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NBA All-Unsexy Team: Most Under Appreciated Players In The NBA

Josh RothContributor IJanuary 5, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 02:  Shane Battier #31 of the Houston Rockets reacts in the second half against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on December 2, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. The Rockets defeated the Clippers 102-85. 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 Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Have you ever witnessed a player that does so much out on court, but the stats won’t prove that he had a big night? Or players that consistently put up big numbers, but never make any flashy plays, they are just fundamentally sound? Or how about the guys that the media seems to forget because of the position and/or the location of which they are playing? There are so many players who go unrecognized that deserve better recognition.  Here I will list the players that are so unsexy that they are sexy, in my rendition of the All-Unsexy team.

First Team

PG-Kirk Hinrich, Chicago Bulls

Kirk Hinrich is very much under appreciated, especially in his own city of Chicago.  The reason for him being on this list is his defensive ability.  He is a shut down defender and proved his case against Paul Pierce and others in last year’s playoffs.  Not only that, but he is given such assignments as Kobe Bryant and Dwayne Wade, which is not an easy task, but happens to give them fits, especially Wade.  If you need further proof, look at the recent game against Orlando where he was forced to guard Vince Carter, who wound up shooting 3/15 from the field.  He also is not regarded as the best defender on guards/small forwards that title somehow goes to Deng, who in that same game guarded Matt Barnes who scored 23 points. He also is a nice team leader and is willing to do whatever it takes to win even if it means not running the point or coming off the bench, which he embraced with open arms.

SG-Joe Johnson, Atlanta Hawks

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Now, I realize that NBA fans probably recognize the name and realize that he is a solid player in this league, but I wonder if people truly realize how special of a player Joe Johnson really is for the Atlanta Hawks.  Firstly, the Atlanta Hawks were an absolutely awful team before Joe got there and within a couple of years there Joe Johnson has played a huge role in getting the Hawks back into the playoffs and could even see them make a run for the Eastern Conference crown.  He averages over 20 points a game, five assists, five rebounds, and a steal, while shooting a solid 45 percent from the field and 34 from beyond the arc this year.  He also happens to be in the final year of his contract and may get lost within the huge names that also become available and who ever winds up getting him will get a star.

SF-Shane Battier, Houston Rockets

Outside of Houston, I don’t think people truly understand how great of a player Shane Battier is.  For starters, he may be the best defender in the game.  I have not seen anyone play better defense than Shane Battier, but you will probably never see this guy win an NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Why? Because Shane Battier doesn’t put up those “sexy” stats that everyone looks for, like steals, blocks, defensive rebounds, etc. Plus Shane Battier is not an elite player in the media so it is hard for him to get recognition.  Not only is he a great defender, but he is also a fantastic teammate and truly is an ideal guy to have on any team.  He is very selfless, he goes all out, and he plan and simple, is a winner.

PF-Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs

It may be a well known fact that Tim Duncan is a great player, who many know will be Hall of Famer, but the way the media covers him, it sure doesn’t seem that way.  Tim Duncan is possibly the greatest power forward to ever play the game, but many just feel his game is bland and none too thrill.  However, Tim Duncan is fundamentally one of the, if not, the best in the game and there is no one in the league that can kiss it off the glass quite as well as Tim Duncan.  Not only that, but the guy puts down 20 points and 10 boards on a daily basis and is also a very good to great defender in this league.  Oh and he has won four NBA championships, the same as Kobe Bryant and Shaq, who won three of those together.

C-Chris Kaman, Los Angeles Clippers

Certainly Chris Kaman fits on this team in multiple ways.  He is not the most athletic player out there and happens to catch the injury bug now and again, but when healthy this guy has All Star written all over him.  He is a double-double machine and is having a fantastic year this year.  He has always been one of the league’s best rebounders and when healthy averages around 16 points a game with close to or over 10 rebounds and is another good defender, who blocks a good deal of shots. However, this year he has been playing outstanding basketball averaging over 20 points and over nine rebounds this year, which should make him an All Star.  If he does not make the team then there is another reason for making this team and there would be a serious flaw in the selection process. 

