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  #1  
Old 03-21-06, 09:22 PM
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Hollinger's All Underrated Team

Can some post Hollinger's Insider article on the all underrated team for a poor college student that doesn't have the money to pay for insider?
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Old 03-21-06, 11:00 PM
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Bump! (I'd like to read it too if anyone would be so kind as to post)
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Old 03-21-06, 11:01 PM
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I don't know what it says but Bruce Bowen better be right there on top...
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Old 03-21-06, 11:08 PM
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No matter what they do or how well they do it, some players can't seem to get any attention. Take Gerald Wallace, for instance. A high-flying forward with gaudy stats who makes two "SportsCenter"-quality plays a night, you'd think he'd be a household name by now. Instead, the talented wingman toils in anonymity for a Charlotte team that's rarely deemed worthy of a highlight reel.

Ask a fan to name the best forwards in basketball, and he might rattle off 40 names before he gets to Wallace ... if he/she even remembers that Wallace is still in the league. Yet the Bobcats forward has played at an All-Star level this year, shooting 53.7 percent thanks to his explosive finishing skills off the wing. And defensively, he's turning into the second coming of Andrei Kirilenko. Wallace currently leads the league in steals and ranks 10th in blocked shots. If he keeps it up, it would make him one of just a handful of players in league history to finish a season ranked in the top 10 in both categories.


Gerald Wallace
Player Efficiency Rating
21.10
vs. NBA Avg.: +6.10
Wallace profile

Wallace is still improving, as well. He's only 23 years old and is really in only his second season of action, because he spent three seasons at the end of Sacramento's bench before the Bobcats stole him in the expansion draft. As a result, he figures to be one of the game's top forwards for a long time coming.

Yet relatively few people even know who he is, which is why Wallace gets my vote for captain of the All-Underrated Team -- he is the single most underrated player in the entire NBA.

Before I introduce the rest of the squad, I should point out that underrated can be kind of a hazy definition, and it can vary throughout a player's career. Shawn Marion, for instance, was wildly underrated for most of the past few years, but that appears to have evened out this season. And sometimes a player can be world-famous and still be underrated. Yao Ming, for instance, is a household name ... and yet most people routinely underestimate how good he actually is.

You'll also note a few trends -- most underrated guys are young, play in small markets and aren't on winning teams. There's a reason for that. The players who are on national TV all the time rarely stay underrated for long, while most veterans have been delivering long enough to eventually garner some appreciation.

Of course, there are exceptions to these rules, including a few big ones below. With that in mind, here's the rest of the 2005-06 All-Underrated Squad:


Jason Terry
Player Efficiency Rating
18.43
vs. NBA Avg.: +3.43
Terry profile

PG: Jason Terry, Dallas
Seriously, how much longer does he have to keep playing well before people stop knocking him for not being a "pure" point guard? First, Terry's assist rates haven't been nearly as bad as people imagine, and he compensates for whatever he lacks in the passing department by keeping the turnovers down.

But second and more importantly, don't people realize that teams win with shoot-first point guards every year? I agree that great passers are more fun to watch, and sure, I'd rather have Steve Nash if I had a choice, but you can win lots of games with a point guard like Terry -- as the Mavs have proven the past two seasons.


Mo Williams
Player Efficiency Rating
16.32
vs. NBA Avg.: +1.32
Williams profile

PG: Mo Williams, Milwaukee
Great Jazz personnel blunders, Chapter 3, Paragraph 7: Allowing Williams to sign with the Bucks two years ago and replacing him with Keith McLeod. All Williams has done in Milwaukee is blossom into one of the league's top sixth men, pumping in 19.2 points per 40 minutes, although a recent ankle problem has slowed him down.

The Bucks have used Williams as T.J. Ford's backup, but they really need to consider switching the roles. I get the impression this would be considered sacrilege in Milwaukee, but it makes all kinds of sense. Williams has been vastly more effective overall, and the threat of his shot will stop teams from double-teaming Milwaukee's post players and running extra defenders at Michael Redd. Ford, meanwhile, is much better suited to a second-unit energizer role because of his incredible speed.


Jameer Nelson
Player Efficiency Rating
19.18
vs. NBA Avg.: +4.18
Nelson profile

PG: Jameer Nelson, Magic
While it's rare for a former college player of the year to fly so far under the radar (could you even imagine Adam Morrison or J.J. Redick being on an All-Underrated team two years from now?), in Nelson's case truth is stranger than fiction. Because he was stuck behind Steve Francis for a year and a half while playing for an unheralded Orlando team, a lot of NBA observers don't realize what a good pro Nelson has become.

Ask anybody to list the game's top 10 point guards, and Nelson has no chance of being on their list -- but good luck finding 10 that have been more productive. Seriously, don't be shocked if this guy makes the All-Star team next year. His 40-minute numbers are 19.7 points and 6.7 assists, he's doing it while shooting a high percentage on a bad team, and he's still getting better.


