Every year there are a number of players who rise to the occasion; most go unnoticed while others are awarded with All-Star appearances and league awards. Players like Jeremy Lin grabbed the attention and the hearts of fans in a style one would compare to a one-hit wonder while other players who have performed at a more consistent and high level remain unnoticed. This article is for all the NBA players who continuously outperform some of the best players in the league night in and night out yet remain unnoticed by the league and millions of NBA fans.
5. J.J Hickson:
I’ve been an admirer of his game since he was a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers playing alongside LeBron James. I don’t believe he receives the credit he deserves because he’s usually overshadowed on a team that has one or more star players. Hickson has the ability to be one of the best players for any of the struggling NBA franchises. The guy is strong, he plays aggressive, and he can put the ball in the hoop. Hickson has played for three different NBA franchises, yet he has managed to average 12.7 points and 10.3 rebounds in 80 games played this season. If he can remain consistent he will enjoy a lengthy NBA career.
4. Mike Conley JR:
In my opinion Mike Conley has been one of the most consistent and top pure point guards in the NBA over the past few seasons. He is one of key players for the Memphis Grizzlies and without him the team would be a -12 in the win column this season. Conley is a complimentary player who has progressively improved his game and increased his offensive output every year throughout his NBA career. Conley could easily average 20 points per game but keep in mind, he does not require the same scoring pressure as a Chris Paul or Derrick Rose due to the fact that he has Zack Randolph and Mark Gasol as highly sufficient low-post options. Look for Conley to prove his worth again in the 2013 NBA Western Conference Semi-Finals.
3. Ty Lawson:
Lawson has to be one of the quickest guards in the league. He’s a lights-out shooter beyond the arc, he can take you off the dribble and penetrate to the lane for the mid-range pull-up jumper, or dash around the pick-and-roll through traffic for the easy layup. If I were building a team and looking for an efficient point guard with the ability to score in bunches, TY Lawson would be 3rd on my wish-list behind Derrick Rose and Chris Paul. During the 2012-2013 season Lawson was a major contributor to the Denver Nuggets 57 win season, his 16.7 points and 6.9 assists per game help lead the team in finishing with the 3rd best record in the Western Conference.
2. Stephen Curry:
Arguably the best player ever to be snubbed from participating in the 2012-2013 NBA All-Star game, Curry has proved his worth time and time again throughout the regular season. He’s also among a short list of players who have scored more than 50 points against the New York Knicks at home in Madison Square Garden. During the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs Curry broke the single season 3-point record of 269 held by Ray Allen and he continues to add to that record as the Golden State Warriors advance to the second round of the NBA Playoffs. Stephen Curry has proven himself to be both an NBA All-Star and the franchise player for the Golden State Warriors. If Curry can continue his scoring onslaught, he could be as great a shooter as Reggie Miller if not better.
1. Nate Robinson:
Robinson is arguably the NBA’s strongest and most athletic player of his size in the history of the league. The 3-time NBA Slam Dunk Champion is known primarily for his tremendous leaping ability while his intensity, scoring ability, and quickness has finally garnered the attention of the league. While Chicago Bulls All-Star guard Derrick Rose continues to rehab from his injury, Nate Robinson has filled the void in convincing fashion. During the regular season Robinson averaged 13.1 points per game while shooting .402 from the arc and his 23-point 4th quarter performance against the New Jersey Nets carried the Bulls to a pivotal playoff victory. One could argue that without Nate Robinson in the line-up in place of the injured Derick Rose, the Bulls would not have advanced to the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs. Nate the Great is the most underrated player on my list because he’s one the lowest paid players in the league yet he performs like a NBA superstar on a nightly basis.