The NBA currently has an insane amount of talent. We all know about the biggest names in the league, but with the amount of talent in the league, it is fair to say that some players have flown under the radar.
With the conclusion of the 2021-22 season, we have come up with a list of the most underrated players of this season. These players haven't gotten as much attention as their talent demands, and hopefully, that changes in the future.
10. Malik Monk
The Los Angeles Lakers have clearly had a disastrous season, but there were definitely some bright spots for the team. Malik Monk was one of them. He profiles as a great shot creator and perimeter shooter, and can also use his speed and athleticism effectively to get to the rim. This season, Malik Monk has averaged 13.8 PPG, 3.4 RPG, and 2.9 APG, while also shooting 39.1% from beyond the arc.
While Malik Monk's numbers don't particularly stand out, they are definitely lower due to his inconsistent role with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was often moved between being a 6th man and a starter by Frank Vogel. In the 37 games that Malik Monk has started this season, he has averaged 17.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, and 3.3 APG, while shooting an astounding 42.2% from the 3PT range. It is clear that Malik Monk is a young player that can be a consistent big-minute contributor, and the Los Angeles Lakers absolutely need to retain him if possible.
9. RJ Barrett
RJ Barrett is widely viewed as the best young prospect on the New York Knicks. He entered this season as a solid two-way wing: he could guard the opponent's best player while also being an adept floor spacer and finisher near the rim. RJ Barrett's season averages are 20.0 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and 3.0 APG, with 40.8% from the field and 34.2% from the 3PT range.
While he had a slower start to the season, RJ Barrett has been the primary scoring option on the New York Knicks over the 2nd half of the season, and that has paid dividends for him and his development. Over the last 41 games, RJ Barrett has averaged 23.6 PPG, 6.0 RPG, and 3.5 APG while shooting 41.2% from the field and 35.2% from the 3PT range. His efficiency isn't great, but that is to be expected, as he is still adjusting to facing tough defenses and carrying the offensive load for the team. If RJ Barrett is able to be just a little more efficient going into next season, he will be one of the premier wings in the league.
8. Jordan Poole
Jordan Poole is quite possibly the best young player on the Golden State Warriors as of right now. He is an electric scorer, who is crafty near the rim and who is a creative ballhandler. Poole also happens to be a capable off-ball threat and shooter, which comes with the territory of learning from Stephen Curry. Jordan Poole did solid overall this season, averaging 18.5 PPG, 3.4 RPG, and 4.0 APG.
The numbers that are worth looking at in regards to Jordan Poole are his numbers without Stephen Curry. In the 17 games he has played without Stephen Curry, Jordan Poole has averaged an astounding 25.6 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and 5.6 APG while shooting 38.9% from beyond the arc. The Golden State Warriors have a fair amount of other offensive players such as Andrew Wiggins and Klay Thompson, which means that Jordan Poole is often sharing touches with them. However, it is clear that Jordan Poole can produce if given the opportunity, and perhaps we'll see him involved more and more within the Golden State Warriors' offense as he develops and continues to improve.
7. Jrue Holiday
Jrue Holiday is widely viewed as the best guard defender in the league, especially by players, and he is no slouch on the offensive end either. In fact, some believe that he should have been the Milwaukee Bucks' 2nd All-Star this year, over Khris Middleton. While it is obvious that Khris Middleton is still a good basketball player, Jrue Holiday has had a very good year. Jrue Holiday put up 18.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 6.8 APG this season while shooting a career-high 41.1% from beyond the arc.
It is genuinely insane to think about how Jrue Holiday only has one All-Star selection over the course of his career. He definitely had an All-Star caliber year this season, and his impact goes far beyond the box score. Jrue Holiday will definitely play a key role for the Milwaukee Bucks this season in their pursuit of the title, and they'll need him on both ends if they are to make it past the tough Eastern Conference.
6. Jarrett Allen
The Cleveland Cavaliers have had an amazing first half of the season, and have shown that they can be a very competitive team when fully healthy. While a lot of the focus has been on star point guard Darius Garland and rookie Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen has played a huge role in their success. He is a dynamic lob threat that has an amazing connection with Darius Garland, and can even create his own offense in the post at times. On top of that, he is a fantastic rim protector and very capable rebounder. Jarrett Allen has put up 16.1 PPG, 10.8 RPG, and 1.8 APG this season while shooting 67.7% from the field.
The best way to gauge Jarrett Allen's impact on the Cleveland Cavaliers is simply by looking at their record without him. The team has a terrible 9-17 record without him anchoring the defense and being a play finisher on the offensive end. While obviously some of that can be attributed to other injuries, it is clear that the Cleveland Cavaliers are simply not the same without their All-Star center.
