Every player on this list is among the very best at what he does. They're All-Stars and future Hall of Famers; that they're also overrated is no fault of their own. That's on us: We're not very good at recognizing when an older player is past his prime, and we're even worse at patiently waiting for young players to reach their potential. With that in mind, it's important to note that we're not here to criticize any of these guys. Instead, consider this a public service. While all 10 of the following players will dazzle you in 2016-17, they'll also end up disappointing you. There's just no way they can live up to expectations.
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Rajon Rondo, PG, Chicago Bulls
Rondo stopped being an elite point guard about five years ago, and no one told the Bulls -- or the Kings before them, or the Mavericks before them. He's a point guard who can't shoot. He's not a locker room leader. Yet somehow, he feels he has the right to have the ball in his hands to initiate the offense. Chicago is going to be in trouble this season if the Bulls are counting on Rondo to run an offense that has zero shooting and little athleticism.
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Isaiah Thomas, PG, Boston Celtics
An ascent from Mr. Irrelevant to 2016 All-Star is quite the remarkable turn of events, and Thomas is undoubtedly one of the top point guards in the league. He's really, really good. I don't mean to take that away from him in the slightest. Yet Celtics fans insist that he can be one of the top players on a championship team, which is ridiculous. As Boston improves and shifts some of the offensive load to better players, Thomas will see fewer and fewer opportunities to score, and he doesn't bring much else to the table. Sadly, his size is the limiting factor, particularly on defense. If the Celtics take the next step as a contender, it will be with Marcus Smart at point, not IT4.
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Jeremy Lin, PG, Brooklyn Nets
We must separate two related but distinct factors when talking about Lin as a basketball player. In a larger sense, he's a cultural icon and an inspiration for millions. That doesn't make him overrated; in fact, that's awesome. The problem is Lin's tenure with the Knicks. While he was a solid point guard in Charlotte last year, "Linsanity" still lingers. Many NBA fans are stuck on that ridiculous couple of weeks in New York, imaging that Lin can always play at that elite level rather than focusing on his career as a whole. He's a solid backup who can serve as a starter in a pinch. He's not an All-Star, though, as some would have you believe.
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Stephen Curry, PG, Golden State Warriors
This one's kind of personal. Like way too many people, I believe for a long stretch of last season that Stephen Curry was the best player in the game. I confused "having the best season" for being the King. Curry is not the best in the league; LeBron James is. And with Kevin Durant coming to Golden State, Curry probably is not even the best player on his own team. We overlooked KD last year because we wanted to hitch our wagons to the next rising star. Yes, Curry is one of the top three players in the game. Yes, he's changing the way that we look at the 3-pointer. But as we saw in the postseason, he can be taken out of a game with a concerted defensive effort. Once his shot's off, Curry struggles to impact the game outside of scoring.
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LaMarcus Aldridge, PF, San Antonio Spurs
Far be it for me to question Gregg Popovich and the Spurs braintrust, but I'm not entirely sure that Aldridge helps a team win championship-level basketball games. He's a fantastic midrange shooter, sure, but he often hijacks an offense to get those shots from just outside the paint. Although his defense has continued to improve, Aldridge is by no means an above-average defender. San Antonio could be in for a rude awakening if it's counting on Aldridge to continue the Spurs' tradition of defensive excellence in the post-Tim Duncan era.
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J.R. Smith, SG, free agent
Oh, Earl. Smith is an internet sensation -- a shirtless wizard who broke down in tears after he helped the Cavs win a championship, a man seemingly brimming with self-confidence who actually hides a sensitive soul defined by self-doubt. He's Twitter in a nutshell, which is great. Now ... can we stop talking about him for a little while? He's a fine 3-point shooter who plays passable defense when he's locked in, and that's about it. Smith commits ridiculous turnovers. He loses his man when he ball watches. And he honestly believes a defended shot is easier than an open shot. He's the most overrated role player in sports.
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DeMar DeRozan, SG, Toronto Raptors
We know how overrated DeRozan is. He's a knock-off Kobe who fills up the box score by taking a ton of shots. For that, the Raptors just made DeRozan one of the highest-paid players in the league, signing him to a five-year deal for $139 million. By the third year of that contract, Toronto will be begging teams to take DeRozan off its hands.
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Hassan Whiteside, C, Miami Heat
Here's a hypothetical for you: If you were signing a center on the strength of his defense, wouldn't you want to make sure that he's actually good at defense? Whiteside blocks a ton of shots, but Miami's defense really isn't any better when he's on the floor. Based on one good year in the NBA, the Heat gave Whiteside a veritable armored truck's worth of cash this offseason with a four-year max contract.
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Andre Drummond, C, Detroit Pistons
The combination of Drummond and coach Stan Van Gundy was supposed to be a match made in heaven. Instead, we've seen little progress by one of the best young center prospects in the game. His defense has stagnated, and he doesn't seem to understand how best to leverage his ridiculous size and rim protection by being in the right place at the right time. Many big men watch the ball so they can hunt for blocks; Drummond does the opposite, sticking to his man long past the point of needing to rotate over to help a teammate. On offense, his footwork hasn't improved, and he continues to be a liability from the free-throw line. Drummond is so bad from the stripe that if he shot as well as Shaq did on free throws, he would have scored 100 more points last season. Let that one sink in.
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Dwyane Wade, SG, Chicago Bulls
You can argue that Wade was great for the Heat last season, and I'll sort of buy it. He certainly helped lead Miami to a playoff berth, which is neat. But if you're expecting Wade to lift the Bulls this season, think again. He posted the worst field-goal percentage of his career, tied his lowest per-game scoring average since his rookie season, and barely played more than 30 minutes per game in his final season in Miami. He can't shoot from the perimeter at all at this point, attempting just 44 3s last year and making just seven, for a depressing 15.9 percent from deep. And that was with some semblance of floor spacing around him. Next year in Chicago, where Wade, Rondo and Jimmy Butler will all try to score on cuts to the rim and floaters in the lane, things could get very ugly for an all-timer who's clearly on the downslope of his career.