In a league with so many overpaid and overrated basketball players, it’s not that hard to find multiple underrated NBA players 2022.
These guys leave their bodies, hearts, and souls on the floor and do all the little things that can help a team win, yet they get little-to-no recognition for their efforts.
Underrated NBA players 2022
But what makes a player be underrated? Most of the time, those who set the picks, hit the deck diving for loose balls, or do the ugly job don’t get the praise or make the headlines. That’s even more obvious when their contributions don’t fill up the stat sheet.
Some players make as much money as they deserve, but still, no one talks about them as stars or borderline stars. Others are even in a tougher spot, as they don’t get any love from the fans and also fail to cash in big checks like other overrated colleagues.
Considering that, we’ve put together our list of the top 10 most underrated NBA players 2022.
10. Khris Middleton
Khris Middleton has had to work hard for everything he’s gotten in the NBA. He spent a lot of time in the G-League and bounced around before finally finding his home with the Milwaukee Bucks, becoming the perfect complement next to Giannis Antetokounmpo.
But Middleton gets little credit for the Bucks’ success. He’s an elite team defender, an efficient shooter who flirts with 50/40/90 shooting splits, and the second-leading scorer in one of the best teams in the Association. He can opt-out of his contract and sign an even bigger deal, and he sure deserves it.
9. Kyle Kuzma
Kyle Kuzma gets a lot of hate, and we get it. He’s not exactly easy to like, and it seems like he’s just too full of himself and believes he’s a much better player than he actually is. Also, he looked poised to become a perennial All-Star, but his development kind of stalled.
But that doesn’t mean that Kuzma isn’t a very good basketball player. He started taking pride in his defense and became an above-average stopper at both forward spots. He can score from all three levels, is a solid rebounder, and is still quite young, so there’s room for improvement.
8. Norman Powell
Everybody’s talking about Kawhi Leonard and Paul George coming back and John Wall joining them on the Los Angeles Clippers, but we haven’t forgotten about Norman Powell, another major addition and one of the most underrated NBA players 2022.
Powell broke out during a contract year and became an outstanding scorer, all out of the blue. He also proved that he could play on and off the ball, facilitate for others, and hold his own on the defensive end of the floor. Don’t sleep on him, as he can be the X-factor on a championship team.
7. Jarrett Allen
The Brooklyn Nets developed Jarrett Allen. They watched him blossom into a fine rim protector and block shots from nearly every superstar in the league. They also needed someone who could dominate the glass and prevent them from being outrebounded, and then they just let him go.
Allen is one of the best old-school bigs in the league right now. He’s not a flashy scorer by any means, but he can still impact the game with his length, strength, and athleticism. Allen can finish above the rim and lock down the paint, and he proved to be a solid fit next to Evan Mobley.
6. Kevon Looney
Kevon Looney must be one of the most boring players to watch in the history of basketball. However, the Golden State Warriors would have never been able to win the NBA championship last season if it wasn’t for him holding down the fort and anchoring the paint.
Looney’s numbers will never be sexy, and those who only look at the stat sheet may scratch their head watching his new contract. But he does all the hard work and little things that make Steve Kerr‘s defense so versatile. He’s a hustler, and his screens open a ton of shots for the Splash Brothers.
5. Gary Payton II
Gary Payton II is by far one of the most underrated NBA players today. He was an afterthought for most of his career, and not even being The Glove’s son was enough for him to get a spot on a roster. He literally had to prove his worth to get the final roster spot with the Golden State Warriors last season.
Payton II then responded by becoming a vital part of the Dubs’ rotation. His lockdown defense and never-ending energy were contagious. Not many players can guard one through five like him, especially giving up that many inches. But he’s a relentless stopper who could even be on the shortlist for Defensive Player of the Year.
4. Mikal Bridges
Talking about versatile defenders who could one day win DPOY, then we need to address Mikal Bridges‘ situation. He’s quickly but quietly become one of the prime stoppers in the Association, and his offense is finally starting to catch up as well.
Bridges held his own against some of the best scorers in the world last season. Also, his skills as a cutter and a slasher made him a big threat in fast-breaks with Chris Paul slinging the basketball up and down the court. He could be their second-best player this season.
3. Andrew Wiggins
Andrew Wiggins went from being the butt of the joke to one of the three most underrated NBA players today. People thought he’d never amount to anything in the NBA as he had failed to live up to the expectations, but maybe all he needed was a change of scenery.
Wiggins bought into Steve Kerr‘s system and went all-in into becoming an elite defender and more efficient shooter. He played a huge role in the Golden State Warriors’ success last season, even having huge performances in the playoffs and being their best defender and rebounder on the floor during key stretches.
2. RJ Barrett
RJ Barrett‘s case is quite complicated. Maybe, he’s just underrated because he plays for the New York Knicks, and everybody expects them to mess things up. Maybe, sharing the spotlight with so many young superstars has made the narrative about him so tough. But he’s far from a mediocre player.
Barrett has quietly improved in nearly every aspect of his game every year he’s been in the league. His shot selection has gotten a lot better, and so have his handles and playmaking skills. He’s got all the physical tools to be an elite two-way player, and even though he may never accomplish that, he’s still better than most people say he is.
1. Jrue Holiday
Jrue Holiday has to be one of the most underrated point guards of all time. He went from being a primary scoring option with the Philadelphia 76ers to embracing an entirely different role later in his career, yet he has excelled as a playmaker and a defender for years.
Even some of his colleagues deem him the best perimeter defender in the league. However, you never see his name on the shortlist for Defensive Player of the Year. Holiday is one of the main reasons why the Bucks won the NBA Finals two years ago, and it’s time we give credit where its due.