2012 NBA Free Agents: Power Ranking the Top 50
The 2012 NBA free agency class features depth over star power.
While there are some superstars in this year's pool, complementary pieces—the players needed to polish off a contending roster or provide an added punch to reeling ones—reign supreme.
Subsequently, when approaching a depth-laden group such as this one, it can be difficult to appreciate the individual talent available and where each athlete stands.
That's why we're here—to shed light and provide clarity when assessing this almost chaotically talented free-agent class.
Those Who Missed the Cut
These 10 free agents finished just outside the top 50:
- Darrell Arthur, PF, Memphis Grizzlies (Restricted free agent)
- Leandro Barbosa, SG, Indiana Pacers (Unrestricted free agent)
- Marco Belinelli, SG, New Orleans Hornets (UFA)
- Shannon Brown, SG, Phoenix Suns (UFA)
- Derek Fisher, PG, Oklahoma City Thuder (UFA)
- Randy Foye, G, Los Angeles Clippers (UFA)
- Kenyon Martin, PF, Los Angeles Clippers (UFA)
- C.J. Miles, SF, Utah Jazz (UFA)
- Nate Robinson, PG, Golden State Warriors (UFA)
- Brandon Rush, SG, Golden State Warriors (RFA)
50. J.J. Hickson, PF, Portland (RFA)
It's all about potential with J.J. Hickson.
At 23, the power forward is young enough to chalk his struggles up to inexperience, yet after four years in the NBA, his superior athleticism will only get him so far.
Hickson is one of four players affected by the outcome of the Bird Rights arbitration, but don't expect its resolution to impact the Blazers' decision regarding his future.
He has enough of a two-way impact to create a strong market for his services, yet enough pitfalls to cause any interested teams to proceed with caution.
Potential Destinations: Boston, Portland, San Antonio
49. Grant Hill, SF, Phoenix Suns (UFA)
Grant Hill is still a worthy pick-up, but at 39 there's plenty of reason to be wary.
Though Hill has remained relatively healthy during his time with the Suns, he's not going to be able to play close to 30 minutes a game much longer.
Teams have to respect what he offers in terms of scoring and leadership, and he is one of the top small forwards available. But his career is officially at a point where uncertainty outweighs everything else.
Potential Destinations: Atlanta, Miami, Phoenix.
48. Landry Fields, SG, New York Knicks (RFA)
Landry Fields has plenty of upside, but after a sensational rookie season, he fell victim to the sophomore blues.
The guard-forward is great at attacking the rim, hits the boards hard and can even knock down shots from the outside, yet it's not known if he can to do so consistently.
Fields was a second-round steal in 2010, but his tendency to start games strong and disappear down the stretch diminishes his value.
Potential Destinations: Memphis, New York, Portland
47. Kirk Hinrich, G, Atlanta Hawks (UFA)
Kirk Hinrich is incredibly adept at hitting the open three. But at 31, health is an issue.
The combo-guard's numbers took a significant hit this past season as he dealt with a shoulder injury. While there's no question about how valuable he can be on offense, there's doubt as to whether he can continue to withstand the rigors of an 82-game season.
Hinrich will receive multiple offers, but not before teams explore other options first.
Potential Destinations: Atlanta, Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando
46. Marreese Speights, C, Memphis Grizzlies (RFA)
Marreese Speights is one of the NBA's more enigmatic players.
While he is listed as a center, Speights can also play power forward. He has a polished inside game and a sound mid-range jump shot. He's also a staple on the offensive boards.
That said, Speights struggles on defense. He's prone to getting beat off the dribble by other big men, and his conditioning remains an issue.
Had he spent the past four seasons becoming a two-way player, Speights' standing as a free agent would have been much greater.
Potential Destinations: Detroit, Milwaukee, Memphis
45. Michael Beasley, F, Minnesota Timberwolves (RFA)
Michael Beasley's career has been one roller-coaster ride after another thus far.
Despite being incredibly athletic and gifted offensively, Beasley has failed to take the next step in his development.
Not only is the forward a public-relations nightmare, but he's terrible defensively, lacks aggression on the boards and has failed to shed the me-first attitude that has allowed him to fall out of favor in Miami and Minnesota.
Beasley's still young enough to right his ship, but don't expect teams to turn his way until other options have been exhausted.
