The NBA has once again revealed their awards, featuring Russell Westbrook as the MVP, Malcolm Brogdon as the ROY, Draymond Green as the DPOY, Mike D’Antoni as the COY, Giannis Antetokounmpo as the MIP and last but not least, Eric Gordon as the 6MOY.
Besides, the league also announced their all around teams as usual, and the biggest surprise of the night was Avery Bradley’s absence from the NBA’s 1st and 2nd all defensive squads, causing several players to call the league out on this matter.
But this wouldn’t be the first time that something like this happens, as a defense is perhaps the most underrated feature most players have constantly being snubbed from this all defensive squads or the Defensive Player of the Year conversations.
So today, we’ll take a look at the top 5 underrated defensive players currently playing in the NBA, hoping they do make it to the All-Defensive squad next season.
The Durantula entered the league as a one-way player, being an offensive standout but bringing a lot of concerns regarding his physique and especially his defense, that was questionable at best in the early going.
Nevertheless, Durant improved on a yearly basis, and it was made pretty clear during his last campaign at OKC, and yet again during this past season with the Golden State Warriors, becoming an elite rim protector that even swatted 5 shots during game 2 of this year’s finals.
Alongside Durant, we got another incredibly underrated player in the Golden State Warriors in Klay Thompson, the guy that more often than not has to take opposing guards to free Curry of defensive duties.
His lateral movements and great ability to read passing lanes make Thompson an elite backcourt defender, even being 9 in the league in overall defensive rating with a defensive rating of 101 points.
Wall kind of struggled on the defensive end during his first couple of seasons in the NBA, raising a lot of questions about the point guard’s ability to slow down opposing guards, as well as struggling with inconsistency on the offensive end.
Nonetheless, Wall has developed into an elite two-way player, leading the league in assists while also being one of the most lethal guys in the passing lanes nowadays in the league, improving a lot due to his hard work and incredible speed and becoming a very pesky defender.
Conley is probably the most underrated player in the NBA nowadays, being a very consistent offensive option behind Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph while also being a very good playmaker although his assists numbers have never been quite impressive.
But perhaps the most underrated side of his game has been his great backcourt defense, as it’s kind of difficult to notice in Memphis suffocating help defense scheme, although he’s one of the main reasons why that actually works. Of course, having Tony Allen beside you also helps, but Conley’s defense keeps improving on a yearly basis.
Whiteside has developed into a very dominant center in both ends of the floor despite being only known as a good rebounder and an elite shot blocker, as his overall defense has really come together over the last couple of seasons.
The young center is still a work in progress, but he’s become way more than a rim protector for the Miami Heat nowadays, improving his pick and roll defense and becoming perhaps the best center in the Eastern Conference at this point.