Being the first article of many that I have written and will submit to BR, I thought it would be a fun topic to discuss who I feel is the most underrated player on each NBA team.
These players are the most underrated in my opinion and if any of you readers think of another player who is more rewarding of the title of being the "most underrated", feel free to drop a comment.
It truly boggles my mind how Josh Smith has never been selected as an NBA all star. Smith is by far one of the most athletic freaks in the NBA today. Not only can Smith tear down the rim whenever he pleases, he is also by far one of the top shot blockers in the NBA and he is only 6'9!
Smith's athleticism at times, may overshadow how productive of a player he currently is and can be in the future. He has a very respectful stats line with almost every category improving on a yearly basis.
The only real problem that I have noticed with Smith that may be hindering him from moving to the next level of super stardom, is his ever burning desire to fire a ton of three point shots. Smith really doesn't need to shoot any threes because he is more than capable of scoring in the paint every time down the floor and his long range shot isn't his bread and butter.
If Smith limits the amount of three's he shoots per game and keeps on playing hard on a nightly basis, Smith may be an all star sooner than later.
As you can probably tell from the funny video above, my next choice for underrated player goes to none other than Big Baby himself.
Davis is a very emotional and funny character, who sometimes gets lost behind talks of the "Big Four" in Celtic's land. But the fact of the mater is, Davis is turning into quite the NBA player.
Davis is averaging career highs in every statistical category and has held down the fort, while Perkins and both of the O'Neal's have been recovering from injuries.
Now that Perkins was traded to the Thunder it has become more apparent that baby's role will continue to grow for the Celtics.
Don't be so surprised if Davis turns out to be more important in the playoffs than the aging O'Neal's.
Last year was the first time in Bobcats history that they made the playoffs. At that time the anchor for the team was Raymond Felton.
Fast forward one year ahead, and the starting point guard is D.J. Augustin. If the playoffs started today the Bobcats would fall 1 game short of the 8th seed, but since each team has 20 games or more left to play, there is a strong chance they make it.
Now making the playoffs this year isn't a spectacular feat for the Bobcats, its actually expected after their success last year.
But taking into account what has occurred over the past few month's from the firing of Larry Brown, to the numerous trade talks and rumors as well as the shipping of Gerald Wallace to the Trailblazers, Augustin has been the one bright spot on this team.
After the departure of Felton to the Knicks, Augustin has proven time and time again that he deserves the starting role for the Bobcats.
Augustin is among the league leaders in free throw percentage, he is almost doubling his career assists average at just over 6 a game and is scoring a respectable 14.3ppg.
It's scary to think that this talented of a player wasn't a starter last year.
Luol Deng has been an absolute stud pretty much since the day he stepped into the NBA. But somehow Deng has managed to stay under the radar every year.
When Deng started playing for the Bulls in the beginning of his career, most of the attention was targeted towards Ben Gordon. Six seasons later and all of the attention is on Derrick Rose.
There is no question that Rose is the best player on the bulls and deserves all the praise he receives, but I always wondered why Gordon was more touted than Deng.
The fact that Deng is still playing for the Bulls at a really high level and Gordon is currently coming of the bench for the Pistons says a lot.
If Deng stays healthy, come playoff time, people will see the true value that he brings to the Bulls.
Hickson's improvement of late is a testament of how good he really can be. Hickson has an extremely high level of potential that, with the right amount of playing time, he should have no trouble reaching.
It won't be long until Hickson averages 20ppg and 10rpg while hovering around 2 blocks. He has all the tools needed to get to this level.
If the Cavaliers start building around him in the off season and draft the right pieces, (Kyle Irving or Derrick Williams) then the Cav's may rebuild quicker than most people think.
As of right now the Mavericks are one of the deepest teams in the NBA, and for the first time in a while, will be a major threat in the playoffs.
Their bench is extremely deep, with J.J. Barea facilitating at the point. Barea is listed at 6 feet tall which I think is a bit of a stretch, but what Barea lacks in size, he makes up with heart.
