All-Star players and top-notch prospects always get most of the attention from fans, media and highlight films, as they’re the ones that people actually pay to see whenever they’re going to watch their favorite teams.
The more talent you have on your team, the better you’re likely to fare (obviously), but more often than not, when a guy or two draw most of the thunder, other good ballers tend to get snubbed.
If you’re on an NBA team, you’ve got to be an incredibly talented player, so the fact that others stand out more than others doesn’t mean those others aren’t also great. That’s why today, we’re going to let you know about the most underrated player on every team.
Atlanta Hawks: Taurean Prince
2018-19 Per-Game Stats: 16.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists
Taurean Prince has quietly improved on a yearly basis and truth to be told, he’s even emerged as one of this year’s early candidates to take home the Most Improved Player award thanks to his great play.
Prince didn’t come to the league with high praise but has earned a steady starting spot thanks to his restless work ethic and the fact that he does a little bit of everything, improving in the offensive end of the floor and already being a solid wing stopper.
Brooklyn Nets: Spencer Dinwiddie
2018-19 Per-Game Stats: 14.9 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3.6 assists
When D’Angelo Russell fell down with an injury last season, it was Spencer Dinwiddie who stepped up as the Brooklyn Nets’ primary ball handler and he did a more than fair work, to say the least.
Dinwiddie won’t flash you with crafty plays but he’s a guy that really knows how to take care of the rock and that doesn’t make many mistakes. He’s smart and is an underrated playmaker, and truth to be told, should be the team’s starting point guard with Russell playing off the ball.
Boston Celtics: Marcus Smart
2018-19 Per-Game Stats: 5.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.0 steals
Marcus Smart stated this offseason that he deserved more money and praise than what he was getting from the Boston Celtics because of all the little things he does that don’t reflect on the stat sheet.
He’s actually right, as even though he’s not going to be much help in the offensive end of the floor, he’s already one of the best defenders in the league, and he can even guard 1 through 5 despite being undersized. His hustle and grit make him extremely valuable.
Charlotte Hornets: Willy Hernangomez
2018-19 Per-Game Stats: 7.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 0.7 assists
Willy Hernangomez has failed to establish himself as a steady contributor in the league even though he’s always been great when asked to step up, at least when it comes to the stats he posts.
Hernangomez isn’t much of a rim protector but has shown strides on that side of the hardwood, and he’s a bit of an Enes Kanter type of player when it comes to scoring and rebounding. Hopefully, he’ll find more minutes.
Chicago Bulls: Kris Dunn
2018-19 Per-Game Stats: 9.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 7.0 assists
Kris Dunn has been very unlucky so far in his young NBA career, first having to share touches with a lot of point guards and then struggling to shake off several injuries now that he’s with the Bulls.
Still, when healthy, Dunn has proven to be a great defender and a very aggressive driver and scorer, let alone his playmaking ability. Barring another injury, he’s in for a breakout year this season when he comes back.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Larry Nance Jr
2018-19 Per-Game Stats: 9.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists
Larry Nance Jr isn’t the kind of player you may want to add in your fantasy league, but that you would always love to have in your real life team for all of the little things he does, especially in the defensive end of the floor.
Nance isn’t there for fancy plays or piling up stats (although he’s made it to the highlights a couple of times with his emphatic dunks), but he’s always going to be a major factor in the defensive end. His length and hustle make him a guy I’d always take to play for me.
Dallas Mavericks: Wesley Matthews
2018-19 Per-Game Stats: 18.6 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists
Wesley Matthews isn’t the top-tier 3 and D player he used to be back in the day during his Portland Trail Blazers tenure, but still, he’s a great wing stopper that can get hot in the blink of an eye.
Matthews has great lateral quickness and is a hard-working guy that won’t hesitate to take a hit on every single possession. He never gives up on a loose ball and is a great catch and shoot player as well.
Denver Nuggets: Gary Harris
2018-19 Per-Game Stats: 19.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.1 steals
I don’t get why we’re not talking about Gary Harris all the time. This young man shoots almost 50% from the floor despite playing the shooting guard spot and is already a lockdown defender no one ever talks about.
Harris is something of the likes of a young Dwyane Wade with less explosiveness. A great and versatile scorer and playmaker and solid defender, and he is in for an All-Star campaign this season.
Detroit Pistons: Ish Smith
2018-19 Per-Game Stats: 11.7 points, 2.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists
Truth to be told, the Detroit Pistons don’t have much-underrated players, mostly because none of their guys (other than Drummond, Griffin and maybe Reggie Jackson) are actually highly ranked.
Still, if we’d have to go with one player, we’d definitely take Ish Smith, who’s been the team’s true point guard despite coming off the bench, especially during Jackson’s never-ending stints in the sidelines or when he struggles to get his teammates going.
