Underrated All Time Greats

Underrated All Time Greats

Postby Rooscooter on Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:50 pm

Therealdeal and I were having a discussion about great 2 guards and derailed another thread so I thought it might be interesting to start one that some of the "seasoned" among us can give some insight to some of the less publicized All Time Greats from the past. The NBA took off in the 80's and most of the really good players of that era and the ones that followed are pretty well known.

The 70's were a lost decade in the NBA in a lot of respects and the players of that era are under appreciated IMHO.

I'll start with Pistol Pete Maravich. In my mind he revolutionized the "Big Guard" position in the NBA setting the stage for guys like Jordan, Kobe, Wade etc....

In College, between 1967 and 1970 he averaged 44.2 PPG along with 6.5 boards for LSU. At this same time Kareem was averaging 26.4 at UCLA. Keep in mind that these scoring numbers were in 40 minute games without a 3 point line..... In his very first College game as a Freshman he put up 50, 14 and 11 (in a Freshman Contest). He owns the NCAA division 1 scoring record at 3,667 points.... in 3 years because in those days Freshman were not allowed to play Varsity Sports.

Here is a link to box scores from some of his 50+ point college games. http://www.pistolpete23.com/top_college.htm

I think the most impressive is the one against Duquesne in 68..... he scored 53 against them while they were undefeated and leading the NCAA in points against at 57 ppg....

He was drafted by Atlanta and played for the New Orleans Jazz and Boston Celtics (for a few games at the very end of his career)

I believe he was one of the top basket ball players ever and one of the very best of his era. He played in small markets and for mediocre teams at best. A significant knee injury in 77 took some of his athleticism and he didn't play more than 50 games in his final 3 seasons. He had the 3rd highest scoring game of all time (to that point) and the highest by a guard in 77 with 68 points against the Knicks.

Overall his game was a combination of Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and George Gervin. He could shoot from anywhere and 1/3 of made field goals would have been 3 pointers in todays game. He could dish with the best of them and handled the ball better than anyone his size ever had to that point. He had speed with the ball that no one had at that time as well.

I think he's largely forgotten in the debates about the greatest players to every play.... is he the best.... no... is he top 5... no.... is he top 10 to 15..... I think so.....

Here's a video of some of his career highlights.

Last edited by Rooscooter on Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Underrated All Time Greats

Postby Texas Lakers Fan on Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:11 pm

Pistol Pete was definitely overrated, but I really feel like Tim Duncan is the most underrated superstar of all time. People don't really talk about him much because he doesn't really have a flashy game it's "boring", but this dude is a legend. His 2005 Finals performance was incredible. I still remember back in game 7 the Spurs were down. I was actually at the gane. He took over the game and brought the Spurs back and led them to another championship. One of the top ten players of all time. Best power forward of all time IMO. Along with Kobe and Shaq the best player in the post Michael Jordan era. I grew up watching him a lot since I live in San Antonio.
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Re: Underrated All Time Greats

Postby John3:16 on Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:11 pm

The person I'm thinking of is 6th all time in points and 3rd in rebounds. 3 time MVP. Best player on the best team (one season) I ever saw. How can someone with those accomplishments be underrated? I dunno. But Moses Malone is.
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Re: Underrated All Time Greats

Postby Congo Cash on Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:16 pm

I find Sabonis underrated as well...
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Re: Underrated All Time Greats

Postby Rooscooter on Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:19 pm

John3:16 wrote:The person I'm thinking of is 6th all time in points and 3rd in rebounds. 3 time MVP. Best player on the best team (one season) I ever saw. How can someone with those accomplishments be underrated? I dunno. But Moses Malone is.


Malone was great.... and he used to give the Lakers and Kareem fits. He played in the shadow of the LA/Boston/Philadelphia rivalries of the early to mid 80's. My only real issue with his game is that for a center.... in that era his field goal percentage wasn't really that good..... But if he had shot better he wouldn't have had all those offensive rebounds..... :man10:

Bob Lanier was a great center of the 70's that gets overlooked a lot as well...
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Re: Underrated All Time Greats

Postby therealdeal on Tue Sep 04, 2012 8:10 pm

Somewhere on this list we need to see Walton. And not the watered down, crappy one the Lakers got. I'm talking Bill Walton.

