and gives the Denver Nuggets the dubious distinction of having three players to make this list. Nene is in a "rare breed" of talented centers in the NBA. He is averaging 13 points, seven rebounds, and two assists per game this season.
With these numbers it is surprising that he is never mentioned as one of the better centers in the league. Nene is a great center and every general manager in the league would love to have a center with the strength and power that Nene possesses.
Nene is underrated because of the simple fact that a really good player at the center position is a "hot" commodity in the NBA these days.
Joakim Noah, C, Chicago Bulls
Joakim Noah makes the list of the NBA Most Underrated Players for one reason: he hung in there played Shaquille O'Neal straight-up in the playoffs without flopping even once, took every one of O'Neal's brutal elbows, and lived to play another game for the Bulls.
This guy flat-out hustles and is the epitome of one of the hardest working big men in the NBA. Joakim Noah is surrounded by other players such as Derrick Rose and Luol Deng. This gives the Chicago Bulls three players on the list.
You might ask how this is possible to have several of the league's most underrated players on one team, but this just goes to show you which teams will be contending for championships in the near future.
Nick Collison, C-F, Oklahoma City Thunder
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Anytime a player takes the most charges on any team, he becomes invaluable. Nick Collison is just that: so invaluable to the Thunder organization and they recently rewarded him with a new four-year contract.
But despite the "love" he is obviously getting from his employer, no one really talks about the intangibles that make Collison and obvious choice for one of the league's most underrated players.
Collison is a smart player and many of the things he does for a team won't show-up on the stat sheet. Besides taking the most charges in the league, Nick Collison can guard both the four and five positions.
Collison is also the prime example of an "iron-man" and hardly every gets injured to miss games. He is basically a coach's dream and rarely makes a lot of mistakes out on the floor. Nick Collison gives the Oklahoma City Thunder two players on this list.
Paul Milsap, PF, Utah Jazz
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Paul Milsap makes the list as one of the leagues most underrated players but he won't be underrated for long if he puts up another 46-point effort like he did against the Miami Heat on the road this year. He put-in a performance that basically "willed" and inspired his team to a victory.
Milsap is going to be counted on a lot more by the Utah Jazz to start and help carry the load down-low along with newly acquired Al Jefferson since Carlos Boozer's departure to the Chicago Bulls.
Milsap is a "workaholic" and a smart player equipped with a wide range of skills around the basket perfectly suited to Jerry Sloan's motion offense and Deron Williams' patented assist game. He won't stay on this list very long if he keeps playing at a high level.
Stephen Jackson, G, Charlotte Bobcats
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Stephen Jackson heads a long list of players that made the leap directly from high school to the pros before the rule was changed. He has sort of flown under the radar to have his play take a back seat to countless shenanigans out on the court that had nothing to do with basketball.
Jackson is extremely talented and can flat-out play the game. He has the size and skills to play the guard position and can dominate his opponent if his coach needs him to. Jackson could be the missing piece to a championship contender before his career is over.
Stephen Jackson makes the list as on the league's most underrated because he has raw talent and potential that he will probably never reach.
J.R. Smith, G, Denver Nuggets
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J.R. Smith is the third player from the Denver Nuggets to make the most underrated team. J.R. Smith is one of the most talented players in the league but he has yet to reach his full-potential or achieve the accolades he is due.
There is no ceiling for this guy. When he gets hot, he can go toe-to-toe with the best guards in the league. He is another player that plays a role for his team but could start on a lot of other teams in the league.
J.R. Smith will never make the All-Star team, but he is an all-star caliber player that can play with the best of them.
Luis Scola, F-C, Houston Rockets
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Luis Scola makes the list for holding down a Houston Rockets team that has been decimated by the injury bug. But all Luis Scola does each night is go out and out-perform some of the top players in the league.
Scola is averaging nearly 21 points per game and is the only reason the Rockets can even remain competitive without the services of perennial All-NBA center Yao Ming.
Scola will continue to do the "dirty work" and will be seen on countless occasions on the floor scrapping or diving for a loose ball. Scola is a coach's dream because of some dandy footwork around the rim and his way of sort of lulling his opponent to sleep with moves they thought he would not normally attempt.
Luol Deng, F, Chicago Bulls
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Luol Deng has has held his own against the likes of LeBron James since their days of playing AAU ball. Deng doesn't say a whole lot and lets his play do the talking for him out on the basketball court.
People seem to take Luol Deng's great outside shooting touch for granite, but they can't ignore his nearly 20 points per game scoring average this year. Deng has a career scoring average of 16 points per game and can be seen knocking down three point shots from behind the arc with ease on a regular basis.
Luol Deng makes the list of the league's most underrated players because every team needs a solid outside shooter like him if they plan to contend for a championship. Deng is the missing ingredient for a lot teams to get to a championship level.
