NBA Free Agents 2012: Top 50 Players on the Market

Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIIJuly 1, 2012

NBA Free Agents 2012: Top 50 Players on the Market

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    As of 12:01 ET on July 1, 2012, the 2012 NBA free-agency period has officially begun.

    From young stars to aging legends, the class of free agents is filled to the brink with players who could push a team to the next level. With sharpshooters, interior forces and masterful point guards, the selection is as wide as any class of free agents in NBA history.

    So who happens to be the best of the best?

    While comparing players of different positions is like comparing apples and oranges, it's not hard to decipher the good from the great. Each player will bring their own form of contribution to their team, but who will help the most? Which players are the best free agents?

    The following 50 slides will answer just that.

Honorable Mention: Greg Oden, UFA

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    Position: Center

    Age: 24

    Experience: 2 Years

    When you've suffered as many season-ending injuries as Greg Oden, you won't crack the top 50. When you have top-pick talent and the potential to secure a low-cost contract with major rewards, however, you're certainly deserving of an honorable mention.

    Oden may never remain healthy. He also may end reaching a shadow of his potential as he discovers good health in a new city. Due to this fact, you can't overlook the possibility of signing Oden to a mid-level exception.

    Low-risk, potentially high-reward.

    2010 Season Averages

    11.1 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 2.3 BPG, 60.9 FG%

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    Grant Hill, Los Angeles Clippers

    While Hill won't put up 20 points a night or offer top-tier athleticism, he will offer an invaluable veteran presence with a great sense of leadership. Hill will be a great addition for any team.

    Update: Grant Hill has agreed to sign with Los Angeles Clippers.


    Jonny Flynn, UFA

    After spending three years in the league, Jonny Flynn has become the poster child for the label of "draft bust." Considering he's only 23 years old and hardly a recipient of consistent playing time, Flynn's upside remains intriguing enough that his placement on this list is well-warranted.

     

    Omer Asik, Houston Rockets

    Omer Asik is your quintessential effort player. He'll run after every loose ball, look to block every shot attempt and fight for every rebound. Assuming the Chicago Bulls allow him to go elsewhere, one lucky team will learn how valuable his efforts truly are.

    Update: Asik has agreed to terms with Houston Rockets.

50. Jason Kidd, New York Knicks

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    UPDATE (4:42 PM on 7/5/12): Jason Kidd has signed with New York Knicks

    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 39

    Experience: 18 Years

    Jason Kidd is far from the player he used to be. His athleticism has been lost with his age, while his shooting has become quite a liability. Nevertheless, Kidd is a stat-sheet stuffer who will tally a solid amount of assists, rebounds and steals while holding down the fort as a team's starting point guard rests on the bench.

    As for where Jason Kidd ends up, that's going to be wherever Deron Williams goes. Per a report via ESPN.com, Kidd and Williams happen to be a package deal.

    2012 Season Averages

    28.7 MPG, 13.11 PER, 6.2 PPG, 5.5 APG, 4.1 RPG, 1.7 SPG

49. Jason Thompson, Sacramento Kings

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    UPDATE (7/11/12): Sacramento Kings have re-signed Jason Thompson

    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 25

    Experience: 4 Years

    Jason Thompson is a tough interior player whose infectious effort and physical defense would benefit any potential suitor. His upside to become a starting 4 on a quality team exists because of another trait he possesses: intelligent scoring.

    Thompson is a bit too slow to defend a 4 and in need of some more strength to cover a 5. Nevertheless, he's an active defender who looks to get his hands on every loose ball possible. He's solid on the glass and one of the more efficient young players on both ends.

    To put it simply, Thompson is perfectly average at everything there is to do.

    2012 Season Averages

    25.9 MPG, 16.41 PER, 9.1 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 1.2 APG, 0.7 BPG

48. C.J. Miles, UFA

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    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 25

    Experience: 7 Years

    C.J. Miles is a very long wing player whose left-handed attack has fans marveling over his potential capabilities. While his shot selection could improve, as evidenced by his 38.1 field-goal percentage in 2012, he's always been a respected asset on the Jazz's perimeter.