The dude was an absolute beast when he was healthy. Injuries derailed his career, but he still was able to hitch onto the Celtics to nab a championship. He's right up there with Maravich and Malone in my book.
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Re: Underrated All Time Greats

Postby John3:16 on Tue Sep 04, 2012 8:29 pm

therealdeal wrote:Somewhere on this list we need to see Walton. And not the watered down, crappy one the Lakers got. I'm talking Bill Walton.

The dude was an absolute beast when he was healthy. Injuries derailed his career, but he still was able to hitch onto the Celtics to nab a championship. He's right up there with Maravich and Malone in my book.


Completely agree. At the same time, he could also be high up on the overrated team, based on actual NBA accomplishments. I know he was a vital part of the Blazers title team, but his overall NBA accomplishments didn't warrant Top 50 All Time. People ripped Shaq for being named to that team, but at the time, he already had more points then Walton had scored (in fact, he scored more in his first 4 years then Walton did in his career).

I consider Kareem (or Alcindor as he was known at the time) for being the greatest college player ever. Walton's numbers are at least equal to my favorite player. So much so that John Wooden couldn't say which one was better.
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Re: Underrated All Time Greats

Postby Magic Skywalker on Tue Sep 04, 2012 8:32 pm

therealdeal wrote:Somewhere on this list we need to see Walton. And not the watered down, crappy one the Lakers got. I'm talking Bill Walton.

The dude was an absolute beast when he was healthy. Injuries derailed his career, but he still was able to hitch onto the Celtics to nab a championship. He's right up there with Maravich and Malone in my book.


He already had a championship (and Finals MVP) though, so the Celtics thing was a nice extra for him. He was incredible with the Blazers.
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Re: Underrated All Time Greats

Postby dj vitus on Tue Sep 04, 2012 8:51 pm

I don't understand the love for Bill Walton. Seriously.

Yes, he was one of the best in the league for about two half seasons and one playoff run (with no clear favorites that year, mind you).

But that's it!

Injuries derailed his career, unfortunately, and he was never quite the same. I don't count his Celtic ring cause he was just a role player.

Could he have been one of the best? Maybe. But when he was healthy and dominating, Kareem still mopped the floor with him on most nights. Sky hook, turnaround J, skyhook, up-and-under dunk, sky hook, rinse, lather, repeat... Even if healthy, I doubt he could slow down Wilt Chamberlain or even Shaq.

I can't put anyone in the Hall of Fame with just one good playoff run and two good half seasons. There are a number of other all-time greats who have put together just as good or better performances as Walton but with much longer and storied careers.
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Re: Underrated All Time Greats

Postby gcclaker on Tue Sep 04, 2012 8:59 pm

Five off the top of my head...

G - Nate Archibald
G - Sidney Moncrief
F - Bernard King
F - Jack Sikma
C - Artis Gilmore
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Re: Underrated All Time Greats

Postby John3:16 on Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:29 pm

gcclaker wrote:F - Bernard King


Beast! :jam2: Quickest release I've ever seen. I remember him dropping 50 on back to back nights and just dominating in the playoffs. Drugs got some of his better years. But he came back and put together some great years. His brother Albert was also a pretty good player.
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Re: Underrated All Time Greats

Postby 432J on Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:45 pm

Pete Maravich-definitely an all time great who has really become forgotten. this guy was so good at just the basics and fundamentals of the game, and that's what made him pistol pete
Tim Duncan-the greatest power forward of all time right there with malone. and also the most underrated player in NBA history. he's in my top 10

other guys that have gone mostly forgotten:
Oscar Robertson
Sidney Moncrief
Alex English
Bernard King
Walter Davis
Arvydas Sabonis (if this guy had come to the NBA earlier, he would have become a top 5 all time center)
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Re: Underrated All Time Greats

Postby bruddahmanmatt on Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:52 pm

Rick Barry always seems to go unnoticed IMO.
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Re: Underrated All Time Greats

Postby Rooscooter on Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:23 pm

Dan Issel, Alex English and Kiki Vandeweghe were part of a very high scoring Denver team back in the day....

