Alvin Robertson

13 Most Underrated Basketball Players of All Time

In the vast tapestry of basketball lore, there are players whose brilliance illuminates the court like shooting stars, captivating fans with their gravity-defying dunks and pinpoint passes. However, amidst the spotlight and accolades bestowed upon the game’s greatest stars, there exists a cadre of players whose contributions and talents have been unjustly overlooked.

These players may not have graced the covers of magazines or dominated headlines, but their impact on the game is no less profound. From the tenacious defenders who guarded the paint with ferocity to the clutch performers who delivered in the game’s most crucial moments, each player on this list has left an indelible mark on the sport.

Sidney Moncrief

Sidney Moncrief
Image Credit: Unknown U of Arkansas, Public domain/Wikimedia Commons.

Years Played: 1979–1991
Teams: Milwaukee Bucks, Atlanta Hawks
Stats: Career averages of 15.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game
Why He’s Underrated: Sidney Moncrief was a defensive stalwart and a versatile offensive threat during his career. Despite being a five-time NBA All-Star and a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Moncrief often gets overshadowed by his more celebrated peers. His impact on both ends of the floor, exceptional leadership qualities, and unselfish play contributed significantly to the success of the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1980s. Moncrief’s ability to excel in multiple facets of the game makes him one of the most underrated players in NBA history.

Bobby Jones

Bobby Jones
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

Years Played: 1974–1986
Teams: Denver Nuggets, Philadelphia 76ers
Stats: Career averages of 12.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game
Why He’s Underrated: Bobby Jones was a defensive maestro and a consummate team player throughout his career. Renowned for his tenacity on defense and his high basketball IQ, Jones played a pivotal role in the success of the Philadelphia 76ers during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

e3Despite being named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team eight times and winning the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award in 1983, Jones often flies under the radar when discussions of all-time great defenders arise. His unselfishness, versatility, and impact on winning make him one of the most underrated players in NBA history.

Alvin Robertson

Alvin Robertson
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

Years Played: 1984–1996
Teams: San Antonio Spurs, Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons, Toronto Raptors
Stats: Career averages of 14.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 2.7 steals per game
Why He’s Underrated: Alvin Robertson was a defensive dynamo and an underrated playmaker during his time in the NBA. Known for his exceptional athleticism and defensive prowess, Robertson led the league in steals three times and was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 1986.

Despite his defensive accolades and All-Star appearances, Robertson’s impact on the court often goes overlooked in discussions of the greatest guards of his era. His ability to affect the game on both ends of the floor and his underrated leadership qualities make him one of the most underrated players in NBA history.

Mark Price

Mark Price
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

Years Played: 1986–1998
Teams: Cleveland Cavaliers, Washington Bullets, Golden State Warriors, Orlando Magic
Stats: Career averages of 15.2 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 6.7 assists per game
Why He’s Underrated: Mark Price was a sharpshooting point guard ahead of his time, known for his deadly accuracy from long range and exceptional playmaking ability. Despite being a four-time NBA All-Star and one of the greatest shooters in NBA history, Price often gets overlooked in discussions of the best point guards of his era.

His impact on the game extended beyond his statistics, as he revolutionized the role of the three-point shooter and paved the way for modern point guards. Price’s skill, basketball IQ, and underrated influence on the game make him one of the most underrated players in NBA history.

Kevin Johnson

Kevin Johnson
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

Years Played: 1987–2000
Teams: Cleveland Cavaliers, Phoenix Suns
Stats: Career averages of 17.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 9.1 assists per game
Why He’s Underrated: Kevin Johnson was a dynamic and electrifying point guard known for his speed, agility, and playmaking ability. Despite being a three-time NBA All-Star and one of the premier point guards of his era, Johnson often doesn’t receive the recognition he deserves for his impact on the game.

He played a crucial role in leading the Phoenix Suns to prominence in the late 1980s and early 1990s, earning a reputation as one of the league’s top floor generals. Johnson’s exceptional passing, scoring prowess, and leadership qualities make him one of the most underrated players in NBA history.

Toni Kukoč

Toni Kukoc
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

Years Played: 1993–2006
Teams: Chicago Bulls, Philadelphia 76ers, Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks
Stats: Career averages of 11.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game
Why He’s Underrated: Toni Kukoč was a versatile and skilled forward known for his unique blend of size, athleticism, and basketball IQ. Despite being a key member of the legendary Chicago Bulls teams that won three NBA championships in the 1990s, Kukoč often flies under the radar when discussions of the greatest international players arise.

He was a masterful passer, a deadly three-point shooter, and a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. Kukoč’s versatility, clutch performances, and underrated contributions to championship teams make him one of the most underrated players in NBA history.

Dan Majerle

Dan Majerle
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

Years Played: 1988–2002
Teams: Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat
Stats: Career averages of 11.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game
Why He’s Underrated: Dan Majerle, also known as “Thunder Dan,” was a versatile swingman known for his tenacious defense, three-point shooting, and high-flying dunks. Despite being a three-time NBA All-Star and one of the premier perimeter defenders of his era, Majerle often flies under the radar when discussions of the greatest shooting guards arise.

He was a key player for the Phoenix Suns during their successful runs in the early 1990s, earning a reputation as a reliable scorer and lockdown defender. Majerle’s underrated defensive skills, outside shooting, and contributions to winning teams make him one of the most underrated players in NBA history.