    Miles can get to the basket and hit a mid-range jump shot if given the opportunity. He's also a much-improved defender whose athleticism suggests he could one day soon be considered a lockdown player. Upside doesn't always lead to execution, however, and seven years in, Miles continues to struggle.

    The potential is there, but is it worth the risk?

    2012 Season Averages

    20.4 MPG, 12.46 PER, 9.1 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 1.2 APG, 0.8 SPG

47. Marcus Camby, New York Knicks

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    UPDATE (7/9/12 at 7:47 p.m. EDT): Marcus Camby has agreed to sign with the New York Knicks.

    Position: Center

    Age: 38

    Experience: 16 Years

    At 38 years old, Marcus Camby remains one of the best interior defenders in the NBA. His 18.8 rebounds per 48 minutes ranked first in the NBA, while his 9.0 rebounds per game ranked 15th overall. Considering Camby did that in just 22.9 minutes, his age may not even be the most impressive factor.

    Camby remains an elite shot-blocker, as well, as his 1.4 blocks per game put him at 17th in the league. Once again, that number came in just 22.9 minutes of playing time per night, which brings his blocks per 48 minutes to 3.02; good for 13th in the league.

    Marcus Camby can still contribute and is likely to get a chance to do so for a championship contender.

    2012 Season Averages

    22.9 MPG, 16.25 PER, 4.9 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 1.4 BPG

46. Jordan Hill, Los Angeles Lakers

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    UPDATE (7/21/12): Jordan Hill has re-signed with Los Angeles Lakers

    Position: Center

    Age: 24

    Experience: 3 Years

    In the Los Angeles Lakers' seven-game series against the Denver Nuggets, Jordan Hill finished with two double-doubles and a third game with double-digit rebounds. Against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Hill finished with at least six rebounds in three out of five games, including a seven-minute outing in Game 5 in which he grabbed just two.

    In case I'm being unclear, Jordan Hill can crash the boards. This is a valuable trait for any team looking to improve their interior. Considering most teams are, expect Hill to quietly be in high demand.

    2012 Postseason Averages

    18.1 MPG, 14.10 PER, 4.8 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 0.7 BPG

45. Marreese Speights, Memphis Grizzlies

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    UPDATE (7/13/12): Marreese Speights has re-signed with Memphis Grizzlies

    Position: Center

    Age: 24

    Experience: 4 Years

    Mareese Speights is an upside-ridden big man whose strength and physicality in the paint has many singing his praises as a future star. At this point in his career, however, Speights has yet to get a hold on how his physicality should be properly utilized.

    He's is a foul-prone player whose ability to contribute is stunted by his tendency to find the pine. Should he find a way to remain on the floor, however, the former Florida star could develop into something special.

    Speights has an excellent jump shot and uncapped potential. Let's see if he learns how to reach it.

    2012 Season Averages

    22.4 MPG, 14.12 PER, 8.8 PPG, 6.2 RPG

44. Terrence Williams, UFA

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    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 25

    Experience: 3 Years

    The window of opportunity is closing for Terrence Williams, whose athletic ability and basketball IQ once had him made out to be the next big thing. After three years of inconsistent playing time and consistent visits to his respective coach's doghouse, Williams' future is in question.

    Nevertheless, the ability is there.

    Terrence Williams is a phenomenal athlete who sees the floor very well. He thrives in creating shots for others, but has no problem taking one himself. While his mid-range game is shaky, he gets to the basket well and finishes with authority.

    Williams is also a strong defender and an excellent rebounder for his size. Should he receive consistent minutes, his stat line alone will shock those who have written him off.

    2012 Season Averages

    18.3 MPG, 13.1 PER, 7.1 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.2 APG, 0.7 SPG

43. Jeff Green, Boston Celtics

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    UPDATE (7/8/12): Jeff Green has re-signed with Boston Celtics

    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 25

    Experience: 4 Years

    Should Jeff Green fully recover from heart surgery, the former Georgetown standout may emerge as the star he's capable of being. Should Green fail to fully recover from a basketball standpoint, he'll simply go down as one of our generation's best who never was.

    Expect a full recovery.

    Green is the definition of versatility, as he can score from mid-range, the low-post and even out to the three-point line. He's an excellent passer from the perimeter and post, as well as a reliable defender. While he may not be dominant, he certainly is intelligent.

