5 Basketball Players Who Are Underappreciated in 2022

Trae Young
via Erik Drost / CC-BY-2.0

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is currently home to a ridiculously high number of talented players. We are all familiar with the most well-known players in the league; yet, given the level of competition in the league, it is reasonable to assert that there are some players who have gone unnoticed.

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Following the ending of the 2021-22 season, we’ve compiled a list of the players who were the most underappreciated during this year’s competition. It’s unfortunate that these players have not received the level of recognition that their talent merits, but we can only hope that this will change in the near future.

Let’s get started!

Trae Young

Trae Young didn’t gain much media attention until late in the season. Trae Young averages 28.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 9.7 assists per game this season. His shooting splits of 46.0/38.2/90.4 are career-highs. Trae Young is an attacking force to be reckoned with. He recently became the first NBA player to lead the league in both points and assists since 1973. There’s enough evidence to say he should be among the NBA’s top 10.

Trae Young has had a terrific season despite the Atlanta Hawks’ struggles. Trae Young’s talent and mentality are well-suited to the single-elimination play-in tournament structure. Maybe he’ll lead the Hawks into the playoffs, and even though nobody believes they’ll go far, they still have a shot if Trae Young keeps playing so effectively.

All-Pro ReelsFollow Markieff Morris & Pascal Siakam
via All-Pro Reels / CC-BY-2.0

Pascal Siakam

Despite being an NBA champion and All-Star, many have written off Pascal Siakam after his poor season the year before. Pascal Siakam remains a dynamic three-level scorer and defensive nuisance. His length and speed allow him to guard several court positions effectively. The 22.8 points per game Pascal Siakam averaged this season was accompanied by career highs in both rebounds (8.5) and assists (5.3) for him.

Pascal Siakam’s presence on both sides of the floor has helped the Toronto Raptors earn the fifth seed in the East. Even though his most recent postseason performance wasn’t great, he’s probably improved since then. During the final 20 games of the season, he averaged 27.0 PPG, 8.8 RPG, and 5.6 APG. The Raptors need him to continue that level of play on the biggest stage, and maybe those numbers will translate into the postseason.

Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram
via Erik Drost / CC-BY-2.0

Brandon Ingram

Brandon Ingram should have been an All-Star. This season, he averaged 22.7 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and 5.6 APG. Brandon Ingram’s performances kept the New Orleans Pelicans afloat before the CJ McCollum deal. Brandon Ingram now averages 5.6 assists per game, a career-high. Given that he’s the focus of opposing defenses and the Pelicans have been without Zion Williamson all year, this is a stunning feat.

Brandon Ingram’s worth is best shown by the Pelicans’ struggles without him. Without Brandon Ingram’s scoring and playmaking, they’re 7-20. Brandon Ingram’s recent game against the Lakers showed his potential as a late-game scorer. The Pelicans’ 2018-19 season is a success regardless of Brandon Ingram’s play-in performance.

Bam Adebayo

Having missed a significant chunk of the season with an injury, Bam Adebayo may well be underappreciated this year. Bam Adebayo, however, is making great gains, especially in his offensive game. He has set career highs in points per game (19.1) and free throws made (6.1) this season. Bam Adebayo’s improvement at the interior position is evident, as he has been able to get to the line more frequently and effectively this season.

Bam Adebayo is averaging a career-high 1.4 thefts per game and has continued to be a solid 5-position defender. The Miami Heat center has had a career-high season this year, and he has been instrumental to the team’s success as the linchpin of their defense and a reliable scoring option off the bench. Genuine two-way big men like Bam Adebayo, who is effective on both ends of the court, are rare; it will be interesting to watch his development to see whether he can reach even higher levels of excellence.

Dejounte Murray
via Erik Drost / CC-BY-2.0

Dejounte Murray

Dejounte Murray is frequently forgotten when discussions about bright young point guards are held. A fantastic basketball player who is frequently disregarded by the other teams in the NBA is the one who represents the San Antonio Spurs to the general audience. Dejounte Murray, a player known for his versatility, is capable of scoring at will and holding his own defense against NBA all-stars on the perimeter. This season, Dejounte Murray is averaging 21.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, 9.2 assists, and 2.0 steals per game. Although it’s true that Dejounte Murray isn’t a particularly good 3-point shooter, he more than makes up for this deficiency thanks to his height and length, which allow him to be a skilled finisher in the paint. At this point in his career, the only aspect of his game other than his shooting that can use some work is his defense. We can only hold out hope that Dejounte Murray will make the required adjustments to his game in order to gain tremendously from an improvement in that particular aspect of his game.