NBA: Three Under The Radar Stars To Watch

It is no secret that today’s NBA is ruled by stars. These players that play at the highest level make us tune in every night on the edge of our seats just to see what they are going to do next. Stars like Stephen Curry, Nikola Jokic, LeBron James, and most of the Brooklyn Nets starting lineup are an example of some of these. Though in a star-driven league there is always someone playing outstanding that seems to be buried under the radar. Here are three names to keep an eye on for the rest of the season.

1. Nikola Vucevic

This player seems to fall under the radar due to the NBA team he plays for, the Orlando Magic. Vucevic just recently put up a commanding 43 points on the Chicago Bulls and joined Shaquille O’Neil and Dwight Howard as the only Magic players to reach 43 points and 19 rebounds in a game. Normally Vucevic is someone who can quietly come in and put up a double-double, but this season he has teammates clamoring for him to get into the all-star game. He is currently scoring 23.4 points per game, making 43.1-percent from beyond the arc at 2.6 per game. He is taking more threes than ever before and making them more efficiently. Recently the addition of the three-pointer has changed his stats from good stats to great stats.

2. Domantas Sabonis

Hard to say under the radar in the NBA and not include someone from the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers always seem to either make or get close to the finals but are constantly overlooked because of where they play. Indiana just does not get the same television draw that a Los Angeles Lakers or even New York Knicks team would. For this reason, the stellar play of Domantas Sabonis has gone practically unnoticed. Recently called the “center of the Pacers’ new and improved universe” this player has been quietly putting up steady performances that keep the Pacers in ballgames. A year after finally making the all-star game, Sabonis has been making his presence known on the floor on defense and offense. He is currently averaging 21 points and 11.8 rebounds a game and is a cornerstone of one of the NBA’s top ten offenses.

3. Deandre Ayton

The controversial figure in Phoenix sports media deserves to be on this list. The reason for this is because even though he practically falls out of bed and gets double-doubles, his tenacity has been in question his entire NBA career. Though as it stands right now he has really shown up thanks to new teammate Chris Paul. Ayton is currently averaging 14.2 points, 12.8 boards, and 1.1 blocks this season while shooting 57.3 percent from the field and 71.2 percent from the free-throw line. Though the numbers are impressive what really puts him on this list is the intangible’s that he plays with and the number of dunks that he is going for nowadays. Prior to Chris Paul, he was more than okay with a finger roll off the side, now he has played with more ferocity that results in more slams and a more smothering defensive presence.

You may notice something in common with the three players I have chosen. All of them play center. The reason for this is because center is probably the most underappreciated position in the game. Unless they are Anthony Davis or Nikola Jokic and put up astronomical numbers every night, these centers do not get the spotlight that they deserve. Center is a cornerstone position of any offense.

What NBA star do you think is flying under the radar? Leave a comment below.

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Photo Credit: Robert Hanashiro- USA Today Sports

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