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3 Underrated NBA Players who are Making a Difference

Whether they are the best sixth man or just a great role player, unheralded players help the team out a lot.

There is a reason the best sixth man gets an award at the end of the NBA season: He has a big impact. James Harden rose from being the sixth man to being an elite NBA talent.

The Warriors, in fact, were basically a bunch of role players when they went to their first two of four recent NBA Finals.

With that in mind, there are players right now who are making differences for their teams and not being recognized.

Tobias Harris

Harris was tossed around from team-to-team in his career for some reason. It is baffling, really. He averaged at least 15 points per game (approximately) from the 2013-2014 season and on.

That is a player a team would seemingly want to keep around for his usefulness. But he finds himself on his second team this season with Philadelphia, after being the Clippers’ main guy.

Only recently, his skills have been recognized on a national level.

Tobias Harris has gained national attention after his trade to Philadelphia, but was always a good player. Photo courtesy of

He averaged career-high 20.9 points, 43.4 3-point field goal percentage and 49.6 overall field goal percentage with the Clippers for the first 55 games of this season. No one really talked about his performances when he was the Clippers’ star. But, now that he is playing with a loaded Philadelphia squad, people are talking about his impact.

He is a versatile scorer and a good all-around defender. His numbers will naturally go down with all the current talent around him. But do not let that distract you from the fact that he is a stud and has deserved to be treated as such all along.

Dennis Schroder

A few years ago, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s problem was that Russell Westbrook carried the team. To elaborate, he had to do everything. There was a reason he averaged a triple-double: He had to be everywhere and work for everyone else on the floor.

Paul George’s arrival, since then, gives Westbrook a guy who can carry so Westbrook does not have to.

Now, the Thunder also have Dennis Schroder.

Dennis Schroder has been an important player off the bench for the Thunder. Photo courtesy of ClutchPoints.

Schroder is also having career-bests in his first season with the Thunder. He is averaging 36 percent from 3-point range, on more three-point attempts averaged per game than any other season.

He also only started 10 games so far this season, so he is making a difference off the bench with 15.7 points and 4.1 assists per game.

Most importantly, he gives Westbrook a breather. Schroder has come in and been a floor general to lead the second unit. This means Westbrook can take it easy, and the second unit has a bonafide leader to make an impact as a whole.

Schroder looked like he could have been the next franchise point guard in Atlanta. Although he has been relegated to a bench player in Oklahoma City, his impact is as great as a starter’s.

Daniel Theis

The Celtics have so much star potential and star talent it is easy to forget the role players. One of those such players is Theis.

There is not much to say about him. He comes off the bench (did last season too) and gets 6.8 points and four rebounds per game. He also leads the NBA in defensive rating and is second to only Steph Curry in the NBA in net rating.

Daniel Theis leads the NBA in defensive rating. Photo courtesy of Guy Boston Sports.

Maybe there is more to say about him.

He is also sixth in effective field goal percentage and seventh for true shooting percentage.

In short: Theis gives the Celtics more bang for their buck.

Theis averages 15.2 minutes per game but is efficient in that short amount of playing time.

Boston has a lot of talent that is jam-packed on a nightly basis into the rotation. Most of the players that get significant minutes need significant touches to make their impact. But not Theis.

All he needs is 15 minutes a night to make the opponents feel his presence, however minute everyone else feels it.

Featured image courtesy of CelticsWire-USA Today.

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