LeBron This, Kobe That: 25 Other NBA Players That Are Dying For Some Recognition
Whenever an NBA conversation strikes up, some names that will regularly be included are LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Paul Pierce, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, and Chris Paul. Sure, these players are phenomenal basketball players, but they garner almost all of the attention of the media and fans. People rarely start a basketball conversation with the names of Wesley Matthews or Wilson Chandler.
Well, I have compiled a list of 25 NBA players that deserve more recognition for their efforts on the hardwood. These players range from role players to the undisputed star on their team. Some should be recognized for their complete offensive repertoire, while others have excelled at the defensive side of the floor. Some may have an uncanny knack for rebounding or phenomenal court vision. Others could be lights-out shooters or maybe even freaks of nature athletically.
No matter what they succeed at, these players deserve more recognition from the NBA community.
25. Reggie Evans
What do these stars all have in common?
They have been out-rebounded by Reggie Evans this season. Many people don't even know about this eighth-year journeyman from Iowa, as he is pulling down 12 rebounds a game. Sure, his offensive game has a lot to be desired, which shows in his scoring average, but he is getting the job done on the boards.
Currently he is fifth in rebounds per game, as one of the strong points in what has been a lackluster season for the Raptors.
24. D.J. Augustin
What a season it has been for the young point guard out of Texas. From being trapped in Michael Jordan's doghouse to becoming arguably the Bobcats' best player, D.J. Augustin has definitely turned it around.
Once Raymond Felton left last offseason, people started questioning how successful the Bobcats would be with Augustin at the helm. However, he has started to show the promise that was expected from the ninth overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. Since December, he has really turned it on for the Bobcats and hopefully this trend continues.
23. Brandon Bass
When the news broke that Rashard Lewis was traded, many people questioned what general manager Otis Smith was thinking. Rashard had been a consistent scorer who complemented Dwight Howard's physical play-style. He may not have been the best rebounder or defender, but still a great shooter.
However, Otis Smith knew exactly what he was doing. When Rashard left, Brandon Bass was immediately inserted into the starting lineup. Many fans were up in arms, wondering why this benchwarmer deserved to start, but after every game his hardworking and bruising play-style started to win the fanbase over.
Five weeks later, the LSU product is one of Orlando's favorite players and will hopefully stay with the Magic for years to come.
22. Hedo Turkoglu
Besides Dwight Howard, Hedo Turkoglu is the most loved player in Orlando. Once you leave the Sunshine State, however, he is considered just an ordinary role player. I agree that in Toronto and Phoenix, he was just a role player, but in Orlando the offense is run mostly through him.
He has completely rejuvenated his career in his short return with Orlando, and hopefully he will start receiving the credit he deserves.
21. Wesley Matthews
The underrated sophomore out of Marquette had a lot of doubters at the beginning of the season. Many believed that Portland made an idiotic move signing Matthews to such a big contract, as people thought he would not continue the success he had in Utah.
However, he has proven those doubters wrong, as he is one of Portland's best offensive weapons. Plus, he is a fantastic defender, which shows in his role of guarding the opposing team's best perimeter player.
20. Nick Young
The Southeast Division has got to be nervous, as the Wizards are forming a talented young nucleus of John Wall, Andray Blatche and Nick Young.
Nick Young came out of USC with a lot of promise. He could penetrate, shoot and defend with the best of them at the collegiate level. However, he did not catch on immediately to the pros' fast-paced game. He struggled early on his career, but this season he has broken out into one of the premier young talents in the league.
Many people have not taken notice of Young's progress this season, as the Wizards are one of the worst teams in the league, but Young is looking like a potential candidate for the Most Improved Player award.
19. Wilson Chandler
Much of the Knicks' success has been credited to Amar'e Stoudemire, but Wilson Chandler has also played a huge role in New York's resurgence these past few months. Not only is he a great defender, but he has superb penetration ability. Plus, he has become one of the Knicks' most consistent shooters.
His name has come up in recent trade talks involving Carmelo and the Nuggets, but the Knicks would be foolish to trade away such young talent.
18. Dorell Wright
Dorell Wright is the perfect complement to the Warriors' one-two punch of Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis. He is not only exceptional on the offense (look at his stats), but also a fantastic defender. The extremely athletic, lanky forward was drafted out of high school so he still has tons of potential, as he is only 25 years old.
His 2011 campaign has definitely been a breakout season, and I bet Miami is wondering how they could let him go for absolutely nothing.
17. DeMar DeRozen
His stats may not jump out at you, but the kid can play. In his sophomore season, he has made great improvements and looks to be the future of the franchise. Compared to his rookie season, he is averaging seven points more per game.
However, rumors have surfaced that Toronto may want to move him before the deadline, but that would be a colossal mistake for the franchise since DeRozen is on his way to stardom.
