As the 2015-16 season rolls along, I think it’s time to ask who has been this years underrated star. Last year, players like Jimmy Butler and Anthony Davis emerged as some of the leagues premier players. I only hope that one of these guys will have a similar year, on their way to becoming bona-fide NBA studs. Who out of these three do you guys have?
C.J. McCollum, Portland Trailblazers: C.J. McCollum has truly grown since his arrival to the association in 2013. This small Lehigh guard came into this league as a third option guard for Rip-City averaging five points and only 12 minutes. McCollum eventually worked his way into the steady rotation last year, giving the organization reason to give him a legitimate chance on a young team. And C.J. has taken full advantage of this chance, raising all of his major stats (19 PPG, three rebounds, and three assists) to career highs. This year of major improvement has given C.J. great confidence, and on his young yet talented Portland team, I have faith McCollum is a rising star in this league. Check out C.J. place the big German in a spin cycle, here’s the video.
Reggie Jackson, Detroit Pistons: Not a year ago, Reggie Jackson was superstar guard Russell Westbrook’s backup. Jackson was a good player on the Thunder, yet felt his own success was being hindered by lack of opportunity; so, he left in a trade to the Motor City. Last year, Jackson flashed signs of being a legitimate starting guard in this League, yet people were still skeptical. Reggie Jackson has since silenced the critics this year, and made some fans in the process. He’s averaging a quiet 19 points, six assists, and nearly five rebounds, along with some double doubles and a few 30+ point games. Jackson is looking great thus far, and I see him as an All Star right now in the East.
Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs have a star studded roster this year, that is for sure; but with the Claw’s play this season, it is beginning to get difficult to discern who San Antonio’s brightest star is. Leonard is putting up monstrous statistics so far, averaging a career high 22 points, eight rebounds, and two assists. Leonard was mainly known as a defender around the NBA, averaging two steals and two blocks this year, yet his scoring output and display of leadership has created an entirely new side to this beast. Leonard’s slashing ability is the best on the Spurs, and his three point field goal percentage is on the rise (34 % ’14-’15, to 47 % ’15-’16). Kawhi Leonard has never been an All-Star in the stacked West, I have no doubts that will change come February.
All Stats via ESPN.com
All Images & Videos from Google and YouTube