Golden State Warriors: Shaun Livingston
2018-19 Per-Game Stats: 5.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.0 assists
If we’re talking about underrated players, we instantly think about Shaun Livingston, a guy that has been a major factor in the Warriors’ late success as the guy that orchestrates the offense for Steve Kerr’s second unit.
Livingston is a very switchable defender that can guard multiple spots in the court, and that always have a size advantage in the offensive end of the floor as well. He’s money from mid-range and has great basketball IQ as an off-ball player.
Houston Rockets: Eric Gordon
2018-19 Per-Game Stats: 14.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists
The Houston Rockets have found a lot of success lately mostly because the team’s management was finally able to surround James Harden with great scorers that don’t need to have the rock on their hands to get it going, like Eric Gordon.
Eric Gordon can create his own shot, play off the screen, catch and shoot or just pull up from everywhere in the court, and his great scoring outbursts off the bench were a major factor in the Rockets’ last year’s playoff run.
Indiana Pacers: Domantas Sabonis
2018-19 Per-Game Stats: 14.4 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists
Even though the Indiana Pacers have committed with Myles Turner as their power forward for the future due to his upside, it has been Domantas Sabonis the one that has been worthy of getting paid big time for the Pacers.
Sabonis is a very efficient scorer that makes the most of his minutes, and even though he’s not as talented as his old man, he’s proven to have a sweet shooting stroke from distance and a nice rebounding ability.
Los Angeles Clippers: Tobias Harris
2018-19 Per-Game Stats: 20.9 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists
I’ve always resented the fact that Tobias Harris has been constantly dealt as an expendable player, mostly because he’s used as a fill-in guy to sweeten trades between desperate teams because of how productive he is.
Harris can do a little bit of everything, he scores, he can bring the ball down court, is a nice jump shooter, a nice wing stopper and a solid teammate. Hopefully, he’s going to be more featured in the Clippers’ offense any time soon.
Los Angeles Lakers: JaVale McGee
2018-19 Per-Game Stats: 15.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.5 blocks
This one was kind of tricky, as we were already thinking in Josh Hart, and truth to be told, saying JaVale McGee is underrated is kind of bizarre. Still, considering how solid he’s been for the last couple of seasons, we have to say it.
McGee has improved as a rim protector and is finally making the most of his wingspan and athleticism to gain and maintain position down low. Also, it feels like he’s finally focused and it’s been a while since he’s been involved in one of those hilarious antics.
Memphis Grizzlies: Dillon Brooks
2018-19 Per-Game Stats: 4.7 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists
The Memphis Grizzlies have few bright spots to think about this season, but one of them has to be Dillon Brooks, a young man that has had some nice scoring outbursts last season and shown glimpses of improvement on a continuous basis.
Brooks doesn’t get much recognition and praise because of the small market he plays in, but even for a team with zero-to-none offensive talent other than Gasol and Conley, he'd find ways to prove his worth in the offensive end of the floor.
Miami Heat: Josh Richardson
2018-19 Per-Game Stats: 19.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.0 steals
Josh Richardson doesn’t get the praise he deserves but he’s constantly improving as one of the league’s best defensive shooting guards. Also, he can defend both guard spots and even check some small forwards and power forwards in the post.
Richardson is vastly athletic and has great court awareness, he’s deadly in passing lanes and is a great shot blocker for a guy his size. Also, it seems like his shot is finally starting to fall to become a two-way stud.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Derrick Rose
2018-19 Per-Game Stats: 18.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists
If we think about a guy that we’d love to see succeed in this league, that definitely has to be Derrick Rose. Nonetheless, everybody seems to have given up on him despite the fact that he’s been playing really good for a couple of years now.
He averaged over 18 points a game throughout 60+ games with the sluggish New York Knicks, and now, it finally looks as if he got his confidence back, attacking the rim with the crafty moves and conviction he used to do it back in the day.
Milwaukee Bucks: Malcolm Brogdon
2018-19 Per-Game Stats: 13.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists
Malcolm Brogdon won the Rookie of the Year award a couple of seasons ago not because of his stats of the fact that it was a bit of a disappointing class, but because of his high basketball IQ and versatility.
Brogdon can play both guard spots and his length also lets him check both forward spots, he can play off-ball or run the point, he’s a solid passer, rebounder and playmaker, come off the bench or start, and even though he’s never going to be a star, he’s the kind of player all coaches love.
New Orleans Pelicans: Nikola Mirotic
2018-19 Per-Game Stats: 23.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists
Nikola Mirotic is finally starting to look like the guy the Chicago Bulls thought they were getting when they lured him out of Real Madrid, a top-tier scorer and rebounder that can consistently hit from all three levels.
Mirotic has looked way better as a power forward rather than playing the 3, is improving as a defender and finally looks motivated and aggressive when driving. He’s a stud, and we’re glad he’s finally found the touch.
New York Knicks: Trey Burke
2018-19 Per-Game Stats: 10.3 points, 2.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists
The New York Knicks don’t have much-underrated players, mostly because most of their players are flat out bad. Still, if we’d have to take one, it’d definitely have to be Trey Burke, especially for his determination to overcome adversity and still make it into this league.