Barea has shown flashes of brilliance this year, dropping more than 20 points on more than one occasion as well as dishing out a number of assists.
Today, Barea maybe the back up point guard for the Mavericks, but he is without a doubt the point guard of the future when Kidd retires.
Plain and simple, Nene is one of the best center's in the league and is another major snub from the all star game.
Nene has spent his entire career with the Nuggets and no other year has been as much of a challenge as this year. Between all of the melo-drama, Nene has put together his best year in the league leading the NBA in field goal percentage and improving in both his free throw and scoring touch.
Nene's services has never been needed more, now that the Nugget's are currently searching for their new identity. Expect big things out of this Brazilian beast.
It's not often that the most underrated player on a team is a rookie, but Monroe is a deserving choice.
Monroe is currently playing for one of the most dysfunctional organizations in the NBA, and is playing great. Over the past few weeks Monroe has been averaging almost a double-double on a nightly basis.
But Monroe's stellar production is highly overshadowed by all of the chemistry problems with the players and organization.
Monroe is averaging about 8ppg and 7rpg and is truly becoming a diamond in the rough for Detroit.
This off season saw the Miami Heat create one of the scariest trios in league history, with the additions of Bosh and James to their roster. By doing this, the Heat needed to dismantle almost their entire rotation and bench from last season.
Dorell Wright was one of these players who was forced to find a new team to call home, and boy has he found a new home in Golden State.
Wright's production has skyrocketed this year and he has been mentioned as a potential most improved player award winner.
Although I consider myself a fan of Wright's game, I must admit I didn't think Wright would improve this much in such a short time. He plays almost as if he has a chip on his shoulder and has something to prove.
He has proved to me that he's underrated and has a bright future ahead of him.
Budinger is a player that I really think is a year or two away from becoming a player that will be recognized around the league.
Do I think Budinger will be an NBA all star down the road, I would have to say probably not, but there is no reason why he can't be one of the main guys on a solid Rockets team.
From first glance, it would surprise many to think that this kids got some major hops, but he really does. Not only can he throw down the hammer, but he can actually score on a consistent basis!
With more minutes, Budinger will show the basketball world how prolific of a scorer he can be.
Is it just me or is Indiana a team on the rise? If you look up and down their roster they have a lot of great young prospects on their team and Hansbrough is one of them.
Hansbrough is a player that has shown at times that he can be a double double machine, but still needs a little work on his game and more minutes to gain these numbers.
If Hansbrough works hard on all aspects of his game, I really feel that he can be an all-star some day down the road. For a player who is still raw, he averages almost 9ppg and 5rpg.
Hansbrough is a name that you shouldn't forget, trust me :)
Blake Griffin and the Clippers have become the talk of the NBA almost overnight. They have loads of talent from Eric Gordon, DeAndre Jordan and of course Blake.
In addition to all of these young guns is Randy Foye. Now if you look at his numbers, they are down from previous years, but the Clippers are still the perfect fit for Foye.
As of late, Foye has been having some huge games for the Clippers dropping some 20 point and 30 point games. Foye's average of 10ppg for the year should start to increase over the last 20 games of the season.
With all eyes on Gordon and Griffin, Foye should go under the radar and score easy baskets for years to come.
I'm sure everyone saw the campaign that surfaced last year called "let Shannon dunk". I for one was one of the people who prayed that his campaign would work, and of course it did.
Much to my dismay, Brown was a major disappointment. Thankfully his play during the regular season is the exact opposite.
Brown has loads of talent and will be an integral part of the Lakers potential three-peat.
It's fitting to show a picture with both Marc (right) and his brother Pau (left), because Marc has pretty much been in his brother's shadow since he first stepped on the court. Marc isn't as polished of a player as his older brother, but one day all the pieces will fall in place.
Memphis in general is one of the most underrated teams in the league and can make any seven game series in the playoffs an interesting one. It's fitting that one of the most underrated teams has one of the games most underrated players period.