Potential Destinations: Brooklyn, Los Angeles, Phoenix
44. Aaron Brooks, PG, Phoenix Suns (RFA)
Aaron Brooks is far from the whole package, but he still has plenty to offer.
The point guard is extremely quick, attacks the rim, has developed a nice jump shot and is a respectable ball-handler.
That said, he has an undesirable edge to him and remains undersized, even for a point guard. His selfish tendencies also do not help his case.
There's no telling how far Brooks can carry a team, which after five years in the NBA is both a blessing and a curse.
Potential Destinations: Phoenix, Portland, Utah
43. Jerryd Bayless, PG, Toronto Raptors (RFA)
Jerryd Bayless has shown flashes of greatness and irrelevance while with the Raptors.
Bayless is a terrific scorer who knows how to get to the rim and has good anticipation on defense. But his lack of playmaking abilities is discouraging for a point guard.
However, Bayless is only 23, and there's a feeling throughout the league that he can be a bona-fide starter at some point, making him a target plenty of teams will pursue.
Potential Destinations: Dallas, Golden State and Toronto
42. Courtney Lee, SG, Houston Rockets (RFA)
Courtney Lee needs a genuine opportunity to prove himself.
The shooting guard is a terrific scorer, an efficient shooter and noticeably unselfish. His ball-handling skills and defense leave plenty to be desired, but he's shown potential in both areas.
Lee has yet to be given the significant role he needs to evolve as a player, a reality he's hoping to change after signing his next deal.
Potential Destinations: Chicago, Houston, Memphis
41. Danny Green, G, San Antonio Spurs (RFA)
Danny Green has flourished under the watchful eye of Gregg Popovich.
Green is a volume scorer, yet efficient shooter. He tied for the 34th best true-shooting percentage in the league this past season, and his perimeter defense is also thorough and effective.
Because Green's rise as a role player was fueled by the coaching in San Antonio, his reputation remains understated enough to depress his market value, yet promising enough to ensure that the Spurs will have competition for his services.
Potential Destinations: Houston, Los Angeles Clippers, San Antonio
40. Carl Landry, PF, New Orleans Hornets (UFA)
Carl Landry may be undersized at power forward, but he does a lot with what he has.
Despite being only 6'8", Landry is a solid rebounder, has a strong low post game and can consistently knock down the mid-range jumper.
Defensively, though, Landry leaves much to be desired. In a league that wants its big men to anchor defenses, that will ultimately depress his market value.
Potential Destinations: Brooklyn, Detroit, San Antonio
39. Boris Diaw, F, San Antonio Spurs (UFA)
An athlete who plays all five positions should be considered a stud. But if there ever were such a player to doubt, it's Boris Diaw.
Diaw can literally do everything on the court. He's an adept passer, strong scorer and intelligent defender. But his poor conditioning and minimal effort render him a risky acquisition.
The best fit for Diaw lies with a championship contender. Such an environment guarantees he'll put forth an effort on a nightly basis, so expect him to gravitate toward relevant franchises.
Potential Destinations: Dallas, Los Angeles, San Antonio
38. Nick Young, SG, Los Angeles Clippers (UFA)
There's a reason Nick Young has yet to receive a long-term contract.
Young can put up points in bunches, but he's an erratic shooter who doesn't excel on defense or exude much unselfishness.
That said, he's a superstar when it comes to corner threes, and can carry a team's offense when called upon—assets that will not go overlooked.
Potential Destinations: Chicago, Los Angeles Clippers, Minnesota
37. Jeff Green, F, Boston Celtics (UFA)
After missing the entire season, there is hope that the 25-year-old Jeff Green can re-establish himself as a versatile athlete.
Green can play both forward spots and score from anywhere on the floor. He's also a respectable passer and willing defender, both on the perimeter and in the paint.
However, while Green is bursting with potential, the medical condition of his heart will wind up limiting the offers coming his way.
Potential Destinations: Boston, Brooklyn, Golden State
36. Antawn Jamison, PF, Cleveland Cavaliers (UFA)
At 36, Antawn Jamison is still a prolific scorer.
Jamison can score from all areas of the floor and is fearless when it comes to crashing the glass.