16. Brook Lopez
Brook Lopez may have a few flaws in his game, but there is no denying that he is one of the most talented centers in the league. He can score with the best of them, consistently knocking down the mid-range jumper with a phenomenal post game.
However, he has struggled in the rebounding department this season, only pulling down five to six rebounds per game. He has been so ineffective on the boards that Kris Humphries has had to shoulder the load. Eek.
Plus, he does struggle with defense and he is not extremely athletic, but there is no denying the potential he possesses. All I am going to say is that people better start taking notice of Mr. Lopez.
15. Andrea Bargnani
He may not be a star, but Andrea Bargnani is starting to show the potential that he possessed back in 2006 when he was selected with the number one pick in the draft. The strongest part of his game is his versatility on offense. Not only can he shoot the three-ball, but he has become a much more efficient post-player throughout the season. I can't believe that I am saying this, but we are starting to see a slight resemblance between Nowitzki and Bargnani.
Dirk Nowitzki is averaging an impressive 23.6 points per game, while grabbing an average of six and a half rebounds per game. These stats look eerily similar to that of Bargnani's. However, Bargnani will never match the talent that Dirk Nowitzki possesses, but he is deserving of more recognition than he is currently attracting.
14. Michael Beasley
I bet the Miami Heat feel pretty foolish for letting him go for just a second-round pick. The change of scenery for Michael Beasley has done wonders, as he is averaging almost five more points per game. He is finally starting to live up to his potential and could potentially become a star one day. His playing style is starting to look like that of Antawn Jamison. He has, however, struggled with rebounding and defense this season.
The duo of Kevin Love and Michael Beasley is going to be effective for a long time, as the Kansas State Wildcat is only 22 years old and has tons of potential.
13. David West
David West's whole career has been overlooked. He rarely gets the recognition he deserves, as his stats have been phenomenal for years. He has been a glue guy for the Hornets because of his ability to score, defend and rebound with the best of them. Many people think that the Hornets' success this season has been a direst result from Chris Paul, but Paul would not be nearly as successful without the presence of West.
He has made the All-Star Game twice, which he deserves due to his fantastic numbers. However, you can seriously go weeks without hearing his name and I believe he is just as talented as the more famous Chris Bosh and Carlos Boozer.
12. Luis Scola
If the NBA gave out a hustle award, Luis Scola would probably win it every time. He fights tooth and nail for every loose ball and that is why he is one of the best rebounders in the Association. Not only can he rebound, but he finds ways night in and night out to help his team in the scoring department. He can hit the 15-foot jumper with ease and has a fantastic post game.
The argentinean forward should have had more recognition in regards to the All-Star Game, as he had better stats than Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili.
11. Josh Smith
I don't think Josh Smith knows how much potential he possesses. He is extremely athletic, has a knack for scoring and is one of the best defenders in the Association.
So why has he not made the step to stardom? Well, there are three reasons:
1.) His value as a player is not shown through his stats. Sure, he does put up pretty good statistics, but his true value is his presence on the court.
2.) He doesn't have the greatest work ethic. However, he has started to change it around.
3.) He is often overlooked thanks to Joe Johnson, Al Horford, and Jamal Crawford.
However, he is improving dramatically every year and is starting to find his niche as a player, as he definitely deserves more recognition.
10. Zach Randolph
He may not make spectacular plays, but Zach Randolph could possibly be the most consistent player in the NBA. You can count on him to get his 20 points and ten rebounds. In his eleventh year as a pro, he has finally found a perfect fit with a team. His previous stops with the Portland Trail Blazers, New York Knicks, and Los Angeles Clippers have not been quite as successful.
However, do you ever hear anyone talk about Zach Randolph because I know I don't. He is one of the most underrated players in the league and I believe that the league should replace Tim Duncan with Zach Randolph for the 2011 All-Star Game.
9. Rudy Gay
Like fellow teammate Zach Randolph, Rudy Gay is one of the most underrated players in the league. Not only is he a lockdown defender, but his offensive game has improved dramatically. When he signed his massive contract last season with the Grizzlies, many doubted that he would be able to live up to it. However, he has become a top-20 player in the league.
It is ridiculous that this guy doesn't recieve more attention. Not only can he score and defend, but he is constantly making ridiculous dunks and blocks. Plus, he was one of the best players for the young Team USA squad this past summer.
8. Danny Granger
Even though he plays for a mediocre Indiana Pacers team, Danny Granger is still one of the most dominant scorers in the league. He has a complete offensive arsenal, as he can shoot, penetrate and draw fouls. Many people are not aware of Granger's capability of taking over a game at any point.
Despite the fact that he made the All-Star team in 2009, he is undoubtedly one of the most underrated players in the league. His dismal team is to blame for a lack of attention, as they seem to never be on television.
He may not be a top-tier small forward, but he is as close as they come.
