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A Response to Miles Hines's Article on Overrated Players

Steven ResnickSenior Writer IJune 11, 2009

PHOENIX - FEBRUARY 15:  Shaquille O'Neal #32 of the Western Conference slam dunks over Rashard Lewis #9 of the Eastern Conference during the 58th NBA All-Star Game, part of 2009 NBA All-Star Weekend at US Airways Center on February 15, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Miles Hines recently wrote an article trying to point out the most overrated players in NBA history and his attempt started out well, but quickly fell of the tracks.

How much so?

In it, he describes Shaquille O'Neal as the most overrated player in NBA history.

Here's his top 10:

10. Kevin McHale

His reasoning for him being on the list at begins with a statement about his shoulders and knees.

The second point that he made to show why he considers McHale overrated was the trade that brought Kevin Garnett to the Celtics, which he describes as "the biggest gift to NBA viewers and it had nothing to with his basketball game."

McHale won two Sixth Men of the Year awards, made the All-Rookie First Team, a three-time First-Team All-Defense, one appearance on the First-Team All-NBA, and three-time Second Team All-Defense.

What's even more, he appeared in 971 career games and he started only 400 of those games, meaning that he started less than half for his career; in fact, his total percentage of starts is at 41 percent.

For his career he averaged 17.9 points per game, 7.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.7 blocks per game, shot 55.4 percent from the field, and 79.8 percent from the free throw line. 

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In the playoffs, McHale averaged 18.8 points per game, 7.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.6 blocks, on 56.1 percent shooting, and 78.8 percent from the free throw line.

Overrated hardly, quite possibly one of the more underrated forwards in NBA history.

Alongside Larry Bird, he helped the Boston Celtics win three NBA championships.

9. Bill Laimbeer

Hines is quoted as saying "he was not a factor in the championships and rings of the 'Bad Boy' Pistons."

Really? That couldn't be further from the truth.

Laimbeer provided the inside presence the Pistons needed. He was tough as nails and is one of the reasons why you hear about "no easy baskets" from NBA commentators, especially in the playoffs.

If you got a clear path to the goal against the Pistons you tried to finish before a Piston clobbered you and forced you to earn your points at the free throw line.

The "Bad Boys Era" was a great time for the NBA when the game was physical and you rarely saw weak, ticky-tack fouls.

For his career, Laimbeer averaged 12.9 points per game, 9.7 rebounds, 2 assists, and .9 blocks per game, on 49.8 percent shooting, and 83.7 percent from the free throw line.

In the playoffs, he had 12 points per game, 9.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists, on 46.7 percent shooting, and 81.8 percent from the free-throw line.

Laimbeer may not have been as big of a name during the run by the Pistons due to having Isaiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, and Dennis Rodman, but his role as a solid interior player on both sides of the ball cannot be overstated and he helped the Pistons win their two championships.

Also, Laimbeer is one of only six players in Pistons history to have their numbers retired. So, it is obvious that Laimbeer contributed to the team.  

8. Tim Duncan

Miles starts out mentioning the players who have helped Tim Duncan in David Robinson, Sean Elliott, Avery Johnson, and Mario Elie. One of Miles's most ridiculous quotes comes right here "all were champions who showed the young boy in the league."

First of all, Miles has got this one wrong. None of those players had a championship ring except for Elie, who had two with the Houston Rockets.

Elie throughout his career was always a role player, and yes, he probably helped in the development of Tim Duncan, but when the Spurs won their four championships, Duncan was the proven leader.

Robinson never won a championship until Duncan arrived, and yes, Robinson helped create him into the star that he is today. Robinson taught him to be humble and play to his strengths, which are his fundamentals.

Fans can call Duncan boring, but that couldn't be further from the truth.

He is the greatest power forward in NBA history because of his all-around game and his leadership in four NBA championships for the Spurs.

His career stats and awards reflect his greatness and he isn't done yet. He may be slowing down on the offensive side, but he is still one of the great defenders in the league.

Tony Parker and Manu Ginboli have fit well into Gregg Popovich's system, and having the consistency of core players has helped them achieve championships together.

Is Duncan overrated?

