Top 10 most overrated NBA players of all time

Profile Picture: Ryan Murphy

Ryan Murphy

October 19th, 2020

The NBA is one of the best-covered leagues in the world. Every game is broadcast on television, radio, and the Internet and is later dissected by legions of print and online journalists until they’re blue in the face. PR reps and marketing flacks also contribute their two cents to make sure their clients are presented in the most flattering light possible.

All of that attention means that some players get a far bigger share of the spotlight than they deserve. Role players are recast as superstars, and fringe All-Stars are sold to the public as living legends.

Join us now as we present the 10 most overrated NBA players of all time.

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Atlanta Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins looks on before an NBA game between the Atlanta Hawks and the Los Angeles Clippers . (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

10. Dominique Wilkins

Teams: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, San Antonio Spurs, Orlando Magic, L.A. Clippers
All-Star appearances: 9
NBA titles: 0

Dominique Wilkens is treated like a god in Atlanta, but what did he actually accomplish? Sure he appeared in countless highlight reels and won a pair of Slam Dunk contests, but the Hawks failed to make the playoffs in three of his seasons with the franchise and were eliminated in the first round on four other occasions. "Nique" was great on the break, but he was far more style than substance.

9. Alex English

Teams: Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks, Denver Nuggets, Dallas Mavericks
All-Star appearances: 8
NBA titles: 0

English deserves props for being the top scorer in the 1980s, but those buckets led to little team success. The Nuggets missed the playoffs during his first two seasons in Denver, and only advanced to the Western Conference Finals once in the ensuring nine years. English capped off his career playing in virtual anonymity in Italy, where he played in half-empty gyms for Basket Napoli.

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Sacramento Kings point guard Jimmer Fredette (7). (Photo by Mark Halmas/Icon Sportswire)

8. Jimmer Fredette

Teams: Sacramento Kings, New Orleans Pelicans, Chicago Bulls, Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks
All-Star appearances: 0
NBA titles: 0

Jimmer Fredette may not be overrated by NBA talent evaluators, but he is grossly overrated by fans, who keep on expecting him to become the player he was at BYU, where he led the nation in scoring during his senior season. Unfortunately, Fredette’s lack of athleticism and poor ball-handling skills prevented him from ever finding a permanent home in the NBA, and have turned him into a basketball nomad destined to roam the earth in search of a paycheck.

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Golden State Warriors Forward Draymond Green laughs after the official makes a call during an NBA game. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

7. Draymond Green

Teams: Golden State Warriors
All-Star appearances: 3
NBA titles: 3

If there were a Hall of Fame for kicking guys in the nuts Draymond Green would have his own wing, but when it comes to excelling at basketball this professional irritant is seriously overrated. "Day-Day" only started 13 games in his first two seasons, and proved to be far more of a complimentary piece rather than an All-Star this past year with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson unable to suit up due to injuries. Without his talented running mates, Green averaged just 8.0 points and 6.2 rebounds per game, and his lackluster performance was a big reason why the Warriors finished 15-50 and in last place in the Western Conference.

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Ben Wallace throws down a massive slam. (Photo by Tom Hauck/Icon Sportswire)

6. Ben Wallace

Teams: Washington Wizards, Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls, Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers
All-Star appearances: 4
NBA titles: 1

Wallace has long been a fringe Hall of Fame candidate thanks to defensive prowess, but his prime was remarkably short. The four-time Defensive Player of the Year didn’t become a full-time starter until his fourth season in the league and averaged just 3.6 points per game during his final five seasons. No one will deny that he made the most of his limited skillset, but Wallace doesn’t deserve a spot in the pantheon of the game’s all-time greats.

5. George Gervin

Teams: San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls
All-Star appearances: 12
NBA titles: 0

If ever there were a poster child for empty points, it would be George Gervin. The long-time San Antonio Spur scored 26,536 points over 10 seasons in the NBA, but all those finger rolls did little to make his teams – or teammates – better. San Antonio never sniffed the NBA Finals during the "Ice Man’s" career, and he spent his golden years toiling in Italy.

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Standing (L-R) Phoenix Suns guard Leandro Barbosa (10), center Amare Stoudemire (1), guard Steve Nash (13), and forward Shawn Marion (31) wait for a fouls shot to be completed. (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)

4. Shawn Marion

Teams: Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors
All-Star appearances: 4
NBA titles: 1

Shawn Marion should call Steve Nash every day to personally thank him for his three consecutive All-Star selections. The Canadian floor general found a way of weaponizing Marion’s speed and athleticism and turned him into one of the most lethal wings in the NBA during their four seasons together in Phoenix. Need further proof? Marion averaged 18.7 with Nash, and just 11.5 points for the remainder of his career without him.

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Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul being defended by Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

3. Chris Paul

Teams: New Orleans Hornets, Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder
All-Star appearances: 10
NBA titles: 0

Chris Paul gets mad respect from journalists and players alike for his leadership and off-the-charts basketball IQ. However, at the end of the day, he’s only led a team to the conference finals once in 15 years and has been bounced from the first round five times. "CP3" is still a first ballot Hall of Famer, but his spot in Springfield is assured because of his regular season accolades rather than his postseason triumphs.

2. Bob Cousy

Teams: Boston Celtics, Cincinnati Royals
All-Star appearances: 13
NBA titles: 6

Much has been made of Bob Cousy’s string of six championships over seven years, and rightfully so. The so-called "Houdini of the Hardwood" was a phenomenal winner whose ball-handling and court vision were far ahead of their time. However, Cousy also benefitted greatly from playing alongside nine other Hall of Famers when the league consisted of only eight teams. He was also a miserable shooter who only hit 37% of his field goal attempts over his 14-year career. Cousy was a special talent, but his legacy is closely tied to his teammates and the circumstances of his era.

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ABC commentator Bill walton calls a game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Seattle Sonics. (Photo by Jeff Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

1. Bill Walton

Teams: Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtics
All-Star appearances: 2
NBA titles: 2

There’s a mystique around Bill Walton owing to his counterculture ethos and irreproachable college career. He was, quite simply, one of the greatest amateur hoop stars of all time, but he never lived up to his promise in the pros due to a series of debilitating injuries. "Big Red" only appeared in 468 out of a possible 1,148 NBA games, and hamstrung two different franchises because of his large salary and inability to perform. There are plenty of Deadheads who would love to wax poetic about Walton over a big bowl of Purple Kush, but he remains one of the most overrated NBA players of all time.

Who is the most overrated big man of all time?

Dishonorable mentions: Carmelo Anthony DeMar DeRozan, James Harden, Paul Pierce, James Worthy