Jason Richardson
Player Efficiency Rating
19.89
vs. NBA Avg.: +4.89
Richardson profile

SG: Jason Richardson, Warriors
Two years ago I would have thought it inconceivable that Richardson could become underrated. But he's become much more of a basketball player and much less of a dunker, and even as Golden State has faded from contention he's been carrying the team on his back.

Richardson's improvement has been broad-based. He's made great strides as a 3-point shooter (up to 40.3 percent this year), he's getting to the line more, he's not exposing the defense by trying for follow-up dunks all the time, and he's defending with much more vigor. Basically, he's finally rounded into the player folks thought he might become when he left Michigan State five years ago, only he's getting a lot less attention than he used to.


Luol Deng
Player Efficiency Rating
15.85
vs. NBA Avg.: +0.85
Deng profile

SF: Luol Deng, Bulls
Sometimes I feel like the Bulls don't know how good Deng is. Heck, sometimes I feel Deng doesn't know either. The one thing he lacks is the instinct to take over against overmatched opponents. But Deng is a good two-way forward at the age of 20, and he will be a tremendous one in a few years. He's already among the best rebounders at his position, and he's athletic enough to shoot a high percentage from the floor (46.1 percent). He can handle the ball a little, too, so if his jumper ever comes around he's going to be a nightly 20-10 threat.


Josh Childress
Player Efficiency Rating
15.83
vs. NBA Avg.: +0.83
Rose profile

SF: Josh Childress, Hawks
I've compared Childress to Shawn Marion many times -- he's not in Marion's class as a player, but his under-the-chin, elbow-out jump-shot delivery, high-percentage shooting and quick hops are highly similar.

Childress is shooting 55 percent this year and ranks third in the NBA in True Shooting Percentage, he rebounds extremely well for a wing man, and he's a strong finisher in transition. Add his solid defense and ballhandling, and he's a classic glue guy, and he's still improving.


Andrei Kirilenko
Player Efficiency Rating
20.26
vs. NBA Avg.: +5.26
Kirilenko profile

SF: Andrei Kirilenko, Jazz
Kirilenko has been getting plenty of attention lately due to his wife's "one a year" policy, but he still gets little attention in any discussion of the game's best players. That's because Kirilenko defies our stereotype of what a great player should be -- he's not a big-time scorer or a flashy ballhandler or a beefy 7-footer. What he is, however, is an incredible package of skills, and even during an off year for him he's managed to be among the league's best forwards.

Where he's most lethal is on the defensive end, where his seemingly endless arms swoop in from nowhere to reject shots and deflect passes. He ranks second in the league with 3.0 blocks per game and also picks 1.6 steals a night, putting him just outside the top 10. But playing in a small market for a mediocre team, Kirilenko's exploits rarely get the attention they deserve.


Elton Brand
Player Efficiency Rating
27.30
vs. NBA Avg.: +12.30
Brand profile

PF: Elton Brand, Clippers
Brand was generally perceived as a "pretty good player" over the past few seasons, when actually he should have been a perennial All-Star. Unfortunately, the Clippers weren't deemed sufficiently photogenic to provide an All-Star the past few seasons, so he got the shaft every year. Now that he's in the midst of a career year, most folks perceive Brand as an All-Star caliber player -- but actually, he's one of the best players in the league.

Brand is easy to overlook because he's got some Tim Duncan in him -- he rarely makes a spectacular play and isn't very emotional. But it's about performance, people, and Brand is good at nearly everything. He shoots a high percentage (52.6 percent), he's a great rebounder, he blocks a ton of shots, he doesn't turn the ball over, he finds the open man, he makes his foul shots ... I mean, other than hitting 3-pointers, what doesn't he do?

Sometimes we overlook players who are good at lots of things in favor of those who are great at one or two, and I think that's the case here.


Nazr Mohammed
Player Efficiency Rating
16.33
vs. NBA Avg.: +1.33
Mohammed profile

PF: Nazr Mohammed, Spurs
I'm cheating a little and playing Mohammed at his natural position on this team since he's only 6-9. Whether at power forward or center, he is easily overlooked because of his lack of athleticism and terrible hands. Yet at the end of the day, his intelligent positioning under the boards and effective, if hideous, 10-foot jumper combine to yield consistent results.

That's the kind of guy we often undervalue, especially when it comes in such an unathletic package. But he's shooting 52.7 percent from the field and has one of the best rebound rates at the center position. Thieving him from the Knicks a year ago was a key to San Antonio's championship run last season and could help the Spurs to another ring this year.



