10 Most Underrated NBA Players of All Time March 02 2015, 11 Comments
10 Most Underrated NBA Players of All Time
1) Moses Malone
Best Season: 31.1 PPG, 14.7 RPG, 1.5 BPG, FG% .519
Larry Bird once remarked if he had one person to start a franchise around it would be Moses. Often overlooked in favor of big men such as Wilt, Russ, Kareem, Hakeem and Shaq. Moses belongs in this group. He was able to win 3 MVP awards throughout his career. He also helped Philadelphia to a championship in 1983. Holds the single season offensive rebounding record with over 550 (7.2 per game). During the 1982 season he averaged over 30 points and 15 rebounds in route to an MVP award. He was the six time rebounding champion and appeared in 13 All-Star games. When the ABA forced a merged with the NBA, Malone was only 20 years old. Several teams had a shot to sign the bulldozer. The Portland Trailblazers made one of their blunders by trading away Malone and getting little in return. During the same time the New York Knicks had a chance to acquire the future MVP, but claimed the asking price was too high. The Knicks haven't won a championship since.
2) Bob McAdoo
Best Season: 34.5 PPG, 14.1 RPG, 2.2 APG, 2.1 BPG, FG% .512
McAdoo led the NBA in scoring for three straight seasons starting in 1973. The 1975 MVP had a great inside/outside game, McAdoo was an accomplished shooter at 6'10. He was excellent at drawing fouls as well. He had to miss a considerable amount of time due to injury in the early 1980s. Last player to average 30 points & 15 rebounds in a season. The 5 time all-star, was able to thrive as a role player later in his career with the Los Angeles Lakers. During his four years with the Lakers he was a prolific scorer off the bench, helping LA to 2 NBA titles.
3) Dennis Rodman
Best Season: 9.8 PPG, 18.7 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.1 BPG, FG% .539
The King of intangibles, Rodman's effect on the game was hard to calculate. Written off as a late draft pick, Rodman was defensive player capable of changing the game. The worm led the league in rebounds for 7 straight seasons starting in 1992. The heart and soul of the bay boys Pistons teams, helped them to back to back championships in 1989 and 1990. Rodman would then team with the Chicago Bulls in 1996 and help them to a three-peat. Named NBA All-Defensive First Team honors seven times. He won the defensive player of the year award twice. People often underrated Rodman's abilities on the court because of his off the court behaviors. But this is no question the Pistons do not win back to back championships without Rodman.
4) Rick Barry
Best Season: 35.6 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 3.6 APG, FG% .451
Taken 2nd overall in the 1965 NBA Draft, Barry dominated both the NBA & ABA. Often known to be difficult and demanding he did little to endear himself to the media. Barry was an underrated defender who competed with the best of wing players of his time. He was able to lead the NBA and ABA in scoring 5 different seasons. His 30.5 points per game average in the ABA stands as the highest career total for a player in any professional basketball league. Barry helped take the Warriors to the 1967 NBA Finals, in which he had a 55-point outburst in Game 3, Barry averaged 40.8 points per game in the series, an NBA Finals record that stood for three decades. One of the best free throw shooters of all time employing an underhand granny style shot. Rick was able to lead the Warriors to the 1975 title, beating the Washington Bullets in one of the biggest upsets of all time.
5) Tracy McGrady
Best Season: 32.1 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 5.5 APG, 1.7 SPG, FG% .457
Kobe Bryant once admitted the player that gave him the most trouble in his career was Tracy McGrady. The 6'9 shooting guard wowed fans and clowned defenders during his reign in the early 2000's. Perhaps the best one-on-one ball handler over 6'6 in NBA history. A dominant offensive force, he led the league in scoring in back to back seasons for Orlando. McGrady was a seven time All-Star and seven time All-NBA selection. More often than not, bad luck and injuries got McGrady bounced out of the playoffs early. However, he never had the pieces around him to make his teams serious title contenders. From a pure talent standpoint, few can argue with his ability.
6) Elvin Hayes
Best Season: 27.5 PPG, 16.9 RPG, 2.0 APG, FG% .452
The turnaround jump shot belongs to Elvin Hayes. Traditionally thought of as selfish and distant. Elvin proved his doubters wrong in the 1978 NBA championship, displaying the ability to share the ball and play defense. Big E dominated on defense averaging almost 3 blocks and 2 steals in the 1978 playoffs. Hayes currently stands 9th on the NBA career scoring list. 1969 scoring Champ, twelve time all star, two time rebound champ and six time All-NBA selection.
7) George McGinnis
Best Season: 29.8 PPG, 14,7 RPG, 6.3 APG, 2.6 SPG, FG% .450
A driving force for the NBA and ABA in the 70s. A high scoring forward out of Indiana University. An underrated rebounder, McGinnis used his versatile scoring to dominant smaller opponents and take bigger matchups off the dribble. Crafty footwork and unique strength for his size added to his scoring ability. McGinnis spent the prime of his career in the ABA. Led the ABA in scoring in 1975 and was league MVP. McGinnis was a six time ABA & NBA all-star.
8) Bernard King
Best Season: 32.9 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 3.7 APG, 1.3 SPG, FG% .530
Bernard could get buckets with the best of them. A great mid range jump shooter and strong post player with a bevy of inside offensive moves. King scored over 20 points per game in 10 different seasons. The Brooklyn native ruled New York basketball in the early 1980s, once dropping 60 on Christmas day in the Garden. Riddled with injuries later in his career he was only at the peak of his powers for a few seasons. King managed to play in four all star games and led the league in scoring during the 1984-1985 campaign.
9) Tony Parker
Best Season: 20.3 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 7.6 APG, FG% .522
The only active player on our list, Tony Parker has help led San Antonio to four NBA championships. Parker is a consistent leader who rarely gets the credit for being as effective as he is. Instead Chris Paul has long received credit when Parker was the top player at the position. The 2007 NBA Finals MVP seems to led all point guards in points in the paint annually. A six time all-star and four time all-NBA team selection still has years ahead to build on an impressive resume.
10) Michael Cooper
Best Season: 11.9 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.6 SPG, FG% .517
The defensive MVP for the Showtime Lakers of the 1980s. He helped to cover up for Magic Johnson's serious defensive deficiencies. Copper was constantly challenged with the task of slowing down the opponents biggest offensive threat. Blessed with long arms and elite athleticism Cooper was able to stifle the best offensive players in the game. The 1987 winner of the Defensive player of the year award, was considered the best perimeter defender in the game. He was also able to contribute on offensive, running the floor and hitting the open jump shot. Undervalued on absolutely loaded Laker squads.
Honorable Mention - (Chauncey Billups, Alvin Robertson, Sidney Moncrief, Ben Wallace, Glen Rice, Guy Rodgers, Paul Arizin, Dominique Wilkins, Paul Pierce, Dennis Johnson, Dave Cowens, Jerry Lucas, Bobby Jones, Lenny Wilkins, Bob Lainer, Xavier McDaniel, Spencer Haywood, David Thompson, Mark Price, Alonzo Mourning, John Stockton, Marques Johnson)