The Real Most Overrated Players of the NBA's Latest Generation

Adam LawrenceContributor IJune 13, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - MARCH 27:  Vince Carter #15 of the New Jersey Nets watches on against the Los Angeles Lakers during their game on March 27, 2009 at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. 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 Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

So before I begin, I just want to say how much some of these recent lists have pissed me off. People have deemed players overrated for petty arguments against simple dislikes against players' abilities and careers.

This article is completely unbiased and true to the point, and it will focus on the qualities of an overrated player: mainly dealing with two specific questions... Have they lived up to their potential throughout their entire career? And have these individuals had careers in which they have been given to much respect for their overall play?

Let's begin.

10. Derek Fisher

Okay, we all know that he hit the big game winning shot in regulation against the Magic to win Game 4, but what many of us forget is that D-Fish was 0-5 from the 3-point line before that shot.

Look, Fisher is clutch and is obviously a player I would love to have on my team, but that doesn't mean he isn't overrated.

If you ask people, especially those in the media, they will have you believe that Fisher is one of the key reasons why the Lakers have succeeded this year and in the past.

Although he has a great commitment to the game and is a phenomenal team player, Fisher has always received credit for a few big shots in his career that may have saved him from being labeled a choke artist.

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D-Fish comes in the clutch, and he has provided valuable assistance for the Jazz and the Lakers throughout his career.

That said, his game throughout the season and even at times in the playoffs is immensely overrated.

(And he was on this list before Game 4 of the Finals, which makes this point especially difficult to reiterate).

9. Mehmet Okur

Okur is great shooting center, and has helped the Jazz out in many ways.

However, he is as overrated as anyone, and has done little to actually help the Jazz win over the past few seasons.

He did make the All-Star team a few years back, but after that dream season, he has had a career that has been far less successful than what most will admit.

Okur plays NO defense. Let me say that again, NO DEFENSE.

I have watched the man play in every game he is a part of, and he does absolutely nothing on the defensive end. Not only does he not contribute on the other side of the court, but he also has a knack for taking miserable shots that harm the team in the midst of any game.

To me, Okur is similar to Fisher. He has had a few big shots that have built his status to something his game cannot compete with. If you shoot 2-for-15 on a given night but hit a game winning three, does that really make you star?

Okur is overrated in the sense that he does little to help the Jazz in ways that they need, especially from the center position, and contributes only in certain aspects, at certain times throughout games.

8. Josh Howard

I really like what Howard brings to the Mavericks, but he is often times over-valued in the sense that he can take on the role as the "Number 2 Guy" in Dallas.

Howard was a great late first round pick for the Mavs several years back, and has done an awful lot for their organization, which makes the argument for him being overrated so challenging.

However, Howard has been disappointing in that after his rookie and sophomore campaigns, he had expectations to help lead the Mavericks to a championship, something he has done little to back up.

Howard often seems unmotivated on the court, and it shows by his poor performances in clutch situations when he cannot rise to his potential and help his team win.

For a guy who has the ability to score and rebound as a swingman the way Howard does, he often relies on Dirk, Terry, and anyone else on the Mavs to do his job, which is my main argument for the overrated label.

7. Chris Paul

I have so much respect for Chris Paul, and I feel that he has done almost everything to give New Orleans a shot at a championship.

That said, Paul is recognized by many to be the best point guard in the game, something I view to be an overrated statement.

For a while that recognition was acceptable, especially when he took the Hornets to the second round of the playoffs in his sophomore campaign.

But now, I am beginning to feel a little differently about the admiration given to Paul by basketball analysts and viewers.

For a while, I agreed that his team was not in shape to win a championship, but Paul was carrying the load and helping to develop many of the Hornet's players.

But with David West, Peja, Tyson Chandler, and a decent set of backups, that argument is beginning to sound a little weak.

The Hornets should have risen to their potential in the past few seasons and set out to win a championship, something they should have been capable of doing if Paul was as good as marketed.

His talent and ability to score in the paint are unmatched, yet his ability to lead a team successfully as point guard still is yet to be determined.

Paul is one of the NBA's brightest young talents, yet he has failed to do what his peers Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, and Deron Williams have done, which is taking a team deep into the playoffs and leading them not just on talent, but on intensity and leadership, both qualities of great point guards.

6. Rasheed Wallace

Rasheed has been credited with many things over the course of his career, from being one of the league's most intense (that's a nice way of saying the record-holder of technical fouls) and best shooting power forwards in the game.

While there was a time when Wallace was a dominant force with the Pistons in their run that concluded with a championship ring, Wallace often gets the credit for leading those teams deep into the playoffs.

I was a pretty big believer, that is, until I saw Chauncey Billups play for the Nuggets this season.

