The noisiness of small samples is starting to die down, and sustainable patterns are emerging. There is a lot of discourse around the top talent in the NBA, like Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, and Giannis Antetokounmpo, but today I wanted to highlight some underrated NBA players who are performing well but flying under the radar.
I picked one for each position to create my All-Underrated Team at the quarter mark of the 2021-2022 season. Here we go!
Top 5 most underrated NBA players so far this season: PG – Malcolm Brogdon, Indiana Pacers
Malcolm Brogdon might have the quietest 20/6/6 stat line in the NBA. His three hasn’t been falling (just 33.3% after shooting 38.8% last year), but he’s shooting almost 54% on twos, an excellent mark for a point guard.
He’s not necessarily the quickest player, but he knows how to use his chiseled 6’5″, 230 lb frame to body defenders out of the way on his drives to the basket:
Cleaning The Glass says that Indiana outscores opponents by +3.3 points per 100 possessions when Brogdon is on the floor – not bad for a 9-13 team! He assists on 26.7% of his teammates made baskets, in the 93rd percentile for a combo guard, and is averaging 1.16 points per shot attempt, a very high mark.
Brogdon’s defensive work might be even less appreciated. This is a point guard whose number-one matchup defensively this season has been Giannis freaking Antetokounmpo! Brogdon’s guarded him for over ten minutes of game time, and he’s held Giannis to 20% shooting and forced three turnovers.
So far, other frequent assignments have been Lebron James, Evan Fournier, RJ Barrett, and Jimmy Butler. Brogdon is often tasked with the opponent’s best player, and still carries a huge load on offense.
The Pacers have been a confusing team. Between their typical raft of injuries, a new head coach in Rick Carlisle, and the integration of ball-dominant Caris LeVert, the steadiness of Brogdon has gone unnoticed. However, I expect the Pacers to make a run for the play-in tournament eventually, and then Malcolm will get the shine he deserves.