    Until he's proven to be of good health, his ranking remains this low.

    2011 Season Averages

    12.92 PER, 13.3 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 1.4 APG, 0.7 SPG

42. Aaron Brooks, Sacramento Kings

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    UPDATE (7/16/12): Aaron Brooks has agreed to terms with the Sacramento Kings

    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 27

    Experience: 4 Years

    Aaron Brooks was once a fast-rising star, winning the 2010 Most Improved Player of the Year award. Two years later, Brooks is a player coming off of a disappointing 2011 campaign and no NBA play at all in 2012.

    While his talent suggests that he could be much further up this list, the circumstances surrounding Brooks' return to the NBA drop him low. Nevertheless, Brooks has starting ability and the potential to win a second Most Improved Player of the Year award.

    2011 Season Averages

    21.8 MPG, 13.20 PER, 10.7 PPG, 3.9 APG, 1.3 RPG

41. Carl Landry, Golden State Warriors

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    UPDATE (7/30/12): Carl Landry has signed with Golden State Warriors

    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 28

    Experience: 5 Years

    Carl Landry can be describe by three words: points, efficiency and injury. This is a great combination when on the court until the latter comes into play.

    As a free agent, those are the words that will be placed upon him as a bipolar label. For every game film watched and examined will come shock and awe. For every season stat sheet examined will come question and doubt for his ability to stay on the court.

    At the end of the day, someone will pull the trigger on the former Purdue Boilermaker. That team will receive a major boost to their frontcourt scoring, which suggests a mid-level exception from a contender may be on the way.

    2012 Season Averages

    24.4 MPG, 18.31 PER, 12.5 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 50.3% FG

40. Jerryd Bayless, Memphis Grizzlies

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    UPDATE (7/11/12 at 12:33 a.m. EDT): Jerryd Bayless has agreed to deal with Memphis Grizzlies

    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 23

    Experience: 4 Years

    Jerryd Bayless is the type of player who is worth the wait.

    As a starter, Bayless wowed the Raptors crowd into believing that the point guard of their future was on their current roster. As a reserve, Bayless' energy and effort only heightened the level of expectation. Unfortunately, Bayless hasn't been able to stay healthy in each of his two seasons in Toronto.

    At just 23 years old, however, Bayless' future is bright. He's a shoot-first point guard whose distribution skills tell you otherwise. He's a very intense player, giving a ferocious effort on both ends of the floor.

    Whichever team takes a risk on Bayless will be rewarded handsomely. The former Arizona Wildcat is a franchise point guard.

    2012 Season Averages

    22.7 MPG, 17.80 PER, 11.4 PPG, 3.8 APG, 2.1 RPG, 0.8 SPG

39. Courtney Lee, Boston Celtics

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    UPDATE (7/19/12): Boston Celtics acquire Courtney Lee via sign-and-trade 

    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 26

    Experience: 4 Years

    Courtney Lee is one of the most complete young players in the NBA. His defense is top of the line, offensive attack well-rounded and demeanor respectable.

    The former Western Kentucky player is one of the best up-and-coming perimeter defenders in the NBA. His athleticism offers him a distinct advantage over his opponents, while his footwork and decision-making on the perimeter helps him contain any opponent. This sets him apart as one of the better free agents available.

    While Lee isn't great off of the dribble, he's an excellent spot-up shooter. His athleticism also enables him to finish well in the paint, although his tendency to shy away from contact could be a concern.

    With all things measured, Lee is a player you take with even the minor concerns. He could start on a number of teams and will contribute regardless of where he ends up. 

    2012 Season Averages

    12.61 PER, 11.4 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.2 SPG

38. Shannon Brown, Phoenix Suns

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    UPDATE (7/20/12): Shannon Brown has agreed to terms with Phoenix Suns

    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 26

    Experience: 6 Years

    Shannon Brown is an explosive athlete whose level of patience from fans and executives has always been fascinating. The main reason for this is the star potential that Brown possesses, as well as the fact that he's always found a way to contribute beyond the stat sheet.