Though the power forward isn't the most dependable of defenders, his scoring prowess, coupled with his veteran leadership, more than makes up for it.
Teams may opt to pursue younger candidates before Jamison, but he will prove to be a nice pick-up for a team in need of instant offense.
Potential Destinations: Boston, Cleveland, San Antonio
35. George Hill, G, Indiana Pacers (RFA)
George Hill is one of the most under-appreciated players in the NBA.
Hill can play both guard positions and can assume any role, whether starting or coming off the bench. He's also a great finisher at the rim and an above average ball-handler, which allows him to create his own shot.
That said, Hill isn't prone to create for his teammates and tends to disappear far too much down the stretch, significantly depressing his value.
Potential Destinations: Indiana, Phoenix, Portland
34. J.R. Smith, SG, New York Knicks (UFA-PO)
As painstaking as it can be to endure J.R. Smith's off- and on-court endeavors, there is no denying the punch he injects into offenses off the bench.
Smith can easily catch fire on offense, but he can also go stone cold, as we saw in the playoffs this year. His decision-making abilities are also questionable at best.
However, Smith's improved perimeter defense—though he still has a ways to go—shows he is capable of evolving, ensuring he will be highly sought after should he decide utilize his opt out with the Knicks.
Potential Destinations: Cleveland, Los Angeles Clippers, New York
33. Elton Brand, PF, Philadelphia 76ers (UFA-ETO)
There's no telling how much gas Elton Brand has left in the tank.
Brand can still score in the low post, but his deteriorating physique has rendered those occurrences few and far between. His lack of aggression on the boards is also alarming for someone his size.
Unless the Sixers offer the 13-year vet a multi-year deal, though, don't expect him to opt out of the last year of his deal. However, if for some reason he does, expect for interest to be limited and hinge on price.
Potential Destinations: Detroit, Philadelphia, Sacramento
32. Spencer Hawes, C, Philadelphia 76ers (UFA)
Spencer Hawes has potential, but he must become more assertive on both ends of the floor.
The big man from Washington has a great touch around the basket and nice ball-handling skills for someone his size. However, he shies away from contact and often opts to pass out instead of attacking the rim.
Defensively, the seven-footer's sheer presence makes a positive impact. He blocks shots and will crash the glass with fearlessness, depending upon the night.
There is definitely a strong case to be made for Hawes to be ranked higher, yet he's simply missing the toughness it takes to break into the upper echelon of big men.
Potential Destinations: Boston, Houston, Philadelphia
31. Ramon Sessions, PG, Los Angeles Lakers (UFA-PO)
Ramon Sessions played well after being traded to the Lakers, but questions remain about his ability to lead a championship team.
Sessions has great instincts with the ball in his hands. He will attack the rim and utilizes drive-and-kicks to perfection. He's also incredibly unselfish and a workhorse on the defensive end.
For more than four-and-a-half years, Sessions wasn't given ample opportunity to prove himself. And after less than half a season with the offensive reigns in his hands, there's still no telling how much better he can become.
Potential Destinations: Denver, Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando
30. Ersan Ilyasova, F, Milwaukee Bucks (UFA)
When it comes to Ersan Ilyasova, it's all about intrigue.
The 25-year-old big man had a break-out year for Milwaukee, crashing the class and putting up gaudy point totals. Ilyasova proved capable of scoring from both inside and out, and left many wondering how such a talented big man had escaped previous notice.
But with Ilyasova, there are still plenty of questions he hasn't answered. His drastic improvement suggests he should be ranked much higher, but he has yet to show he can dominate consistently.
That said, his attributes are promising, meaning there will be no shortage of interest in him this summer.
Potential Destinations: Brooklyn, Milwaukee, Toronto
29. Marcus Camby, C, Houston Rockets (UFA)
Marcus Camby is a force on defense and the boards, but his limited offensive abilities coupled with a murky bill of health make it difficult to predict how much of an impact he'll actually have.
When healthy, Camby is a shot-blocking machine. He is freakishly athletic and has an equally freaky wingspan.
That said, he's often discombobulated on the offensive end, boasting few if any low-post moves.
But for a team in need of a big man, Camby is definitely worth a look, even if he comes with a strong dose of uncertainty.