David West, PF, New Orleans Hornets
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If you start of a short list of the toughest and grittiest players in the league, David West would have to be at the top of the list. But players who often do the "dirty work" like West are often underrated so this is why he makes the list.
David West is one of the best power forwards in the league but is another player who suffers from playing in a smaller market. So not very many people get to see the "real" David West night-in and night-out doing the things that he does best.
West is another one of the most underrated players in the league that could start on any other team. West has seen his scoring average go up to a high of 21 points per game along with seven rebounds over a seven-year career.
Jamal Crawford, G, Atlanta Hawks
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The Hawks' Jamal Crawford was a "steal" in free agency as he is still one of the best players that can both spot-up and take the jumper, or take his opponent off the dribble to create the shot that he desires.
Jamal Crawford has an incredible crossover dribble as evidenced by the the Utah Jazz player in this poster falling to the ground with his ankles broken.
Crawford can play many roles as most underrated players do. He was a sixth man for the Hawks and has been very productive in that role throughout his career.
Andre Iguodala, G-F, Philadelphia 76ers
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Andre Iguodala makes the list for being one of the league's most underrated players because he just goes out there and does what his coach asks of him. It is obvious that he can lead his team in scoring if that was his goal, but he is probably one of the most "team-oriented" players on the list.
Iguodala averages 14 points, six rebounds, and five assists per game for a Philadelphia 76ers team of underachievers. Iguodala played second-fiddle to the enigmatic Allen Iverson for the first part of his career but has a lot of gas still left in the tank.
Andre Iguodala is highly regarded as one of the league's best leapers and slam-dunkers. Above is a photo of him welcoming Heat newcomer Chris Bosh to the world of little kid's bedroom posters.
David Lee, F-C. Golden State Warriors
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David Lee makes this list as one of the best rising star players at the power-forward position. He has a nice touch outside, and is strong enough to mix-it-up with anyone in the paint. Lee is underrated because he is never the first of second option in the offense, but he still puts up big numbers.
David Lee started out his career with the New York Knicks and had many productive years where he was overshadowed by less productive players. He is now with the Golden St. Warriors where his talents should be more appreciated.
David Lee has hit the exclusive 20/10 Club by posting a 21 point and 11 rebound average for the Knicks during the 2009-2010 season.
Monta Ellis, G, Golden St. Warriors
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Monta Ellis continues to "fly under the radar" of obscurity as a superstar for the Golden St. Warriors and make the list as the third best and most underrated player in the league.
Ellis has played both the point-guard and shooting guard positions and has altered his game to accommodate incoming rookie sensation and shooting phenomenon (Staphen Curry). Underrated players like Monta Ellis have been altering their games for the betterment of their teams for years, and this is why he makes the list.
Ellis can do it all and when hot can put as many as 40 points on the board and makes it look easy. He deserves to be mentioned in the conversation as a perennial NBA All-Star but has often been underrated.
Ellis is currently averaging around 25 points per game and is pound-for-pound one of the most talented guards in the league.
LeMarcus Aldridge, F, Portland Trail Blazers
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LaMarcus Aldridge makes the list of the NBA's Most Underrated Players because he plays second-fiddle to perennial NBA All-Star Brandon Roy. Most of the underrated players on my list have to play second fiddle to another great player and LeMarcus Aldridge is no different.
LeMarcus Aldridge is known for his extreme length, and at 6-foot 11-inches tall, he gives the Trail Blazers a distinct advantage over the "smaller" teams in their division like the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Aldridge can do it all and would start on any other team in the league as well. He often does just what is asked of him and still averages over 18 points, and eight rebounds per game.
Jeff Green, PF, Oklahoma City Thunder
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Jeff Green is the starting power-forward for the Oklahoma City Thunder and fans of this team know the importance of having a player like Jeff Green in the starting lineup.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have two players on this list and usually when this happens, you are looking at a team that will play hard and give it all they've got each and every night.
Jeff Green has scored on clutch layups and even hit three-point shots to lift the Thunder to victory in several key matchups this year, but the sad part about it is that some people still don't know who he is.
Jeff Green had a great career at Georgetown and has been the consummate professional during his tenure with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He plays more of a back-up role to Batman and Robin (Durant and Westbrook) but is commonly mentioned as the core three that the Thunder will build their dynasty around.
All Jeff Green does is average 18 points, almost seven rebounds, and almost two assists every game. Green does the intangibles that often go unnoticed and is the glue that holds the Oklahoma City Thunder together during the course of the year. He is appreciated but will always be underrated and overshadowed by the likes of Kevin Durant and Russel Westbrook.
For these reasons, Jeff Green heads my list of the NBA's Most Underrated Players.