Chase Budinger and the NBA's 10 Most Underrated Rookies
A lot has happened this year to the league's promising rookies.
You know it's a good class when they can break the streak and beat the sophomore team in the rookie challenge.
After the trade deadline came to an end, many rookies roles changed greatly and have been capable of finally showing their talents. Because some of them haven't received as much spotlight as some other big name rookies, I'm going to make sure you know about them by the end of this article.
And before we get started, Tyreke Evans won't be on this list. Why? He's not underrated. He has been able to start basically the entire year and everyone knows of his potential and current talent.
Let's take a look at some underrated rookies.
10. Jrue Holiday
Jrue Holiday is getting more comfortable as the season progresses and it has showed. He has been causing frustration to opposing teams all year with his great defensive talent that will only get better with time.
His offensive production is slowly but surely coming around. He reminds me a lot of also ex-Bruin Russell Westbrook. He's a quick guard with a lot of speed and talent on defense, but is questionable on offense sometimes.
Once he learns to finish better at the rim and create a go-to jump shot, he will take his game to to the next level.
9. Jonny Flynn
As far as rookies go, Flynn could be my favorite solely because I like his style. But if you were to judge his performance on the court, he's starting to get it.
The beginning of the season, he was focused on scoring himself and always driving to the basket. It was frustrating to watch because it looked like he wasn't even looking at his wide open teammates.
However, as of late, he's starting to distribute the ball and it's working out for the team offensively. Over time, he'll need to watch a lot of film and learn from his mistakes and get much better at knowing what to do with the ball.
8. Chase Budinger
Chase Budinger is proving all the critiques wrong. He has had to deal with many people in the media saying he won't make it in the league. Not only is he proving he is deserved his draft spot, but showing he may should have been drafted higher.
He is getting much more involved shooting wise and becoming more aggressive in creating his own shot. Plus, he's getting much more consistent with his trey ball.
What has surprised me the most is his speed for such a big guy. He has been able to drive past players off the dribble and get to the basket.
Hopefully Kyle Lowry can help get him comfortable with the offense and they can become a nasty second-unit duo.
7. James Harden
James Harden is starting to look like an upper-tier three-point shooter. He has made so many clutch shots for the Thunder off the bench and has been proving he deserved being drafted ahead of Tyreke Evans.
He arguably has the best on-court IQ of any rookie and always seems to know what to do with the ball.
Everyone in the Thunder organization has wanted Harden to not play so unselfish and be more aggressive, and lately, he's done exactly that. In a limited role, he's shooting 39 percent on the season.
6. Ty Lawson
No other rookie has improved as much as Ty Lawson has since the new year rang in. This calender year, he's averaging over 10 points a game and shooting over 50 percent from the field.
Maybe even better than that, it seems like Lawson NEVER turns the ball over. I've watched the Nuggets a lot this year and have yet to see him turn it over. He's a great player that is extremely dependable for Denver.
5. Omri Casspi
Even though he is struggling with his 3-point shooting, he is still playing an extremely solid game. Like Budinger, he is proving a lot of people wrong.
Many people believed Casspi had poor shot selection and was too aggressive. However, he is doing the complete opposite.
He still is aggressive enough to know when he needs to take a shot but has been able to know when he needs to give the ball up. He's also done a great job at focusing on rebounding and helping the Kings win situations when they really need the ball back.
4. DeJuan Blair
Maybe the Spurs are struggling as of late, but DeJuan Blair sure isn't. He has proved his college injuries has zero affect on him this season. He is extremely dominate on the glass and is solid at finishing in the paint.
His biggest drawback, like most big men, is his free throw shooting. He struggled to make the 50 percent mark the first half of the season but has worked extremely hard to improve in that area.
I really wanted the Thunder to make a move towards this guy, but it sounds like he might soon have a bigger role in San Antonio.
3. Marcus Thornton
He absolutely does not care to shoot the ball, from anywhere.
The guy scored 37 points against Cleveland last week. Not only that, he had 23 of them in the second quarter.
With CP3 out, he has been able to show off his role more and show that there is nothing wrong with him being aggressive with his shot. Coming off the bench, he has has zero fear to start shooting right off the bat.
Before his performance last Tuesday, you probably had no idea who he was unless you are a Hornet fan. Underrated? I think so.
2. Stephen Curry
Some might disagree with me and say that Curry isn't underrated. However, I disagree. Sure, he has had some decent media attention. But the attention he's had doesn't do his performance justice.
Against the Hawks, he had 32 points and nine rebounds despite his size against one of the best defensive teams in the league.
In the media, he is solely considered a shooter. However, he's showing he's much more of a pure point guard and could be in this league for a long time. His three-point shot is one of the sweetest strokes in the league and could become the best in the future once he learns to harness it.
1. Darren Collison
I honestly believe that Hornet fans might be a little sad when CP3 comes back and Collison is forced into a less-featured role. I know CP3 is the best in the land, but I would love to see the Hornets try and find a way to get both guards involved on the court together.
In the month of February alone, he's averaging nearly 21 points, 9 assists,4 rebounds, and 2 steals a game. Collison has the highest ceiling for any rookie in his class.
I do know he turns the ball over, but he's a rookie point guard. It's almost a given that's going to happen.
He's learning. He's learning so much that during every single Hornets timeout, Chris Paul gives Collison a two minute lecture on what he needs to do.
Does he win the most underrated award? You betcha.