I’ve been talking a lot about the draft and the future of the NBA recently, so now, let’s move to present-day NBA. Today, I will be displaying some of the most under appreciated players in the NBA. I’m not going to give you the typical names either like Mike Conley or Otto Porter. They have been known as underrated for so long that they are becoming fairly rated or even overrated at times.
You’ve all seen the title by now and I’m sure many of you are already up in arms about me calling Carmelo Anthony underrated. Melo’s Knicks have been abysmal the past few seasons despite having the young talent of Kristaps Porzingis. Many people, including team president Phil Jackson, have put the blame squarely on Melo. This, however is more than unfair. Melo hasn’t been given competent coaching and talent to surround him since the 2012-2013 season when he was surrounded by Tyson Chandler and J.R. Smith, who both had arguably the best seasons of their careers. Not only did Melo lead a not-so-good team to the playoffs, but he also turned two role players into near all-stars who haven’t had as good of a season since then. You can also look to the 2016 USA Olympic National Team. Carmelo was widely known as the captain of that team, leading many other stars to an effortless gold medal. A team like the Clippers or even the Cavaliers should pull the trigger on a Melo trade. He is underappreciated in New York, and could give a playoff team the extra push to an NBA championship.
Boston Celtics point guard, Isaiah Thomas is generally known as one of the best scorers in the league and a great underdog. Ever wonder why he has experienced so much success with the Celtics and not with his old teams, the Suns and Sacramento Kings? Enter Marcus Smart. Marcus Smart is in the third year of his NBA career. He is known as nothing more than a notorious flopper and defensive presence on a bad defensive team. He is so much more than that however. He can set up his teammates (like Isaiah Thomas) with easy shots without ever having the ball in his hand. Not only does he screen better than Celtic bigs, Amir Johnson and Al Horford, but he also covers up their mistakes on the offensive and defensive boards. His energy to get inside after a missed shot is unmatched. In the Celtics’ second round series against the Washington Wizards, I can recall one play where Isaiah Thomas missed a deep jump shot. Smart was in the perfect position to pull in the rebound. Off of Smart’s rebound, Thomas cut back into the paint. Smart hit Thomas with a bullet pass and boxed out Markeiff Morris from getting to the very undersized Thomas in the paint. Without Smart, Isaiah would be just as good as he was on the Kings and Suns. Even though his efforts don’t show too much in the stats, he can hold his own with the best competition in the world.