The NBA is an exciting league to watch, but it’s also an unforgiving one. Any team can get a star player or two that is the best in the league, but what about the teams that have a bunch of players who are great individually, but fail to put it all together?
Many great NBA players are remembered for their style, their game, or their talent. However, others are not nearly as famous, yet have left their mark on the game. There is a list of the top 10 underrated NBA players of all time in NBA history.
- Top 10 Most Underrated NBA Players of All Time
- The Top 10 Most Underrated NBA Players This Season in 2021
- Top 50 Most Underrated NBA Players in History
Top 10 Most Underrated NBA Players of All Time
1. Mark Price
Mark Price is a 6-foot, born on February 15, 1964, in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. The 170-pound Point guard who spent his professional basketball career with the Cleveland Cavaliers (1986–1995), Washington Bullets (1995–1996), Golden State Warriors (1996–1997), and Orlando Magic (1997–1998). Price was selected in the second round of the 1986 NBA Draft by the Dallas Mavericks.
Price played in the league for around 12 years from 1986 to 1998. Price finished with a career average of 15.2 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 6.7 assists per game.
Some of Mark Price’s career highlights:
- Four times NBA all-star in 1989 and 1992–1994
- All-NBA first team in 1993
- Three times all-NBA third team in 1989, 1992 and 1994
- Two times NBA three-point contest champion in 1993 and 1994
2. Kevin Johnson
Kevin Maurice Johnson is a 6-foot-1, 190 pounds was born on March 4, 1966, in Sacramento, California, United States. Johnson is a player that many fans don’t know about. He played for the Phoenix Suns from 1988-1998, 2000, and during his time he was known as a player that was strong on defense but had trouble scoring the ball.
Kevin Johnson is a point guard for the Phoenix Suns and is usually overshadowed by the team’s other power forwards, but this does not mean he does not perform very well on the floor.
In his 13 years in the league, Johnson has to produce a shooting percentage of 57.3% in 1995, which is not as good as he would like it to be, but it is enough to keep him in the league. He has averaged 17.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, 9.1 assists, and 1.5 steals per game – all career highs.
Some of Kevin Johnson’s career highlights:
- Three times NBA all-star in 1990, 1991 and 1994
- Four times All-NBA second team from 1989–1991 and in 1994
- All-NBA third team in 1992
- Selected as a NBA most improved player in 1989
- Received J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 1991
3. Fat Lever
Caption: Fat Lever, when he was a point guard of Denver Nuggets (Photo credit: Nugg Love)
Lafayette Fat Lever was born on August 18, 1960, in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The 6-foot-3, 170 pounds started his career in 1982 by the Portland Trail Blazers.
Fat Lever is an All-Star, but you’ve probably never heard of him. He spent his entire 12-year NBA career playing for the Portland Trail Blazers (1982–1984), Denver Nuggets (1984–1990), Dallas Mavericks (1990–1994), where he never won a championship.
But becoming one of the greatest offensive players in NBA history. His nickname “Fat Lever” stemmed from his size and athleticism, but it was his smooth, graceful style of play that earned him the title of “All-Star in the NBA.”
The Portland Trail Blazers brought in 12-year NBA veteran Fat Lever to provide them with some badly needed depth in the frontcourt. Lever’s career has been a bit up and down, as he has played with a few teams, but his best years came during the late 1990s when he played for the Denver Nuggets and the Dallas Mavericks. Over his career, Lever has averaged a solid 13.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 6.2 assists per game.
Some of Fat Lever’s career highlights:
- Two times NBA all-star in 1988 and 1990
- All-NBA Second Team in 1987
- NBA All-Defensive Second Team in 1988
4. Sidney Moncrief
Sidney Moncrief is a basketball player who plays in the NBA. His full name is Sidney Alvin Moncrief, but he is known as Sidney Moncrief, the NBA player. The 6-foot 4-inch and 190 pounds NBA player was born on September 21, 1957, in Little Rock, Arkansas.
He was drafted in 1979 by the Milwaukee Bucks and played in the NBA from 1979 to 1991. He played in 11 NBA seasons. Over his career, he played in a total of 767 games of the regular season.
Moncrief played college basketball for the University of Arkansas (1975–1979). He was selected to the 5-time NBA All-Star from 1982 to 1986). In his NBA career, he delivered an average of 15.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game.