    Brown is lethal in transition and a much-improved defender. His shooting range stretches beyond the three-point line, while his attacking skills off of the dribble have begun to develop. Although he's not the greatest defender, he's very active on that end and loves to play the passing lanes.

    If the patience is there, Shannon Brown will reward his potential suitor for their risk.

    2012 Season Averages

    23.7 MPG, 13.68 PER, 11.0 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 1.2 APG, 0.7 SPG

37. Delonte West, Dallas Mavericks

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    UPDATE (7/26/12): Delonte West has re-signed with Dallas Mavericks

    Position: Combo Guard

    Age: 28

    Experience: 8 Years

    Delonte West is one of the most versatile guards in the NBA. He's an excellent ball-handler who can attack the basket well and finish just as efficiently. He's also an intelligent shot-taker, whose mid-range jump shot is very polished.

    On the defensive end, West overcomes a slight height disadvantage at the 2 with his intensity and focus. He gets into the passing lanes very well and utilizes his quickness to quickly avoid opponents as he breaks into transition.

    With all factors weighed, Delonte West can be labeled as a great reserve. After free agency, he may just get the chance he deserves to prove his worth as an NBA starter.

    2012 Season Averages

    24.1 MPG, 15.35 PER, 9.6 PPG, 3.2 APG, 2.3 RPG, 1.3 SPG

36. D.J. Augustin, Indiana Pacers

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    UPDATE (7/12/12): D.J. Augustin has agreed to one-year deal with Indiana Pacers.

    UPDATE (7/12/12): Charlotte Bobcats have withdrawn offer, making D.J. Augustin an Unrestricted Free Agent

    UPDATE (7/2/12): Charlotte Bobcats have extended qualifying offer to D.J. Augustin

    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 24

    Experience: 4 Years

    The Charlotte Bobcats have decided to make a qualifying offer to D.J. Augustin, forcing him to become a restricted free agent. Due to this fact, Augustin's ranking takes a hit, as the price for admission increases past a level that may exceed his current value.

    With that being said, the former Texas Longhorn has shown all the signs of being capable of running point for a playoff team. He has advanced facilitating abilities and, despite a decrease in scoring efficiency from 2011 to 2012, a solid jump shot.

    Augustin could be something special. While he may not be worth the cost that his status as a restricted free agent may require, he's a positive asset for any team.

    2012 Season Averages

    29.3 MPG, 14.17 PER, 11.1 PPG, 6.4 APG, 2.3 RPG, 0.8 SPG

35. Steve Novak, New York Knicks

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    UPDATE (7/9/12): Steve Novak has re-signed with New York Knicks

    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 29

    Experience: 6 Years

    Normally a three-point shooter with little else to offer would be much further down this list. In this instance, however, Steve Novak deserves to be where he is.

    Novak was, arguably, the biggest game-changer in all of basketball during the 2012 NBA season. The Marquette alum finished the year third in the NBA with 133 three-point field goals. He also finished at the top of the league in three-point field goal percentage, shooting 47.2 percent from distance.

    Of the other nine players in the top 10 of three-point field goals, only one shot above 40 percent. Steve Novak is, hands down, the best three-point shooter in the NBA. If that's not a weapon, explain to me how far Miami would have gone without Shane Battier and Mike Miller's contributions.

    2012 Season Averages

    18.9 MPG, 15.95 PER, 8.8 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 47.2% 3PT, 133 3PM

34. Brandon Bass, Boston Celtics

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    UPDATE (7/14/12): Brandon Bass has officially re-signed with Boston Celtics

    UPDATE (7/5/12): Brandon Bass has agreed to re-sign with Boston Celtics

    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 27

    Experience: 7 Years

    Brandon Bass had a solid regular season and a stellar postseason. On the heels of this breakthrough, as well as the Celtics' decision to draft Jared Sullinger in the first round, Bass is poised to become a popular name in free agency.

    The former LSU Tiger wowed viewers with a 27-point outburst in a pivotal Game 5 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. What most seem to forget is that, up to that point, Bass was the only Celtic to have scored in double-figures in each of the first four games during that series.

    Consistency, hard work and efficiency are what you'll get with Brandon Bass. A great signing for any team.

