Ever since the turn of the century, the NBA has been fortunate enough to boast some incredible talent and overall skill level. In fact, there is so much talent that great players often do not receive the praise that they deserve for their stellar play. Here are some of the most underrated players to play since the year 2000.
A very controversial pick, but Lamar Odom really was a very special player for a few years on the championship Laker teams. After Pau Gasol’s arrival in LA by trade, Odom became the third option and hid from the public eye during these championship years. But, it could be argued that without Odom the Lakers really wouldn’t be able to see the same success without him on the roster. Odom became the ultimate X-factor for the Lakers who could excel in every aspect of the game and score at a decent clip. Also, his role as the “point-forward” was revolutionary for the game as more and more big men began handling the ball more often. His style of play eventual became the norm in today's NBA. Odom was a very talented basketball player that was overlooked far too often.
Although thoroughly known for his defensive capabilities, Marion was not as bad on the offensive end of the floor as most people thought. The numbers defensively were just simply ridiculous, as he was able to become one of only five players to ever notch 1500 steals along with 1000 blocks. Marion posted those career numbers as an undersized PF, standing at a mere 6’7”, super short for others who put up the same numbers. He rebounded the ball excellently, verified by a top 5 league finish in rebounding. He also did have the ability to score the ball, averaging a solid 15.2 PPG over the course of his career. Not too bad for a perceived defensive specialist.
Tim Duncan is the prototypical underrated star. He has the stats, hardware, and attitude that proof that he really was one of the most dominant players to ever play the game. Hidden from the spotlight due to the transcendent stars like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and others; he was one of the most impactful big men the league has ever seen. The guy has two MVPs, three Finals MVPs, fifteen All-NBA and All-Defensive teams, and has career numbers that match Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Add on the fact he’s a fifteen-time All-Star and five-time NBA champion, his resume cannot get better. But the main thing that I feel makes Timmy stand out was the sheer longevity of stellar play. Duncan dominated the NBA from the Kevin Garnett era, all the way to the beginning of the Golden State era. Never the most talked about, but always playing at an unbelievable level.
The very memeable Chris Bosh may have been the butt of the basketball worlds jokes, but he still had a very delightful career. Bosh was an excellent scorer and a quality rebounder for his entire career, with averages of 19.2 PPG and 8.5 RPG over the course of it. He is also a nine-time All-Star and a two-time NBA Champion. Where he shined though was his do everything mentality and willing to make sacrifices that made the Miami Heat great during their run as contenders. Bosh was willing to adjust his play style whenever the Heat needed him to, but still managed to play at a high level even if he did not get recognized. That is the exact definition of an underrated superstar.
Ginobili is the embodiment of the style of basketball the San Antonio Spurs possess. Ginobili was really one of the most important basketball players to play, helping the NBA become one of the most popular sports throughout the entire world. Ginobili was a key cog to the championship Spurs, winning four titles and a sixth man of the year award. He was named to the All-Star team twice, working primarily as a bench player. That’s what sticks out about Ginobili, his stats may not have been fantastic, but that was mainly because he didn’t play that many minutes being used off the bench. Had he been unleashed into the starting lineup, the perception behind Ginobili could’ve been very different.