Shawn Marion

Shawn Marion
Image Credit: By Keith Allison, CC BY-SA 2.0/WikiCommons.

Years Played: 1999–2015
Teams: Phoenix Suns, Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors, Dallas Mavericks, Cleveland Cavaliers
Stats: Career averages of 15.2 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game
Why He’s Underrated: Shawn Marion, nicknamed “The Matrix,” was a versatile and athletic forward known for his all-around game and defensive prowess. Despite being a four-time NBA All-Star and an NBA champion with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011, Marion often doesn’t receive the recognition he deserves for his impact on the court.

He was a key contributor to the high-flying Phoenix Suns teams of the mid-2000s, showcasing his ability to score, rebound, defend multiple positions, and fill up the stat sheet. Marion’s versatility, defensive intensity, and underrated contributions to winning teams make him one of the most underrated players in NBA history.

Jack Sikma

Jack Sikma
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

Years Played: 1977–1991
Teams: Seattle SuperSonics, Milwaukee Bucks
Stats: Career averages of 15.6 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game
Why He’s Underrated: Jack Sikma was a skilled and versatile big man known for his unique combination of scoring ability, rebounding prowess, and outside shooting touch. Despite being a seven-time NBA All-Star, an NBA champion with the Seattle SuperSonics in 1979, and an inductee into the Basketball Hall of Fame, Sikma often flies under the radar when discussions of the greatest centers arise.

He was one of the first big men to stretch the floor with his outside shooting, paving the way for modern big men to expand their offensive games beyond the paint. Sikma’s basketball IQ, leadership qualities, and underrated impact on the game make him one of the most underrated players in NBA history.

Brad Daugherty

Brad Daugherty
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

Years Played: 1986–1994
Teams: Cleveland Cavaliers
Stats: Career averages of 19.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game
Why He’s Underrated: Brad Daugherty was a dominant and versatile center known for his scoring ability, rebounding prowess, and exceptional passing skills. Despite being a five-time NBA All-Star and one of the premier big men of his era, Daugherty often doesn’t receive the recognition he deserves for his impact on the court.

He was the cornerstone of the Cleveland Cavaliers franchise during the late 1980s and early 1990s, showcasing his ability to score in the post, facilitate offense, and control the boards. Daugherty’s underrated passing skills, basketball IQ, and contributions to the Cavaliers make him one of the most underrated players in NBA history.

Horace Grant

Horace Grant
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

Years Played: 1987–2004
Teams: Chicago Bulls, Orlando Magic, Seattle SuperSonics, Los Angeles Lakers
Stats: Career averages of 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game
Why He’s Underrated: Despite being a four-time NBA champion (three with the Chicago Bulls and one with the Los Angeles Lakers), Horace Grant’s contributions often flew under the radar. Known for his suffocating defense and rebounding tenacity, Grant played a pivotal role in the success of his teams.

His ability to guard multiple positions and alter shots in the paint was instrumental in shutting down opposing offenses. Grant’s impact on the court transcended statistics, making him one of the most underrated players in NBA history.

Maurice Cheeks

Maurice Cheeks
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

Years Played: 1978–1993
Teams: Philadelphia 76ers, San Antonio Spurs, New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks, New Jersey Nets
Stats: Career averages of 11.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, 6.7 assists, and 2.1 steals per game
Why He’s Underrated: Maurice Cheeks may not have received the same level of recognition as some of his contemporaries, but his impact on the game was undeniable. A four-time NBA All-Star and a member of the NBA All-Defensive First Team five times, Cheeks was the engine that drove his teams’ success.

His exceptional passing, defensive prowess, and leadership on the court were instrumental in guiding the Philadelphia 76ers to an NBA championship in 1983. Cheeks’s ability to control the tempo of the game and elevate his teammates made him one of the most underrated players in NBA history.

Detlef Schrempf

Detlef Schrempf
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

Years Played: 1985–2001
Teams: Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers, Seattle SuperSonics, Portland Trail Blazers
Stats: Career averages of 13.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game
Why He’s Underrated: Detlef Schrempf, a versatile forward with a silky-smooth shooting stroke, was a trailblazer for international players in the NBA. Despite his impressive skill set and consistent production, Schrempf often doesn’t receive the recognition he deserves for his impact on the game.

A two-time NBA All-Star and the NBA Sixth Man of the Year in 1991 and 1992, Schrempf’s ability to score from anywhere on the court and facilitate offense made him a valuable asset to any team. His versatility as a scorer, rebounder, and playmaker paved the way for modern stretch forwards in the NBA. Schrempf’s underrated contributions to the game and his influence on international players make him one of the most underrated players in NBA history.

Madison Cates is a journalist located in the great state of Texas. She began writing over eight years ago. Her first major research piece was published by the Journal of Business and Economics in 2018. After growing up in a household of eight brothers and a dad who was always restoring old Camaros, she naturally pivoted her freelance career into the automotive industry. There, she found her passion. Her experience paved the way for her to work with multiple large corporations in automotive news and trending topics. Now, she now finds her home at Wealth of Geeks where she proudly serves as Managing Editor of Autos. Madison is always down to geek out over the latest beautiful cars on the market, and she enjoys providing her readers with tips to make car ownership easier and more enjoyable.

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