The Top 5 Most Underrated NBA Players 2020-2021

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 23: Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics dribbles during the first half against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on April 23, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

The top five most underrated NBA players consist of great players who do not get enough recognition. All of these players provide a backbone and contribute significantly to their teams.

Often, underrated players are on teams who struggle. However, sometimes, role players who play for successful teams are not given enough credit.

The criteria for this ranking do not depend on how good each player is. Instead, the players are ranked on how much or little recognition they receive from the community. Here are the top 5 most underrated NBA players in the 2020-2021 season.

Honorable Mentions

Apr 24, 2021; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (00) looks to pass the ball against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the fourth quarter at Vivint Arena. Minnesota Timberwolves won 101-96. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Among this list, many players just fell short. All of these players are talented and have a bright future in this league. Also, they all deserve recognition and credit among the community. Here are the honorable mentions for the most underrated NBA players in the league.

Andrew Wiggins

April 25, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins (22) shoots the basketball against Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes (40) during the third quarter at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Wiggins is a significant asset and adds another weapon to the Warriors’ offense. Furthermore, his defensive prowess elevates the team’s defense and alleviates pressure off of his teammates. He is averaging 18.0 points, 2.3 assists, and 1.0 steals per game. Although Wiggins is an exceptional player, he just fell short of making the list of most underrated NBA players.

Jordan Clarkson

Apr 19, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (00) moves to the basket between Los Angeles Lakers guard Alex Caruso (4) and guard Wesley Matthews (9) during the second quarter at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Clarkson is the secret weapon for the Utah Jazz. Off the bench, he averages 17.5 points per game. This season, he is scoring a career-high in points per game in his 7th season in the NBA. Although Clarkson is a dominant weapon for the Jazz, he fell a bit short for this list. He is beginning to get recognition from analysts as the frontrunner for Sixth Man of the Year.

#5: De’Arron Fox

Apr 18, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Sacramento Kings guard De'Aaron Fox (5) in action during the game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Sacramento Kings at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

De’Arron Fox is a top-eight point guard in the league. He is averaging 25.2 points, 7.2 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. However, his competitors overshadow Fox due to the struggles of his team. The Sacramento Kings hold the 12th seed in the Western Conference. Nonetheless, Fox is an absolute stud and is the star for the Kings.

Also, Fox is considered one of the fastest players in the league. Furthermore, he can score on command from anywhere on the court due to his speed. Fox’s speed helps him dominate on the court as he leaves his opponents playing catch-up behind him. His dominance explains why he leads the league in fourth-quarter scoring.

Fox’s defense has also been exceptional in his career. Every year, he has averaged one or more steals per game. His quickness allows him to stay with any player on the court and pick passes. Fox’s ability to create turnovers off of his opponents is why fans know him as Swipa.

Fox is the most talented player on this list. However, he is only at the five spot because he has received some recognition from the community. The King’s guard won Western Conference Player of the Week twice this season. Furthermore, De’Arron Fox has started to receive some credit from commentators and analysts around the league. Regardless, his recognition is nowhere near where it needs to be, and Fox is one of the most underrated players in the league.

#4: Draymond Green

Apr 21, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) drives to the basket past Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) in the fourth quarter at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Draymond Green is averaging 6.7 points, 8.5 assists, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per game. Although Green cannot consistently score, he is highly underrated.

Draymond Green is the backbone of the Warriors. He coordinates their defense and offense by being a leader on the court. Yes, he cannot score efficiently, but his ability to create open shots for his teammates is superb.

On defense, he contributes by picking passes and assigning roles for his teammates. Also, Green can protect the rim and rack up a few blocks a game. He guards the opponent’s best player in crunch time to shut them down and get the win. He is an essential asset to the team and contributes to their success.

Head coach of the Warriors, Steve Kerr, loves what Draymond does on the court.

“Draymond just ties it all together. He made some plays tonight that nobody on earth can make, just because of his brain, his anticipation, his physicality. He dug out a loose ball late in the game that he looked like he had no chance at. Nobody else on earth was going to beat him to that loose ball.”

-Steve Kerr

#3: Marcus Smart

Apr 25, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) looks to shoot against Charlotte Hornets forward Cody Martin (11) during the third quarter at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports
Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

Marcus Smart elevates the Boston Celtics with his perfect playstyle of a three and D player. He is averaging 13.6 points, 5.5 assists, and 1.5 steals per game.

When someone thinks of the Celtics, they usually think about Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown. Even Kemba Walker gets more recognition than Smart. Although all three are great players, Marcus Smart is the perfect role player who does not get enough credit.

If the Celtics need someone to lock down on defense, then Smart can do it. If their stars are struggling on offense, Smart can end the drought with a three. His hustle on offense and defense is exceptional, and analysts should not overlook him.

Ballin’ BG

Smart is high up on this list because his talents are relatively unknown to casual fans on basketball. Also, the Celtics guard needs to receive more recognition among analysts and the basketball community.

#2: Malcolm Brogdon

Apr 25, 2021; Orlando, Florida, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon (7) drives to the basket as Orlando Magic guard Cole Anthony (50) looks on during the second half at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

Malcolm Brogdon has had a remarkable season that has been wildly under-appreciated. He is averaging 21.6 points, 6.0 assists, and 5.3 rebounds per game. His points and rebounds per game are both career highs.

Brogdon is having his best season for the Indiana Pacers. He can score from anywhere on the court and create open shots for his teammates. However, his X-factor is what he brings on the defensive side of the ball.

With 0.9 steals per game, Brogdon elevates the Pacers’ defense. Furthermore, Sabonis and Brogdon are a criminally underrated duo. They are holding the Pacers afloat in the Eastern Conference as they hold the 9th seed. However, they are only three games away from the 6th seed and can make a push by the end of the season.

Also, the Pacers will most likely be in the play-in tournament. Brogdon will put the league on notice as he competes for a spot in the playoffs.

#1: Richaun Holmes

Apr 5, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Sacramento Kings center Richaun Holmes (22) dunks against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second quarter at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The last three players on the list were very close, but the number one spot belongs to Richaun Holmes. He is averaging career highs in points, blocks, and rebounds per game. Holmes averages 14.1 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game.

Richaun Holmes is a great rim protector and can score the basketball. On offense, Holmes’ infamous push-shot almost always swishes the net and cannot be overlooked. Also, Holmes is very efficient on offense as he holds a 64.4 field goal percentage. Furthermore, he can guard any center in the league with his exceptional defense.

Also, Richaun has an incredible work ethic which allows him to improve every season. However, Holmes’ talents have been under the radar this season because the Sacramento Kings hold the 12th seed in the Western Conference. The team’s struggles contribute to the lack of news throughout the community on Richaun Holmes. Regardless, Holmes is a dominant player who deserves more credit as the most underrated player in the league.

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