Thursday, March 10, 2011

2011 Notable NBA Free Agents

Jamal Crawford is one of the best scoring free
agents of 2011 and could fly right out
 of Atlanta this coming summer.
This Year's class of free agents lack the star power of the 2010 class, but there are many players that could change the fortunes of NBA teams.

The restricted free agent list is made up of players who's rights are still owned by their former team.  This means that if an opposing team makes an offer to a restricted free agent then the team who owns the players right has the option of matching and retaining the player.

The unrestricted have the freedom to talk and sign with any team they wish.  Their former team has no baring and cannot simply match other offers to keep the player.

This year there is plenty of talented players on both lists, but with the pending lockout the NBA's free agency is up in the air.  Here are the lists of some prominent NBA players that will be on the market this coming summer.

 ETO = Early Termination Option; P = Player Option; T = Team Option
Point Guards
Aaron Brooks, Phoenix, 6'0, 161- Aaron Brooks is one of the fastest point guards in the league.  He had a break-out year last year but has struggled this year.  He is getting a new start in Phoenix where he could become the next floor general when Nash leaves.  Brooks is more of a score-first point guard, which is very different from what Nash does on the court.  Because they traded specifically for Brooks, I would be surprised if they did not resign him this off-season.

Rodney Stuckey, Detroit, 6'5, 205- Rodney Stuckey is a big and strong score-first point guard.  He reminds me of Tyreke Evans with the way that he plays, getting to the hoop and using his big frame to post up smaller point guards.  Depending on what happens with Kuester and other variables on Detroit's roster he could be up for the taking this off season.

Mario Chalmers, Miami, 6'2, 190- Chalmers has his share of problems through his career, but he has consistently hit threes and played defense.  Since he hit that shot in the NCAA national championship his career has not panned out.  If the Heat do not bring him back he will probably float around the NBA playing in a back up role.

Patrick Mills, Portland, 6'0, 185- Patty Mills has finally been allowed to play this season, and he has had up and downs.  He has great speed and can finish at the hoop or dish the ball to teammates sprinting down the court trying to catch up with him.  He also has a decent shot.  He has the tools to be a good player in the league, and if he continues to improve he could be a steal.

Shooting Guards

Aaron Afflalo, Denver, 6'5, 215- Aaron Afflalo has had a break out year, upping his scoring average 5 points per game from his career average.  Throughout his career he has shown the ability to be a very tough defender, and now his offensive improvement has made him a complete player.  He would continue to be a building block as a glue guy in Denver.

Nick Young, Washington, 6'7, 210- Young has had a great year, coming out of nowhere to take over for the departed Arenas.  He is putting up huge numbers and has made a number of miraculous shots.  He has a lot of athleticism but struggles defensively.  I think the Wizards would be smart to hold on to Nick Young and see how much higher his ceiling can be.

Marcus Thornton, Sacramento, 6'4, 205- Thornton had an impressive rookie campaign but failed to see much playing time during his second stint in New Orleans.  He was traded to Sacramento to try and give a scoring boost to the back court.  He is a high volume shooter who needs the ball in his hands but he can put up a lot of points in a short amount of time.

Small Forwards

Jeff Green, Boston, Boston, 6'9, 238- Jeff Green is a mutli-talented forward.  He played power-forward, while he was on the Thunder, and seemed to be out matched by bigger stronger opponents.  That did not prevent him from having some above average years, averaging 15 points per game for his career.  In Boston they are playing him as a 3 more, backing up Pierce and playing spot time at the power forward. He is such a versatile player that once he gets comfortable in Boston he is sure to help out.  He could be a good building block for the future in Boston but I am sure that there are a number of teams that would be more than happy to give him a shot.

Wilson Chandler, Denver, 6'8, 225- Wilson Chandler was having a very good year in New York before he was traded.  He still does not have the most pure stroke from the 3 point line but he has improved his percentage from back there to 35 percent.  He can score in a variety of ways and has shown some tremendous athleticism this year. He could make an impact for a new team if the Nuggets fail to match his offer sheet.

Thaddeus Young, Philadelphia, 6'8, 220-Young has improved a lot since he came in the league, but he is still raw offensively.  He is ultra athletic and is still super young.  He could become a very talented player in this league if he continues to improve his shooting and dribbling fundamentals.

Power Forwards

Yi Jianlian, Washington, 7'0, 250- Yi showed some signs of coming on this season, then he was hit with the injury bug.  Yi does not do much on the defensive side, and struggles on the offensive side against quicker defenders.  He does have a nice shot and he is still young, only 23, so all hope is not lost.

Brandan Wright, New Jersey, 6'10, 210- We really don't know what Brandan Wright is capable of yet, he rode the bench in Golden State or was injured for his whole career.  He has barely played at all since coming out of North Carolina after his freshman season.  He still has lots of potential, but he still needs to add a lot of strength.