Potential Destinations: Houston, Milwaukee, Sacramento
28. Chauncey Billups, PG, Los Angeles Clippers (UFA)
Chauncey Billups is going to put points on the board and his leadership skills are invaluable, but age and durability are concerns he may not be able to overcome.
After missing the majority of the season with a torn left Achilles' tendon, Billups is on the cusp of attempting a difficult comeback. He'll be 36 when the 2012-13 season tips off and it's unlikely he'll be able to make the 82-game grind.
Billups may still have plenty of gas left in the tank, but it will be the lift left in his jump shot and the slashing ability left in his knees that determine how well he fares next year.
Potential Destinations: Denver, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami
27. Jeremy Lin, PG, New York Knicks (RFA)
If we were speaking about which players would generate the most profit for prospective teams, Jeremy Lin would have topped this list.
However, as captivating as the point guard has proved to be, he remains as unproven as ever.
Lin has the intellect to succeed at the NBA level. He keeps his dribble, attacks the rim and has perfected the pick-and-roll, but can he be a true leader of a bona-fide playoff team? And can he adapt to the wide array of defensive schemes that will be thrown his way?
That much remains to be seen.
Potential Destinations: New York, Orlando, Toronto
26. Goran Dragic, PG, Houston Rockets (RFA)
Enough can't be said about how much Goran Dragic stepped up for the Houston Rockets last season.
Dragic had his long-awaited break-out season, nearly leading the Rockets to the playoffs despite a slew of roster injuries. The point guard proved to be aggressive on offense and diligent on defense, while never losing that selfless edge that fueled his rise in the rotation.
Now that we know what Dragic is capable of, though, we yearn to know if he can keep it up. That's the multi-million dollar question teams will have to answer this offseason.
Potential Destinations: Charlotte, Houston, Orlando
25. Lou Williams, PG, Philadelphia 76ers (UFA)
Lou Williams is as versatile as they come on offense.
While he's listed as a point guard, in reality he's a combo guard. Williams, who has just opted out of the final year of his contract with Philadelphia, has one of the quickest releases in the league and attacks the rim frequently, ensuring many trips to the charity stripe.
Despite being equipped to handle point-guard duties, though, Williams lacks the necessary court vision and playmaking abilities to run an offense full time. That ultimately will determine how much interest he generates on the open market.
Potential Destinations: Dallas, Philadelphia, Portland
24. Jason Kidd, PG, Dallas Mavericks (UFA)
Jason Kidd is unlikely to blow up the stat lines, but consider him the Shane Battier of point guards.
Intangibles and respect trump stat lines here, as the 39-year-old Kidd is one of the smartest players in the league. He's a calculated floor general, three-point shooting savant and defends the passing lanes as well as anyone.
Whether Kidd is called upon to push a championship contender over the hump or mentor a young team on the rise, it doesn't matter—he still has plenty left to give.
Potential Destinations: Brooklyn, Miami, New York
23. JaVale McGee, C, Denver Nuggets (RFA)
JaVale McGee took great strides toward improving his offensive game this past season while remaining as much of a nuisance as possible on defense.
Though McGee is freakishly athletic and proved capable of improving, he still has plenty of maturing to do. He has to become consistently aggressive on the glass and improve his free-throw shooting if he wishes to take his game to the next level.
The number most teams will be looking at, though, is seven. Standing at 7'0" tall, McGee is sure to generate a lot of league-wide interest, regardless of his unsound fundamentals.
Potential Destinations: Boston, Denver, Milwaukee
22. D.J. Augustin, PG, Charlotte Bobcats (RFA)
It's difficult to earn respect as a member of the Charlotte Bobcats, but D.J. Augustin has done just that.
What Augustin lacks in size and athleticism, he makes up for in intelligence. He's a flashy distributor who uses quickness instead of explosiveness to exploit his defenders, and he remains unselfish regardless of the personnel on the floor.
As would be the case with any intriguing free agent coming out of Charlotte, the question is, was his production a sign of the player he is about to become or purely situational?
We'll just have to wait and see.
Potential Destinations: Charlotte, Orlando, Portland
21. Jameer Nelson, PG, Orlando Magic (UFA-PO)
Despite playing lackluster basketball for a majority of the season, there will be no shortage of interest in Jameer Nelson should he decide to forgo the last year of his contract and test free agency.
