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Head to Head: NBA’s Most Underrated Star

Which NBA star is the most underrated? Moke Hamilton, Jessica Camerato and Jabari Davis discuss.

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In this week’s Head to Head, we asked Moke Hamilton, Jessica Camerato and Jabari Davis to debate the following question: Which NBA star is the most underrated? Here’s what they had to say:

Chris Bosh

In today’s NBA, the term “superstar” is one that is thrown around far too often, and frankly, there are quite a few players who are given the designation that haven’t fully earned it, in my opinion.

A superstar, to me, is someone who impacts both ends of the floor, someone who finds a way to put his fingerprints on a game every single night and someone whose team owes a large amount of their success to. There also needs to be a prolonged period during which the superstar sustains his greatness and helps his team win.

For me, at this point, it is simply too early to dub the likes of Damian Lillard or John Wall as true superstars.

The most underrated superstar, in my opinion, is Chris Bosh.

Over the course of his four years in Miami, Bosh has averaged a fairly modest 17.3 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, but to me, it is his impact that is most important.

Most people who believe that Bosh is not one of the best big men in the entire game probably judge him more so based on his numbers than his impact. They also probably overlook the fact that Bosh—who was arguably the best power forward in the league during his final two years in Toronto—willingly altered his game, moved to center and accepted a diminished role in Miami’s offensive attack.

One thing that he will never be able to fully live down is going scoreless in Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals, even though his Miami HEAT prevailed over the San Antonio Spurs.

Recently, Bosh made headlines for suggesting that Kevin Love would be in for a difficult adjustment in learning how to play with LeBron James, and Bosh is probably correct. Because James is unselfish, Love will get his looks, but he will have to learn to be a more effective catch-and-shoot player and adjust to life without the ball.

That transition is something that Bosh made look easy and it is something that he never complained about.

But ask yourself this: do you honestly believe that the HEAT would have had the success they had if it were not for Bosh? Even when Bosh wasn’t scoring, he was serving as an effective decoy for both James and Dwyane Wade to operate on the offensive end. His skill set was paramount to the HEAT’s floor spacing, which was perhaps the most important characteristic of their offensive attack.

Over the years, when you consider the personnel moves that Pat Riley has made down in Miami—from Alonzo Mourning, Tim Hardaway and Dan Majerle all the way to drafting Caron Butler and Wade—do you doubt his acumen? If so, why?

If both Riley and Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey believed that Bosh is worth a maximum contract, do you feel differently? If so, why? Riley and Morey are regarded as two of the brightest basketball minds and team architects across all NBA front offices. Also, it’s no coincidence that HEAT head coach Erik Spoelstra often referred to Bosh as the team’s most important player in recent years.

If you do not feel that Bosh is a true superstar, and one that goes largely unnoticed and sometimes disrespected in the grand scheme of things, I would challenge you to list your criteria of what makes a “superstar.”

If it is numbers, you may have an argument. But if it is impact, work ethic, diligence and wins, you would be hard-pressed to convince me that Bosh isn’t the epitome.

That you probably question his place in the NBA and as a maximum player only underscores the major point: He is the league’s most underrated superstar.

– Moke Hamilton

Anthony Davis

His name shouldn’t be on lists like this much longer.

Anthony Davis quietly had a breakout sophomore year and is poised to make noise for the New Orleans Pelicans this season.

The 6’10 big man averaged 20.8 points and 10.0 rebounds in 35.2 minutes per game during the 2013-14 campaign. He also led the league with 2.8 blocks and earned his first All-Star selection, replacing Kobe Bryant (injured).

After spending the summer with Team USA, Davis was able to learn from some of the best talent in the game and compete at a high level. This was invaluable for someone who has not experienced the NBA playoffs.

And oh yeah, he’s only 21 years old. Davis has just begun to showcase his potential.

Expect to see his name in the headlines and atop many statistical leaderboards this season.

– Jessica Camerato

John Wall and DeMar DeRozan

Even though Carmelo Anthony may not agree, when asked which NBA stars are actually underrated by analysts and fans, the names John Wall and DeMar DeRozan should definitely be a part of the discussion. Not to completely disregard Anthony’s recent sentiments about being underrated, because he is certainly one of the more criticized star players. Some of the criticism is unwarranted and based at least partially upon conjecture, but he’d also have to admit to earning some of it throughout the course of his career.

However, more often than not, the consensus on Anthony is generally positive among those able to both celebrate Anthony’s remarkable scoring ability while fairly acknowledging his faults. DeRozan and Wall (in particular) aren’t always afforded the same leeway when it comes to judging their productivity.

Although coming off an All-Star season, the mild-mannered DeRozan still goes unacknowledged in many discussions about the game’s top shooting guards. The truth is, while Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and most recently James Harden have tended to dominate the position over the past decade or so, DeRozan is a player whose 2014-15 productivity mirrored or even exceeded (in certain categories) the efforts and efficiency of at least two of the previously mentioned players (Bryant and Wade). The main difference in his game last season is that he transitioned from being merely a scoring threat to a far more complete player and a leader alongside the recently re-signed Kyle Lowry.

Although Wall is praised and respected by many diehard NBA fans and observers, there are still those who doubt him as a player and somehow still question his ability to lead his Wizards to the next level. In some cases, it is almost as though there are those that believe last year’s regular season and playoff success could be attributed at least in part to the Eastern Conference experiencing such a down season. Whether fair to Wall or not, there is still at least a small contingency that holds some of his early-career concerns (erratic outside shot, dancing, etc…) against the 24-year-old leader. Not only has his three-point shot improved significantly, but Wall remains an 80 percent and above free throw shooter. Not to mention the fact that he’s finally established a pace that works at this level and has been in the top-seven in assists in three of his four seasons at this level, tied for second in the league last year behind Chris Paul.

While much of the focus remains on teams like the Cavaliers and Bulls (somewhat justifiably so) in the East, Wall and DeRozan are major reasons why we should still keep an eye on both the Wizards and Raptors, as you just never quite know how things will work themselves out when you have a ton of new parts coming together or the realistic injury concerns like Cleveland and Chicago each face.

– Jabari Davis

Which star is the most underrated? Leave your thoughts below!

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