Gus Williams, George McGinnis, Tom Chambers and World Free come to mind as well.

Fat Lever had a 4 year stretch averaging 19, 9 and 8 as a 6'-3" combo guard...... Numbers not seen again until LebBron......
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Re: Underrated All Time Greats

Postby therealdeal on Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:21 am

World Free... I loved watching him shoot the ball. That weird looking balding head and his propensity for kicking his body around acrobatically. Definitely a fun player.
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Re: Underrated All Time Greats

Postby gcclaker on Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:01 am

When people talk 4s, it's always about the Duncans and the Malones...and Kevin McHale is NEVER mentioned. I hated him for WHERE he played but damn he could score in so many ways and was an excellent defender both one on one as well as help. Big Lurch was a hell of a baller...

Barry is already added in this thread. Elgin Baylor is another one whose name don't usually show up in convos about small forwards. I never saw him play yet the stats he put up were phenomenal. Baylor by accounts was THE first 3 who had the "hang" time on the court...doing Dr. J before Dr. J. Great rebounder too.
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Re: Underrated All Time Greats

Postby 432J on Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:05 am

gcclaker wrote:When people talk 4s, it's always about the Duncans and the Malones...and Kevin McHale is NEVER mentioned. I hated him for WHERE he played but damn he could score in so many ways and was an excellent defender both one on one as well as help. Big Lurch was a hell of a baller...

Barry is already added in this thread. Elgin Baylor is another one whose name don't usually creep up in convos about small forwards. I never saw him play yet the stats he put up were phenomenal. Baylor by accounts was THE first 3 who had the "hang" time on the court...doing Dr. J before Dr. J. Great rebounder too.

i definitely agree about baylor. he has pretty much become completely forgotten when it comes to NBA greats. way before my time but from what i've seen, he was a true star. not to mention he played for the lakers his entire career
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Re: Underrated All Time Greats

Postby Rooscooter on Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:08 am

therealdeal wrote:World Free... I loved watching him shoot the ball. That weird looking balding head and his propensity for kicking his body around acrobatically. Definitely a fun player.


Free had a 40"+ vertical and he used about 36" of it on every jump shot..... he could literally shoot a jumper with someone right in his face with that jumping ability and that release point behind his head.....

He was another one that got stuck on crap teams..... not a true all time great at any particular aspect of the game but a formidable player in his day and a true character of the game..... his fashion "sense" was second to none........ :man12:
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Re: Underrated All Time Greats

Postby jimbo327 on Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:25 am

Isiah Thomas was probably one of the best small guards I've ever seen play. But in the era of Magic,Bird and Jordan, I think he doesn't get enough credit. Also got left off the Dream Team.

Terrible GM though, LOL.
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Re: Underrated All Time Greats

Postby LTLakerFan on Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:28 am

dj vitus wrote:I don't understand the love for Bill Walton. Seriously.

Yes, he was one of the best in the league for about two half seasons and one playoff run (with no clear favorites that year, mind you).

But that's it!

Injuries derailed his career, unfortunately, and he was never quite the same. I don't count his Celtic ring cause he was just a role player.

Could he have been one of the best? Maybe. But when he was healthy and dominating, Kareem still mopped the floor with him on most nights. Sky hook, turnaround J, skyhook, up-and-under dunk, sky hook, rinse, lather, repeat... Even if healthy, I doubt he could slow down Wilt Chamberlain or even Shaq.

I can't put anyone in the Hall of Fame with just one good playoff run and two good half seasons. There are a number of other all-time greats who have put together just as good or better performances as Walton but with much longer and storied careers.


Wow maybe it's just my memory or maybe others that can recall their battles can chime in, but I seem to recall and mentioned it just yesterday that I thought he gave Kareem all he could handle in their primes and then some. He was more physical than Kareem was and seemed to me to get the better of him some times. If you remember clearly and those were simply times that Kareem wasn't at 100% due to injury, I can't argue....just going on general remembered impressions.

