In the fast-paced world of the NBA, players often find themselves overshadowed by the stars hogging the limelight. These underrated gems, however, are making significant contributions to their teams and deserve the recognition they don’t receive enough. Time to take a closer look at some NBA players who are quietly making a big impact on the court:
Jaren Jackson Jr. – Memphis Grizzlies At just 22 years old, Jaren Jackson Jr. has quietly become a defensive stalwart for the Memphis Grizzlies. Despite missing significant time due to injury, Jackson’s impact is undeniable when he steps onto the court. Averaging 1.6 blocks per game, he’s a force to be reckoned with in the paint, mitigating opponents’ shots with his exceptional shot-blocking ability. Additionally, Jackson’s offensive game has evolved, with a three-point shooting percentage of 32.8%, showcasing his versatility as a modern big man. As the Grizzlies continue to rise in the standings, Jackson’s contributions are a key factor, making him one of the most underrated young talents in the league.
Dejounte Murray – Atlanta Hawks – In the midst of a weird phase for the Atlanta Hawks, Dejounte Murray has emerged as a beacon of hope for the team’s future aspects at netting value back in a trade. Rumored to be heading back to the Spurs or perhaps even the Lakers, the 6’4″ point guard has been quietly putting up decent numbers with 21.4 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists per game. Murray’s exceptional playmaking abilities and tenacious defense make him a standout player, often going unnoticed amidst the league’s flashier stars. As he continues to develop his game, Murray could be a cornerstone for the Spurs’ rebuilding efforts or a playoff team in the hunt.
Malcolm Brogdon – Portland Trailblazers – Malcolm Brogdon, the Blazers’ versatile guard, is a silent force on the court. Often overshadowed by his more celebrated teammates on his past teams, Brogdon has consistently demonstrated his ability to impact the game on both ends of the floor. Boasting impressive stats, such as his 15.7 points per game and 5.3 assists, Brogdon’s well-rounded game makes him an essential asset for the Blazers as the trade deadline nears. His efficient shooting and playmaking skills contribute significantly to the team’s success, yet he remains one of the most underrated guards in the league.
Mikal Bridges – Brooklyn Nets – While the Phoenix Suns’ success has been widely attributed to their star duo of Devin Booker and Chris Paul, Mikal Bridges quietly played a pivotal role in the team’s success. Part of the Durant trade, Bridges was known for his elite perimeter defense, averaging at least 1 steal per game, showcasing his ability to disrupt opponents’ offensive schemes. Moreover, his offensive efficiency is commendable, shooting at 36.3% from beyond the arc. As a vital component of the Nets somewhat average roster, Bridges exemplifies the term “unsung hero” and deserves more recognition for his two-way prowess and could be a potential trade target as the Nets fall further out of contention.
Darius Garland – Cleveland Cavaliers – As the Cleveland Cavaliers undergo a renaissance, Darius Garland has emerged as a crucial part of their young core. The point guard’s playmaking abilities have been instrumental in the Cavaliers’ offensive schemes, averaging 5.9 assists per game. Garland’s scoring prowess is equally noteworthy, with a solid 20.7 points per game. Despite the team’s youth, Garland’s leadership on the court and ability to control the tempo demonstrate a maturity beyond his years. As the Cavaliers aim to make a playoff push, Garland’s underrated status is likely to evolve into widespread recognition.
Christian Wood – Los Angeles Lakers – Well, it looks like the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, and now the Lakers never their diamond in the rough with Christian Wood. The 6’10” power forward/center hasn’t been putting up as impressive numbers recently, averaging 8 points and 5 rebounds per game. But Wood’s ability to stretch the floor with his three-point shooting (33.6%) adds a modern touch to his game. Despite the Lakers’ struggles in the standings, Wood’s performances have not gone unnoticed, and he remains a possible bright spot for the team’s future.