NBA Power Rankings: Andrew Bynum and the 10 Most Underrated Players in the Game

Andy BaileyFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2011

NBA Power Rankings: Andrew Bynum and the 10 Most Underrated Players in the Game

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Andrew Bynum was key as the Los Angeles Lakers crushed the Orlando Magic last night.  He grabbed 18 rebounds, scored 10 points and blocked four shots.

    He's been playing extremely well lately, but with the Lakers, all we ever hear about is Kobe Bryant.

    Kris Humphries has been one of the most dominant power forwards in the NBA over the last few weeks, but you wouldn't know it by watching ESPN.

    Kevin Martin has been one of the league's most efficient scorers over the last few years.  Again, you don't hear about him much.

    The NBA has the best athletes in the world.  It's loaded with talent.  With all those great players, it's easy to see how some don't get the attention they deserve.

    This slideshow will rank the most underrated players in the NBA.  Keep in mind, these guys are being ranked on who is the most underrated, not who is the best overall player.

10: Arron Afflalo

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    The Denver Nuggets are clearly a better team now that the Carmelo Anthony saga is behind them.  

    They're much better defensively, they play like a team on offense and they just look hungrier now.

    After Melo's departure, many Nuggets have risen from the shadows.  Guys like Ty Lawson and Nene are making the most of the extra responsibility and getting some recognition in the process.

    One guy who still doesn't get a ton of credit is Arron Afflalo.

    He's been this team's best on-ball defender and the Nuggets' most reliable three-point shooter over the last two years.  

    He's averaging a career high 12.9 points per game while shooting 50 percent from the field and 43 percent from three-point range. 

9: Monta Ellis

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Every NBA fan is aware of what Monta Ellis can do, but I still don't think he gets the credit he deserves.

    He's seventh in the league in scoring at just under 25 points a game.  He's shooting 45 percent from the field and a career-high 36 percent from three-point range this season.

    We all know he can score, but Ellis does so much more than that.  He's a very underrated distributor (5.4 assists a game) and a tenacious defender despite his small stature for a shooting guard.

    He's third in the league in steals per game at 2.3.

    If the Warriors could ever get a real presence inside (David Lee isn't that), this team, with its backcourt of Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis, could be very scary.

8: Andre Iguodala

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    The Philadelphia 76ers got off to a terrible start this year, but they've come on very strong lately.  In fact, they are now just percentage points behind the New York Knicks for the Eastern Conference's sixth seed.

    This team's season can be seen as a direct reflection of Iguodala's health.  He wasn't at 100 percent to start the year and the team was bad.

    Now, he's back to his old self and Philadelphia is surging.

    He doesn't score a ton, but he does so many other things well.  With averages of 14 points, six rebounds and six assists per game, he's one of the league's best triple-double threats.

7: Ryan Anderson

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    In the very limited minutes that he gets, Ryan Anderson is one of the most versatile and effective power forwards in the NBA.

    He averages 18 points and eight rebounds per 36 minutes.  His fantastic range for a 6'10" player helps him make the Magic a much better offensive team when he's on the floor.

    He shoots 43 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range.

6: DeJuan Blair

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    DeJuan Blair was recently demoted to San Antonio's bench, but it couldn't have been for lack of effort. (Popovich is always switching lineups for seemingly no reason.)

    What Blair has been able to do in limited minutes as a 6'7" center is incredible.  

    He's at least four or five inches shorter in most of his matchups, but he's still averaging 14 points and 12 rebounds per 36 minutes.

    Energy and intensity are his calling cards, and he brings both in abundance whenever he's on the floor.

5: Andrew Bynum

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    Andrew Bynum has been on an absolute tear lately.  He's averaging better than 13 points and 14 rebounds, and shooting over 70 percent from the field in March.

    And while those numbers are great, when I think of Bynum, I can't help but think about how productive he could be in a situation in which he's the man.

    With the Lakers, he's the third, and sometimes even the fourth or fifth, option on offense.

    If he were the centerpiece of a franchise, I have no doubt he could post averages of at least 20 and 12.

    He's very long, strong and plays with great intensity.

    Of course, the big knock on him is durability.  If he can stay healthy through the playoffs this year, the Lakers should get Phil Jackson his fourth three-peat.

4: Kevin Martin

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Kevin Martin has averaged over 20 points a game in each of his last five seasons.  And he scores in a very efficient way.

    For his career, he averages about a point-and-a-half per shot attempt.  His solid three-point shooting (38 percent for his career) contributes to that stat, but the key with Martin is free throws.

    The guy just knows how to draw fouls.  This year he's fourth in the league in free-throw attempts, and first among guards.  And it's about more than just getting to the line.  Martin hits the freebies.  He's at 89 percent from the line this year.

3: Tyler Hansbrough

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    I've been calling for the Pacers to give Hansbrough the minutes he deserves for months now.  He's finally getting them and making the most of his opportunity.

    He is one of the most relentless, hard-nosed players in the entire NBA.  And he's only now starting to get some recognition for it.

    On the year, he's averaging 18 points and nine rebounds per 36 minutes.  Lately, he's been one of the best power forwards in the NBA.

    He's averaging 19 and eight in the month of March, and 23 and eight since being promoted to his current role as the Pacers starting power forward.

    What's interesting about Hansbrough is that this is his first full season in the league.  He still has a ton of room to improve.

    If he can solidify his on-ball defense, defensive rebounding and mid-range shot, he could be an All-Star within the next couple years.

2: Kris Humphries

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    When Deron Williams was traded to the Nets, I wrote an article comparing the Jazz and Nets at each position.  I said Paul Millsap and Kris Humphries was a push and Jazz fans murdered me for it.

    Well, I will admit that I was wrong.  Just not wrong in the way Jazz fans thought I was.  Kris Humphries is better.  In fact, his production since the departure of Derrick Favors has been remarkable.

    I knew he would step into this role and be very productive, but even I didn't see this coming.  In the month of March, he's averaging 17 points and 17 rebounds per game.

    This has come as a huge surprise to most, but only as a mild one to me.  For the entire season, he's averaging 13 points and 13 rebounds per 36 minutes.  

    He's sixth in the league in rebounds per game at 9.9, and 114th in the league in minutes per game at 26.7.

1: Zach Randolph

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    Zach Randolph's production is off the charts.  He puts up better numbers than almost any power forward in the league, and he's the biggest reason the Grizzlies are firmly in the hunt for the playoffs this year.

    Somehow, he's rarely, if ever, mentioned as one of the best power forwards in the league.  He's third in the NBA in rebounds per game at 12.8, and 19th in scoring at 20.8 points per game.  He's also tied with Kevin Love for the league lead in offensive rebounds per game.

    Many people thought the Grizzlies might fall off the map when Rudy Gay went down with an injury, but Zach Randolph has kept them in the playoffs.