One of the most contentious issues among NBA fans often centers around the topic of who are the most overrated players in the league.
Many name LeBron James because he has never won a championship despite all the hype, others point to Kobe Bryant because he has never won without a dominant big man by his side, and then some offer Monta Ellis because he averages huge numbers on a horrible team.
The fact is there is no single reason why a player will be overrated. Whether it is playing alongside a great player, getting a huge contract or playing well once in a crucial moment, often fans get an image of a player that is difficult to shake despite that player's obvious shortcomings.
Overrated players come in all shapes and sizes. Some are All-Stars being labeled MVPs, some are solid starters called All-Stars and some are simply horrible players who some believe to be capable rotation players.
Whatever they are, here are a few NBA players who are more hype than game at this point.
Early on in his career, with athletic ability equaled by few and a knack for hitting clutch shots, many were quick to label Andre Iguodala the next great player in Philadelphia basketball. He showed off the finishing ability of a star, the defensive ability of a star and seemed to simply lack a jump shot that would propel him into stardom.
Blessed with an $80 million contract to help the 76ers achieve greatness, Iguodala has drifted further and further away from the basket in a troubling turn of events. He still is an elite finisher and top-notch defender, but shoots so much from the outside that it is difficult to keep lumping him in with Danny Granger and Paul Pierce in the second tier of great small forwards.
Despite this horrible migration away from the paint, some still recognize him as a top small forward in the league. While he finishes at a terrific 65 percent rate at the rim, he takes fewer than 30 percent of his shots from that range, limiting his efficiency and effectiveness. From outside of 10 feet, he converts on less than 33 percent of his shots, yet still takes nearly 70 percent of his attempts from that area (stats courtesy of hoopdata.com).
For an inefficient scorer who lacks any semblance of a jump shot, Andre Iguodala certainly gets a lot of pub among fans. Labeled as the consolation prize to the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes, GMs should beware of what they are getting if they acquire Iguodala.
Usually when a fairly talented player moves from city to city nearly every season, there is an underlying problem that the average fan does not hear about. Joe Smith, Drew Gooden and now Trevor Ariza are perhaps the greatest examples of this, as each had a fault that made them almost incapable of sticking with a team for the long run.
After moving from Orlando to Los Angeles and helping Los Angeles to an NBA championship, Ariza set out for Houston on a free-agent deal so that he could carve a place for himself in the record books outside of Kobe Bryant's shadow. After a disastrous year in Houston, Ariza continues to struggle in New Orleans, and is shooting below 40 percent for the second year in a row.
Largely considered to be the ideal role player for his ability to knock down open jump shots, score in transition and defend, Ariza fails to fully take advantage of his talents because he has a star's mentality. His propensity to shoot horrible contested shots has left him with by far the lowest shooting percentage in the league among qualifying players after placing second in that statistic a year ago.
Defensively, despite his reputation as a stopper, his greed once again gets the best of him at times. While he is a terrific ball hawk who gets his hands on tons of balls, he gambles far too often and loses focus at times. While he could be as good as anyone in the league, his inability to focus and just play smart defense keeps him from doing so.
A selfish player with a horrible mentality, Ariza is still regarded as a solid small forward because of his championship run with Los Angeles. One has to wonder how many more seasons he has to shoot in the 30's before people start to realize that he is not.
A double-double machine, David Lee is generally well-respected as one of the league's top rebounders and pick-and-roll players. After going to Golden State in a sign-and-trade deal this offseason, Lee was expected to flourish in the Warriors' system.
Early on in the year, things have not gone exactly as planned. Fighting an elbow injury and later an infection, David Lee has been effectively reduced to a one-arm player after showcasing some of the best ambidextrous skills over the past few years. However, this year is not why he is overrated.
While undoubtedly a talented rebounder, his statistics over the past few years have been inflated by playing in an up-tempo system with inefficient scorers around him. With so many more shots available per game for rebounds, his huge rebound stats piled up quickly.
However, upon a closer look, his impressive rebounding looks more ordinary. Sitting at 18th in rebound rate last year (the percentage of misses that the player rebounds), Lee was behind players such as Jon Brockman, Samuel Dalembert, DeJuan Blair and Nazr Mohammed, good players who are not well-known at all.
In addition to his overrated rebounding stats, Lee's horrendous defense is often overlooked. A horrible player in every facet on the defensive end, Lee doesn't block shots or show on screens, and never takes charges. He's weak in the post and simply lacks the fundamental skills that he shows on offense.
Lee is a strong offensive big man with above-average rebounding skills, but is extremely limited because of his complete lack of defensive awareness. Because of this limitation, he is merely a somewhat useful player, not the big man who was supposed to propel Golden State into the playoffs.
The third wheel of the Thunder's "Big Three," Jeff Green is a decent player but gets far too much credit for what he is. A floor-spacing power forward, Green puts up solid statistics but often does so at his team's expense.
After a sophomore season when he averaged nearly 17 points and seven rebounds, many were quick to label Green a rising star who would become Kevin Durant's sidekick. While Russell Westbrook is now generally accepted to be the second-best player on the Thunder, the memory of Green's tremendous second year has stuck with many, allowing some to still believe him to be a rising stud.
Unfortunately for Green, he has made little to no improvements since that second year. While he always struggled rebounding the ball, he is now rebounding at a disappointing rate of 6.3 rebounds per 40 minutes, well below what a reasonably athletic 6'9" forward should be averaging.
Additionally, his defense is well below par for a player of his reputation. Generally regarded as at least a decent defender, Green's inability to defend with physicality and finish plays by getting the rebound make him a suspect defender, especially at the power forward position.
As a team, the Thunder give up 6.4 points more per 100 possessions with him on the floor than with him on the bench. While this is in part due to Serge Ibaka's tremendous defense, Green is clearly not the defender he is reputed to be.
In a contract year, Green will have to show a lot more if he wants to live up to his reputation and earn the big deal he will seek this coming offseason.
Clearly the most controversial inclusion to the list, Derrick Rose is a sure-fire All-Star and among the best rising stars at the point guard position. With incredible athleticism, a tremendous floater and a much improved jump shot, Derrick Rose is quickly establishing himself as a top player in the league.
While a great player, Rose is getting MVP consideration despite not necessarily warranting the attention.
With a gaudy stat line of more than 24 points and eight assists, Rose has the basic statistics of a top player in the league, but a more analytical look at his season gives a different view. Because he is simply a good shooter, doesn't draw many fouls, and shoots a lot, his true shooting percentage is merely ordinary.
At 53.3 percent, Rose's true shooting percentage is 29th out of 65 point guards, a disappointing figure for a seemingly elite point guard. Right now, he is fourth among point guards in estimated wins added, ranking behind the Western troika of Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul and Deron Williams.
Is he a great player and a definite All-Star? Yes. Does he have the potential to become the league's best point guard? Yes.
Is he a legitimate MVP candidate right now? For now, the answer is no.