The most overrated NBA players are the ones who do mostly scoring – this is because fans overrated scoring more than any other stat by a large margin.
My two picks are Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson. These two players are extraordinarily popular for their scoring prowess. That would be good if they were a Michael Jordan or Wilt Chamberlain – that is a high volume efficient scorer.
But they’re not. Kobe shoots 45% for his career – league average, while Iverson is worse than league average – he shoots 42%.
But its not just their inefficiency, its the fact that they are selfish players who play hero ball all the time. They have not made any of their teammates better. Kobe kicked out Shaq, and proceeded to miss the playoffs in his prime and getting bounced out of the first round. They didn’t start winning until they acquired Pau Gasol. In Kobe’s later years, he would take a massive salary after an injury, chase away key free agents, and routinely shoot them out of games. His so called “mamba mentality” and “killer instinct” has led to him becoming #1 in missed shots.
Iverson similarly couldn’t play with other star players, failed to play with Melo as a team, and just like Kobe was locker room cancer.
That these two players are so popular is beyond me, but my guess is its because fans like to root for players who are more relatable. Wilt and Lebron are physical freaks of nature and aren’t easy to relate to. Iverson and Kobe were regular sized guys who worked hard to get where they got, and fans give them an extra amount of respect for that, I think. Basketball-wise, they are overrated and proof of this is on every Youtube video where Kobe is not mentioned in the GOAT conversation (which he definitely does not belong), inevitably there will comments saying “Where’s Kobe??” “you guys disrespect Kobe!” “Kobe isn’t there, you guys don’t know basketball!!” from his rabid fanbase. Iverson similarly a lot of people put him in the top 20 players of all time. My point stands – they are overrated.
Well, Kobe is definitely on the list. If you look at ‘shots attempted’ as a statistic you’ll notice that Kobe is on there more than anybody else. However, I’ll also name a few other guys. Jordan and Wilt were both considered selfish early in their careers which they fixed later on. Elvin Hayes was considered far more selfish than his other HOF teammate Wes Unseld.
Not many selfish players I can think of in the 60s-80s era mainly because not as much iso was played back then just good old team basketball. Russell, West, Baylor, Oscar, Magic, Bird, Kareem, Dr J, Moses, Isiah, Hondo even Barry I don’t think any of those guys could be considered selfish in any way.
But in general the number of selfish players in the NBA has increased since before due to the popularity of 3 main players: Jordan, Kobe and Iverson. These 3 guys have popularized the concept of hero ball and ‘mamba mentality’ ‘killer instinct’ etc BS terms that fans made up for them because fans tend to value scoring above all else. It’s called the ‘Yay Points!’ metric. For example, how often have you heard ‘Kobe is the greatest because he scored 81 points etc’ from someone? They only look at how much players score, that’s it. That’s why you have a whole generation of ball hogs like Carmelo Anthony, James Harden, Russell Westbrook (btw who boxes out his own center for rebounds!) in order to make their stats especially scoring look better.
Lebron in his Finals losses was criticized for being too unselfish and trusting his teammates too much. Isn’t that ridiculous? Basketball is a team sport but people want Lebron to be like Kobe and shoot the ball all the time forgetting that the only reason Kobe has rings is because whenever he missed (which was often), he needed an all star big man like Shaq or Gasol to rebound the ball. Without that, there’s no way you can win the game by scoring inefficiently like Kobe or Iverson. There’s a reason why those guys couldn’t play with other superstars (Kobe with Malone/Payton/Nash/Dwight and Iverson with Melo)