Billups was obviously the key force in those championship runs, and many people forget that Wallace was not always the brightest light in Detroit.

Ben Wallace was a phenomenal center in his day, and while his age and size have made it difficult to support that, I believe he was the Pistons dominant force down-low, not Rasheed.

Sheed is touted as one of the league's best competitors with his excellent overall play, both on the offensive and defensive end.

While this is somewhat true, Wallace receives way too much credit for his help with the Pistons and what he actually brought to the table.

With Chauncey and Wallace in their prime, any talented power forward, especially one that could shoot as well as Rasheed could, may have easily received equal credibility back in the day for the Pistons.

5. Mike D'Antoni

This one is a little special.

For a couple of teams, Coach D'Antoni has been the savior for their organizations.

However, D'Antoni hasn't always been as successful as he has been marketed to be.

This is a man who has turned around organizations in New York and Phoenix, but he has done this with quite a bit of talent surrounding him.

Its hard to argue that the Phoenix teams he had back a few seasons ago should have coasted through the playoffs to win at least a championship, but the argument can be made that while D'Antoni is a great builder of teams, the same argument can be made that he has never finished this process on the highest stage.

I have a lot of respect for what D'Antoni has done with his respective organizations, but he has never succeeded in doing what most coaches set out to do once in the league: win championships.

His lack of respect for the defensive side of the basketball has gained him a lot of publicity from fans and basketball analysts, yet he should not receive much of this credibility because of his major flaw in not building a winner, but building a marketable organization.

4. Tracy McGrady

There was a time when people were calling McGrady the next great swingman of the NBA. Obviously now, McGrady has disappointed critics, but I have been calling him overrated for years.

Case in point: This year's playoffs.

A Houston team that has been fully healthy for seasons (even with addition of Scola last year) never reached the second round of the playoffs with T-Mac at the helm.

Obviously the Rockets had to get through some pretty talented Jazz teams to get past the first round, but Portland presented a pretty similar challenge this year.

McGrady has been consistently disappointing, and while I hate to claim players overrated or underrated based off championships appearances or titles, McGrady doesn't even get that luxury because he has NEVER been past the first round.

For being as talented as he was, McGrady has never taken heat for his inability to carry a team deep into a season or just be flat-out disappointing in big games.

3. Carmelo Anthony

Melo has had a lot of things go his way over the course of his career. He was fortunate enough to be drafted by a team that was in decent shape at the time of his arrival, yet he hasn't really done anything to support the attention given to his game.

Anthony has been vastly disappointing in big games, and with J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin, even Camby for a time, Melo should have had this team in better shape to win before the arrival of Billups.

Melo is a scorer, and there is no doubt that his athletic ability on the floor is almost unrivaled, yet he hasn't produced the most out of his career and certainly out of his teammates.

This is a player who has been given so much applause at his successes, that no one has stopped to take a look at the problematic aspects of his game, which include leadership on and off the court and his inability to step up to challenges on the defensive end of the floor.

Sorry, Melo, but you have been vastly over-hyped since the day you came on the court.

2. Baron Davis

For a guy I love so much, Baron has accomplished very little for what should have been a great NBA career.

He is regarded as a top-notch point guard in the NBA, and his abysmal shooting percentage (it usually rounds out around 39 percent) has done little to help the many teams he has played for over the course of his career.

He is not a team player, and is not a point guard you can build a winner around, something that is often never said about Davis.

When guys like Chauncey Billups and Tony Parker succeed so admirably in leading their teams far into the playoffs, I always wonder why Davis has been touted with such high appreciation.

It always has bothered me why there are players who have never received enough credit for getting their job done at the point guard position, while guys like Baron Davis have been over-hyped simply because of their superior talent.

Again, Baron is a great player, and while his talent is often unmatched, the credit he gets for his actual aide to organizations is extremely generous.

1. Vince Carter

To me, this is a no-brainer.

Air Canada has been a sensation in the NBA for years, yet he has done nothing to improve his legacy by actually competing for a title and showing the heart that it takes to lead a team.

Although his career is nearing its end, and he is nowadays fairly considered as a player, there was a time when Vinsanity was crowned the next superstar of the league, even the next Michael Jordan.

It all matched, from his career with the Tar Heels to his outstanding athletic ability.

Yet Carter did little to actually create his own legacy, as most of it was handed to him after he showed off his skills at dunk competitions and his unmatched potential in games.

For a guy that was at one point threatening to lead a team to a title, Carter has really disappointed everyone in the latter part of his career with the Nets and with his inability to get past being just a shooting guard.

Carter could have easily lived up the hype he has received for his entire career, but he has refused to become a dominant threat, especially on the defensive side of the floor, and has never taken his game to the level that so many people have already placed him at.

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