This season, so far, has circled around Miami’s Big Three, whether or not the Lakers will 3-peat, Boston’s Big Three, and Blake Griffin. I decided to ask the Stacheketball crew who we all felt were the most underrated in the league, and these are the players we feel have been somewhat forgotten about:
5. Arron Afflalo: Afflalo is shooting 51.5%, 44% from 3 point range, and 86% in free throws for the slightly distracted Denver Nuggets. Both @jubanator14 and @charliewiddoes state that he is also a great defender, and one of the best one-on-one defenders in the league. He averages 3.2 defensive rebounds per game, with a season high of 10 vs. Portland in December.
4. LaMarcus Aldridge: Greg Oden is out for a season due to injury, as is Brandon Roy, after having arthroscopic surgery on both knees. Sophomore player Jeff Pendergraph injured his knee during the pre-season, and is also missing the 2010-11 season. Recently, veteran Marcus Camby fell to injury in a win against Minnesota. Instead of completely buckling, the Blazers are 8th in the close Western Conference race, winning 6 of their last 10, and leading the way is Forward LaMarcus Aldridge. Aldridge is averaging 21.1 ppg, including a season high 37 vs. Minnesota, and has only scored in single digits in 4 out of 47 games played. He’s 5th in the NBA in field goals made, 3rd in offensive rebounds, 5th in offensive rebounds per game, 7th in double doubles, and will probably be an All-Star snub.
3. Luis Scola: When the Houston Rockets are mentioned, the first thought is usually Yao Ming, and the second, Kevin Martin. With Yao out for the season, Martin has picked up the slack, however, Scola averages more points, rebounds, and blocks per game. He averages 19.0 ppg despite never making a 3 pointer, and only has one attempt. He is 9th in field goals made and 12 in defensive rebounds.
2. Dorell Wright: From Suga_Shane, Wright’s stats this season: 16.5 ppg, 5.8 trb, 3.1 assists, 1.5 steals, and 3.5 3s a game (shooting 41.5%). His points per game have increased 9.5% from last season, rebounds up 2.5%, assists up 1.8%, and his 3 point percentage is up 2.7%. He is currently #1 in the NBA in 3 pointers made. (“Some people probably still think he plays for the Heat.”-Rey Moralde.) Wright signed with the Golden State Warriors as a free agent from the Miami Heat, and should be a strong candidate for Most Improved Player. Would that do him justice?
1. Eric Gordon: Gordon was nearly unanimously selected by all of us as the most underrated player this season. He averages 24.1 ppg, shooting 48.6%, 81% from free throw range, 3.1 rpg, 4.5 apg, 1.2 spg, and and he’s shooting 35.9% from 3 point land. His statistics have increased from nearly every aspect this season from last season, except his three-point percentage (down 1.2%). He’s 8th in the league in pointers per game, 14th in field goals made, and 11th in free throw percentage. He’s only scored in single digits once this season, in a loss to Dallas on Halloween (9 pts). He does all of this while living in the shadow of Blake Griffin.
Kateasa is a part-time contributor to Stacheketball, and is ready for All-Star Weekend, even though she’s not going. Find her on twitter @Simply_Kateasa