Burke is never going to be a good defender and is an average playmaker at best, but he’s a walking bucket and has proven to be worthy of a roster spot ever since signing with the Knicks. Also, he’s looked way better than Ntilikina.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Steven Adams
2018-19 Per-Game Stats: 14.8 points, 11.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.6 steals, 1.0 blocks
Steven Adams doesn’t average 10, 12 or 15 boards a game because he just gives up most of those boards to Russell Westbrook. That’s just the truth, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.
Adams is a huge presence down low that can even guard all the way to the perimeter, he’s a great rim protector, a solid pick and roll scorer and one of the toughest players in the league, so don’t let his stats fool you.
Orlando Magic: Evan Fournier
2018-19 Per-Game Stats: 15.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists
Evan Fournier has been one of the Orlando Magic’s few bright spots in the offensive end of the floor for years now, either if it’s running the point, playing off-ball, defending or even embracing a lesser role off the bench.
Fournier is no All-Star but, like most European players, he truly understands how to play on a system and be productive in several aspects of the game, even if his team is a flat-out disaster like the Magic.
Philadelphia 76ers: JJ Redick
2018-19 Per-Game Stats: 18.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists
JJ Redick is one of the best three-point shooters and off-ball scorers in the world and is not even close, and believe it or not, he’s never missed the playoffs ever since making it to the league back in 2006.
Redick is not a great defender but knows how to work on a defensive system and not be a huge flaw, is deadly from both corners, a good passer and one of the best teammates in the league as well.
Phoenix Suns: TJ Warren
2018-19 Per-Game Stats: 16.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists
The Phoenix Suns feature a lot of young talent nowadays, so standing out from the pack playing next to guys of the likes of Devin Booker, DeAndre Ayton and Josh Jackson is easier said than done.
Still, TJ Warren has constantly found ways to make the most of his touches, be a consistent scorer and defender, a great rebounder and versatile player that could even play as a small-ball center, quietly improving on a yearly basis.
Portland Trail Blazers: Al-Farouq Aminu
2018-19 Per-Game Stats: 7.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.0 steals
Everybody talks about Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum and for good reason, but people should definitely show more love for Al-Farouq Aminu, one of the best wing stoppers in the league and the guy that always has to check the other team’s best scorer.
Aminu is not much of an offensive factor and his three-point shot has kind of regressed over the years, but he’s a great shot blocker with a huge wingspan and high hops, and I’d love to have his hard-nosed defense on my squad.
San Antonio Spurs: Rudy Gay
2018-19 Per-Game Stats: 14.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.3 steals
Considering Rudy Gay’s skill set and the expectations that surrounded him, perhaps he could be considered as a letdown. Even so, he’s one of the best two-way players in the league when focused.
Rudy Gay is a great defender and a guy that has proven that can be a consistent volume scorer from all three levels. And, for that price, the Spurs landed a true bargain when they got him to sign.
Sacramento Kings: Buddy Hield
2018-19 Per-Game Stats: 18.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists
Buddy Hield has the offensive skill set to be something of the likes of a poor man’s James Harden but, prior to the start of this season, he was vastly struggling to send the ball to the bottom of the nets.
He’s still quite young and hopefully, he’s going to turn things around, as he can be a truly deadly volume scorer in this league. Should the Kings give him a long leash, they’re going to have a lot of fun with Fox, Hield and Bogdanovic for many years to come.
Toronto Raptors: OG Anunoby
2018-19 Per-Game Stats: 7.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 0.6 assists
The Toronto Raptors have several underrated players like Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam, but this time, we give the nod to OG Anunoby; a guy that proved to have an NBA ready defensive game during his rookie year.
Anunoby is an athletic freak that can take off from the charity stripe, and he’s made the most of his touches in offense despite not being heavily featured in that side of the game. He’s not going to be an All-Star, but he’s a great role player.
Utah Jazz: Joe Ingles
2018-19 Per-Game Stats: 14.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.3 assists
Talking about role players, Joe Ingles has earned the right to be called the ultimate role player in this league. He’s a great passer, a committed defender and one of the best three-point shooters in the league.
Ingles isn’t getting any younger, but it seems like he just keeps getting better and better as time goes by. Nobody ever talks about him because he’s not a flashy player that may wow you with athleticism, but he’s a solid scorer and one of the main reasons why the Jazz have thrived so much lately.
Washington Wizards: Otto Porter Jr
2018-19 Per-Game Stats: 10.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.6 steals
Otto Porter Jr has been one of the most consistent players in the league for years but still, the Washington Wizards refuse to feature him more in the offensive end despite his great three-point shooting skills.
Following a slow start on that regard, Porter’s defense really caught up with his offense, and he’s even made Kelly Oubre’s development stall because of the fact that they just can’t afford to send him to the bench with all of the little things he does for them.