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OutletPass
10-03-2003, 06:16 PM
Too much is expected from James
By Rush Limbaugh
NBA Insider
Updated: October 3
2:24 PM ET


We've been stuck at 13 all week. Thirteen players on the verge of breaking out. Thirteen players in a make-or-break season. Thirteen players in the twilight of their careers. Thirteen players trying to come back. Call this one Friday the 13th. For mysterious reasons that have to do with the quirks that come with media hype or lack thereof, there are a number of players out there living with reps they don't deserve. Is LeBron James the next Michael Jordan? Please.

Insider breaks down the NBA's most overrated and underrated players by position in the last of 13 series.


Rookie

Overrated? Lebron James, G/F, Cavs -- Even if James averages 20 ppg, 6 rpg and 6 apg, there will be someone out there disappointed. This isn't a knock on his talent or work ethic. Both are stellar. But the expectations are just out of control. There's only one Michael Jordan. And as a string of posers will (Vince Carter, Jerry Stackhouse, Grant Hill) will tell you -- it's no fun playing in his shadow.

Underrated? Dwyane Wade, G, Heat -- You hear a lot about Carmelo Anthony and James as rookie of the year candidates, but don't count out Wade. He'll play a big role on the Heat this year. His length and athleticism in the backcourt will turn a lot of heads, especially if the Heat start winning some basketball games.

Point Guard

Steve Francis will be asked to share the ball more this season.

Overrated? Steve Francis, Rockets -- Rudy Tomjanovich let Francis do whatever he wanted and he's put up terrific numbers in Houston the past few years. That's about to change. New head coach Jeff Van Gundy wants to turn the Rockets into an inside, out team, which means that Francis isn't going to try to take his man off the dribble every time down the court. My guess is his numbers will slip and there will be some serious pouting on the bench.

Underrated? Tony Parker, Spurs -- He's 21 years old, already has a championship ring and takes an extraordinary amount of abuse. I'm not sure that Parker is a Top 5 point guard in the league, but he does what coach Gregg Popovich asks him to do and it works. My guess is that if he were to move to a team that ran the floor more, he'd put up sensational numbers. If he's improved this much in his first two years in the league, what's he going to look like when he's 25?

Shooting Guard

Overrated? Latrell Sprewell, T-Wolves -- Spree is an obsession. His numbers the past few years and the Knicks' pitiful record suggest that he peaked about three years ago. Everyone is talking about how the Wolves are now one of the three most dangerous teams in the West. But considering that four of their five starters (Spree, Sam Cassell, Wally Szczerbiak and Michael Olowokandi) could've made the overrated list -- it's tough to untangle the hype from the reality. Spree's absence at media day should give Flip Saunders a nice taste of what he's in for this year.

Underrated? Ray Allen, Sonics -- He's always been overshadowed by a teammate or a coach in Milwaukee. Allen really shined the last 30 games of the season in Seattle. We learned that he's a better passer and better defender than we ever thought and he proved that he can be a leader. If he can stay healthy, expect a huge year from Allen this season.

Small Forward

Overrated? Jalen Rose, Bulls -- The days of Rose jacking up 20 to 25 shots a game are over. This year coach Bill Cartwright is going to give the ball to his young players and ask them to lead. For all of Rose's offensive fire power, he couldn't lead the Bulls to the locker room.

Underrated? Al Harrington, Pacers -- He's been up and down and stunk in the playoffs -- but Harrington is a lot better than people give him credit for. If the Pacers' rotation becomes set, and coach Rick Carlisle doesn't play favorites and sits him in favor of Austin Croshere, Harrington is a guy who can drop 20 points and grab 10 boards on any given night.

Power Forward

Overrated? Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Hawks -- His numbers are great but his lack of playoff appearances is alarming. Rahim is the guy who seems destined to always put up good numbers on a bad team. The problem is a lack of leadership. He's been on several teams with a chance at being decent, but has never taken over the way his talent suggests he should.