I really hope Marc comes to the Raptors one day. We need you buddy!
Ah, the self-proclaimed "Heatles". They really have been the talk of the town ever since LeBron took his "talents to South beach". Thankfully this article has nothing to do with the over publicized "big three".
In regards to the most underrated player on the Heat, the title would have to go to Udonis Haslem. Heat fans and bandwagon jumpers alike, are really going to appreciate the value of Haslem when he returns to the court.
There has been a lack of depth in the front court aside from Bosh, and Haslem will help fill the void nicely. Haslem has a respectful 10ppg and 8.1rpg and with Bosh, Wade, and James directing most of the opposing teams attention, Haslem will get some really easy buckets in the paint.
I'm going to go out on limb right now, and say that Ilyasova is the best Turkish player currently in the league. I'm sure Magic fans are probably going to have a fit when I say he's the best, but his game is really improving year by year.
When he's on, Ilyasova can shoot lights out and he is also a very underrated rebounder to boot. The next step Ilyasova needs to take to become a better player is consistency.
If Ilyasova can become a more consistent all around player on a nightly basis and continue to improve, then he become the number 2 or 3 scoring option for the Bucks down the road.
Laugh all you want, but Milicic has been quite a pleasant surprise for the Timberwolves this season.
Milicic is currently fourth in the league in blocks per game at 2.2, and scoring almost 10ppg while tallying around 5.5rpg as well.
I am quite surprised that Milicic has preformed so well for the T'wolves, but I must say I am happy for the guy. He has always had the label as one of the leagues biggest draft busts, because he was selected before Wade, Bosh and Anthony.
Nonetheless, it's nice to hear some positive things about Milicic for a change.
Mr. Kardashian, I mean Humphries, has been another player who seemingly came out of nowhere and is now producing at a high level on a nightly basis.
I say "out of nowhere" loosely, because I for one am a die-hard Raptors fan and saw Humphries play for us a few years back. Humphries didn't always play this great each game, but there definitely were times when he would get a double double and look like a 10 year veteran in the league.
Humphries has come a long way and I would like to seem him continue to improve.
Ariza has been one of my favorite players in the NBA ever since he played his first game.
He kind of reminds me of a more athletic, but poor man's version of Manu Ginobili, because he can pretty much do it all on the court and he brings the intangibles to a team that you pretty much can't teach.
It really shocks me to think that he has been on five teams in such a short time in the NBA. I guess the saying "you don't know what you have until it's gone" fits perfectly with Ariza.
If asked the question; is Chauncey Billups the most underrated player on the Knicks? The answer most likely would be no and I agree. The most underrated player is probably Toney Douglas.
But the fact that Billups was considered as just a "throw in" by many in the Anthony blockbuster trade, is ludicrous. Yes Billups talent is slowly declining, but he is still a great player.
It's fitting that Billups wasn't recognized as an important part of the trade, since he was pretty much a journeyman for the early years in his career.
So what has Billups done since he joined the Knicks, averaged 23.3ppg 6rpg and 4.8rpg, that's all.
In just two short years in the NBA, Ibaka has went from a raw athletic freak, to a consistent beast.
I really feel that the sky's the limit with Ibaka. Once he improves his jump shot, good luck stopping him.
In the future I can see Ibaka getting the rare triple-double from; points, rebounds and blocks more than once.
The Thunder is a team on the rise and are one of my favorites to come out of the West come playoff time.
With more playing time awarded, Ryan Anderson is quickly becoming one of the better shooting big men in the league.
The Magic are currently lacking one more solid big guy to help take the load off of Howard in the post. Although I don't see Anderson as the Magic or Howard's saviour, I do see a solid rotation player who's game is getting better each month and a guy who can be around for a long time in this league.
At 10.8ppg and 5.1rpg from a guy who is coming of the bench, I doubt there is complaints about his production.
After a solid rookie campaign, Jrue Holiday is now a member on the list of next year's potential breakout stars.
