The NBA just held its midseason showcase, the All-Star Game, in New Orleans, and as always, there was endless debate about who should have and shouldn't have played in the game:
• Should Goran Dragic have made the Western Conference team?
• Why didn't Lance Stephenson make the squad?
• Did the fans totally miss the boat by "benching" Dwight Howard?
This led me to wonder about which players in the league are overrated and underrated. For the answers, I went to three longtime NBA scouts, guys who have roughly 60 years of league experience combined.
I asked each scout to name his three most overrated and underrated players in the game. Here are the scouts' choices, along with a sample of what they had to say about each player:
Western Conference scout: "Part of why he's overrated is the 'Rubio thing.' If he was Ricky Rubio from Wichita State, there'd be no conversation about him. But since he came over with so much hype, he gets scrutinized more than he otherwise would. If you watch Minnesota closely, you'll see that he doesn't even finish games. It's one of the biggest contentions within that organization -- the fact that Rubio doesn't finish the games. It drives management crazy because he's their guy. He's supposed to be their future. They tried like crazy to trade [backup] J.J. Barea at the trade deadline, and that's one of the reasons why, because Barea's been finishing games.
"I like the way he passes and runs a team, but his lack of shooting ability is really an issue. If you've got four capable scorers on the floor, you can kind of get away with him, but if not, Rubio gets exposed. Guys back off of Rubio. He shot an air-ball 3-pointer the other night, missing it by 3 feet. It landed in the paint. He's good in transition and he can make plays in the open court, but in the playoffs, when the game gets slower and compressed, you don't have to guard that guy and he becomes a liability."