Nelson is a balanced combination of athletic and strong, which allows him to get to the rim with ease. He's also a savvy facilitator who can also be quite the ball-stopper on the defensive end as well.
As Nelson approaches 31, though, serious consideration must be given to whether he is regressing. He saved face toward the end of this season, but if teams deem him too big of a risk, his free-agent stock figures to plummet.
Potential Destinations: Dallas, Orlando, Portland
20. Kris Humphries, PF, Brooklyn Nets (UFA)
Kris Humphries is one of the most complete players in this year's free-agency class.
Humphries averaged a double-double for a second consecutive season while greatly improving his production off pick-and-rolls. His defense is impeccable, and he's versatile enough to guard wings when needed.
While Humphries is not especially athletic, he makes up for it in will. He's engaged 100 percent of the time and never stops battling, virtues that will make him a hot commodity this offseason.
Potential Destinations: Boston, Brooklyn, Sacramento
19. Brook Lopez, C, Brooklyn Nets (RFA)
Brook Lopez spent most of the season watching from the bench thanks to a broken foot, but his penchant for piling up point totals from a year ago is still fresh on everyone's minds.
Though Lopez must improve his rebounding and defensive decision-making, he's a stud on offense. He can knock down the mid-range jump shot or post up and power the ball with his back to the basket.
However, while Lopez is still in the early stages of his career, his struggle to return from injury is of serious concern. After watching the recurring nature of Stephen Curry's ankle injuries, there's no telling how cautious teams will be in pursuit of Lopez.
Potential Destinations: Boston, Brooklyn, Milwaukee
18. Jamal Crawford, G, Portland Trail Blazers (UFA)
Jamal Crawford is bound create a slew of open looks for himself, yet how many shots he knocks down remains a nightly riddle.
With the ability to play either guard position, Crawford is a hot commodity. He is, perhaps, the streakiest shooter in the league and, without a doubt, the best bad shot-taker the NBA has seen in recent years.
That said, Crawford doesn't do much on defense, and his penchant for catching fire is often negated by his tendency to throw up bricks and air balls.
As with all streaky shooters, teams will be forced to take the good with the bad if they wish to make a commitment to him.
Potential Destinations: Los Angeles Clippers, Miami, New York
17. Mo Williams, PG, Los Angeles Clippers (UFA-PO)
Despite a long list of offensive accolades, Mo Williams remains vastly underrated.
Williams can play either guard position and, much like Jamal Crawford, is a streak shooter, though much more efficient. He's also a willing defender and excels at creating opportunities to score in transition.
While Williams presents plenty of upside, he can be a bit of a loose cannon. Shot-clock control is of the utmost importance in the NBA, and sometimes, he just doesn't know when to holster the ball.
That said, his prolific offensive abilities outweigh his flaws, which will render him one of the top free agents available should he exercise his player option.
Potential Destinations: Denver, Indiana, Los Angeles Clippers.
16. Andre Miller, PG, Denver Nuggets (UFA)
Andre Miller may be 36, but there's simply no shortage of gas left in his tank.
Miller is one of the most durable point guards in the league. He provides a team with a capable floor general, efficient defender and general workhorse, making him a valued piece for any team looking to add depth in the backcourt.
That said, Miller's willingness to accept a backup role remains questionable. He adjusted to such a fit in Denver, but may wind up jumping at the opportunity to start anew elsewhere.
Potential Destinations: Denver, Miami, Orlando
15. Gerald Wallace, SF, Brooklyn Nets (UFA)
By forgoing the last year of his contract with the Brooklyn Nets, Gerald Wallace spurned $9.5 million for the chance to test the market in free agency.
Wallace is an offensive guru. He has a great first step, excels in transition and is one of the better offensive rebounders at his position. He's also one of the most underrated perimeter defenders in the league.
Though there is much to love about Wallace, he will be 30 by the time next season rolls around and his offensive production has steadily declined over the past few years. While that far from renders him irrelevant, it does negatively affect his market value ever so slightly.
Potential Destinations: Brooklyn, Toronto, Washington
14. Brandon Bass, PF, Boston Celtics (UFA)
One year alongside Kevin Garnett did wonders for Brandon Bass.
