Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

NBA Monday: The SG’s players to watch

Posted on 4 January 2021 by Lukas Flottmeyer

Co-written with Mitchell Marshall

Steph Curry? A brilliant three-point-shooter. LeBron James? The king. Giannis Antetokounmpo? The raining MVP.

Everyone knows the NBA’s biggest superstars. But who is the funniest? Who is the most entertaining? Who has the most famous father?

Mitchell Marshall and Lukas Flottmeyer introduce you to their favourite underrated players to watch this year:

Terry Rozier:

Drafted in 2015, Scary Terry played four years at the Boston Celtics. Being just 6-foot-1-inch tall, he took the fans’ hearts by storm. Though, his numbers on the parquet weren’t withstanding the hype. This all changed last year, after signing with Michael Jordan’s franchise – the Charlotte Hornets. Rozier finally had his breakout season. He is winding and spinning through the opponent’s defence; slashing threes and mid-way jumpers; and even dunking on the NBA’s biggest superstars:

https://twitter.com/HornetsOnFSSE/status/1343369448607068161

Rozier is on a mission. By scoring 42 points, he broke the Hornets team record for most points in a season opener two weeks ago. If Rozier keeps scaring his opponents, Charlotte might advance to their first playoff game since 2016.

Domantas Sabonis:

The beard is perfectly trimmed; every single blond hair looks impeccably up to the sky; and the pearly teeth sparkle through the arena. May I introduce: Mr Domantas Sabonis. The tall Lithuanian – son of Soviet Union hero and Olympic gold medal winner Arvydas Sabonis – steadily becomes a high scoring big man. With Sabonis, the Indiana Pacers have a realistic chance to advance to the playoffs. They may even survive the first round, after getting eliminated the last five years. The Lithuanian international captivates with high scoring percentages and, just like his father, great vision. Without causing blasphemy – I’m German – I sometimes nab myself by comparing him to the young version of to the greatest European basketball player of all time: Dirk Nowitzki.

Embed from Getty Images

Boban Marjanović:

The charming giant might be the most beloved person in the NBA. Marjanović is 7-foot-4-inches tall; has huge ears, hands, and an even bigger and outstandingly contagious smile. His social media performance is on MVP level and his shy and reticent post-game interviews are clicked by millions online. Combined with his hilarious, clumsy and unique way of playing basketball, Marjanović is the NBA’s PR superhero. The NBA should strongly consider installing the ‘Boban-Cam’, a camera and microphone which only follows the Serbian. Last but not least, his love for his wife is heart-warming:

 

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Bol Bol: 

You read that right. A name so sweet they used it twice. 7-foot-2-inch tall Bol is the son of Manute Bol who spent 10 years in the NBA; he now aspires to play his way out of his father’s 7-foot-7-inch shadow. After spending most of last season in the G-League Bol, has been given a full time NBA contract with the Denver Nuggets. What makes Bol so exciting is his combination of shot blocking and three-point shooting. Head Coach Mike Malone also loves his ability to guard the opponents 3-5. A player of his size that can do all that might truly deserve the ‘unicorn’ moniker.  The Sudanese big man is a crowd favorite without crowds averaging just 4.3 minutes a game. Regardless, you won’t want to miss a minute of his one of a kind evolution.

Bojan Bogdanović:

The Croatian small forward might be the missing piece for the Utah Jazz. A torn wrist ligament kept him out of the Orlando bubble where the Jazz fell one shot short of advancing to the Western Conference Semifinals. Bogey, as he is affectionately known, came to the NBA from Turkish side Fenerbahçe as a ready made NBA player in 2014. Originally drafted in 2011, he is what NBA teams hope for when they draft a European player that stays overseas to develop.

Photo Courtesy: NBA

Since arriving in the league Bogey has averaged 14 points a game including a career high 20.2 last year in his first season with Utah. If there is a dark horse team in the Western Conference, it might just be a Jazz side bolstered by Bojan.  He is charged with every player’s favourite bit of coaching: “Shoot more threes!” and that is how he led the team in scoring last night.

Tyler Herro: 

The unexpected revelation of the 2020 NBA Playoffs already has a Lil Wayne/ Big Sean song named after him. The baby faced shooter and 13th overall draft pick burst on the scene faster than anyone could’ve expected highlighted by scoring 37 points off the bench against the Boston Celtics in an Eastern Conference Finals game. The Kentucky alum has swagger and his teammates love to say he’s got bite. He’s been a starter this season after running the second unit for the majority of the bubble and it’s paying off. Herro became the second Heat guard to ever score 20 points and grab 15 rebounds. The other? Hall of famer Dwayne Wade. If his game rounds out and he can keep getting hot at the right time Miami might have a home grown superstar on its hands. He needs to work on his dance moves though…

 

Want to learn more about the NBA? Or just understand more while watching a game? Have a look at our Sports Gazette NBA guide.