There are some NBA players that are overly criticized. Russell Westbrook, Ben Simmons, and others get too much flak than they should. Now of course sometimes the criticism is warranted. But there is such thing as too much. For example, when a player is made out to be bad even if that simply is not true.
Three NBA Players Are Overly Criticized
Russell Westbrook is not a bad player. Yes, the Lakers’ trade for him is coming back to haunt them. But that is from a standpoint of what they gave up for him and his cap hit. It does not mean that he is a bad player. He averaged a triple-double four out of five seasons before this past one, including three straight years. He also won an MVP award. Yes, he is a bad three-point shooter. Some people call him Westbrick.” But he’s never really been good at shooting threes. His free throw shooting percentage has also dropped off, but again that doesn’t make him a bad player overall. Plenty of good players (unfortunately) can’t shoot free throws. It’s not good, but it doesn’t spell doom. If he would stop taking so many threes when he isn’t good at it both he and his team would be better off.
His numbers did drop off this past season. He averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.1 assists per game. That point total was the first time since his second year in the league in 2009-2010 that he averaged less than 20 a game. But at 33 years old he can still be a productive player in this league.
Ben Simmons is another one of the NBA players who get too much criticism. Simmons didn’t play this past season due to a back injury and mental health issues. The last time we saw him was with the 76ers in the 2021 playoffs when he got too afraid to shoot. He isn’t a very good shooter That is well-documented. But just like Westbrook, that doesn’t make him a bad player. He is an excellent, rebounder, passer, and defender and he has consistently shown that during his career so far.
The big problem with Simmons is that the Sixers had him playing point guard. He is not, never has been, and never will be a point guard. But that can be remedied by playing him at the position that he is most suited for: power forward. If the Brooklyn Nets play him at power forward he will not only excel, but I think that he will be one of the best players in the league at that position.
Marvin Bagley III
Some people on Twitter, especially Kings fans, will have you believe that the 2018 second overall pick Marvin Bagley III is a bust. That simply is not true. A lot of the perception around him is just how good the rest of the very top of that draft class is. Deandre Ayton, Luka Dončić, and Trae Young were also selected in the top five that year and are all young superstars.
He hasn’t of course lived up to the hype of the number two pick, but he has been a very solid player. He has averaged 13.6 points per game in his career so far, and that is only that low because of the 9.6 PPG that he averaged with the Kings last year before being traded to the Pistons. In addition to the solid 14+ points per game output with the Pistons last year and in his first three NBA seasons with the Kings, he also has a career average of 7.4 rebounds per game. That’s a solid stat line that is far from a bust.