2012 NBA Free Agents: Under-the-Radar Players That Will Make Instant Impact

Kevin HolzContributor IMay 7, 2012

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - APRIL 30:  Jason Terry #31 of the Dallas Mavericks drives on Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on April 30, 2012 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Oklahoma City defeated Dallas 102-99. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using the photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
Brett Deering/Getty Images

Once both Chris Paul and Dwight Howard removed their names from the 2012 free-agency pool, they removed the only two players that can make a team an instant contender and left the 2012 unrestricted free-agent list looking a little...well, bleak.

Despite the fact that their aren't any marquee names available, that does not mean that a player in the right situation can't turn a fringe contender into a more potent playoff team.


Jason Terry

He will be 35 by the time the 2012-13 season begins, but his production remained steady and in this shortened season. He saw his PPG only dip .7 points and saw his three-point FG% rise 1.6 percent while playing on a considerably weaker Mavericks team than the one that hoisted the Larry O'Brien trophy last June.

Terry has always been a solid clubhouse presence and an extremely effective playoff player for a sixth man. With the Mavs looking like they are ready to reload with a new look next season, it looks like some young contending team may get a rare chance to add a proven veteran leader who can come off the bench and play the final minutes of a close playoff game.


Nick Young

Young has long been one of those player that facilitates between being a starter or a scorer off the bench. He started 32 of his 40 games for the Wizards this year, and then started three of his 22 with the Clippers after being traded.

Young is most certainly best utilized as a scorer off the bench. He plays little defense but is a shooter and no team can ever have enough confident shooters. When Young gets going from the field, he can turn a game's momentum quickly, just as he did in the Clippers' ridiculous comeback against the Grizzlies on April 29th.


Chris Kaman

The long-overpaid center will be hard pressed to find a deal that matches the $14 million he made this season. He averages 11.9 points a game for his career and is effective enough at rebounding (averaging 8.3), but he doesn't have the numbers to justify another contract of that price.

However, if Kaman is willing to take a relatively substantial pay cut (he will not have a choice) and also willing to come off the bench, he will be a wonderful backup option for a team that has no depth at center.

Kaman's 74 percent free-throw shooting is money and he could easily find himself on the floor late in close games.