Sat 09 October 2021 | 20:29

Most underrated NBA players of all time

Most presented ranking lists in published articles are about the top athletes with much fame in sports fields. However, through the following text, we have listed the most underrated NBA players of all time. Stay tuned.

Many athletes in all sports have not received as much attention as they have deserved. They have appeared better than how the sports followers think and judge them. Some of them have accomplished more than what we as spectators realize during their careers.

However, accessing the information on the Internet regarding everything, from politics to sports, has made no facts left out of sight. So, what we mentioned about the athletes does not mean they have been unknown amongst the sports world, or fans have never appreciated them. The only fact is that they might have gotten much notice. 

In the following article, we have gathered a list of the most underrated NBA players of all time. Additionally, we presented short but comprehensive descriptions for each one, which will cause you to ask yourself whether they have gotten much attention or not. 

Most Underrated NBA Players of All Time

As we described the article's title, we will go through details of a list of the most underrated NBA players of all time, which reading the presented brief about each of them can explain the reason for their names on the list. So, join us to know more about them. 

Jerry West

  • Age: 83

  • Position: Point Guard

  • Team(s): Los Angeles Lakers

  • Points: 25,192

The athlete who has stood in tenth place on the list of the most underrated NBA players of all time is Jerome Alan West. He is a former American player and current basketball executive. West spent his whole career as a player, which lasted 14 years, with the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

His excellent skill in making an outstanding play in a clutch situation, for example, his buzzer-beating 60-foot shot in the match against the New York Knicks in Game 3 of the 1970 NBA Finals, had earned him "Mr. Clutch" nickname.

He was also famous as "the Logo" because it seems that there is a similarity between his shape and the NBA logo. Also, West was reputed as Mr. Outside and Zeke from Cabin Creek. The former refers to his perimeter appearance with the Los Angeles Lakers, and the latter is about the creek near Chelyan, West Virginia, where he was born.

West, the player who was the co-captain of his team at the 1960 US Olympic gold medal, left a wide range of achievements and honors from himself during his career history as a player.

The NBA champion, NBA Finals MVP, NBA All-Star, and NBA All-Star Game MVP are some parts of his awards. Also, he won NBA champion and NBA Executive of the Year, respectively for eight and two times as an executive. 

Dennis Rodman

  • Age: 60

  • Position: Power Forward, Small Forward

  • Team(s): Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, and six more other teams

  • Points: 6,683

The next man amongst the NBA most underrated players is Dennis Keith Rodman, who played for 11 teams during his 20-year career history. Famous as "the Worm," Rodman was talented in fierce defending and rebounding.

Having played as a small forward during his early years, Rodman became a professional power forward who could achieve various awards, such as seven NBA All-Defensive First Team and winning two the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award.

Two other cases of his outstanding honors are leading the NBA in rebounds per match and winning the NBA championships, respectively, seven and five times. However, his life out of basketball was not as brilliant as his profession, which might refer to his unhappy childhood. A suicide attempt in 1993 and numerous other controversial antics earned him much notorious.

Rodman, who mostly appeared with artificially colored hair and various piercings, disrupted many games by clashing with opposing team players and even the officials. After having an affair with singer Madonna, Rodman got married to actress Carmen Electra. However, it did not last a long time. Later, in 2013, his friendship with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un earned him much international attention. 

Alex English

  • Age: 67

  • Position: Small Forward

  • Team(s): Milwaukee Bucks, Indiana Pacers, Denver Nugget, Dallas Mavericks, Basket Napoli

  • Points: 25,613

The athlete number eight on the list of the most underrated players in NBA history is Alexander English. In addition to appearing as a successful player and coach, he has been a good businessman. As Alex's career statistics show, he had scored the most points in the 1980s.

He achieved many honors, including NBA All-Star, All-NBA Second Team, and earning NBA scoring champion. His retirement as a player was the start of serving as an assistant coach for some NBA teams.

As the first-ever director for the players' program at the National Basketball Players Association, Alex English has participated in the Sports Diplomacy's Sports Envoy program for the US Department of State since 2014.

Due to his role, Alex had some trips to Italy, the Republic of Korea, and Chile, to accompany the related events and clinics. His effort in contributing alongside to Sports Diplomacy's mission to the youth age category worked. 