7. Raymond Felton
I was almost positive Raymond Felton would make the All-Star team. The way Felton and Amar'e Stoudemire have turned the Knicks around is remarkable. However, Stoudemire receives all of the attention and credit. Don't get me wrong, as Amare' is a fantastic player and he deserves a ton of praise, but Felton has been a huge part of the team's success.
In Charlotte many people, including myself, thought that Felton was extremely overrated. I thought D.J. Augustin deserved to start over him the whole season due to Felton's lackadaisical playing style. However, he has really turned it around with the change of scenery. He is scoring and passing efficiently and utilizing Amar'e just as well as Steve Nash did.
Even though Raymond Felton was one of the biggest All-Star snubs this season, he is the prime candidate to win the Most Improved Player Award.
6. Al Horford
Sure, he did make the All-Star team this year, but he still doesn't get the credit he deserves. Horford's statistics aren't fantastic, but he is extremely consistent and one of the hardest working players in the NBA. Many fans believe that Joe Johnson is the best player on Atlanta, but I believe Al Horford surpasses him for that honor.
Horford draws comparisons to Tim Duncan and rightfully so. He is fundamentally sound and has one of the best 15 to 18-foot jump shots in the league. Plus, he plays the center position for the Hawks, which is his unnatural position just like Duncan.
He probably won't be nearly as good as "The Big Fundamental" was in his prime, but he is going to blossom into a fantastic player.
5. Kevin Martin
When Kevin Martin was with the Sacramento Kings, everybody was talking about how he was going to blossom into a star. People were fascinated with his unorthodox shot and his finesse.
However, since being traded to the Houston Rockets, all of the hype surrounding him has diminished. It is hard to believe that people do not consider him an All-Star snub. He is seriously shooting lights out, as he is knocking down over 40 percent of his threes. However, he does struggle with defense, but he definitely does deserve more recognition than what he is currently receiving.
4. Eric Gordon
Blake Griffin This, Blake Griffin That!!!!
Blake Griffin is a fantastic player, but he is not the only thing to be excited about if you are a Clipper fan. Eric Gordon is taking the league by storm, as he has turned into an excellent shooting guard. He is a fantastic three-point marksman, and is superb at penetrating and racking up the fouls. It amazes me that this guy doesn't receive more attention.
However, in the midst of a breakout season he injured his right wrist and has been out since January 22. He is scheduled to return to the court soon and the Clippers need him, as they have dropped eight games in his absence.
I think he would have been in contention to make the All-Star team if he did not injure himself, but nonetheless he is becoming one of the better guards in the league. Blake Griffin better watch out, as Eric Gordon is bound to start stealing some of his attention.
3. LaMarcus Aldridge
Probably the biggest All-Star snub on this list is LaMarcus Aldridge, as he has excelled despite the absence of Brandon Roy. When the Blazers lost Roy to injury in the beginning of the season, fans started doubting that the Blazers would earn a third consecutive playoff berth, but Aldridge has kept them in playoff contention this season.
LaMarcus Aldridge has stepped up and taken his game to another level. I consider him to be a top-four power forward with Pau Gasol, Kevin Love and Dirk Nowitzki, as he has improved his post-game dramatically and perfected his mid-range jumper. A healthy trio of Greg Oden, Aldridge and Roy would be very hard to beat, as they have the size and skill to dominate.
I don't understand why Aldridge garners so little attention, as the Trail Blazers have a relatively large fan base and LaMarcus is having a fantastic season.
2. Kevin Love
I guess averaging 15 rebounds and 20 points isn't impressive enough to make the All-Star team the first time around. Sure, he plays for a mediocre Timberwolves team, but those are just insane numbers. The most remarkable thing about those numbers is that his game is not played under the basket, as he likes to camp around the foul line and hit mid-range jumpers. That shows he has a superb knack at judging where the ball is going to be.
Another thing he has improved on this season is his leadership ability. During every timeout you will see him talk to his teammates about what needs to be done. Plus, he is as consistent as they come at the four spot.
I would make that face too if I averaged over 15 rebounds a game and did not make the All-Star team at first.
1. Monta Ellis
Manu Ginobili Stats:
Monta Ellis Stats:
As you can see, Manu Ginobili has been statistically inferior to Monta Ellis, but he still got the ticket to go to All-Star Weekend. Sure, the Spurs have the best record in the NBA, but if anybody should have been an All-Star for the Spurs, it should have been Tony Parker. Plus, Ellis has kept the Warriors in contention for a playoff berth.
Ellis has dramatically improved his shot, as he has become a threat from deep, and is one of the best penetrators in the league. The trio of David Lee, Stephen Curry and Ellis is going to be very dangerous one day, as they are all young.
However, if a player that only averages 13 points a game (Tim Duncan) can make the team over someone almost averaging double that amount, then something needs to change.
Thanks for reading and I love to hear constructive criticism and comments!!!
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