5. Dejounte Murray
When one thinks of up-and-coming young point guards, it seems as though Dejounte Murray is an afterthought. However, it is clear that the face of the San Antonio Spurs is a fantastic basketball player, who is clearly underrated by the general NBA community. Dejounte Murray is a player that can simply fill up the box score offensively while also being able to guard stars on the perimeter. Dejounte Murray is averaging 21.1 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 9.2 APG, and 2.0 SPG on the season.
Dejounte Murray isn't much of a shooter from the 3PT range, but he is proficient at finishing near the rim with his length and from the midrange area. The only weakness in his game currently is his shooting: he already does most other things at an above-average to a high level. Hopefully, we see Dejounte Murray work on that area in his game, and he could definitely take another leap if he improves in that department.
4. Bam Adebayo
Perhaps part of the reason Bam Adebayo has become underrated this season is due to him being out for a large part of the season with an injury. But Bam Adebayo is definitely taking strides, particularly on the offensive end. He is averaging a career-high in PPG with 19.1 PPG, and a career-high in FTA with 6.1. It is clear that Bam Adebayo has worked on being able to get to the line, and he has been even better on the interior this season than he has been in seasons past.
On top of his offensive improvements, Bam Adebayo has continued to be that 5-position defender that he has been, and is also averaging a career-high 1.4 SPG. This has been a season of career-highs for the Miami Heat big man, and he has been crucial as the anchor of the team's defense and supplementary scoring option for the Miami Heat. A two-way big man like Bam Adebayo that is truly proficient on both ends is hard to find, and we'll see if he can improve even further in the future.
3. Brandon Ingram
Brandon Ingram not making the All-Star team this season was very unfortunate. His averages suggest that he was definitely deserving, as he put up 22.7 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and 5.6 APG this season. The New Orleans Pelicans ended up as the 9th seed this year, and a huge part of that has been due to Brandon Ingram keeping the team afloat until the CJ McCollum trade. Brandon Ingram's most noticeable leap came in the form of his playmaking, with his 5.6 APG being a career-high. It is particularly impressive given the fact that he commands a lot more attention from defenses, as the Pelicans have been without Zion Williamson all season.
The biggest indicator of Brandon Ingram's value is the fact that the Pelicans simply don't function nearly as well without him. They have an abysmal 7-20 record without Brandon Ingram this season, and he clearly provides a huge impact on the game with his scoring and playmaking. Brandon Ingram's skillset also is favorable to him being a late-game scoring option, which was on display during the Pelicans' most recent matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers. It will be interesting to see how well Brandon Ingram does in the play-in tournament, but this season is already a success given how the Pelicans started.
2. Pascal Siakam
Pascal Siakam is an All-Star and an NBA champion, but it seems as though many wrote him off after his down season last year. However, Pascal Siakam is still the same versatile power forward who is a three-level scorer and a menace on the defensive end, capable of effectively guarding multiple positions due to his length and athleticism. This season, Pascal Siakam averaged 22.8 PPG, 8.5 RPG, and 5.3 APG, with his RPG and APG being career highs.
The Toronto Raptors are the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference, and a large part of that is due to Pascal Siakam's impact on both ends. His last outing in the playoffs as a No. 1 option wasn't great, but it is quite possible that he has reached another level since then. Over the last 20 games of the season, Pascal Siakam averaged 27.0 PPG, 8.8 RPG, and 5.6 APG, which is All-NBA caliber production. Hopefully, those numbers translate into the playoffs, and the Raptors will need that level of play from him on the highest stage.
1. Trae Young
For some reason, Trae Young didn't get much attention from the media until the closing stages of the season. On offense, Trae Young is producing like a superstar-level player: he is averaging 28.4 PPG, 3.7 RPG, and 9.7 APG this season. He is also doing fantastic efficiency-wise, putting up career-high shooting splits of 46.0/38.2/90.4. There is no doubt that Trae Young is an offensive powerhouse, and he recently became the first player to lead the league in total assists and points since Nate Archibald in 1973. There is a solid argument for him for being a top-10 player in the NBA.
The Atlanta Hawks have disappointed this year, but it is clear that Trae Young has had a fantastic individual season with the team. They still have a chance to make the playoffs through the play-in tournament, and Trae Young's game and demeanor are well-suite to the single-elimination style of the play-in tournament. Perhaps we'll see him lead the Hawks to the playoffs, and while nobody expects a deep playoff run from the Hawks, they have a chance to surprise people with Trae Young firing on all cylinders.