Originally written August 19, 2013 on isportsweb.com:
There are always NBA players that are overlooked and regarded as just ordinary bench players.  I always keep an eye out for those type of players; the players that aren’t recognized enough for the impact they make on the court as well as players who have the potential to be solid players for their team.  That said, let me introduce you to my NBA all-underrated squad:   Courtesy of zimbio.com PG: Reggie Jackson (OKC)  Jackson is a very athletic, well-rounded player that probably is capable of being a starter.  Playing behind Russell Westbrook, it’s difficult for Jackson to expose his talent.  Jackson actually had the chance to prove himself when OKC was hit with Westbrook’s season-ending injury.  While it’s unreasonable to expect Jackson to replace Westbrook, he did do a quality job of stepping up as the team’s starting point guard in the playoffs. Although there’s the possibility of him being stuck behind Westbrook for a bit longer, there’s also the possibility of the two starting together at some point.  Point guard isn’t Russell Westbrook’s natural position.  However, OKC loves the advantages they have by putting him there.  Assuming Westbrook continues to start at point guard, Jackson will be a key contributor off the bench for a contender like the Thunder.   SG: Evan Fournier (DEN)  Courtesy of zimbio.com The 20-year-old from France isn’t talked about a whole lot outside of the Nugget organization.  Fournier is a really smooth player who has the ability to play both the two and three.  When given the opportunity to play last season, he showed his ability to be a dynamic offensive player.  He has a really nice stroke and he’s also capable of getting to the basket. With the departure of Andre Iguodala, Fournier could start to see some more time at small forward.  Denver signed two guards in Nate Robinson and Randy Foye so they are pretty guard heavy.  Don’t expect Denver to utilize Fournier to his fullest just yet.  He is still very young and they will probably keep their focus on developing him for the future.   SF: Quincy Pondexter (MEM) One noticeable trait about Quincy Pondexter is his work ethic.  Pondexter isn’t up there with the best wing players, but he works harder than almost all of them.  That, alone, should allow him to have a successful NBA career.  Quincy does what is asked of him and keeps his mouth shut.  Not only is he a hard worker, but he has a dependable long-range jumper from the corner. After a few great seasons, Memphis has the potential to start slipping a little bit.  They traded Rudy Gay which freed up a ton of room for Pondexter last season.  As Zach Randolph and Tayshaun Prince continue to age, Memphis is going to turn toward other players.  If Prince continues to start, they will depend on Pondexter as sixth man where he should excel.  Quincy brings tremendous energy to a team that thrives off high energy.   PF: Patrick Patterson (SAC) Patterson is a face-up power forward who has the ability to stretch the floor.  Just looking at him, you wouldn’t think he’s a shooter.  But Patterson can hurt you if you give him too much space.  Although Patterson likes to face up, he can play the post as well.  He has a big, strong frame at 235 lbs. but he can also put the ball on the floor and attack the basket.  Patterson reminds me of a young Al Harrington with a little less versatility. I have no idea what Sacramento’s rotation is going to look like.  They have about 12 players that are worthy of getting playing time.  The only sure starter on the whole roster is DeMarcus Cousins.  Other than that, these players all have to prove themselves.  Patterson has stiff competition at power forward: Jason Thompson, Carl Landry, etc.  We’ll have to see if Patterson can make his way into a comfortable role this season.   C: Derrick Favors (UTA) Favors was a highly sought big man coming out of Georgie Tech.  Thus far in his pro career, he has played behind two very good bigs, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson.  Since being drafted, talk about Favors has quietly dwindled.  Favors is one of those guys that puts on a show in practice and only his team knows about it.  Favors has an excellent body and he has solid post skills to go with that. Now that Al Jeff and Millsap have both departed Utah, Favors’ big opportunity starts now.  The NBA no longer has many players than average a double-double.  Favors is definitely capable of doing so in the near future if he keeps improving.  Utah has an unbelievably young starting lineup: Burke (20), Burks (22), Hayward (23), Favors (22), Kanter (21).  Don’t be surprised to see strong production out of Favors as early as this season. Courtesy of thirdage.com   Follow me on Twitter @ZJTbasketball11
PLAYERS: Paul Millsap
TEAMS: Atlanta Hawks
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