Bass came to Boston a rather raw talent, but is now considered a versatile athlete with an unmeasurable ceiling.
The power forward noticeably boosted his impact on defense, improving his footwork and overall anticipation.
Offensively, though, is where the most improvement occurred. Bass extended the range of his jump shot and began attacking the rim more frequently and with more power. He made great strides in rebounding as well.
After the season he had, there's simply no denying a substantial payday is in his immediate future.
Potential Destinations: Boston, Brooklyn, Sacramento
13. Ryan Anderson, PF, Orlando Magic (RFA)
As the NBA's most improved player and a big man who can knock down shots from the outside, Ryan Anderson is guaranteed to generate a mountain of interest this summer.
Anderson's outside shooting created opportunities that transformed Dwight Howard into an efficient passer, and his ability to put up points in bunches helped carry Orlando during Howard's struggles and eventual absence.
While the power forward is a valued shooter and adequate rebounder, he has yet to prove he can make an impact defensively or even score on the inside. Those are two facets of the game he must improve upon if he wishes to develop into a star.
Potential Destinations: Brooklyn, Orlando, San Antonio
12. Raymond Felton, PG, Portland Trail Blazers (UFA)
Raymond Felton took a giant step backward this past season, but what he has done over the course of his career is not yet a distant memory.
Felton is an absolute workhorse who can make an impact in all areas of the game. He's great at attacking the rim, boasts incredible court vision, thrives off pick-and-rolls and is one of the most gritty perimeter defenders in the league.
The guard is extremely agile, but can sometimes be out of control with the ball in his hands—one of the downsides of Felton.
If a team is able to look past the dismal season he had in Portland, though, they'll have found themselves quite a catch in Felton.
Potential Destinations: Chicago, New York, Orlando
11. Ray Allen, SG, Boston Celtics (UFA)
Ray Allen, the leading three-point shooter in NBA history, will draw a slew of interest as an unrestricted free agent.
While he is approaching 37, Allen has one of the quickest releases in the game. That he balances it with efficiency is nothing short of incredible.
Though Allen remains a prolific shooter, his shot fell flat during the postseason. Because of his right ankle, which he recently had surgically repaired, Allen simply wasn't getting any lift or rotation on his jump shots.
However, while teams will undoubtedly proceed with caution—specifically the Celtics—Allen's reputation ensures he will attract plenty of suitors.
Potential Destinations: Boston, Los Angeles Clippers, Minnesota
10. O.J. Mayo, SG, Memphis Grizzlies (RFA)
O.J. Mayo is much more talented than we are led to believe.
The shooting guard can score from all areas of the court and is a sound perimeter defender.
That said, Mayo's progression has seemingly hit a brick wall, one that he hopes to break through next season.
Despite the uncertainty that comes along with him, Mayo is one of the most talented players in this year's free-agency pool.
Potential Destinations: Boston, Brooklyn, Phoenix, Memphis
9. Chris Kaman, C, New Orleans Hornets (UFA)
Chris Kaman is deceivingly coordinated.
Though Kaman appears to be an awkward and clumsy big man, he's actually quite the opposite. He runs the floor extremely well, has a nice touch around the basket, doesn't shy away from contact, turned into an enthusiastic defender and improved his numbers on the boards.
As one of the most gifted centers in the league, Kaman is bound to draw a wealth of interest.
While some teams will try to talk themselves out of offering him a lucrative contract as he recently hit 30, such resistance will ultimately prove no match for Kaman's potential impact.
Potential Destinations: Houston, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Portland
8. Jason Terry, SG, Dallas Mavericks (UFA)
There isn't a player in the league who shoots the three-ball in transition better than Jason Terry.
In a season marked by ageless wonders, the 34-year-old Terry more than earned his keep. He was Dirk Nowitzki's most reliable offensive sidekick and even stepped up on defense for the Mavs.
At this stage of his career, the only knock on Terry is his age. It has hardly affected him thus far, but Father Time is a fickle friend in the NBA.
That said, don't expect one of the best three-point shooters of all time—and right now—to be passed over after such a solid season.
Potential Destinations: Dallas, Miami, New York, Utah
7. Nicolas Batum, SF, Portland Trail Blazers (RFA)
After the stellar second half of the season put together by Nicolas Batum, the Blazers are kicking themselves for not extending him sooner.