    2012 Season Averages

    14.21 PER, 12.5 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 0.9 BPG, 47.9% FG

33. Spencer Hawes, Philadelphia 76ers

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    UPDATE (7/5/12): Spencer Hawes has re-signed with Philadelphia 76ers

    Position: Center

    Age: 24

    Experience: 5 Years

    Spencer Hawes is one of the most promising big men in the NBA. He is an excellent passer from the post who opens scoring lanes up for himself with that very attribute. Around the basket, Hawes is an improving scorer who has learned to use the glass very well.

    Due to his size and mobility, Hawes is a very tough matchup to handle. While he's struggled with injuries early in his career, Hawes has developed into a reliable option on both ends. He blocks shots well and has a solid mid-range jump shot, making him an interior and perimeter threat.

    Hawes will help any team that picks him up. The question is, how healthy can he stay?

    2012 Season Averages

    24.9 MPG, 18.19 PER, 9.6 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.3 BPG

32. George Hill, Indiana Pacers

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    UPDATE (7/5/12): George Hill has re-signed with Indiana Pacers

    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 26

    Experience: 4 Years

    George Hill has shown flashes of brilliance. He has three-point range on his jump shot, the quickness to get into the paint and the consistent effort to make a difference on either end of the floor. This all seems to add up to stardom, which George Hill has flirted with—sporadically, from time to time.

    Had George Hill been a more consistent player thus far in his career, he'd be much higher on this list. Unfortunately, he's a score-first player whose facilitating abilities are not utilized in the proper manner. The cost won't be worth the player until that changes.

    2012 Season Averages

    25.5 MPG, 9.6 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 2.9 APG, 0.8 SPG

31. Daniel Green, San Antonio Spurs

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    UPDATE (7/9/12 at 8:25 p.m.): Daniel Green has re-signed with the San Antonio Spurs

    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 25

    Experience: 3 Years

    Danny Green finally became the player college basketball purists had expected him to be. He played excellent perimeter defense against players of multiple positions, including Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference semifinals.

    What's really become Green's trademark, however, is his ability to knock down the three-point shot in times of need.

    Green has become a true clutch performer at the young age of 25. On both ends of the floor, Green is an all-out effort player who does not back down from any opponent. This will set Green up to receive a solid deal from whatever team believes in his status as a sixth man or starting 2.

    2012 Season Averages

    23.1 MPG, 15.55 PER, 9.1 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 1.3 APG, 0.9 SPG, 43.6% 3PT

30. Anthony Randolph, Denver Nuggets

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    UPDATE (7/18/12): Anthony Randolph has agreed to sign with Denver Nuggets

    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 22

    Experience: 4 Years

    Anthony Randolph has the athletic ability and potential to be a bonafide superstar. Unfortunately, he's never found consistent playing time on the three teams he's been a part of in his young, four-year career.

    As if that should worry a team looking to sign a 22-year-old veteran.

    Randolph is a fresh-legged player in the sense that he's hardly had to deal with the wear and tear of an NBA player. He's rarely on the court, and when he is, his smooth movement and production are far less taxing than the bang inside play that Minnesota had asked of him.

    Regardless of where he signs, Randolph could maximize his potential at any given moment. The Dallas Mavericks appear interested.

    2012 Season Averages

    15.2 MPG. 17.62 PER, 7.4 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 1.0 BPG

29. Raymond Felton, New York Knicks

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    UPDATE (7/16/12): Raymond Felton has agreed to sign-and-trade with the New York Knicks

    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 28

    Experience: 7 Years

    If having a down season means you average 6.5 assists per game, sign my team up for the acquisition of this point guard.

    Raymond Felton is a true burner in every sense of the word. In the open court, his straight-line speed is near impossible to catch. His lateral quickness is also amongst the NBA's elite athletes, which makes for Felton's ability to penetrate off of the dribble and capitalize on the pick-and-roll of the greatest tier.

    Unfortunately, Felton has struggled with consistency. After establishing himself as a future star in New York, Felton has yet to find his comfort zone in either Denver or Portland. A change of scenery with an elite power forward and a trusting coach, however, could bring back Felton's 2010-'11 form.