Marc Gasol, Memphis, 7'1, 265- The younger brother of Pau Gasol is making a name for himself.  Unlike his brother he is the opposite of a vanes player.  He is a big, tough defender who is not afraid of contact.  He has a steady mid-range jumper that is good out to about 15 feet.  He is most prolific on the defensive end, where he has the height and strength to compete with just about anyone.  It would be hard to see Memphis let both of the Gasol brothers slip through their hands, but then again there is still another in Europe that they could acquire...

DeAndre Jordan, LA Clippers, 6'11, 265- Jordan has really come on this season once he was placed in the starting line up.  He is really young, only 22 years old, and is very athletic.  He is only averaging 7 points and 7 rebounds, but is tallying nearly 2 blocks per game.  He is a great finisher on lobs or put backs, and if the improvement he has shown this year is just the beginning there should be a lot more to come in his future.

Greg Oden, Portland, 7'0, 285- When Greg Oden is healthy he has proved to be a rebounding and defensive machine.  Before he was injured he needed to improve on his huge amount of fouls which were keeping him off the court.  He was improving his offensive skills before he missed the last year and a half.  The Blazers say they will do their best to bring him back, but we will have to wait and see how it plays out.

Spencer Hawes, Philadelphia, 7'1, 245- Hawes has been a huge disappointment over his short career. He has a lot of talent if he applies himself, but it does not seem as though he has.  Sacramento made a good move in dumping him as quickly as they did.  Sometime desperate for a big man could try and steal him away from the 76ers, and I don't think they would care.

Point Guards

Shannon Brown, LA Lakers, 6'4, 210, (P)- Shannon Brown is more of a shooting guard, but he is listed as a point guard.  He is one of the most athletic and exciting players to watch on the fast break in the league.  He has really worked and improved his shooting percentage over his career and is now a threat from the outside.

Jose Juan Barea, Dallas, 6'0, 175- Jose is a tiny point guard who is listed at 6'0, but that is a terrible exaggeration.   He is very small, however he has shown he has the ability and toughness to play in the league.  He has struggled from beyond the arc so far this season, but he is averaging 10 points and 4 assists per game coming off the bench.  He will never be a starter in the NBA but he will provide his next team with a big spark off the bench.

T.J. Ford, Indiana, 6'0, 165- Ford is a small guard who is absurdly quick.  He is a shoot-first type of guard but he can find the open man.  He is best in the open court where he can use his quickness to get to the basket or dish out to shooters when he penetrates.  He has had a bad year in Indiana while rumors have been swirling around all year about potential trades or buy outs.  Some team that is desperate at the point guard position will take a chance on him in the off season.

Mike Bibby, Miami, 6'2, 185- Mike Bibby has been a great point guard for a long time, but his time is finally running out.  He can still make spot up threes, but he struggles on defense and can no longer get past his defender.

Shooting Guards

Jamal Crawford, Atlanta, 6'5, 200- Jamal Crawford has proved to be a great scorer off the bench for Atlanta.  He is known as a streaky shooter, but he can light it up once he gets his groove going.  He will be entering his 12th season next year but he could prove to be a key member off the bench for a contender.

Ray Allen, Boston, 6'5, 205 (P)- Ray Allen is having a great year this year, but he is in his 15th season and he is 35 years old.  His success is due to the formation of talent around him, he has turned into a catch and shoot player, any other production he gives you is an added bonus.  He would be a great pick up for a team such as the Bulls.

J.R. Smith, Denver, 6'6, 220- Smith is, as George Karl would put it, an enigma.  He has the talent and athleticism to be one of the top guards in the league, but he consistently takes horrible shots that are not in the flow of the offense.  He lacks the mindset to be a good defensive player and is hard to deal with as a coach.  That being said, he has so much talent that a number of NBA teams will line up to try and mold him into their roster.

Jason Richardson, Orlando, 6'6, 225- Richardson still has a lot of athleticism left in his legs.  He can still shoot the three with great accuracy and he can make clutch shots.  He would be a great fit on a contender, I think the Magic would be wise to try and bring him back for a few more years.

Leandro Barbosa, Toronto, 6'3, 202, (P)- Barbosa still has jets.  He is undersized to play the shooting guard position at only 6'3, but because of his quickness he is able to.  Barbosa can still get to the basket because of this quickness and can consistently knock down the three.

Anthony Parker, Cleveland, 6'6, 210- Anthony Parker is a solid player at the 2-guard position.  He is a consistent 3 point shooter and can help on defense.  There were a lot of rumblings of top teams such as the Celtics and the Bulls trying to acquire Parker at the trade deadline but nothing ever materialized.  He could be added to the rotations of one of these teams this off-season.

