The NBA is stacked with talented players, with many stars taking the headlines for their performances on the court. Everyone knows the names of the leading men whether it’s LeBron James, Steph Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo or Kawhi Leonard.
However, championships can be won or lost by the displays of the players around the stars. We’ll now look at three men who have been underrated in the 2019/20 campaign and should have more recognition for play for their respective teams.
Fred VanVleet (Toronto Raptors)
Leonard earned the majority of the plaudits for the Raptors’ run to the NBA crown in the 2018/19 season. He was sensational, but there were others in the Toronto ranks who helped along the way. VanVleet was extremely impressive off the bench, providing the intensity and skill that Nick Nurse’s men required to defeat the Golden State Warriors. Following the departure of Leonard in the off-season, the Raptors have developed into a different team.
VanVleet has come into his own and raised the standard of his performances to an elite level. The 26-year-old has averaged 17.6 points per game along with 6.6 assists and 1.9 steals. The last two statistics are impressive to say the least, placing VanVleet in the top-20 for assists, while only Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn and Andre Drummond averaging more steals than the point guard. With VanVleet, Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry, watch out for another run from the Raptors and it will certainly be worth tracking their odds for the title on NBA betting on bet365.
Buddy Hield (Sacramento Kings)
It’s not easy playing for a struggling team, but Hield has managed to maintain a high level of play under Luke Walton. The 27-year-old has not quite lived up to expectations after being selected sixth overall in the 2016 NBA Draft. However, he has started to develop his skills on the court, suggesting that he could be a late bloomer. Since his move to the Kings in 2017, Hield has improved his production season by season. The 2018/19 campaign was a breakout term for the guard, breaking the 20 point per game barrier for the first time in his career.
He has matched those levels once again, but perhaps the most impressive area of his play has been the accuracy of his shooting from distance. Only James Harden and Damian Lillard are more deadly from three-point range in the NBA, averaging 3.8 threes per game. There are elements of his game that still require improvement, which is a slight concern given his late arrival in the league at 24. However, there are enough positives to be excited about.
Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics)
Jayson Tatum has received a great deal of attention for his performances this term – earning his first All-Star berth. Brown has gone quietly about his business and is becoming one of the key cogs in a Celtics team that are on the precipice of challenge for the NBA crown and at least the Eastern Conference. The 23-year-old has been solid in his opening four seasons in the league, but has started to become a well-rounded player in all facets of the game. Brown has been productive in the final third of the court, surging over the 20-point-per-game mark.
Brad Stevens has placed further responsibility on the guard and he has delivered, easing the pressure on Tatum, Kemba Walker and Gordon Hayward. The 23-year-old might be even more important at the other end of the court for the Celtics. His early experiences against LeBron James were a tough lesson, but he has learned a great deal and was vital in Boston’s triumph over the Lakers in January. Brown is slowly becoming one of the best defensive players in the league and his stock will continue to rise.