He could help to promote growth and creating a stable democratic government. His appearances as a coaching assistant are also a brilliant era of his career history. From 2002 to 2013, he served as a coaching assistant for Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76era, Toronto Raptors, and Sacramento Kings. 

As we mentioned earlier, Alex English is a top businessman who owns Wendy's franchises in South Carolina with his wife. However, it is not his only business, and GreenSmart Botanicals is another company that sells products based on hemp-related. 

Nate Thurmond

  • Age: Died (Aged 74)

  • Position: Center, Power Forward

  • Team(s): San Francisco, Golden State Warriors, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers

  • Points: 14,437

"Nate the Great" is the nickname of an athlete whose name is among the top underrated NBA players of all time. The American basketball player played most years of his career, 11 out of 14 years, with the Golden State Warriors franchise in NBA.

Thurmond, who appeared on center and power forward positions on the court, recorded a long list of highlights and awards. Some of them are NBA All-Star, NBA All-Defensive First Team, NBA All-Defensive Second Team, NBA All-Rookie First Team, and NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.

Thurmond's name is also on the list of top players with the most rebounds. While Thurmond was playing for the Golden State Warriors, he earned an outstanding defensive reputation in the NBA.

His excellent playing led Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a top and famous player, to give him the title of the "toughest defender" he had faced in his career history. After his retirement, the Warriors organization gave him the title of "Warriors Legend & Ambassador." Suffering from leukemia, Thurmond died on 16 July 2016. 

Fat Lever

  • Age: 61

  • Position: Point Guard

  • Team(s): Portland Trail Blazers, Denver Nuggets, Dallas Mavericks

  • Points: 10,433

Born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Lafayette "Fat" Lever is a retired professional basketball player and one of the 

most underrated NBA players of all time

. "Fat" is a nickname, which his older brother, who had a problem pronouncing in all syllables of his name correctly, gave him.

Most of his playing era was with the Denver Nuggets, which lasted six years from 1984 to 1990, and meanwhile, he became one of the NBA's best point guards during the late 1980s. He ended his first season in the Nuggets with an average of 12.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 7.5 assists, and 2.5 steals per game.

During the following season, he continued his brilliant playing, and in 1985, by recording 31 points, 12 assists, and nine rebounds, Lever left his first 30-point double-double record from himself. Though Lever was 6 feet and 3 inches, he usually led his team in rebounding.

In NBA history, only three players have recorded 15 plus points, rebounds, and assists in a single playoff match, which Fat Lever is one of them. The two other athletes are Wilt Chamberlain and Jason Kidd.

Since the end of the 2019-20 regular season, his name placed 10th amongst the most triple-doubles of all-time in the regular season. 43 during 11 seasons put him ahead of some stars, such as Michael Jordan (28), Clyde Drexler (25), and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (21). 

Bernard King

  • Age: 64

  • Position: Small Forward

  • Team(s): New Jersey Nets, Utah Jazz, Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks, Washington Bullets

  • Points: 19,655

The list of the 

most underrated players in NBA history

 includes an American retired professional player, Bernard King. King, whose career history began with the New Jersey Nets, became a high-scoring player at his position due to utilizing his physical stats, long arms, and quick release.

Considered a tremendous scorer, King achieved many awards, including NBA All-Star, All-NBA First Team, All-NBA Second Team, and NBA All-Rookie Team. One of his records was in his rookie season, 1977-78, in which he set a New Jersey Nets franchise one for scoring the most points in one season, 1,909.

However, in the 1983-84 season, King surpassed his former record by scoring 2,027 points and earned his first consecutive All-NBA First Team selections. Amongst the clubs he appeared in, King played for New York Knicks more than the other ones.

Throughout two years, King scored an average of 21.9 points per game. His playing for them ended just before the 1982-83 season when the team traded him to New York Knicks. 

Sam Jones

  • Age: 88

  • Position: Shooting Guard

  • Team(s): Boston Celtics

  • Points: 15,411

Samuel Jones is one of the 

top underrated NBA players of all time

, whose name is fourth amongst the presented names on the list. The former professional basketball player was almost famous for his speed and game-winning shots during his career history. By one point difference, Jones placed his name behind his teammate Bill Russel who has the first most championships of any player (11). 

Sam Jones, Bill Russel, and K. C. Jones are three players of the Boston Celtics, who appeared at the Celtics' eight back-to-back championships during the years between 1959 to 1966.

