On The Occasion Of Fat Lever’s Birthday, We Name Our All-Time Underrated NBA Player Starting Five
Ha -- just stumped my son on NBA trivia, which doesn't happen often. Let me celebrate (pulls groin muscle).
ME: Which retired NBA player has a birthday today? Hint: he has more career triple-doubles than LeBron or Michael Jordan.
HIM: Oscar Robertson.
HIM: Who then??
ME: Fat Lever. Played for Portland, Denver, Mavericks.
HIM: Dammit. Not fair, he's toooo old.
ME: Most underrated guard ever.
— DC Gordon (@NBA_24_7_365) August 18, 2015
Lever, out of Arizona State and an Arkansas native (he won a state championship with Pueblo High in Tucson, Ariz.), had 43 triple-doubles over 11 seasons, ahead Jordan, LeBron, and Clyde Drexler. He's sixth on the all-time list. He's now the director of player development for the Sacramento Kings, as well as their color analyst on radio.
So that leaves me to round out my starting five most underrated players in NBA history:
PG: Fat Lever (Blazers, Nuggets, Mavericks).
SG: Sydney Moncrief (Bucks, Hawks). Four-time NBA All-Star, two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, averaged 15.6 points and 4.7 rebounds in his career. Underrated because so was his Bucks' team, which was overshadowed by the Magic-led Lakers and Bird-led Celtics. A knee condition ended his career at age 33, keeping him out of the Hall of Fame.
C: Jack Sikma (Sonics, Bucks). Who knows that Sikma was a seven-time NBA All-Star? He averaged 15.6 points and
9.8 rebounds in his career, and is considered by me to be the NBA's biggest Hall of Fame snub.
PF: Horace Grant (Bulls, Magic, Sonics, Lakers). He made nine trips to the playoffs, and without Grant I think the Bulls get three rings, not six. In 1991-92 he averaged 14 points and 10 rebounds, and 1993-94 he went 15 and 11 -- and that's studly. But when overshadowed by Jordan Pippen and the Rodman freak show, it's hard to be noticed. He has four rings and was an important part of all those championship teams.
SF: Bernard King (Nets, Jazz, Warriors, Knicks, Bullets). When he was right, there was no one better than Bernard King. An NBA scoring title in 1985, 50-plus points in two consecutive games with the Knicks in 1984, a four-time All-Star. Knee problems ended his career in 1994, but he averaged 22.5 points in his career and is possibly the greatest forward not to make the Hall of Fame.
Be the first to know
Want FREE Fantasy and Gaming Advice and Savings Delivered to your Inbox? Sign up for our Newsletter.