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All-Underrated First and Second Teams

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In his last post, Kevin nearly brought down the DBB servers by unintentionally antagonizing every Jason Kidd fan, family member and booster who's ever logged onto the internet. Hopefully all the nice things he says in this post will restore the internet's karmic balance.
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by Kevin Sawyer

This should make fewer people angry…

    First Team

SF – Gerald Wallace

Those who follow the NBA are aware that Wallace is an underrated player. But if you take away the games he spent in the throes of delirium at the beginning of last season, he was an absolute stud, averaging 22 and 9 and leading the Bobcats to a respectable (by expansion standards) season. He’s athletic enough to play the 4 at 6’7 in the EC. With Richardson coming to town, the Bobcats should make some playoff noise. If this happens, expect Wallace to become a "sexy" member of the MVP discussion.

PF – Pau Gasol

A prolific, efficient producer who has had trouble getting the all-star recognition he deserves, especially since he has led a couple pretty mediocre teams to the playoffs in the competitive West. Part of the problem is that he plays in a small market, and he has failed to reach the double-digit RPG plateau that mentally (and mythically) separates the great from the good.

C – Yao Ming

For being the international face of basketball, Yao does not quite get the respect one might ordinarily accord the best center in the NBA. Yao’s player efficiency rating was third in the league, and he has lived up to every expectation placed upon his giant frame. Health is an issue, and the Rockets have yet to crack the armor of the "big three" in the Western Conference, but he a is a bona fide superstar who can’t seem to shake his reputation as a disappointment.

SG – Corey Maggette

Weird season for Maggette. The Clippers were desperate to trade him for Ron Artest for some reason, and the Kings refused for some reason. He had a poor relationship with his coach, who benched him for no good reason in spite of the fact that they were chasing a playoff spot. Maturity is not his strong suit, but he is a very talented scorer. If the Clippers don’t want him, we’ll take him.

PG – Chris Paul

An injury delayed his first all-star appearance, and his outside shot needs refinement, but Paul is set to take the reigns as the best PG of the next decade. A true point who shoots well and rebounds well, Paul has nearly led two injury-ravaged teams to the playoffs almost single-handedly. If he stays healthy, the Hornets are likely to make the playoffs, and that will place Paul firmly in the midst of MVP discussions.

    Second Team

PF – Paul Millsap

If Carlos Boozer goes down with another big injury, everyone will know why he is on this list, but Millsap is a phenomenal rebounder, and a more than adequate scorer. Of course, as it presently stands, nobody has heard of him. The Jazz are looking to move Kirilenko, and a smart GM will make them toss in Millsap in order to make a deal.

SF – Josh Smith

Gets lumped in with Childress and Marvin Williams, which isn’t at all fair. Smith actually took a legitimate step toward stardom, averaging 20-10 over the last half of the season. Given that he is 21, there is every reason to expect him to improve significantly over the next two seasons. Add Horford into the mix, and the Hawks are starting to look stacked.

C – Nazr Mohammed

The dude isn’t even respected by some of his own fans, but Mohammed performed quite well as a starter for the Pistons this past season. The problem is that he does the two things that coaches hate, turning the ball over and earning fouls. Those are very real problems, of course, but they also have the effect of making him look much less effective than he really is. If Mohammed does have to start, the Pistons will be fine. That he dropped out of the rotation was a bit ridiculous.

SG – Jason Terry

It would be easy to look at the Mavericks roster and wonder how this team won 67 games. Terry was a huge part of the Maverick’s success, and consistently shoots the lights out. If he played for the Bucks, he’d be making the all-star game, but apparently the Mavericks have decided not to start him. Why you bench a guy who shoots 44% from three point range (and 48% overall) in favor of Eddie Jones (!) is beyond me.

PG – Jose Calderon

If the Raptors are smart, they sell high on TJ Ford. They have a starting caliber PG in Calderon. He is an outstanding playmaker, who is all the more dangerous due to his deadly midrange accuracy, and was a major factor in the Raptor’s unexpected success despite limited minutes.