Second Team

PG-Jose Juan Barea, Dallas Mavericks

This was a tough, but I decided to go with Jose Juan Barea. I have really enjoyed what I have seen from Jose Juan Barea, although it may be limited views. He is a quick and deceiving guard who can shoot.  In fact he is shooting over 40 percent from beyond the arc and has been improving every year.  He may be a guard to look out for within the next couple of years, especially when Jason Kidd decides to hang them up. 

SG-Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs

Manu Ginobili during the championship years was a flashy well liked and well known player within the league.  However, with injuries, his flash has seemed to disappear a bit, but he is still a very good player.  Manu is a solid offensive option averaging over 12 points, which should increase as the season goes on and as he gets more shots.  He also shoots 39 percent behind the arc, which is pretty good and he is a great defender as well. Manu is also a great teammate that is more than willing to come off the bench and is a great candidate for sixth man of the year.

SF-Gerald Wallace, Charlotte Bobcats

Gerald Wallace has consistently been a solid scorer and small forward in this league averaging anywhere between 17 and 20 points per game each season (currently 18 at the moment). He is also been a solid defender during his time in the NBA averaging close to a block a game, .9 blocks to be exact, and 1.5 steals per game as well.  But the thing that really is impressive is his rebounding totals, which are at 11.9 rebound per game this year, which are third in the NBA, .4, behind Joakim Noah and 1.4 behind Dwight Howard, which he has done as a small forward.  Gerald Wallace has more than a great case to be an All Star this year.

PF-Luis Scola, Houston Rockets

One word comes to mind when I think of Luis Scola, and that is just solid.  He is a solid offensive threat in the post, a solid defender and a solid rebounder, maybe a good rebounder.  He has averaged close to a double-double this year and last and is pretty consistent each and every night.  He is also picking up a little bit of the production that Yao left behind, with the help of Carl Landry and is helping the Rockets becoming a serious threat within the Western Conference.  Is he an All Star, probably not, but he is a guy that should get a little bit more attention.

C-Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies

Remember when the Grizzlies traded that other Gasol, Pau, and it was considered to be a steal for the Los Angeles Lakers? Well someone must have forgotten that Pau’s brother Marc could play the game as well.  He has been a nice surprise for the Grizzlies and has been a very good player this year, who has a chance to put himself in contention for an All Star spot. He is averaging over 15 points a game and is averaging 10 rebounds as well, which amongst the leaders in the NBA.   He also is shooting an outstanding 62 percent from the field which is second among all players in the NBA.  He also is a pretty solid defender in while averaging a block and a half a game and a steal a game.

Honorable Mention:

C- Kendrick Perkins, Boston Celtics

PF- Carl Landry, Houston Rockets

SG- JJ Redick, Orlando Magic

Top Unsexy Team in NBA:

Houston Rockets

Look at the Houston Rockets team this year (and last year for that matter) and it may seem odd that they are even that competitive.  I bet most people could not name their starting lineup this year.  However, they are a very dangerous team with great assets such as Aaron Brooks, Trevor Ariza, Luis Scola, and Shane Battier with probably the best sixth man this year Carl Landry.  They also probably play the best defense of any team in the league and are coached a great coach in Rick Aldelman.

Top Unsexy Coach:

1a. Rick Aldelman

Seems to have his teams in the playoffs every year and somehow has the Rockets in the mix this year without Yao Ming and major contributions from Tracy McGrady.  He also would be a sure fire Hall of Famer if it wasn’t for Phil Jackson and the Lakers, who seems to eliminate him every year and the one team that seems to push the great Lakers teams to the limit.

1b. Greg Popovich

He has won four rings and is certainly one of the top coaches in basketball history. He should be a Hall of Famer and is a bit overshadowed by Phil Jackson.  Oh and he makes the playoffs every year with a style that most consider boring.

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