Underrated? Elton Brand, Clippers -- I know this is hypocritical. Brand's a playoff virgin as well and puts up great numbers on bad teams. The difference? Brand's teams have never had a shot at being good. Despite that, he comes to play every night, never complains and remains one of the few sure things in this league. If he ever were to make it to a good team, he'd put up the same numbers and would be looking at a championship.

Center

Overrated? Just about everyone in the league -- Let me make a bold plea to David Stern. After Shaq retires, can we just go ahead and abolish the center position? He should make it illegal for anyone to draft a player 6-11 or taller who doesn't know how to score, rebound or block shots. That would rid us of about 75 percent of the stiffs in the league.

Underrated? Rasho Nesterovic, Spurs -- He quietly improved his game each year in Minnesota. Playing next to Tim Duncan should really open things up for Nesterovic in the high post. He's looking at a career year in San Antonio this season.

No. 13
Juwan Howard, F, Magic -- Howard went from being the most overrated player in the NBA to the most underrated in the course of two years. Take away his enormous contract for a second and Howard has steadily produced (for bad teams) his entire career. In Orlando, he'll be the No. 2 option behind Tracy McGrady. Will he finally get to show what he can do in the playoffs?


Around the league

Only two prominent free agents are still looking for work. One of them, Stephen Jackson, is in Atlanta today hoping to seal a deal with the Hawks. Jackson, who reportedly rejected a three-year, $10 million deal with the Spurs, is looking at taking a lot less money wherever he winds up. Hawks GM Billy Knight hopes that he chooses the Hawks.

"I don't know if anything is going to happen or not," Knight told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. "We look forward to having a chance to visit with [Stephen] in person. We really, really would like to have him. He's athletic. He's played in big games. He's got some experience, but he's still young enough to potentially have a big upside. He'd add another dimension to the team, and that's what you'd like to have --- more versatility, more of everything." If Jackson chooses not to sign in Atlanta, it's unclear what other options he realistically has.

Tyrone Hill is the other top free agent still looking for work. It's hard to believe that in a league starved for big men who can do the dirty work in the paint that Hill doesn't have a job. While he isn't much of an offensive threat, Hill's a veteran rebounder who could be a nice role player on several contenders.
The problem may have something to do with his contract demands. While he's not asking for the moon, his agent, Mark Bartelstein, told Insider that Hill has rejected offers from several teams that are offering him the veterans minimum.

"I just think it's unfair to offer a guy a minimum contract when you know he's going to be a key player coming off the bench for you," Bartelstein said. "If he's going to play thirty minutes a game, he should be compensated for it." Bartelstein said Hill is talking with several teams right now, but refused to name them. One team that looks like it could really use him is Sacramento. With Lawrence Funderburke out and Keon Clark gone, the team has no real backup for the fragile Chris Webber. "We're going to be patient," Bartelstein said. "An injury will happen somewhere in camp and a team will need someone like Hill to step in."

EricaLubarsky
10-03-2003, 06:27 PM
Spree is an obsession. His numbers the past few years and the Knicks' pitiful record suggest that he peaked about three years ago. Everyone is talking about how the Wolves are now one of the three most dangerous teams in the West. But considering that four of their five starters (Spree, Sam Cassell, Wally Szczerbiak and Michael Olowokandi) could've made the overrated list -- it's tough to untangle the hype from the reality. Spree's absence at media day should give Flip Saunders a nice taste of what he's in for this year.

I liked that. Rush Limbaugh, though? hmmm


the team has no real backup for the fragile Chris Webber. "We're going to be patient," Bartelstein said. "An injury will happen somewhere in camp and a team will need someone like Hill to step in."

An injury will happen? Finally a reporter who doesn't tell it as a conditional "if" statement.


Underrated? Dwyane Wade, G, Heat -- You hear a lot about Carmelo Anthony and James as rookie of the year candidates, but don't count out Wade

Dwayne Wade is only underrated to those that are casual fans, to everyone else he is overrated because of statements like that.