Some of Sidney Moncrief’s career highlights:
- Secelected five times NBA All-Star from 1982 to 1986
- All-NBA First Team in 1983
- Four times All-NBA Second Team in 1982 and from 1984 to 1986
- Selected as a Two times NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 1983 and 1984
- Four times NBA All-Defensive First Team from 1983 to 1986
5. Shane Battier
Shane Courtney Battier is a professional basketball player who played in the NBA from 2001 to 2014. He primarily plays small forward, but he has also played at the shooting guard and power forward position. Battier was a member of the Miami Heat on December 9, 2011.
Shane Battier was a member of the USA Basketball men’s national basketball team member who won the bronze medal at the 2006 FIBA World Championship.
The 6-foot 8-inch and 220 pounds small forward, who was born on born on September 9, 1978, in Birmingham, Michigan. He has won two NBA championships in 2012 and 2013 and three NABC Defensive Player of the Year awards from 1999 to 2001.
In his career, Small forward played for Memphis Grizzlies (2001–2006), Houston Rockets (2006–2011), Memphis Grizzlies (2011), and Miami Heat (2011–2014). Battier finished with a career average of 8.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game.
Some of Shane Battier’s career highlights:
- Won two times NBA championship in 2012 and 2013
- Two times NBA All-Defensive Second Team in 2008 and 2009
- NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2002
- Selected as a NBA Teammate of the Year in 2014
- NCAA champion in 2001
- Selected as a NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player in 2001
6. Buck Williams
Charles Linwood Buck Williams is a former professional basketball player who started his career with the New Jersey Nets in 1981. He was born on March 8, 1960, in Rocky Mount, North Carolina.
Buck Williams was a 6-foot-8, 215-pound power forward who played for the New Jersey Nets (1981–1989), Portland Trail Blazers (1989–1996), New York Knicks (1996–1998). He helped lead the Portland Trail Blazers to two NBA Finals appearances. He’s averaged 12.8 points and 10.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.
Some of Buck Williams’s career highlights:
- Three times NBA All-Star in 1982, 1983 and 1986
- All-NBA Second Team in 1983
- Twi times NBA All-Defensive First Team in 1990 and 1991
- Two times NBA All-Defensive Second Team in 1988, 1992
- NBA Rookie of the Year award in 1982
7. Derrick Rose
Derrick Martell Rose was born on October 4, 1988, in Chicago, Illinois. He is 6-foot 2-inch and 200 pounds weight. In his career (2008–present), the Point guard played for Chicago Bulls (2008–2016), New York Knicks (2016–2017), Cleveland Cavaliers (2017–2018), Minnesota Timberwolves (2018–2019), Detroit Pistons (2019–2021) and New York Knicks (2021–present)
Rose was selected first overall in the 2008 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls. He went on to be named the 2009 NBA Rookie of the Year, becoming only the second player in history (Michael Jordan) to win the award in his first season. He has also been named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team in each of the last four seasons, garnering All-NBA Third Team honors in 2008. Rose was also the youngest NBA MVP (at the age of 22) in league history.
The former Chicago Bulls guard and current New York Knicks guard is an “underrated” player. Sure, he isn’t a superstar talent, but that’s not what NBA fans should be complaining about. The problem is that he’s one of the most polarizing players in the NBA, with half of the league swearing by him and the other half calling him “Overrated.”
Some of Derrick Rose’s career highlights:
- NBA Most Valuable Player in 2011
- Three times NBA All-Star from 2010 to 2012
- All-NBA First Team in 2011
- NBA Rookie of the Year in 2009
- NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2009
8. Nate Thurmond
Nate Thurmond was born in Akron, Ohio, on July 25, 1941, and died on July 16, 2016, in San Francisco, California. He is a retired professional basketball player who played for the NBA for 14 years in his career. When Thurmond played basketball, he was a star from the start.
He was drafted by the San Francisco Warriors in 1963 and became one of the best players in the league. Thurmond was named NBA All-Rookie Team in 1964. He played his entire career with the San Francisco / Golden State Warriors (1963–1974), Chicago Bulls (1974–1976), and Cleveland Cavaliers (1976–1977).
Thurmond is a six-foot-eleven power forward who played in the NBA from 1963 to 1977. He was named to the NBA All-Star (1965–1968, 1970, 1973, 1974) seven times.
In the 1967 NBA Finals, Power forward helped San Francisco Warriors to go to play final against the 76ers. 76ers won the final.
Some of Nate Thurmond’s career highlights:
- Seven times NBA All-Star in 1965 to 1968, 1970, 1973 and 1974
- Two times NBA All-Defensive First Team award in 1969 and 1971
- Three times NBA All-Defensive Second Team from 1972 to 1974
- NBA All-Rookie First Team in 1964
9. Dejounte Murray
The 6-foot-4 and 180 pounds, full name Dejounte Dashaun Murray are known as Dejounte Murray. He was born on September 19, 1996, in Seattle, Washington.