No.

7. Robert Horry

One of the most clutch shooters of all time. He made shot after shot that have put him in the spotlight and helped his team win whether it was the Rockets, Lakers, or Spurs.

This isn't about numbers, because let's face it Horry was never a player who was going to be a big-time scorer or rebounder, but had a decent outside shot and could get rebounds.

Miles equates that during the regular season Horry is just a player taking minutes away from youngsters because Horry was never the third-best player on the team.

What's interesting, though, is the fact that Miles ignores the fact that Horry played in 1107 games, but started 481 of those games. Meaning that he started only 43.7 percent of the games he played in and only averaged 24.4 minutes per game for his career.

So what minutes was Horry taking away from?

The answer: he wasn't.

In those last-second shots, the coaches had him in for a reason, because he could hit the three and he did hit them.

He has seven championship rings, and yes, he did it as a role player, but does that really take away from his accomplishments?

No.

Is he overrated?

No.

6. Charles Barkley

Here's another laugher. Yes, Barkley never won a championship ring in his career although, later on in his career he tried joining the Houston Rockets to win a ring.

Barkley for his size was a great rebounder. He was only 6'6" and 250-plus pounds. So due to his big body he could get into position and rebound against taller players.

Barkley has one Most Valuable Player Award, a All-Rookie First Team, five First Team All-NBA, five Second Team All-NBA, and one Third Team All-NBA.

For his career, Barkley averaged 22.1 points per game, 11.7 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.5 steals, .8 blocks per game, on 54.1 percent shooting, and 73.5 percent from the line.

For his playoff career, Barkley averaged 23 points per games, 12.9 rebounds per game, 3.9 assists, 1.6 steals per game, .9 blocks per game, on 51.3 percent shooting, and 71.7 percent from the line.

Although, Barkley may never be known for his defense he could hold his own especially with only being 6'6".

Barkley is far from overrated.

5. Wilt Chamberlain

Miles's last quote "people were scared of him and no one could match his strength and size. He was a man amongst boys for a long time, until he became old and wasn't the same force."

That's funny considering the fact that in his last season in the NBA he had his best year from the field, shooting a staggering 72.7 percent from the field, he also averaged 13.2 points per game, 18.6 rebounds, and 4.5 assists.

The only thing that slowed down for Chamberlain in his final season was his scoring.

Chamberlain did win four Most Valuable Player Awards, one Finals Most Valuable Player Award, Rookie of the Year, seven First Team All-NBA, three Second Team All-NBA, and two First Team All-Defense.

For his career, he averaged 30.1 points per game, 22.9 rebounds, 4.4 assists, on 54 percent shooting, and 51.1 percent from the free throw line.

In the playoffs, he averaged 22.5 points per game, 24.5 rebounds, 4.2 assists, on 52.2 percent shooting, and 46.5 percent from the free throw line.

Blocks and steals at the time were not recorded stats, but be assured Chamberlain is more than likely the No. 1 shot blocker in NBA history.

Also, what is overlooked is the fact that Chamberlain was an excellent passer in fact he had season where he averaged 8.6 assists and another where he averaged 7.8 assists.

In the playoffs, he had a series where he averaged nine assists a game and another where he averaged 6.5 assists per game.

Chamberlain was a part of two championship teams. What he brought to the table is what makes him the best center of all time.

Is he overrated?

No.

Will he ever be considered overrated?

Never.

4. Oscar Robertson

Another silly quote of Miles is this one "You know why no one else can ever ever ever average a triple double for an entire season? Because the seasons are much longer now and all players are too athletic and gifted."

So, basically Miles is trying to state that Oscar Robertson who is the all-time leader in triple-doubles wouldn't have so many because the seasons are longer now and that there's more talent today.

So, basically he's saying that a two-game difference is the reason why no player can average a triple-double. Then he tries to state that the talent level Robertson played against would be considered high school caliber.

Interesting considering the fact he played at the time of Bob Pettit, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Dolph Schayes, Bailey Howell, Bob Cousy, Tom Gola, Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, and a lot more NBA greats.

