In the vast history of the NBA, there are players whose exceptional talents and contributions have been overshadowed by the spotlight given to other stars. These forgotten players, hidden gems of the league, deserve recognition for their skills and impact on the game. In this article, we will rank the ten best forgotten NBA players, shedding light on their remarkable abilities and the enduring legacies they have left behind.
Dražen Petrović, a Croatian basketball legend, is often overlooked in discussions about all-time greats. Known for his incredible shooting ability and offensive prowess, Petrović’s career was tragically cut short. His determination and work ethic helped him excel in Europe before making his mark in the NBA.
Petrović’s impact was evident during his time with the New Jersey Nets, where he averaged over 20 points per game and showcased his scoring versatility. Had it not been for his untimely passing, Petrović would have likely further solidified his place among the game’s elite. Despite being a forgotten player to some, his contributions to basketball remain undeniable.
Bernard King’s prolific scoring ability often goes unnoticed in discussions about NBA scoring greats. A dominant force during the 1980s, King’s offensive repertoire was a sight to behold. His remarkable scoring bursts, unstoppable mid-range game, and uncanny ability to finish at the rim set him apart.
King’s career was unfortunately marred by injuries, preventing him from achieving even greater heights. Nonetheless, his impact during his prime was undeniable. With multiple scoring titles, an NBA All-Star MVP, and a Hall of Fame induction, King’s name should be mentioned among the greatest scorers in NBA history.
Sidney Moncrief’s defensive brilliance and all-around game often go underappreciated in basketball discussions. As the anchor of the Milwaukee Bucks’ “Moncrief and Friends” defense, his tenacity and relentless pursuit of the ball made him a perennial All-Defensive Team selection.
Moncrief’s offensive skills were equally impressive, as he consistently contributed with scoring, playmaking, and rebounding. Despite his accolades, including five All-Star selections and two NBA Defensive Player of the Year awards, Moncrief remains a forgotten player in many conversations. Nevertheless, his impact on the court and his commitment to both ends of the floor deserve recognition.
Alex English’s prolific scoring ability and smooth playing style have often been overlooked in discussions about great scorers. With his exceptional shooting touch, scoring versatility, and ability to navigate through defenses, English consistently put up impressive numbers during his career.
English’s scoring exploits were on full display as he led the league in scoring during the 1982-83 season. He spent the majority of his career with the Denver Nuggets, where he became the franchise’s all-time leading scorer. English’s ability to consistently put the ball in the basket should not be forgotten, as he remains one of the most skilled offensive players in NBA history.
Dennis Johnson’s impact as a tenacious defender and clutch performer is often overshadowed by the stars he played alongside. Johnson’s defensive prowess, combined with his ability to score in critical moments, made him an invaluable asset for the teams he played for.
Johnson’s defensive skills were instrumental in the success of the Boston Celtics during the 1980s. His ability to shut down opposing guards and his knack for making crucial plays in important games earned him three NBA championships and a Finals MVP award. Johnson’s contributions to championship-winning teams should not be forgotten, as his defensive tenacity set him apart from his peers.
Chris Mullin’s smooth shooting stroke and offensive versatility have been overshadowed by the star-studded teams he played for during his career. A key member of the Golden State Warriors‘ “Run TMC” trio, Mullin’s ability to score from anywhere on the court made him a potent offensive threat.
Mullin’s scoring prowess was evident as he averaged over 20 points per game for seven consecutive seasons. His induction into the Hall of Fame speaks volumes about his impact on the game. Despite being a forgotten player in some discussions, Mullin’s offensive brilliance and contributions to the sport should not be underestimated.
Jack Sikma’s unique skill set as a big man has been overlooked in discussions about great centers. Known for his shooting touch, rebounding prowess, and defensive acumen, Sikma played a vital role in the success of the Seattle SuperSonics.
Sikma’s ability to stretch the floor and consistently knock down mid-range jumpers was ahead of his time. His contributions were rewarded with an NBA championship and multiple All-Star selections. Sikma’s versatile game and his impact on the court make him a forgotten player worthy of recognition.
Mark Price’s exceptional shooting and playmaking abilities often get overshadowed by other point guards of his era. A deadly shooter from beyond the arc and a superb passer, Price was a master orchestrator of the offense.
Price’s shooting efficiency was remarkable, as he ranks among the all-time leaders in free throw percentage and three-point shooting. His ability to run an offense effectively and create scoring opportunities for his teammates was a testament to his basketball IQ. Price’s impact as a forgotten player extends beyond his statistics, as his skills and leadership qualities were highly regarded.
Joe Dumars’ contributions to the Detroit Pistons’ “Bad Boys” era are often overlooked in discussions about great shooting guards. Dumars’ defensive prowess and ability to score in crucial moments played a significant role in the Pistons’ success.
Dumars’ tenacious defense earned him multiple All-Defensive Team selections, and his offensive consistency and clutch performances helped him earn an NBA Finals MVP award. Despite being overshadowed by his teammate Isiah Thomas, Dumars’ impact as a forgotten player remains undeniable.
Bob Lanier’s dominant presence as a center during the 1970s is often forgotten when discussing great big men. Lanier’s combination of size, skill, and athleticism made him a force to be reckoned with in the paint.
Lanier’s ability to score with finesse and power, along with his rebounding and shot-blocking prowess, solidified his place among the best centers of his era. Despite playing for smaller-market teams, Lanier’s impact on the game and his Hall of Fame induction make him a deserving inclusion on this list of forgotten players.
While these players may not always receive the recognition they deserve, their skills, contributions, and impact on the game should not be forgotten. From the scoring exploits of Dražen Petrović and Bernard King to the defensive brilliance of Sidney Moncrief and Dennis Johnson, these forgotten NBA players have left indelible marks on the sport. It is important to remember and celebrate their achievements, as they have helped shape the NBA into the league we know today.