Top NBA Free Agents of 2012: Point Guards
If you think this year’s draft is deep, you should take a look at the 2012 free agent pool, stockpiled with future Hall of Famers.
In the wake of an ultimately boring trade deadline, save the Portland Trail Blazers blowing their roster up like it was an old housing project being brought down by a stick of dynamite, I decided to hype up the upcoming offseason by launching this short series of articles listing the top free agents, starting with point guards.
I was going to include a list of possible destinations for each player, but then remembered they all played the same position and would be coveted by the same teams—the ones in need of a point guard. It would have been redundant.
Dwight Howard is officially going to stay in Orlando for at least one more year, which puts New Jersey’s plans of a Williams/Howard super-tandem on hold, if not crippling that possibility. He’s a top-three player at his position, and he’s going to be the prize of this year’s free agent pool.
Everyone has always talked about him and Howard joining forces in New Jersey and, less likely, in Dallas, but not many have suggested that Williams could join Howard in Orlando. Did your eyebrows just involuntarily raise themselves? Mine sure did.
Not a bad consolation prize, eh? Finally, Nash has a reason to skip town. These past few years he’s bitten his tongue in the name of loyalty to an organization that does not return it.
His aging body is certainly going to limit his impact in terms of minutes played, but he is still capable of transforming a good team into a title contender. Without him, the Phoenix Suns would be a little better than the Charlotte Bobcats are right now. I give the Suns the slight edge because Michael Jordan isn’t running their team.
I know I said I wasn’t going to do a list of possible destinations, but it just got too tempting with Nash. Imagine a reunion with Dirk and Dallas. It’d be a little awkward at first, but if a championship is the goal, everyone would get over it.
What about the Portland Trail Blazers? With LaMarcus Aldridge playing the role of Amare Stoudemire and Nicolas Batum fulfilling the duties of Shawn Marion, the Blazers can be the ’05-‘06 Suns with defense! Also, with Mike D’Antoni now on the market and the Blazers in need of a head coach…yeah.
Minnesota Timberwolves? Playing alongside Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love in Rick Adelman’s offense? He could even hold the fort until Rubio fully recovers from his ACL tear. It’s like Luke Ridnour to the 100th power.
When has Jason Kidd ever been third on a list of point guards? Well, there’s a first time for everything. Unless Jason Kidd decides to call it quits after this brutally condensed 66-game season, he’s going to have a lot of suitors. He might have to accept a backup role because, like Nash, he’s just flat out old. He still can pass as well as anyone, and is third all-time in three-point field goals made (which I still can’t believe).
Dallas’ plan A, plan B and plan C all involve Deron Williams, so that pretty much spells the end of J. Kidd in a Mavericks uniform. He could always re-up as a reserve, but I don’t imagine Dallas having the cap space for that.
Who knows how quickly Billups will recover from his Achilles injury, if he recovers at all. But if he does, you can bet teams will take a chance on him. The price would have to be right, but he can play both guard positions, while providing leadership, as well as being capable of hitting big shots—his nickname is Mr. Big Shot, after all.
He’s getting plenty of playing time in Denver under George Karl, but he just slows them down. They’re much more efficient with Ty Lawson, so don’t expect Miller to re-sign with the Nuggets.
He’s much more efficient in a half-court style offense, though he still can’t shoot. If I had to create a roster of players who can’t shoot, the starting point guard would be Andre Miller (barely edging Rajon Rondo because Rondo still has time to improve), with along with Wesley Johnson, Thabo Sefolosha, Blake Griffin and Omer Asik.
That being said, Andre Miller gets it done with his craftiness. He’s that old guy at the Y who always gets by you, and you think you can recover in time to block his layup, but you never do.
Is there a more perfect fit at guard for the Boston Celtics than Kirk Hinrich? Hand in glove fit, I say! He can play and defend both guard positions. The Celtics would have three of the top 10 on-the-ball defenders at the guard position: Rondo, Avery Bradley and Hinrich. Case closed.
A restricted free agent playing in his home state in Indiana for an up-and-coming team that looks like a lock to be in the playoffs for the next five years (at least). Do you think he’s leaving?
Unless Tyler Hansbrough murders him in practice.
He’s one of the lucky Trail Blazers that gets to stay in Portland for the rest of the year! (What? Noooo, of course that wasn’t sarcasm.)
It’s like interim GM Chad Buchanan hung the roster list at the end of a shooting range, fired one round and whatever names he hit would get traded. And that explains how Jamal Crawford and Raymond Felton are both still on the team.
Small side note about Felton: I always thought he looked a little chubby and out-of-shape; he’s surprisingly athletic.
The biggest issue with Felton is that he feels he’s a starter in this league, which is true, but if he’s not happy you get the effort he’s exhibited in Portland.
It’s hard to picture Jameer Nelson experiencing the same level of success earlier in his career without Dwight Howard. And if the Magic are serious about keeping Dwight, Nelson is not the answer at point guard, and that probably signals the end of his tenure in Orlando.
He’s a feisty guard who, people forget, was the X-factor when the Magic reached the NBA Finals in 2009. His numbers have receded since, but he’s a capable scorer, and he’s proven to raise his performance come playoff time.
Instant offense off the bench. That’s all. Streaky shooter who can give a team 11-14 points a game as a reserve. If he’s a team’s starting point guard and that team doesn’t have LeBron James on it, then they should reconsider their approach.
Plus, I don’t see him wanting to leave the L.A. Clippers. And who can blame him? What’s more fun than tossing up alley-oops to DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin?
EA Sports needs to make a new NBA Street video game, like, yesterday. The Clippers would be unbeatable.
D.J. Augustine/Nate Robinson/Jerryd Bayless
I decided to group these last three players because they all possess similar qualities: undersized guards who get buckets. The difference between these three and Mo Williams is that Mo Williams has at least started on a winning team, even though LeBron James was the clear-cut reason those Cavalier teams were over .500 and not in the lottery.
Out of the three, Augustine is the most likely to go. Then again, you never know with MJ in charge. Nate Robinson seems to have found a home in the Bay Area playing for the Warriors. The fans love him, the players love him and he loves playing there. Jerryd Bayless has been playing well, and seems to be in their future plans once Jose Calderon moves on.
D.J. Augustine just isn’t a good fit with Kemba Walker. They serve the same purpose. Although, he’s a restricted free agent, look for Augustine to go somewhere like the Spurs or Grizzlies where they’re in need of an energetic backup point guard. Phoenix is also a possibility.