We have seen some tremendous performances from the usual suspects in the 2020-21 NBA season. However, there are a few underrated players who also deserve praise for their exploits in the present campaign.
The current NBA regular season started back on December 22nd, and the talent around the league remains at an elite level.
5 underrated players from the 2020-21 NBA season
The current candidates for the NBA MVP are well-known to NBA fans and are regularly praised by the media. However, the talent pool is really big right now, and it is not unusual for lesser-known players to fall under the radar.
In this piece, we take a look at the five most underrated players from the 2020-21 NBA campaign.
#5 Gordon Hayward
Gordon Hayward's four-year, $120-million contract with the Charlotte Hornets in the offseason shocked the NBA world.
Despite many detractors calling it one of the worst deals in the offseason, the 30-year-old has been great for the Hornets.
In his 11th NBA season, Hayward is matching his career-high in points per game (21.9) and is having a tremendously consistent year offensively. He has made 48% of his field goals, 43% of his three-pointers and 86% of his free throws.
He is also averaging 5.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game and has been an essential piece for the Charlotte Hornets, who are competing for playoff positions.
#4 De'Aaron Fox
Even though the Sacramento Kings are 12-18 and currently rank 12th in the NBA's Western Conference, De'Aaron Fox has performed very well.
Fox signed a five-year contract extension (reportedly worth $163 million) with the Kings back in the offseason. With financial security, the 23-year-old point guard has found a higher gear in his game and is having the best year of his already solid career.
In his fourth NBA season, Fox has appeared in 29 games for the Sacramento Kings and is putting up a career-high 22 points per game 47/34/68 shooting split. Moreover, he is averaging 7 assists and 3 rebounds per game in the 2020-21 NBA season.
#3 Malcolm Brogdon
The 2020-21 Indiana Pacers have been an underrated team for the entirety of the 2020-21 NBA season. Even some of their players, including Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon, are heavily under-valued and are rarely mentioned in some important debates around the league.
Brogdon is a former Rookie of the Year award winner and is not a flashy name in the NBA. Still, he is performing handsomely for Nate Bjorkgren's Indiana Pacers.
Brogdon is averaging a team-high 21.6 points, 6.6 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game. He is also posting 44/40/91 shooting splits in 29 appearances for the Pacers.
#2 Nikola Vucevic
Nikola Vucevic is definitely one of the best centers in today's NBA and has shown it year after year for the Orlando Magic.
In his 10th NBA season, the 30-year-old big man is putting up 24 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists per appearance (31 games).
Vucevic has also been a good offensive weapon for the Magic on various levels, as he is posting a 48/41/84 shooting split so far.
He has evolved into a great three-point shooter and is currently averaging 2.5 three-pointers per game (6.3 attempts). His 41% from the three-point line is the best of his career.
#1 Zach LaVine
Zach LaVine has been an underrated player for the last three years, and his name is finally starting to appear on several lists of the best individual performers. Still, his team needs to find success for him to be praised as the great talent that he is.
LaVine's Chicago Bulls are 13-16 in the 2020-21 NBA season and have a shot at making it into the NBA Playoffs, probably through the play-in tournament.
LaVine has been a big reason why the Bulls have been decent in the current campaign. He is averaging 28.9 points per game (sixth-highest in the NBA), with averages of 5.4 rebounds and 5.1 assists per night.
He's also been tremendously efficient, with 52/43/86 shooting splits in his 29 appearances in the current campaign.
LaVine might become a first-time All-Star in 2021, and he definitely deserves such recognition for his level.
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