Tyrone Hill is the other top free agent still looking for work

Well he can save money by not buying a ticket to DallasFW. i/expressions/devil.gif

Nash13
10-03-2003, 06:43 PM
Al Harrington is not underrated. He started off good last season, but towards the end and the playoffs, he disappeared. He's much like Webber, Injury Prone. He was injured for the season for at least 2 straight years.

I do feel Juwan Howard is somewhat underrated. He played good for his team, he just wasn't worth that contract.


Why is Rasho listed as underrated. He's the most overrated center in the league. His numbers will decrease when he plays with Duncan. Even though he's improved over the years with Minnesota, he's still not that good.

The only players they got right on that list is Steve Francis(overrated), and Ray Allen(underrated).

jayC
10-03-2003, 06:50 PM
I agree with most of what he said. Ray Allen has always been under the shadow of someone know he can be a star on seattle. The dude is only 27 and he put up something like 27 points 7 rebounds and 7 assists after the trade for seattle. The deal should have happened much sooner.


Overrated? Lebron James, G/F, Cavs -- Even if James averages 20 ppg, 6 rpg and 6 apg, there will be someone out there disappointed. This isn't a knock on his talent or work ethic. Both are stellar. But the expectations are just out of control. There's only one Michael Jordan. And as a string of posers will (Vince Carter, Jerry Stackhouse, Grant Hill) will tell you -- it's no fun playing in his shadow.
He is exactly right the expectations are gigantic all that really is for sure is that he will help a lot of nba teams make some moola.

[quote]
Point Guard

Steve Francis will be asked to share the ball more this season.

Overrated? Steve Francis, Rockets -- Rudy Tomjanovich let Francis do whatever he wanted and he's put up terrific numbers in Houston the past few years. That's about to change. New head coach Jeff Van Gundy wants to turn the Rockets into an inside, out team, which means that Francis isn't going to try to take his man off the dribble every time down the court. My guess is his numbers will slip and there will be some serious pouting on the bench.

Underrated? Tony Parker, Spurs -- He's 21 years old, already has a championship ring and takes an extraordinary amount of abuse. I'm not sure that Parker is a Top 5 point guard in the league, but he does what coach Gregg Popovich asks him to do and it works. My guess is that if he were to move to a team that ran the floor more, he'd put up sensational numbers. If he's improved this much in his first two years in the league, what's he going to look like when he's 25?[\Q]

He hit the knail on the coffin. Stevie pass the ball please he would be a much better two guard then point guard.


Geez he hit the knail on the coughin about Donnovan he gets way too much credit when they win. I am a Rush fan but his statements were too powerful for television for a second he thought he was on his radio show. As if other media types haven't made racial tones eg. Charles Barkley continues to think Finley is the best player on the team just because of his great athletic ability because hes black. On the other hand he thinks Dirk is just a good scorer. Let the double standard continue.

Another eg. would be when Reggie White made comments on how Gays would go to hell. Didn't get lambasted for those statements know did he.

Or what about spree he choked his coach even tried to kill him. Which it would have been if not for the NBA. And a year later he was praised as a hero. And in the same breath John Rocker great closer at the time said insentive racist remarks but they weren't illegal he gets hell for it. Rather he got misquoted or not. Unfair.

harsh euro barge
10-03-2003, 07:10 PM
don't forget Isaiah Thomas saying that Larry Bird would be just another good player if he was black....

ames7
10-04-2003, 01:50 AM
Remember when we were supposedly after Hill & after he signed elsewhere, we got all that criticism b/c we "lost" him? I never got that.

MavsFanatik33
10-04-2003, 11:04 AM
Center

Overrated? Just about everyone in the league -- Let me make a bold plea to David Stern. After Shaq retires, can we just go ahead and abolish the center position? He should make it illegal for anyone to draft a player 6-11 or taller who doesn't know how to score, rebound or block shots. That would rid us of about 75 percent of the stiffs in the league.

He was right about that...