Yet, even with that Miles ignores the fact that when Robertson averaged his triple-double, he did it in 79 games, meaning by today's standard he'd have missed three games.

For the season he averaged 30.8 points per game, 12.5 rebounds, and 11.4 assists. Some of Robertson's seasons are the best of all time, including the season when he averaged a triple-double.

Robertson is far from overrated.

3. Jerry West

Again, Miles comes up with pure nonsense by stating that the talent level during the time West was around was below standard and that there was no one around to defend him.

Oscar Robertson was around and all the players listed above were around, including the greatest center of all-time and the second greatest center of all-time in Russell.

West was a legitimate scorer and contributed rebounding and passing the ball and his career numbers reflect this.

For his career West averaged 27 points per game, 6.7 assists, 5.8 rebounds, on 47.4 percent shooting, and 81.4 percent from the foul line.

In the playoffs, West averaged 29.1 points per game, 6.4 assists, 5.6 rebounds, on 46.9 percent shooting, and 80.5 percent from the free throw line.

Calling one of the greatest guards in NBA history overrated just doesn't cut it.

2. Karl Malone

The second-best power forward in NBA history is Malone. He could score, he could rebound, and it wasn't like teams did not know what the Jazz were running: the pick and roll with John Stockton.

Malone was also a tough customer, and yes, he may have never won a championship, but that doesn't mean he wasn't a great player.

Yes, he lost to the Bulls in the finals, it doesn't take away from the fact he was a great player.

Also, what separates him the most from a lot of other players was his durability. Malone rarely missed games and only once did he miss a majority of a season. He did try to win a championship with the Lakers, but they did not win.

Malone and Stockton lead a list as the best players never to win a championship.

Malone won two Most Valuable player Awards, 11 First Team All-NBA, two First Team All-Defense, First Team All-Rookie, two Second Team All-NBA, and one Third Team All-NBA.

For his career, Malone averaged 25 points, 10.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.4 steals, .8 blocks per game, on 51.6 shooting, and 74.2 percent from the free throw line.

In the playoffs, he averaged 24.7 points per game, 10.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.33 steals per game, .7 blocks per game, on 46.3 percent shooting, and 73.6 percent from the field.

The second-best power forward to play in the NBA cannot and will never be considered overrated.  

1. Shaquille O'Neal

Miles calls Shaq the most overrated player of all time because he got to a Finals with Penny Hardaway, won three championships with Kobe, and a championship with Dwyane Wade.

Miles calls Shaq "the luckiest man of all time." Yet, there's something completely missed when Shaq won the three championships in L.A. Shaq won the championships because he was the leader of the team; he was the go-to guy.

He helped create Kobe. If it wasn't for Shaq, Kobe has no rings. It was Shaq who helped Kobe the most by creating space and allowing Byrant lanes to get to the basket or hit open jumpers.

His fourth championship was with Wade. Shaq was a shell of his former self because he was getting older and had injury issues, but even with that Shaq being a presence in the paint for Wade helped Wade and the Heat win the championship.

For his career O'Neal has a Rookie of the Year, one Most Valuable Player Award, three Finals Most Valuable Player Awards, First Team All-Rookie, eight First Team All-NBA, two Second Team All-NBA, two Second Team All-Defense, and two Third Team All-NBA. 

O'Neal career averages so far are 24.7 points per game, 11.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 2.4 blocks, on 58.2 percent from the field, and 52.8 percent from the free throw line.

In the playoffs, he averages 25.2 points per game, 12.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.2 blocks, on 56.4 percent from the field, and 50.1 percent from the free throw line.

Shaq is one of the best centers of all time and he's nowhere near being overrated.

On the last two, he defends his argument saying that Shaq is lucky to have the four rings and then calls out Malone for not winning a ring, even though Malone came to Los Angeles seeking one and almost had the chance of winning one along with Gary Payton.

There's no denying the fact that the article is totally flawed, and that most of if not all players that he attempted to portray as overrated actually were.

Each player, whether they had a big role or small role, meant a lot more than what Hines gave credit for and for them to be called overrated couldn't be further from the truth. The numbers, the stats, and overall abilities of each players prove that.  

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