2012 NBA Free Agency: Defensive Studs Needy Teams Must Target

Amy Streifer@AmyStreiferCorrespondent IJune 14, 2012

2012 NBA Free Agency: Defensive Studs Needy Teams Must Target

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    Many teams in the NBA could use more power on their defense, and they will be eying talent when free agency begins on July 1.

    The defensive players that will be available showcase a great amount of talent, with some being grizzled veterans while others are practically rookies.

    Here's some defensive players that teams must target in order to enhance their team for the 2012-2013 season.

Danny Green

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    Green is a defensive-minded player that will have a positive impact on whatever team he lands on.

    He graduated from North Carolina and was the only player in ACC history to finish with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 250 assists, 150 three-pointers, 150 blocks and 150 steals. Drafted 49th overall in 2009, Green has gone overlooked since then.  

    Green is currently playing with the Spurs and was given the opportunity to play starting shooting guard earlier this season when Manu Ginobili had an injury early in the season.

    The Long Island, N.Y. native should be picked up by any team that is looking for a defensive-minded player that can shoot the three. At 6'6", 210 lbs he's lanky, fast, versatile and agile.

    He averaged 9.1 points and 3.5 rebounds for the San Antonio Spurs this season, but if he got the opportunity to be a starter consistently for a team, those numbers would no doubt increase.

    Look out for Green this season. His statistics may not be impressive based on his career in the NBA, but once he gets put on a team that can fully appreciate his talents, he will be a stand-out player.

Mickael Pietrus

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    Pietrus signed with the Boston Celtics last December, but surgery from a past injury kept him off the court for some time. He made a playoff run with the guys in green this season, but their road to the finals was cut short by Dwayne Wade and the rest of the Heat.

    With his past injuries, it shouldn't cost a team much to sign Pietrus, and now that he's recovering from a successful surgery, his 6.9 points per game and 3.1 rebounds per game averages shouldn't matter much. He will get better.

    Pietrus is a tough player who hustles down the stretch and will be in your face on the court. 

    Despite his statistics being low, he was third on his team with 61 3-pointers and has shot 35.8 percent in his career.

    He can shoot the long ball and defend. Listed at 6'6", 215 pounds, Pietrus can play small forward or shooting guard. Pietrus may very well stay with the Celtics, but if he doesn't, many teams should be interested in the swing man for next season.

Kevin Garnett

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    There's so much that can be said about Kevin Garnett.

    He led the Minnesota Timberwolves to eight-consecutive playoff appearances, was named an NBA All-Star 14 times and won an NBA championship with his current team, the Boston Celtics, in 2008.

    Garnett is a defensive-minded genius. There is one factor that may make teams timid when they think about signing the veteran player. His age. However, at 36-years-old he still managed to finish the playoff run this year with 19.2 points and more than 10 rebounds per game.

    This guy can still play.

    The forward/center will make an impact on any team he goes to. He brings intimidation, enthusiasm and it's a common occurrence for him to show up on the court and score a double-double. 

    Garnett will probably stay with Boston, but if he doesn't, he will get scooped up by the first team that's lucky enough to land this defensive powerhouse.

Omer Asik

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    Omer Asik currently plays for the Chicago Bulls. He has a lot of energy and defensive skills that are hard to come by.

    At 7'0" and 255 lbs, Asik can contribute to any team looking for a defensive stud.

    Asik works hard on the court and is good at being at the right place at the right time. His rebound rate is an outstanding 20.1 and he blocks an average of one shot a game. He's not the best offensive player, but he's a big-man who will bring support and strength to any organization.

    His statistics are so great because he only averaged 14.7 minutes per game this season. Whenever he is on the court, he tries to make an impact.

    Asik should be a starter next season, and any team that signs him, should be ready for a tough defensive-minded player who wants to do nothing else but lead his team to a championship.