And Pistol Pete.... :man4: :man4: What an incredible talent and scorer, ball handler and passer. He probably more than anyone prior or since.....was Magic Johnson "esque" with the unbelievable passes from a not short player.
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Re: Underrated All Time Greats

Postby The Rock on Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:39 am

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Re: Underrated All Time Greats

Postby Rooscooter on Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:02 am

LTLakerFan wrote:
dj vitus wrote:I don't understand the love for Bill Walton. Seriously.

Yes, he was one of the best in the league for about two half seasons and one playoff run (with no clear favorites that year, mind you).

But that's it!

Injuries derailed his career, unfortunately, and he was never quite the same. I don't count his Celtic ring cause he was just a role player.

Could he have been one of the best? Maybe. But when he was healthy and dominating, Kareem still mopped the floor with him on most nights. Sky hook, turnaround J, skyhook, up-and-under dunk, sky hook, rinse, lather, repeat... Even if healthy, I doubt he could slow down Wilt Chamberlain or even Shaq.

I can't put anyone in the Hall of Fame with just one good playoff run and two good half seasons. There are a number of other all-time greats who have put together just as good or better performances as Walton but with much longer and storied careers.


Wow maybe it's just my memory or maybe others that can recall their battles can chime in, but I seem to recall and mentioned it just yesterday that I thought he gave Kareem all he could handle in their primes and then some. He was more physical than Kareem was and seemed to me to get the better of him some times. If you remember clearly and those were simply times that Kareem wasn't at 100% due to injury, I can't argue....just going on general remembered impressions.

And Pistol Pete.... :man4: :man4: What an incredible talent and scorer, ball handler and passer. He probably more than anyone prior or since.....was Magic Johnson "esque" with the unbelievable passes from a not short player.


Walton, prior to his injuries, was a master at getting Kareem to move off the post.... He played most of his defense prior to the ball crossing half court and would deny post position better than anyone I've ever seen. Kareem was so good that he still dominated the match ups for the most part but he had to work harder than against anyone else.

Kareem once said that Nate Thurmond and Walton gave him the most difficulty.....
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Re: Underrated All Time Greats

Postby Rooscooter on Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:09 am

Hondo got his props in the day but he is overlooked by a lot these days. He was a lot like Larry Bird in that he did just about everything on the floor.
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Re: Underrated All Time Greats

Postby therealdeal on Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:19 am

Rooscooter wrote:
therealdeal wrote:World Free... I loved watching him shoot the ball. That weird looking balding head and his propensity for kicking his body around acrobatically. Definitely a fun player.


Free had a 40"+ vertical and he used about 36" of it on every jump shot..... he could literally shoot a jumper with someone right in his face with that jumping ability and that release point behind his head.....

He was another one that got stuck on crap teams..... not a true all time great at any particular aspect of the game but a formidable player in his day and a true character of the game..... his fashion "sense" was second to none........ :man12:

I googled World B. Free just to get a look at him again and came across this:
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Re: Underrated All Time Greats

Postby dj vitus on Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:27 am

LTLakerFan wrote:Wow maybe it's just my memory or maybe others that can recall their battles can chime in, but I seem to recall and mentioned it just yesterday that I thought he gave Kareem all he could handle in their primes and then some. He was more physical than Kareem was and seemed to me to get the better of him some times. If you remember clearly and those were simply times that Kareem wasn't at 100% due to injury, I can't argue....just going on general remembered impressions.

Oh yeah, you're definitely right. Walton was a beast on defense, and he did irritate Kareem in some games to the point where he even matched his scoring. But most other games when Kareem remained calm and focused, he would drop 30 or 40 on Walton and the Portland defense like nobody's business. I give Walton credit for his defense and for beasting during an unfortunately short-lived career.

Put it this way, if we're ranking based on playground pickup games at the height of everyone's primes, then yes, Walton was one of the best ever. But I like to think of "All-Time Great" in an NBA context as someone with a more storied resume.
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