Holiday rarely gets the attention that he deserves and it won't be long until he becomes a household name. Holiday is a a triple-double waiting to happen averaging 13.8ppg 6.3apg and 4rpg.
Over the next few years the 16 teams who passed on him in the draft are going to be kicking themselves, because he has all star written all over him.
Man oh man, did the Magic make a big mistake trading away the "Polish Hammer". It has been said that Gortat was the "best backup big man in the league" and rightfully so.
Today, Gortat is still the backup center now playing for the Suns, but he will be infiltrated into the starting lineup in no time.
Gortat's numbers have increased drastically while playing with the Suns. It helps that Gortat plays with a future hall of fame point guard in Steve Nash, but you can't deny that he was a great steal for the Suns.
It must be extremely frustrating to be a Blazers fan, because on paper this team is one of the deepest teams with talent spread out in each position.
But, the Blazers have never had the ability to reach their full potential with injuries coming to their star players at an alarming rate. Although this team has been hurt, the Blazers have preformed exceptionally well with the players left on the roster.
One of the major contributors to the injury-rattled Blazer teams success is Nicolas Batum. Batum's name was thrown around during the trade rumor mill for quite some time, and I am glad for the organization that they didn't part ways with his services.
With the help of LaMarcus Aldridge and of course Batum, the Blazers will be a really tough team to take down in the playoffs.
Beno Udrih's play this year has been one of the few bright spots on a Sacramento team that has underachieved.
Udrih has had many high scoring games this year, while shooting at a really good percentage. Udrih is posting career high in points (13.7) steals (1.2) and matching a career best in rebounds and assists.
It should be noted that Udrih was destined to be at least a good player in this league, because he was drafted by the Spurs!
This was by far the toughest choice to single out the most underrated player on this team, and I just couldn't do it. The Spurs as a whole are just plain underrated.
I don't think there is anyone outside the state of Texas who thought the Spurs would have the best record in the league after 60 games. To this day, I wonder what the Spurs secret to success is.
Not only are they posting one of the leagues best records in recent memory, but their doing it under the radar somehow!
I heard Greg Popovich openly say that he will retire whenever Tim Duncan decides to as well. Now Here's an open invitation coming from a Raptors fan...please coach the Raptors when your done with the Spurs i beg of you!!!!!!!
I have the luxury of seeing Amir Johnson play on a nightly basis and frankly, this guy is full of talent.
Johnson's stats are improving by the day and I feel as if he is another potential breakout star in the next year or two. The only demon that is holding Johnson back from blowing up, is the high number of fouls that he commits.
Johnson reminds me of a less athletic, but better rebounding version of Josh Smith, because they are both undersized yet are great around the basket and can shot block like crazy.
I was skeptical at first when Johnson signed a 5 year 34 million deal with the Raptors this past summer, but he's quickly becoming worth the money.
Can someone explain to me how this three time leading rebounder in the NCAA fell to the number 47pick in the draft? I for one don't understand it.
Millsap is proving that it doesn't matter when you get drafted, it just matters that you got drafted.
With the departure of Carlos Boozer and the addition of the injury prone Al Jefferson this past off season, the Jazz needed to turn to someone on their roster to help with the rebounding and scoring that was sure to be missed.
Millsap has filled in really nicely, averaging around 17ppg and 8rpg while shooting 53% from the field.
Now that Williams has also left the Jazz, Millsap's role will continue to grow and so will his production.
Nick Young has made a late case for the most improved player of the year award, and I would have to think that he would be a deserving candidate.
Ever since the Wizards put an end to the Gilbert Arenas era in Washington, Young has been lighting it up almost every night.
There's at least one game every week that Young will drop around 30 points. Young also scored his career high of 43 points against the Kings earlier this year in an impressive fashion.
I doubt when Young's career comes to an end that 43 points will be his career high.
I hope you enjoyed my article and I would really appreciate as much comments and reads as possible!