In the NBA, the biggest stars are always held to the highest standards.
Guys like LeBron James, DeMar DeRozan, and even Paul Millsap are expected to lead their team on a nightly basis. Their stats, performances, and plays are on watch by every eye in the league.
But every once in a while, some ordinary no-name role players have surprising All-Star like seasons. The 2017-18 campaign is no exception, as quite a few non-star players are playing way above their expectations. Here are five ordinary role-players quietly having All-Star seasons:
20.9 PPG, 5.7 AST, 4.7 REB
When D’Angelo Russell went viral for the wrong reasons, the future of his playing career became a huge question mark. At just 21 years old D’Lo still has a lot of potential, which is why Brooklyn took a gamble in trading for him.
And, at least this year, he’s quietly proving that the decision was no mistake.
Averaging almost 21 points per game with over 5 assists, D’Angelo has quickly emerged as the Nets’ best player. While that isn’t necessarily saying a whole lot, he has shown a steady growth over the last few years, and has looked good enough to earn some serious attention.
18.3 PPG, 2. 3 AST, 7.9 REB
Nobody on planet earth would have guessed that the Magic would be where they are now. While they’ve cooled down a bit since their scorching hot start, they’re still doing much better than anyone expected, finding themselves at 8-6, with the 5th best record in the East.
Aaron Gordon has been a huge part of this amazing run, as his play so far this year has been electric.
Whether or not he can keep up these incredible stats is anyone’s guess, but with 14 games already passed, it’s not too crazy to think that he can.
Gordon has been doing it all so far, and has improved drastically since his play a year ago. If he stays healthy, the dunking phoneme could be in an All-Star game before anyone sees it coming.
22.9 PPG, 3.0 AST, 2.4 REB
Regarding the Houston Rockets, everything begins and ends with James Harden. He’s the unquestioned leader of a team that would be hopelessly lost without him.
But who’s to say he doesn’t have any help out there with him?
Eric Gordon has rebounded well since his miserable seasons with the Pelicans, and has been healthy enough to make a real lasting impact on the team.
At almost 23 points per game, his insane scoring outburst must be connected to Mike D’Antoni’s “shoot-first” system, which has Gordon eyeballing open threes regularly. Still, it’s ultimately up to Gordon to knock them down, which he has. With Eric playing so well, he is no doubt part of the reason why the Rockets have managed to stay so good after the Chris Paul injury.
23.4 PPG, 3.6 AST, 4.3 REB
When the OKC Thunder traded for Paul George, it came at a price. Even though most called it a bargain deal, giving up a 25-year-old scoring machine is never an easy thing to do.
Now in Indiana, the Thunders’ worst nightmare may be becoming a reality.
To see a guy they once had blossom into something so seemingly special has to hurt, even if they got a star out of it. Scoring at an average of 23.4 pints, Victor Oladipo has become one of the Pacer’s most valuable young players.
His athleticism is still there, his shooting has improved, and his aggressiveness to score the basketball has never been higher. While he may never actually be an All-Star, he certainly looks like one this year… even if it is only 14 games in.
19.8 PPG, 6.7 AST, 3.1 REB
If there’s one thing we have to give the Hawks credit for, it’s their trust in Dennis Schroder.
He will never be “that guy,” but what he doe son the court for a miserable Hawks team cannot be ignored. He is the literal leader for the squad right now, and has them competing (for the most part), despite their horrible record.
Alone, he’ll probably never be able to take the Hawks very far. And, of course, he’ll probably never see minutes in an All-Star game. But going solely off of his performance this year, his stats are certainly All-Sta worthy.