Yao Ming
Player Efficiency Rating
25.83
vs. NBA Avg.: +10.83
Yao profile

C: Yao Ming, Rockets
Each of the past two seasons, the Rockets have started the year slowly, and each time commentators have used the opportunity to launch scathing critiques of Yao's game. Part of the problem has been understanding his per-minute effectiveness -- Yao last year averaged 18.3 points and 8.4 rebounds, which people tend to think of as "good" but not particularly great.

Once you adjust for his minutes, however -- he averaged only 30.6 last season -- that translates into 23.9 points and 10.9 rebounds per 40 minutes, and he did it while shooting 55.2 percent. Now we've learned that Yao did this while quietly battling a painful toe injury.

Since Yao got his toe fixed, he is playing his best basketball for a team that's playing its worst. He's put together 14 straight 20-point games, for averages of 28.0 points and 12.9 rebounds over that period, suggesting Shaq may have some company at the top of the center charts next season.


Jackie Butler
Player Efficiency Rating
14.34
vs. NBA Avg.: -0.66
Butler profile

C: Jackie Butler, Knicks
It's very, very hard for somebody on the Knicks to become underrated, but Butler certainly qualifies. Look at it this way: The Knicks decided to spend $56 million on Eddy Curry this summer, and gave up Michael Sweetney and what may be the No. 1 pick in the next two drafts in order to get him. Butler, meanwhile, signed for the league minimum.

Now look at Butler's production and tell me how much better off they are with Curry. Butler is slightly smaller, but he rebounds at a better rate, blocks more shots, and is more than two years younger. No, he's not quite as much of a beast in the post, but he's big and he can score -- the 6-10 center averages 15.5 points per 40 minutes on 52.7 percent shooting, and based on how he dominated the CBA last season that doesn't seem the least bit fluky.

So the Knicks had an answer at center sitting on their roster the whole time, but instead they had to make the Curry deal and then spent another $30 million to feed Jerome James -- and the net result has been to keep Butler on the bench when he really should be playing.

John Hollinger writes for ESPN Insider. His book "Pro Basketball Forecast: 2005-06" is available at Amazon.com and Potomac Books. To e-mail him, click here.
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Old 03-22-06, 12:10 AM
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Yao underrated?? did Hollinger mean overrated?
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Old 03-22-06, 01:13 AM
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yeah bruce should be there and not yao...
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Old 03-22-06, 03:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spurs|ATX|
Yao underrated?? did Hollinger mean overrated?
Not this again cut the guy some slack! He has put his team on his back trying to win games. Its not his fault that he has no help with t-mac down.
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Old 03-22-06, 05:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spurSAdik
yeah bruce should be there and not yao...
Hollinger is a stat guy. Hard for Bowen to make it on any team that deals with stats..
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Old 03-22-06, 09:08 AM
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I'm surprised Nazr was on the team.
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Old 03-22-06, 09:16 AM
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I like how he uses the verb "theiving" in referrence to the trade of Malik Rose to the Knicks for Nazr. There sure is a lot of theft going on when Isiah Thomas is involved...the victums being the good people of New York city.
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Old 03-22-06, 09:31 AM
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Nazr is the reason we have a good shot at another championship. He wasn't really available the first go rounds this year with Detroit and Rasho and Tim together aren't quick enough for the Wallace boys.
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Old 03-22-06, 01:05 PM
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Thanks for the insider info - could someone now post Hollinger's Overrated list?

Mucho gracias!
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Old 03-22-06, 01:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spurs|ATX|
Yao underrated?? did Hollinger mean overrated?
Yeah, I'd hate to get 22 and 10 with off the chart shooting percentages. Who needs that?
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Old 03-22-06, 03:05 PM
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Thanks for the post. I'd never even heard of Jackie Butler--I'll have to watch for him next time we play the Knicks.
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Old 03-22-06, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shelden
Thanks for the post. I'd never even heard of Jackie Butler--I'll have to watch for him next time we play the Knicks.
He only plays in garbage time, that's why his stats are so promising. He isn't anything too special at this point. Keep in mind Hollinger's list is stats-based only, no matter when they play or how much.
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Old 03-22-06, 03:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BUTD
I'm surprised Nazr was on the team.
Honestly, so was I.

He still has too many deficiencies in his game to be considered anything but an average player.

No disrespect to Nazr, but he isn't good enough to be even "underrated" at this point.
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Old 03-24-06, 03:14 PM
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wasn't jackie butler another of those guys to spurn the Miss. st. bulldogs and jump to the pros?

if so-I hope his carreer goes the way of jonathon bender.

Gerald wallace is an amazing athlete, but for me to consider him a decent basketball player-he needs to learn to shoot..and shoot with some amount of consistency, though in today's nba you don't have to do that to be considered great....I think, though, that the bobcats were the best team for him, and hope the former elephant does continue to progress.

yao..underrated? Umm...hmmm.
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Old 03-25-06, 12:29 AM
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Nazr is a true Center though, that's what he played in college and all through out NBA too (I think).
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