There have been a lot of great basketball players that don’t get enough recognition because they’re pretty much low profile people and rather fly under the radar and just do their job, or because they play side by side with top-notch ballers that get most of the attention.
Obviously, every team needs to have at least one superstar in order to get the job done and go the distance in the postseason, but if it wasn’t for those great role players besides them, the team wouldn’t be nearly as successful as it is.
Basketball is a team sport and nobody can win on its own, as even the greatest basketball player in history; Michael Jordan, had a lot of help during his Championship runs with the Chicago Bulls.
That’s why today, we’re going to let you know about the top 10 most underrated basketball players this season.
10. Elfrid Payton
Elfrid Payton was the Orlando Magic’s scapegoat following yet another mediocre season, and the Phoenix Suns got a huge bargain with the deal that sent him to the desert to finally put an end to their starting point guard spot, also being a major backcourt defensive upgrade for the young Suns.
Payton can really push up-tempo, is an underrated defender and an extremely crafty passer, and paired with lights out shooter like Devin Booker, he seems like the perfect complement, putting season averages of 13.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 6.5 dimes per game to go along with 1 steal a contest.
9. Julius Randle
Ever since the start of the season, Julius Randle was leading most of the trade rumors with the Los Angeles Lakers trying to offload his salary, especially after Kyle Kuzma’s great surge during the first passages of the campaign, but he was able to not only stay put at the Staples but also hold onto the starting job he had lost earlier in his career.
Randle has been extremely solid this season and has even improved a lot on defense. His ball handling is way better and he doesn’t look so out of control while driving to the lane as well, and his hustle and energy have come really handy for the rebuilding Lakers. Over the year, he’s averaged 15.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 0.6 blocks on 56% shooting, and he’s looking like a lock to get paid big time next season.
8. Klay Thompson
Ok, to be fair, Klay Thompson isn’t that underrated, but he just doesn’t get enough credit for all the great work he puts on both ends of the hardwood and he’s considered to be the 4th best starter in the team, but the Golden State Warriors are kind of an NBA2K kind of squad, so being their 4th best player means you’re a part of basketball elite anyways.
Thompson is one of the best backcourt defenders in the league and if it wasn’t for Stephen Curry, he may be the best pure shooter in the world as well. Throughout the season, he’s put averages of 19.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game on over 49% shooting and almost 45% from beyond the arc.
7. Steven Adams
If you play side by side with Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George, it’s pretty safe to assume that you’re not going to get many touches on offense and most highlights aren’t going to go your way either, but still, Adams is one of the best big men in the league despite his low profile.
Steven Adams is a huge defensive factor below the rim and an outstanding offensive rebounder, averaging 4 offensive boards a game for the Oklahoma City Thunder this season to go along with 13.9 points, 9 total rebounds and 1 blocks per game. Also, he’s Westbrook’s favorite target and a hell of a pick and roll big man, and his great screens create a lot of space for OKC’s shooters.
6. Khris Middleton
Khris Middleton has been vastly underrated his whole career, being drafted 39th overall in 2012 but becoming one of the most steady contributors of his Draft class, and, if I may state; the second best player in the Milwaukee Bucks.
Naturally, Giannis Antetokounmpo draws most of the attention, Jabari Parker was one of the most hyped prospects ever and Eric Bledsoe may have a bigger fan base, but Middleton is one of the most hardworking players in both ends of the court this year, and he’s quietly up to season averages of 19.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4 assists (all career highs) with 1.4 steals on 46% from the floor.
5. Taj Gibson
Taj Gibson has truly enhanced the Minnesota Timberwolves with his great hustle, effort and ability to take hits and just put his body on the line on every single possession, making up for several of Karl-Anthony Towns’ defensive miscues.
Gibson isn’t the flashy scorer most uneducated fans love to see, but he’s a player that’s just never going to give up on any board or loose ball and a terrific defender both below the rim or all the way to the perimeter, and he’s going to be a major factor in how far the young Wolves can go this season.
4. Jrue Holiday
Honestly, nobody gave the New Orleans Pelicans a shot, but even without DeMarcus Cousins, they’ve been playing great basketball and Jrue Holiday deserves a lot of the credit, either playing off the ball or running the offense and making a huge playoffs push with Anthony Davis leading the way.
Jrue doesn’t get much attention because of the team’s twin towers, but his averages of 19.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1.4 steals per game on almost 50% shooting shows how efficient he can be despite not having the offense flow mainly through him.
3. Eric Gordon
Eric Gordon isn’t drawing nearly as much attention as he was getting the prior campaign, mostly because of Clint Capela’s surge and Chris Paul’s arrival to the Rockets, but he’s been one great factor in Houston’s climbing all the way to the 1st seed in the Western Conference and the best record in the NBA.
The reigning Sixth Man of the Year is even scoring more points per game this campaign than the prior, recording averages of 18.6 points, 2.4 boards and 2.3 assists per game on 42% shooting from the floor and 34% from beyond the arc.
2. Lou Williams
Sweet Lou was always considered to be a great offensive spark off the bench, but he’s been on a major tear all season long and has shown no signs of slowing down after the All-Star Break with the Los Angeles Clippers making a playoffs push.
Williams has led the Clippers through a lot of injuries and even following the Blake Griffin trade, and he’s proven to be one of the most efficient volume scorers in the Association, and a lock to win the Sixth Man of the Year award once again with outstanding averages of 23.2 points and 5.5 dimes with 1.1 steals a game.
1. Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard has arguably been the most prolific scorer in all of 2018, recording more points per game than Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and LeBron James, with a higher field goal percentage than both James Harden and Chris Paul, scoring more field goals than Harden, Curry and Durant and even recording more three-pointers than Klay Thompson and the Beard.
Dame doesn’t get enough credit because of the small market he plays in, but truth to be told, he’s one of the most gifted scorers in all the league, and he almost single-handedly has led the Portland Trail Blazers all the way to the 3rd seed in the Western Conference, being by far the most underrated player in the league this season. Also, he’s the master of clutch time.