Over the summer, the San Antonio Spurs used a draft pick on University of Washington point guard Dejounte Murray on March 23, 2016. He is not a household name yet, but Murray is a consensus top-20 pick in next year’s draft. He is a smart, skilled, and athletic guard who is projected to have a successful NBA career thanks to his quickness, jumper, and athleticism.
After averaging 16.1 PPG, 5.9 RPG, and 4.4 APG as a freshman, and was a first-team All-Pac 12 selection in 2015–16.
Some of Dejounte Murray’s career highlights:
- NBA All-Defensive Second Team in 2018
- Second-team All-Pac-12 in 2016
10. Malcolm Brogdon
Malcolm Moses Adams Brogdon was born on December 11, 1992, in Atlanta, Georgia. The 6-foot-5, 230 pounds Shooting guard is known as Malcolm Brogdon. He was selected round-2 36th overall in the 2016 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks.
Brogdon of the Indiana Pacers is an extremely underrated NBA player and what I’m about to say is not going to surprise you, but he is just too underrated. The 2015-2016 season for Brogdon was among the best seasons of his young NBA career.
In 2017, Brogdon emerged as a full-time starter in the Milwaukee Bucks backcourt as well as the starting shooting guard on their playoff team. Brogdon is one of the better backcourt defenders in the NBA, and as of right now, he is just one of the top defenders in the league.
Some of Malcolm Brogdon’s career highlights:
- NBA Rookie of the Year and NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2017.
The Top 10 Most Underrated NBA Players This Season in 2021
The 2020 NBA season is over, and the 2021 NBA season is roaring in. Although the 2021 Superstar Draft is only a few months away, we are already getting a ton of looks at a new batch of young players. The main focus of the 2021 draft is to focus on the incoming rookies, but a few players have already been deemed underrated in the 2019 NBA Draft. Here is the list of the top 10 underrated NBA players 2021.
- Jordan Clarkson – Shooting guard, Utah Jazz (2019–present)
- Malcolm Brogdon – Point guard, Indiana Pacers (2019–present)
- Andrew Wiggins – Small forward, Golden State Warriors (2020–present)
- Carmelo Anthony – Power forward, Portland Trail Blazers (2019–present)
- Chris Paul – Point guard, Phoenix Suns (2020–present)
- Nikola Vucevic – NBA Center, Chicago Bulls (2021–present)
- Richaun Holmes – NBA Center, Sacremento Kings (2019–present)
- Larry Nance Jr. – Power forward, Cleveland Cavaliers (2018–present)
- TJ McConnell – Point guard, Indiana Pacers (2019–present)
- Alex Caruso – Point guard, Los Angeles Lakers (2017–present)
Top 50 Most Underrated NBA Players in History
We’ve seen so many great players retire in the last few years, with the likes of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Steph Curry all calling it quits, it’s almost hard to believe that the league is still alive and well. We still have a few superstars like James Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving in the league, as well as some good role players like Damian Lillard and Kemba Walker. But we can’t forget about the many other players, who despite being on teams that didn’t make the NBA Finals, are still very good at the game. This is the list of the top 50 most underrated NBA players in NBA history.
- Dennis Johnson
- Dominique Wilkins
- Scottie Pippen
- Sam Jones
- Bernard King
- Fat Lever
- Nate Thurmond
- Alex English
- Dennis Rodman
- Jerry West
- Adrian Dantley
- Bob Pettit
- Zelmo Beaty
- Sidney Moncrief
- Bob McAdoo
- Bob Love
- Hal Greer
- Alvin Robertson
- Dave DeBusschere
- Jack Sikma
- Elvin Hayes
- Mark Aguirre
- Mark Eaton
- Grant Hill
- Dolph Schayes
- Sam Cassell
- Moses Malone
- John Starks
- Tim Duncan
- Oscar Robertson
- Tiny Archibald
- John Havlicek
- Ben Wallace
- Jerry Sloan
- George Gervin
- Randy Smith
- World B. Free
- Artis Gilmore
- Gerald Wallace
- Dikembe Mutombo
- Michael Cooper
- Maurice Cheeks
- Shane Battier
- Kevin McHale
- Chauncey Billups
- Marques Johnson
- Lou Hudson
- Clyde Drexler
- Doug Christie
- Antwan Jamison