Though Batum must still add muscle to become a true threat in the paint, he improved by leaps and bounds in every other area of his game. His shot began to fall consistently, he became more aggressive on the glass, and established better timing on defense.
The most intriguing thing about Batum, though? He's only 23 and has already established himself as one of the best swingmen in the league.
Potential Destinations: Boston, Brooklyn, Portland, Toronto
6. Roy Hibbert, C, Indiana Pacers (RFA)
Roy Hibbert does a little bit of everything.
The All-Star center had a break-out season that left the entire league wanting more. Hibbert developed a nice touch around the basket, honed his shot-blocking abilities, amped up his production on the glass and shot free throws well enough to make Dwight Howard jealous.
While there is plenty to be excited about with regard to Hibbert, the verdict on whether he is someone a team can build around has yet to be rendered.
Hibbert currently lacks the killer instinct that propels big men to domination, an elusive attribute his team will hope he develops next season.
Potential Destinations: Boston, Dallas, Houston, Indiana
5. Tim Duncan, C, San Antonio Spurs (UFA)
Age is but a number, a maxim Tim Duncan truly exemplifies.
The 36-year-old Duncan embarked on a renaissance of sorts this season, looking more like the versatile big man of old rather than simply an old big man.
San Antonio fell short of the 2012 NBA Finals, but Duncan was absolutely magnificent. He was incredibly efficient on both ends of the floor throughout the playoffs and helped the Spurs hold their own against Oklahoma City's stacked front line.
Should Duncan officially announce his return for next season, it's highly unlikely any team pries him away from San Antonio, but it won't be for a lack of trying.
Potential Destinations: Houston, Miami, Milwaukee, San Antonio
4. Kevin Garnett, PF, Boston Celtics (UFA)
Speaking of career revivals, how about Kevin Garnett?
The power forward flourished when the Celtics were forced to shift him to center and never looked back. He remained a defensive force, instilled a renewed low-post game into his arsenal, and continued to knock down mid- to long-range jump shots with consistency.
Garnett may be 36, but he has the exuberance of a rookie. Even in his twilight years he has managed to light up the stat lines while providing Boston with the necessary intangibles to win.
While the Celtics fell short of a finals appearance, Garnett's refusal to succumb to the rigors of age was truly inspiring and will be reflected in the offer sheets tossed his way in the open market.
Potential Destinations: Boston, Brooklyn, Miami, San Antonio
3. Eric Gordon, SG, New Orleans Hornets (RFA)
The NBA saw little of Eric Gordon this season, yet whatever he showed in flashes was enough to know he is a future star.
Gordon has dominated the game on both sides of the ball, raking in points, creating plays for his teammates and manning the perimeter on defense with enthusiasm.
While Gordon is no Chris Paul, he eased the pain of the Hornets' loss quite seamlessly when healthy.
As a result, expect him to receive multiple max—or near-max—offer sheets once the signing season begins.
Potential Destinations: Boston, Brooklyn, Indiana, New Orleans
2. Steve Nash, PG, Phoenix Suns (UFA)
Steve Nash has never been more valuable than he is now.
The 38-year-old point guard almost single-handedly led the Suns to a playoff berth this season. His offensive instincts have never been sharper and he continues to have one of the purest jump shots in the game.
As far as floor generals go, Nash is as good as it gets. Unless the Suns make substantial and immediate improvements, they'll likely watch him get scooped up by another team during the summer free-agent frenzy.
Potential Destinations: Dallas, Miami, New York, Phoenix
1. Deron Williams, PG, Brooklyn Nets (UFA-PO)
In an exceptionally deep free-agent class, Deron Williams is the star that shines brightest.
Williams is the perfect combination of agility and strength. He can attack the rim, but also pull up for a jump shot. He's also an outstanding floor general, with court vision that rivals both Steve Nash and Chris Paul.
While Williams' offensive accolades receive due recognition, his impact on defense remains understated. Not only is he great at breaking up the passing lanes, but his bulky stature and quick feet allow him to defend a wide variety of positions.
With the ability to dominate the game in so many different areas, it's clear that wherever Williams lands, NBA title contention won't be far behind for him and his club.
Potential Destinations: Brooklyn, Dallas, Phoenix, Portland