With the 2009 NBA playoffs underway, we really get to start seeing what teams and players are made out of as they fight for the NBA championship. If you don’t watch much NBA basketball, here are a few underrated players to keep an eye on.
Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs
When you think of the Spurs, you first think of Tim Duncan. Next, you probably think of Manu Ginobili. However, with Ginobili sidelined with a stress fracture and Duncan less than 100% with a pair of sore knees, Tony Parker has elevated his game to superstar status.
During the regular season, he saw him elevate his game to the point that he was winning games single-handedly. In the playoffs, he has wonderful stats after two games. Going up against the Dallas Mavericks, Parker is averaging 31 points, eight assists and is shooting 56.8% from the field.
Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics
Like Parker, Rajon Rondo is another underrated point guard. The Celtics’ big names are Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. But on any given night, the best player on the court for the Celtics is Rondo.
The lanky floor general is a great defender, a great rebounder, an underrated passer and a capable scorer. If he keeps blossoming, Rondo could eventually develop into a legit superstar.
With Garnett out with injury, Rondo is asked to carry a big part of the load and has responded well. In two games against the Chicago Bulls, Rondo is averaging 24 points, 11.5 assists, 10.5 rebounds and 3.5 steals.
Trevor Ariza, Los Angeles Lakers
Acquired in a trade last season, Trevor Ariza has gone from the end of the bench to a very important part of the Lakers. Currently the team’s starting small forward, he brings athleticism, energy and passion to the court each and every night.
In his first game of the 2009 NBA playoffs, Ariza scored 21 points, grabbed four rebounds and dished off two assists. His emergence as a very good player is a big reason why many league experts consider the Lakers to be the favorites to win the 2009 NBA championship.