NBA: 4 encouraging signs for four underrated players to end 2021-22

Immanuel Quickley (Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports)
Immanuel Quickley (Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Orlando Magic
Orlando Magic Wendell Carter Jr. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /

Four encouraging signs for four underrated players as the 2021-22 NBA regular season comes to an end. 

As the 2021-22 NBA regular season quickly comes to an end, we explore four encouraging signs for four players that have impressed me as of late.

Wendell Carter Jr.’s Improvement

When the Chicago Bulls traded for Orlando Magic All-Star and franchise player Nikola Vucevic last season, the thought process was to pair Zach LaVine with another star in hopes of then luring a third to join the pairing in Chicago.

With the addition of DeMar DeRozan this summer, that trade accomplished just that, but at the same time, forced the Bulls to part with their talented young big man Wendell Carter Jr. who at that point was struggling for consistency, especially on the defensive end of the floor.

Carter’s flashed a TS% of 60.3% with a 31% 3-point rate (triple his 3-point rate from last season) and is slashing percentages of 61/33/70 from the field while operating around a 20% usage rate.

After years of struggling to find many cogs/building blocks in the draft post the Dwight Howard era, save a few gentleman’s sweeps in the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs, the Magic are finally putting the pieces together thanks to players like Carter, Franz Wagner, and Markelle Fultz.

Another top-three pick in this year’s draft could have the Magic fighting for the play-in in the East next season.