The 10 most overrated players in the NBA heading into the 2016-17 season

 

Every player on this list is among the very best at what he does. They're All-Stars and future Hall of Famers; that they're also overrated is no fault of their own. That's on us: We're not very good at recognizing when an older player is past his prime, and we're even worse at patiently waiting for young players to reach their potential. With that in mind, it's important to note that we're not here to criticize any of these guys. Instead, consider this a public service. While all 10 of the following players will dazzle you in 2016-17, they'll also end up disappointing you. There's just no way they can live up to expectations.

BY ANDREW LYNCH

Every player on this list is among the very best at what he does. They’re All-Stars and future Hall of Famers; that they’re also overrated is no fault of their own. That’s on us: We’re not very good at recognizing when an older player is past his prime, and we’re even worse at patiently waiting for young players to reach their potential. With that in mind, it’s important to note that we’re not here to criticize any of these guys. Instead, consider this a public service. While all 10 of the following players will dazzle you in 2016-17, they’ll also end up disappointing you. There’s just no way they can live up to expectations.

Rondo stopped being an elite point guard about five years ago, and no one told the Bulls -- or the Kings before them, or the Mavericks before them. He's a point guard who can't shoot. He's not a locker room leader. Yet somehow, he feels he has the right to have the ball in his hands to initiate the offense. Chicago is going to be in trouble this season if the Bulls are counting on Rondo to run an offense that has zero shooting and little athleticism.

RAJON RONDO, PG, CHICAGO BULLS

Rondo stopped being an elite point guard about five years ago, and no one told the Bulls — or the Kings before them, or the Mavericks before them. He’s a point guard who can’t shoot. He’s not a locker room leader. Yet somehow, he feels he has the right to have the ball in his hands to initiate the offense. Chicago is going to be in trouble this season if the Bulls are counting on Rondo to run an offense that has zero shooting and little athleticism.

An ascent from Mr. Irrelevant to 2016 All-Star is quite the remarkable turn of events, and Thomas is undoubtedly one of the top point guards in the league. He's really, really good. I don't mean to take that away from him in the slightest. Yet Celtics fans insist that he can be one of the top players on a championship team, which is ridiculous. As Boston improves and shifts some of the offensive load to better players, Thomas will see fewer and fewer opportunities to score, and he doesn't bring much else to the table. Sadly, his size is the limiting factor, particularly on defense. If the Celtics take the next step as a contender, it will be with Marcus Smart at point, not IT4.

ISAIAH THOMAS, PG, BOSTON CELTICS

An ascent from Mr. Irrelevant to 2016 All-Star is quite the remarkable turn of events, and Thomas is undoubtedly one of the top point guards in the league. He’s really, really good. I don’t mean to take that away from him in the slightest. Yet Celtics fans insist that he can be one of the top players on a championship team, which is ridiculous. As Boston improves and shifts some of the offensive load to better players, Thomas will see fewer and fewer opportunities to score, and he doesn’t bring much else to the table. Sadly, his size is the limiting factor, particularly on defense. If the Celtics take the next step as a contender, it will be with Marcus Smart at point, not IT4.

We must separate two related but distinct factors when talking about Lin as a basketball player. In a larger sense, he's a cultural icon and an inspiration for millions. That doesn't make him overrated; in fact, that's awesome. The problem is Lin's tenure with the Knicks. While he was a solid point guard in Charlotte last year, "Linsanity" still lingers. Many NBA fans are stuck on that ridiculous couple of weeks in New York, imaging that Lin can always play at that elite level rather than focusing on his career as a whole. He's a solid backup who can serve as a starter in a pinch. He's not an All-Star, though, as some would have you believe.

JEREMY LIN, PG, BROOKLYN NETS

We must separate two related but distinct factors when talking about Lin as a basketball player. In a larger sense, he’s a cultural icon and an inspiration for millions. That doesn’t make him overrated; in fact, that’s awesome. The problem is Lin’s tenure with the Knicks. While he was a solid point guard in Charlotte last year, “Linsanity” still lingers. Many NBA fans are stuck on that ridiculous couple of weeks in New York, imagining that Lin can always play at that elite level rather than focusing on his career as a whole. He’s a solid backup who can serve as a starter in a pinch. He’s not an All-Star, though, as some would have you believe.

This one's kind of personal. Like way too many people, I believe for a long stretch of last season that Stephen Curry was the best player in the game. I confused "having the best season" for being the King. Curry is not the best in the league; LeBron James is. And with Kevin Durant coming to Golden State, Curry probably is not even the best player on his own team. We overlooked KD last year because we wanted to hitch our wagons to the next rising star. Yes, Curry is one of the top three players in the game. Yes, he's changing the way that we look at the 3-pointer. But as we saw in the postseason, he can be taken out of a game with a concerted defensive effort. Once his shot's off, Curry struggles to impact the game outside of scoring.

STEPHEN CURRY, PG, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS

This one’s kind of personal. Like way too many people, I believe for a long stretch of last season that Stephen Curry was the best player in the game. I confused “having the best season” for being the King. Curry is not the best in the league; LeBron James is. And with Kevin Durant coming to Golden State, Curry probably is not even the best player on his own team. We overlooked KD last year because we wanted to hitch our wagons to the next rising star. Yes, Curry is one of the top three players in the game. Yes, he’s changing the way that we look at the 3-pointer. But as we saw in the postseason, he can be taken out of a game with a concerted defensive effort. Once his shot’s off, Curry struggles to impact the game outside of scoring.

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