Underrated NBA Players
by: Derek Li
In recent years, we have all witnessed the rise of the likes of famous NBA megastars such as LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and more. Yet, we often ignore those who quietly make a significant impact to their teams success, due to reasons such as having an “un-flashy” playstyle or . Here are some of the most underrated players in the NBA.
Gary Harris: Harris, a 6 foot 4 shooting guard for the Denver Nuggets, proved to his team last year that he was an excellent and legitimate two-way player. He averaged 17.5 points per game on an efficient 48% shooting while grabbing 1.8 steals per game. These are awesome statistics, yet frequently overlooked. Playing for a an extremely young and underrated team in the Nuggets (who unfortunately barely missed the playoffs last season despite going 46-36) further causes his contributions on the court to go unnoticed. However, this should change in the coming seasons: the Nuggets are building a formidable championship-caliber squad with a core of Gary Harris, Nikola Jokic, and Jamal Murray (maybe even Michael Porter Jr.) that will be deadly trio in the near future.
Joe Ingles: A combination of playing for the Jazz, being “boring”, and relatively mediocre basic statistics makes Ingles, a key starting small forward for the Salt Lake City team, a very underappreciated player. His impact on the game comes from not only his outstanding 44% 3-point shooting, but his knack for just having a phenomenal feel for the game and being at the right place at the right time. Ingles is a flexible defender who has the size to guard strong bigs but also has the speed and agility to make it hard for guards to score on him. For a forward, he also possesses great court vision, averaging nearly 5 assists per game last year. Ingles’ contribution to the Jazz organization come from being great at all the small things that add up.
Steven Adams: Being the center doing the dirty work for a team whose global spotlight and attention is on Russell Westbrook and Paul George is not easy. Yet, Adams plays every game on the Oklahoma City Thunder with 100% effort and his hustle on the court combined with his physical tools and great post game should cause him to be considered one of the best big men in the league. Adams averaged an insane 5 offensive rebounds per game last season and got 1.2 steals per game while shooting nearly 63% from the field. Many of his points come from playing his bread-and-butter pick and roll game with Westbrook, which is often unstoppable due to the unique strength and finishing ability that he possesses. As someone who sacrifices his body and hustles on the court to make his entire team better, Adams is the epitome of an unselfish team player.
Khris Middleton: For a few years now, Khris Middleton has quietly established himself as a one of the best premier and consistent scorers in the shooting guard position. Picked 39th in the second round of the NBA draft in 2012, Middleton got little attention when he entered the league. However, over the years, his numbers have continually improved. In the 2017-18 season, he averaged 20.1 points per game, 5.2 rebounds per game, and 4 assists per game while shooting nearly 47% from the field. Although he plays underneath the shadows of the Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, Middleton is a reliable secondary scoring option who can also take over the game when needed. Despite not having a flashy playstyle, he is a key to the Bucks’ future success.