Jones spent his entire career in the NBA with the Celtics, and with scoring over 15,000 points during his career, he was famous as a clutch scorer. Participating in five All-Star Games, Jones is one of the best basketball players of his generation, who appeared brilliantly as a shooting guard.

Being named to the All-NBA Second Team during three consecutive years, from 1965 to 1967, and appearing at ten championship teams were two honors, which Bill Russel, his talented teammate, could exceed during NBA history. The skillful player had a nickname, which his opponents had given him due to his excellent clutch shooting, "The Shooter." 

Scottie Pippen

  • Age: 55

  • Position: Small Forward

  • Team(s): Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers, Torpan Pojat, Sundsvall Dragons

  • Points: 18,940

The third place of the list of 

NBA most underrated players

 belongs to Scotty Maurice Pippen. His 17-year playing in the NBA earned him many achievements, including six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls.

Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were two players who performed significant roles in transforming the Bulls into a championship team and making the NBA popular around the sports world within the 1990s.

Pippen, one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in the 1996-97 season, was a seven-time NBA All-Star and the NBA All-Defensive First Team eight back-to-back times. His outstanding effort led his team to become one of the Top 10 Teams in NBA History on two occasions, 1992 and 1996 Chicago Bulls Championship team. 

Pippen, the player whose defensive abilities had earned him much fame, had chosen a title for himself, "one-man wrecking crew." The idea of the nickname took from his ability because he knew himself able of guarding anyone against the point guard to the center position. 

Amongst the achievements he gained, 200 steals and 100 blocks in one season were the records that only Pippen, Michael Jordan, and Olajuwon could leave from themselves.

Dominique Wilkins

  • Age: 61

  • Position: Small Forward

  • Team(s): Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtics, Panathinaikos, San Antonio Spurs, Fortitudo Bologna, Orlando Magic

  • Points: 26,668

The second player among the 

most underrated NBA players of all time

 is Jacques Dominique Wilkins. The former professional player spent most of his career for the Atlanta Hawks of the NBA. However, nicknamed "The Human Highlight Film," Wilkins has a long list of career highlights which covering all of them needs one separate article. 

After his retirement, Wilkins has participated in various management functions in the franchise's basketball and worked in many business areas. In addition to advising the Hawks' senior management team around the related issues to basketball, he serves as a color analyst for their games on FSN South.

In the 2008 NHL All-Star Game Breakaway Challenge, held in Atlanta, Wilkins appeared as a judge. To promote the Dominique Wilkins Basketball Academy, he joined the fitness company 24 Hour Fitness by signing an agreement. 

As it is clear, Wilkins has been successful in his life as much as his profession. The prosperous businessman recently introduced his private label wines and released them under the Wilkins Private Reserve label. 

Dennis Johnson

  • Age: Died (Aged 52)

  • Position: Point Guard, Shooting Guard

  • Team(s): Seattle SuperSonics, Phoneix Suns, Boston Celtics

  • Points: 15,535

Dennis Wayne Johnson, famous as "DJ," is the name that has filled the highest rank of the list. Johnson, who had started his professional career with the Seattle SuperSonics as a shooting guard, and after leading them to their only championship in 1979, he joined the Phoenix Suns.

Afterward, Johnson began playing as a point guard with the Boston Celtics. Though he was famous as a top defensive stopper, he was skillful in appearing as a clutch player. During his playing time, Johnson listed a lot of achievements in his career history, such as NBA champion (1979, 1984, 1986), NBA Finals MVP (1979), NBA All-Star (1979-1982, 1985), and All-NBA First Team (1981).

When Johnson retired, he continued his cooperation with the Celtics as a scout and then worked as an assistant coach. Johnson, who had been outside the limelight, returned to the basketball world in 2000 and started to work as Los Angeles Clippers' assistant coach. Two years before his death, Johnson served as the head coach of the NBADL's Austin Toros and kept working till 2007. 

Now, after reading the whole article and presented overviews of the career history of each of the 

most underrated NBA players of all time

, do you agree with the title of "Underrated " for them?

Though each athlete on the list had much longer career histories than what we talked about in one paragraph, we tried to mention the most notable items in each section. Eventually, if there are still some points regarding the topic that we have missed, share them with us via the comment section.

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