Tracy McGrady, Detroit, 6'8, 223- It's hard to say that McGrady is back, but he is playing much more consistently this season and injuries have not been a problem so far.  He has even had a few finishes on lobs that remind you of old T-Mac.  The best thing is that he has shown the ability to play the point-forward position.  He could go to Boston, Miami, New York, or possibly back to Orlando and give a contending team a crafty veteran with lots of knowledge of the game who can play a few positions pretty well for 15 or 20 minutes per game.

Mickael Pietrus, Phoenix, 6'6, 215- Pietrus is a very athletic wing who gives opposing players fits on defense.  He is best in a fast paced offense where he has freedom to shoot the three.  He can be great for a contender, like when he played for Orlando.

Michael Redd, Milwaukee, 6'6, 215- Michael Redd is in the same position that Tracy McGrady was in a few years ago.  Fresh off of knee surgery, for the second straight year, he is hoping a team will give him a chance.  He used to be one of the most pure shooters in the league, and played on the olympic team and world championship squad.  His mobility will most likely be limited, but if he has a chance to make a living in the NBA he will have to recapture some of that shooting prowess he used to have.

Small Forwards

Tayshaun Prince, Detroit, 6'9, 215- I think that Prince could be a great player on a contending team, like the Lakers.  Prince would fit right in bringing length, some offensive ability, defensive intensity and championship experience.  The Lakers would have to somehow get rid of Artest, which won't happen.

Caron Butler, Dallas, 6'7, 228- Butler was having a really good year with the Mavs before his knee injury.  He was averaging just under 16 points per game and helping out on the boards.  It is unfortunate timing for Butler to have such a severe injury in the final year of his contract.  I think there are a few teams that could take a chance on Butler, who is only 30 and has at least a few more years in him.

Andrei Kirilenko, Utah, 6'9, 235- Kirilenko may have worn out his time in Utah, but the Russian is still a very productive player.  He adds defense and length to wherever he winds up.  This year he is also shooting 36% from the three and averaging 12 points per game, not bad for a defensive play maker.

Shane Battier, Memphis, 6'8, 220- Battier has been described as cerebral, having a huge basketball IQ.  He knows where to be on defense, and rarely puts his teammates or his self in bad positions on offense.  He has the ability to knock down open threes and is a leader in the locker room.  Any team would be happy to add him to their roster.

Matt Barnes, LA Lakers, 6'7, 226, (P)- Matt Barnes has bounced all over the NBA.  He has the player option to be a free agent again this year.  He brings energy, a mean streak on defense, and a steady shot to who ever he plays for.  Where ever he has gone he has contributed off the bench.

Grant Hill, Phoenix, 6'8, 225- Grant Hill will turn 39 next season, and you have to wonder if he will be able to keep up his level of play.  He has so far, averaging 14 points per game.  He is still a good defender because of his basketball iq, and he is in tremendous shape.  I think he could be picked up by someone in need of a veteran off the bench.

Mike Dunleavy, Indiana, 6'9, 230- Dunleavy never lived up to the expectations people had when he came into the league, but he is a respectable small forward.  He can't play any defense, but he shoots 41% from the 3 point line, and averaged about 11 points per game before his season was ended with a thumb injury.  When he is healthy he can be a good contributor off the bench with his soft stroke.

Earl Clark, Orlando, 6'10, 225- Earl Clark still has tons of potential, and this year he is finally getting a chance to show it.  Since the trade with Phoenix he has been a part of the rotation and has shown some promising signs, but has also displayed why he never made it on the court in Phoenix.  Where ever he lands the team must understand they are undertaking a project that may or may not pay off.

Josh Howard, Washington, 6'7, 210- Howard used to be a great scorer for Dallas, he was then traded to Washington and promptly blew out his knee.  He made his return this year, but is having difficulty finding his touch.  He is averaging almost 9 points per game.  If he gets picked up and starts to return to his prior self he could be a huge addition for not much money.

Power Forwards

Zach Randolph, Memphis, 6'9, 260- Zach Randolph may have the most talent of anyone in this free agent class.  The only problem with Randolph is his reputation for being selfish and uncoachable.  He has also had a fair share of off the court problems.  He has soft hands, a great ability to score around the basket, a great jumper, and he averages 13 rebounds per game.  Memphis will probably not resign him so they can give their money to Gasol, so Randolph well be available.  New Orleans could be an option if they fail to bring back David West, or possibly New Jersey who has a hole in their power forward spot.

Tim Duncan, San Antonio, 7'0, 255, (ETO)- Tim Duncan is getting old and can't do things he once could, but it is very unlikely he ever plays anywhere but San Antonio.  He has an early termination option, but I can't foresee the Spurs using it.  His loyalty will be rewarded by the Spurs.

