11 Underrated Players to Target Before the 2018 NBA Trade Deadline

NIKOLA Mirotic, DeAndre Jordan, Julius Randle and now Kemba Walker. All popular names that are going to be chased until the February 8th trade deadline passes. The best value might lie outside of those well-known players, with hidden gems lying all around the league. In a somewhat dead trade rumour season, GM’s should consider these guys before it’s too late.

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Mario Hezonja, Orlando Magic

A few short months ago you could have probably traded for Hezonja for 50c on the dollar. A string of games in mid-December not only boosted Hezonja’s trade value, it may have helped to revive his career. Averaging 11.0 PPG in the month of January, Hezonja’s shooting numbers aren’t eye-popping and yet he is still just 22, giving you plenty of reasons to believe they can trend upwards in the future.

IT would a gamble trading for Hezonja and there’s no certainty that he can develop into more than he currently is, a scoring punch off the bench. A contender who needs such a piece could roll the dice on the Croatian, as Orlando seems destined for another gruelling few years before they are even close to the playoffs.

Who Should Come Calling: Thunder, Lakers, Trailblazers

Miami Heat v Orlando MagicImage from heatzone.blog.mypalmbeachpost.com

Justise Winslow, Miami Heat

INJURIES have plagued Winslow’s short NBA career so far and have probably had an impact on his development too. There’s no doubt that he can be a great two-player when he gets on the court, having flashed his defensive prowess and athleticism when healthy. A team might have to pay up to pry him away from the Heat. Given his potential, Waiters’ season-ending injury and little depth at the three, it’s unlikely they will make a move on him. Everyone has a price though.

Who Should Come Calling: Bulls, Clippers, Nets

Stanley Johnson, Detroit Pistons

THE third straight member of the 2015 draft class who makes the list is Pistons forward Stanley Johnson. In the 4th quarter just last night against the Nets he poured in 11 points, showcasing exactly what he can do if given the opportunity. Having missed nine of the last 10 games before the Brooklyn game, Johnson’s minutes have decreased every month and his place on the team isn’t concrete by any means.

WITH guys like Luke Kennard, Reggie Bullock and Anthony Tolliver all playing more minutes this month than him, Stanley Johnson’s name keep circulating in trade discussions and a fresh start might be just what he needs.

Who Should Come Calling: Jazz, Pacers

Willy Hernangomez, New York Knicks

A logjam of centers in New York has seen Hernangomez spend the majority of his sophomore season glued to the pine. His impressive rookie campaign, that saw him average 8.2 points and 7.0 rebounds, led everyone into thinking a bigger role was on its way this season. Trading Carmelo Anthony and getting Enes Kanter in return has derailed those plans.

AT just 23, Hernangomez is getting Okafor-ed copping unnecessary DNP’s while his talents are being wasted. Even if his ceiling is as a backup center there are plenty of teams that could use such a player on their roster. I would be surprised if both he and Kyle O’Quinn were still on the roster after the trade deadline and I know which one I’d rather have.

Who Should Come Calling: Spurs, Bucks, Thunder

New York Knicks v San Antonio SpursImage from dailyknicks.com

Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets

FARIED’S name has come up in trade rumours for years. It’s time to finally pull the trigger. Given the frontcourt depth of the Nuggets, that will also see Millsap return soon, they should look to deal him while he still has some value. Faried can still pull down boards like a beast averaging 11.7 per 36 minutes, a higher clip than the likes of Rudy Gobert, Pau Gasol and Anthony Davis. Playing a career-low 14.9 minutes a night he just isn’t getting on the court.

PACKAGING him with the likes of Emmanuel Mudiay or another asset could see the Nuggets get some real value on the trade market. I’m still all in on the Nuggets getting Mike Conley, should he be healthy enough to clear a physical before the deadline. If not there are still packages out there that could benefit both parties.

