The NBA is the league of stars who name themselves after superheroes, embrace monikers of royalty or simply choose to go by their initials. For all of the NBA's unique quirks, it has its definite hits and misses. Here is a look at those who are keeping the NBA fantastic, as well as those whose shot clock has expired: Underrated
Rajon Rondo, G, Celtics
He left Kentucky for the pros branded as a project who would likely end up overseas by the end of his first contract. But even before he posted a triple-double or his career-best 25 points recently in a win over Utah , the third-year point guard's star has been on the rise.
They were one of the league's best teams from 2004 to 2008 with two 60-win seasons and two 50-win campaigns. But those eye-popping win totals did very little to get Phoenix close to a championship, with its best playoff finish in that stretch being two lopsided losses to San Antonio and Dallas in 2005 and 2006.
Everyone thought the loss of Josh Childress to Greece spelled doom for the Hawks. Surprise, they're still in the mix in the Southeast Division after taking the Celtics to the brink in last season's playoffs. Atlanta's young squad has also beaten upstart New Orleans just two years after finishing last in the Southeast.
Mike Dunleavy, L.A. Clippers
Dunleavy's lone championship of any kind in 16 seasons as an NBA coach was the Western Conference title he won during his first year with the Lakers in 1990-91. Still, he's been hired as a head coach four times despite having only one of his teams finish above .500 the past five seasons.
Mike Brown, Cleveland Cavaliers
The second youngest coach in the league behind only New Jersey's Lawrence Frank, Brown has gotten the Cavs off to their best start in team history. It helps to have that guy LeBron James on the roster, but his team is also allowing a league-low 90 points per game. And he has already coached in one NBA Finals, losing to the Spurs in 2007.
It looks like it might take Dr. J or maybe even Rocky walking into the Wachovia Center for Sixers fans to show up. Philadelphia is 26th in attendance so far this season. That came after languishing in the bottom 10 in attendance each of the previous three seasons.
Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers have gone from being ranked a paltry 22nd in home attendance during the 2006-07 season to top-10 rankings each of the past two seasons. That includes being third in home attendance this season, even with rookie Greg Oden mostly out of commission.