As we near closer to the All-Star game, reputations are now solidified as we are in the halfway point of the season.
Some players have progressed, some arguably regressed, and some are flying under the radar and maybe should be considered at a higher value than they are right now.
So let’s take a look at the top 5 most underrated players in the NBA this season.
5. Marvin Williams
The former number 2 overall pick in 2005 is by no means a household name, but let’s emphasize just how impressive a feat it is that he’s been able to remain in the NBA for 14 seasons now and likely can be a solid contributor a few more years as well.
He’s never been a star (hindsight changes perspectives, but I distinctly remember at the time him being picked over Chris Paul was 110% viewed as a fine pick by the majority) but watching him play he is a glue guy who is helping keep the Hornets together right now.
Williams is currently averaging 10 PPG, and I have him as the number 176 overall player in the NBA currently. Watching the games his impact is clear, as he has a tendency to make big shots when needed and has been more than reliable the whole season. Williams’ is absolutely an example of a player where the stats don’t tell the whole story.
In terms of the 2005 draft he will always be compared to Chris Paul, but as a 32-year-old veteran, he is playing a very solid role for Charlotte this season.
4. Jeff Teague
Teague is an example of a player who is really in a lose-lose situation right now. With the extravagant resurrection of Derrick Rose, Teague is in the background. It also doesn’t help his case that his shooting has regressed in a 3 point shooting era.
That being said, if you take away the bad scoring efficiency he has been excellent in all other areas and I still have him as a top 100 talent. He’s averaging a career-high 8.1 APG and I would argue is one of the top 5-10 passers in all of the league. Teague also has above average perimeter defense, is smart with the ball, is one of the quicker guards in the league, and is a selfless player.
He would legitimately be the best 2nd string point guard in the NBA if he were in that position, but with his contract and how Minnesota is set up the spotlight is on him a little more in depth. But when looking at the overall picture, with his skill set this is a player who could be valuable for the next 5-7 years as he is now in his 30’s leading a 2nd string unit.
3. Jusuf Nurkic
The Bosnian Nurkster has really turned it on in the year of 2019, becoming a center version of Andrei Kirilenko with his intergalactic stat lines. He recently became one of less than 20 players in NBA history to put up a 5X5 game, a prestigious list that includes the likes of Hakeem Olajuwon and Nicolas Batum.
He’s finally starting to live up to the initial hype he had when initially traded to Portland, and I currently have him as the number 35 player in the NBA overall. Surprisingly still just 24 years old, there is still potential to grow and at his current progression rate I would not rule out a serious 2020 All-Star push.
2. Bradley Beal
Bradley Beal has Hall of Fame potential and the Ray Allen comparisons are starting to come full circle.
I view him as an unquestioned All-Star right now and the clear number 1 face of the Wizards’ franchise. As terrible as John Wall being injured for the season was, in terms of Beal’s individual play the injury opened up a world of opportunities that Beal is taking advantage of.
As of January 15, this man was putting up 31/7/5 averages in 2019. Hard to keep that up for the rest of the season but dude’s making a serious campaign for his overall reputation and it would be a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions if he missed out on the All-Star game.
Wall is popular, Beal is under the radar, but despite the reputations, Bradley Beal is the best player on the Wizards and it’s not even close now.
1. Rudy Gobert
The defensive ability of Rudy Gobert is unquestioned, by all means, he was named the defensive player of the year last season.
But in an era where defense is not appreciated Gobert is still somehow flying under the radar. Honestly, I understand to start the season as Utah was in a funk and Donovan Mitchell swerved into a sophomore slump.
But Gobert remained steady even in the slump and showed small signs of progression in his game. The defense remained elite and the offense was progressing.
As we have entered 2019, his offensive dominance has started to bear lilies all throughout Salt Lake City and this man seriously needs to be considered as a top 10-12 overall player.
It also helps that Utah as a team is starting to build momentum, but Gobert is putting up some impressive performances on offense lately and has jumped up a tier talent wise.
He’s never made an All-Star game, there is zero reason he should be left off the team this year. If he somehow is, then tears will be flowing down my face as I watch Ricky Rubio meow in Vivint commercials for 24 hours straight.