David West, New Orleans, 6'9, 240- West is a little undersized at the power forward position, but he has a silky smooth jump shot.  He is a very efficient player, shooting over 50% from the field.  He is 30 years old and next year will be 31, so he is getting a little older but his production is getting better and better.

Troy Murphy, Boston, 6'11, 245- Troy Murphy has not played much at all this year, and after sitting on the bench in New Jersey for the first few months of the season he is finally getting a chance in Boston.  It is unclear whether Boston brought him in for the remainder of the season or if they will try and keep him going forward into the future.  Over his career he has shown the ability to be a tough rebounder down low and he has a jumper that extends out past the three point line.

Glen Davis, Boston, 6'9, 289- Glenn Davis is having his most productive season as a pro.  Despite his size, lack of height and a big waist line, he has great instincts around the hoop.  His agility and positioning on rebounds allows him to compete against larger opponents, and he has a knack for getting tough shots off.  I believe they will keep him in Boston, but he could help a number of teams out.

Kris Humphries, New Jersey, 6'9, 235- Humphries has been giving the starting job in New Jersey, and it has paid off as he is having the best season of his career.  He is nearly averaging 10 and 10 and is also getting 1 block per game.

Carl Landry, New Orleans, 6'9, 248- Wherever Landry has gone he has been a beast off the bench.  He gives teams his whole effort and really gets after it on the glass.  He spent a lot of the year in a crowded front court in Sacramento and is now in New Orleans.  He is very talented around the basket, and has a decent jump shot.  His fault is his lack of defense.

Kenyon Martin, Denver, 6'9, 240- Kenyon is getting pretty old, and entering the 2011 season will be his 12th.  He has been consistently injured over his career but he always brings energy and toughness when he is able to compete.  His athleticism has declined as he has aged but he still have a consistent mid range jumper and he bring a veteran presence from a player who has played in the championship to the locker room.

Boris Diaw, Charlotte, 6'8, 235- Diaw had a few good years in Phoenix, but has disappeared since he was acquired by Charlotte.  He is still a very versatile power forward and could potentially round back into form, but I believe that likelihood is very slim.  He could be an option looking for a team looking to add depth to their front line.


Tyson Chandler, Dallas, 7'1, 235- As it stands now Tyson Chander may be the most sought after free agent of the summer.  No other player in this class has had the type of impact that Chandler has had on their current team.  He has transformed the Maverick's lack luster defense into a strength for the club.  He will never give you much offense, but he can make a living off of put backs off of offensive rebounds and he can finish lobs with the best of them.  He is a very smart player who has improved every year of his career.  It would be a big loss to Dallas if they do not find a way to resign him.

Nene Hilario, Denver, 6'11, 250 (ETO)- It seems likely that Nene will stay in Denver.  Both parties have expressed that the would like to make a deal, but nothing has come yet.  Nene will get a lot of attention from teams seeking an inside presence.  When Nene has been healthy he has been a very good player for Denver.  He has a massive frame and is very athletic, which allows him to score in a lot of ways around the hoop and with a medium range jumper.

Joel Pryzbilla, Charlotte, 7'1, 245- Joel Pryzbilla is a noteable free agent because of toughness, rebounding and defense.  I do not expect him to get anything more than the veterans minimum because of reoccurring knee issues that have sidelined him for the majority of the past year.  If he can get strength back in his knee he will help a team off the bench. He could possibly return to Portland next season.

Samuel Dalembert, Sacramento, 6'11, 250- Dalembert is a very good defender and shot blocker.  He does not offer much on the offensive side of the ball, and he is very skinny.  He could be a very good rotation player, but I think his starting days are coming to an end.

Ronny Turiaf, New York, 6'10, 245- Turiaf is a very good low post defender, although he is undersized to play the center position.  He doesn't do much on offense but he can make a face up 10-15 footer.  He is mostly used for energy and rebounds, along with what he gives on defense.

Jeff Foster, Indiana, 6'11, 250- Jeff Foster barely passes the 'eye-test' as an NBA center, but in his 11 year career he has been a great rebounder and defender.  He will be picked up for these to attributes, by a team looking to get one more rotation player for their front court.

Yao Ming, Houston, 7'6, 310- Yao Ming has said that he will probably retire before he leaves to another team.  In his brief appearance in the early stages of the season he was averaging 10 points in about 20 minutes of play per game.  This shows that he can still be effective if he can stay healthy.  There will be some interest in the 7'6 center, but no team will shell out big bucks because of his injury problems.

Shaquille O'Neal, Boston, 7'1, 325- The reign of the Big Shamrock in Boston might be coming to an end.  O'Neal's career may be coming to an end, in that case, as he is now 38 years old and durability issues have brought his playing time to a stand still this season.  He seems to have been injured far more than he has been healthy over the last few years and his production has drastically declined.  It will be interesting to see if he gets another shot, but I suspect this might be the end to a great career.

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