    2012 Season Averages

    13.46 PER, 11.4 PPG, 6.5 APG, 2.5 RPG, 1.3 SPG

28. Ramon Sessions, Charlotte Bobcats

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    UPDATE (7/12/12): Ramon Sessions has agreed in principle to sign with the Charlotte Bobcats

    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 26

    Experience: 5 Years

    Ramon Sessions started out strong in Los Angeles and finished with a muted bang.

    From the early signs of explosive quickness to the closing signs of an inability to defend the elite point guards in the Western Conference, it's hard to label the Sessions-to-L.A. experiment a success. With that being noted, one would be foolish to ignore Sessions' lack of an offseason to acclimate himself with his teammates and playbook.

    As a free agent, Sessions' quickness is a valuable asset. He's performed well against top-tier players in the past and has the potential do so again. Whether or not he can do it on a consistent basis remains in question, however, which drops his ranking.

    2012 Season Averages

    16.79 PER, 11.3 PPG, 5.5 APG, 3.3 RPG, 0.7 SPG

27. Chauncey Billups, Los Angeles Clippers

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    UPDATE (7/5/12): Chauncey Billups has re-signed with Los Angeles Clippers

    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 35

    Experience: 15 Years

    Chauncey Billups has long been one of the most consistent players in the NBA. He's an excellent defender with deep three-point range and unquestioned leadership skills. He's also a former NBA champion whose presence alone will increase the quality of a team's roster.

    Unfortunately, Billups is 35 years old and coming off of a severe Achilles injury. His age is enough to have a negative effect on his quality of play. His Achilles could have an even greater effect on the longevity of his career.

    Billups is unlikely to return with the same lateral quickness. He's also unlikely to have the same lift on his jump shot. Nevertheless, Mr. Big Shot will continue to come up in the clutch and provide a team with a true floor general.

    Just temper your expectations as Billups comes off of an injury that could have ended his career right then and there.

    2012 Season Averages

    20 GP, 16.10 PER, 15.0 PPG, 4.0 APG, 2.5 RPG, 38.4% 3PT

26. Nick Young, Philadelphia 76ers

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    UPDATE (7/8/12): Nick Young has signed with Philadelphia 76ers

    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 27

    Experience: 5 Years

    Nick Young improved tremendously as he made the move from Washington to the Los Angeles Clippers. He went from the Wizard known for his boneheaded mistakes to the Clipper whose clutch shooting played a major role in their ability to move into the Western Conference semifinals.

    Don't expect a team to forget that as they evaluate the potential of signing the promising 27-year-old.

    Nick Young's upside isn't quite what it was when he was younger. At 27, his prime is expected to be in the present, which does push his ranking back a bit. Nevertheless, Young could become an elite scorer in the NBA should he improve his shot selection.

    Oh, the anticipation.

    2012 Season Averages

    27.9 MPG, 12.90 PER, 14.2 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 0.7 SPG

25. Gerald Green, Indiana Pacers

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    UPDATE (7/13/12): Gerald Green has signed with the Indiana Pacers

    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 26

    Experience: 5 Years

    Gerald Green emerged from the D-League with vengeance on his mind, exacting revenge on any and every NBA team that passed up on his abilities. He topped 20 points on seven separate occasions, including a 32-point performance against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    Considering Green played in just 31 games, that's mighty impressive. A young scorer who has a 23 percent chance, and growing, of hitting 20 points on a nightly basis? Sign me up.

    2012 Season Averages

    25.2 MPG, 15.88 PER, 12.9 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.1 APG, 0.9 SPG, 39.1% 3PT

24. Antawn Jamison, Los Angeles Lakers

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    UPDATE (7/16/12): Antawn Jamison has agreed to join the Los Angeles Lakers

    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 36

    Experience: 14 Years

    Antawn Jamison has outlasted Vince Carter in terms of quality performance. If you're a college basketball purist, you may have seen that coming. If you're everyone else, you're shocked that Carter never lived up to those lofty Michael Jordan comparisons.

    As for Jamison's game, he remains an excellent scoring option who could truly help a championship contender. He's well-versed in his mid-range game and has improved mightily as a low-post scorer. While his rebounding leaves room for improvement, his ability to stretch the floor is of great value.

    Jamison could be a No. 2 or No. 3 scoring option on an elite NBA team.