Who Should Come Calling: Grizzlies, Pacers, Mavericks

Joe Harris, Brooklyn Nets

A poor man’s J.J. Reddick would be the perfect spot up shooter to add to a contender who lacks 3-point production. Enter Joe Harris, who has been playing a fine role for the Nets, especially while D’Angelo Russell was out. Now that he is back in the lineup, trading Harris would free up minutes to play Russell and Dinwiddie alongside each other. Brooklyn should resist the urge to hold onto their sharpshooting role player and see what assets (draft picks) they can get in return to build for the future.

Who Should Come Calling: Timberwolves, Trailblazers, Wizards, Bucks

Dwight Powell, Dallas Mavericks

I’VE always been a big Dwight Powell fan. Dallas clearly was too, giving him a 4yr/$37mil extension during the ‘summer of terrible contracts’ in 2016 and he’s starting to pay them off. His per game numbers aren’t going to sell you, but his offensive and defensive rating are virtually identical to that of Anthony Davis and Steph Curry.

SHAPING up as Dirk’s successor at power forward and contracted until the end of the 2019-2020 season you could do a lot worse by having Powell in your lineup. He won’t be a stretch forward or an elite rim protector, his talents lie in being able to run the floor and fly around as a high energy guy. Considering the worth of some players contracts out there $8-$9 million a season is worht paying for that type of production.

Who Should Come Calling: Lakers, Hornets, 76ers

Wayne Ellington, Miami Heat

WHEN the offseason rolls around it’s unlikely that they will be able to retain Wayne Ellington, who has forged a career out of being a 3-point bomber. A career 38.3% marksman, Ellington is making 41.0% this season and is taking over 83% of his shots from behind the arc.

HE has bounced around from team to team and could command a long-term deal in the offseason. Making a trade for him would be risky if he was just going to up and leave come free agency. If a team emerges as suitor that could hold onto him and benefit from his shooting in the long run then Miami might be inclined to facilitate a trade and get something in return, rather than seeing him walk in the off-season.

Who Should Come Calling: Bulls, 76ers, 

Dario Saric, Philadephia 76ers

IT’S highly unlikely that Philly would look to trade Saric before the deadline. However. With the playoffs within striking distance and Embiid/Simmons clearly the cornerstones of the future they could be inclined to add some backcourt help, mainly at point guard. Jerryd Bayless and T.J. McConnell aren’t going to light the world on fire and who knows what the hell is happening with Markelle Fultz.

IF they were to trade away Saric’s 13.6 PPG and 6.8 RPG averages I don’t see why Trevor Booker couldn’t take on a few extra minutes to help plug the hole. Considering Saric is still on his rookie contract for a few years and is playing well for the 76ers right now teams will have to pay a high price to get their hands on him. But that doesn’t make him untouchable. A straight swap for Spencer Dinwiddie would make things interesting…

Who Should Come Calling: Nets, Jazz, Celtics

11 Underrated Players to Target Before the 2018 NBA Trade Deadline 3Image from thesun.co.uk

Kent Bazemore, Atlanta Hawks

BAZEMORE might not fall into the underrated category like some of the others, but his value is just as high. He’s is putting together almost a career-best season for the struggling Hawks and there are other teams that could certainly benefit from the 5th year pro’s scoring punch. Clearly, Atlanta isn’t climbing out the NBA’s cellar anytime soon, so dangling some draft picks in front of them in exchange for Bazemore might be a worthwhile investment. I’m looking at you San Antonio.

Who Should Come Calling: Knicks, Spurs, Pistons, 

Nerlens Noel, Dallas Mavericks

HAVE we forgotten that Nerlens Noel exists? Sure a thumb injury has kept him out for a while and might make a deal before the deadline impossible, but this guy has so much talent! Before his injury, he was being shut out of the Mavericks rotation and after their icy offseason negotiations, there’s no way he returns once the season is done.

THERE are squads that could benefit from his presence in the paint (ironically Dallas is one of those teams), so if his injury allows him to trade eligible then he should be highly sought after. Averaging over 11 points and 11 rebounds per 36 minutes, Noel just needs a chance to have an impact and someone *cough-Cleveland-cough* should pry him away from his Mavericks situation and give him that chance.

Who Should Come Calling: Cavaliers, Bucks, Suns

Peace ✌️

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