    2012 Season Averages

    16.17 PER, 17.2 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 2.0 APG, 0.8 SPG

23. J.J. Hickson, Portland Trail Blazers

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    UPDATE (7/16/12): J.J. Hickson agrees to one year deal with Portland Trail Blazers

    Position: Combo Forward

    Age: 23

    Experience: 4 Years

    After laboring through his time with the Sacramento Kings, J.J. Hickson displayed true star potential as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers. Hickson averaged 15.1 points and 8.3 rebounds on 54.3 percent shooting in 19 games with the Blazers.

    While repeating those numbers would certainly be difficult to duplicate, the 23-year-old has finally begun to live up to the expectations set out for him. There's no reason he can't achieve the difficult and contribute to a team in a major way.

    With all of this being said, what happened in Sacramento cannot be forgotten.

    2012 Season Averages

    23.0 MPG, 14.91 PER, 8.4 PPG, 6.2 RPG

22. Chris Kaman, Dallas Mavericks

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    UPDATE (7/11/12): Chris Kaman has agreed in principle to sign with the Dallas Mavericks

    Position: Center

    Age: 30

    Experience: 9 Years

    Chris Kaman is your quintessential tough guy big man. He's physical in the paint, fearless in defense and possessive of the glass. The difference between Kaman and most players of his style, however, is that he is also sound in the fundamentals.

    Kaman is an excellent passer out of the post and a two-handed scorer that can go over either shoulder. While he can be both turnover and injury-prone, he's worth a low-cost contract, as the reward will be big. Just don't bet the bank on this guy staying healthy.

    2012 Season Averages

    29.2 MPG, 15.42 PER, 13.1 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.6 BPG

21. Brook Lopez, Brooklyn Nets

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    UPDATE (7/11/12): Brook Lopez has signed max contract with Brooklyn Nets

    Position: Center

    Age: 24

    Experience: 4 Years

    As a scorer, Brook Lopez qualifies as an elite big man. In every other sense of playing the sport of basketball, Lopez is painful to watch.

    Despite standing at 7'0" tall, Lopez is horrendous on the glass. His career best was an average of 8.7 rebounds in 2010, which was a full injury-plagued season ago. Fortunately, Lopez is a better shot-blocker than he's given credit for and happens to be able to put up 20 points a night.

    As a free agent, there isn't very much question about where he's going to end up. The Nets have made it perfectly clear that he is a part of their plans heading forward, while Lopez has made his desire to move to Brooklyn equally understood.

    2011 Season Averages

    19.33 PER, 20.4 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.5 BPG

20. J.R. Smith, New York Knicks

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    UPDATE (7/10/12): J.R. Smith has re-signed with New York Knicks.

    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 26

    Experience: 8 Years

    J.R. Smith is one of the most polarizing figures in professional basketball.

    One one end, you have a guy who can compete with the Kobe Bryants of the world when he's found his scoring touch. On the other, you have a guy who reaches that level so rarely that his ability is entirely forgotten.

    What's important to note, however, is that Smith is a changed player. He is no longer an inconsistent offensive force with little to offer on the defensive end, as the Mike Woodson system in New York has brought out the best defensive effort Smith has ever put forth.

    An effort that has led to some of the best perimeter defense the Knicks had to offer. With such a weak history of consistent play, however, it's hard to rationally place Smith much higher than this.

    2012 Season Averages

    27.6 MPG, 15.27 PER, 12.5 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 2.4 APG, 1.5 SPG

19. Kris Humphries, Brooklyn Nets

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    UPDATE (7/17/12): Kris Humphries has re-signed with Brooklyn Nets

    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 27

    Experience: 8 Years

    Kris Humphries is a top-tier rebounder, agitating defender and growing offensive force. For the team who signs him, he'll also be one of the best players in their starting lineup.

    He's as strong as anyone in the league and uses that to his full advantage in the paint. His strong arms allow him to secure offensive boards and finish well in the paint. They also enable him to push players off of the block, as well as send a message to a penetrating guard.

    Humphries is a well-rounded weapon who is improving with each passing game.

    2012 Season Averages

    13.8 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.2 BPG, 0.8 SPG

18. Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers

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    UPDATE (4:00 PM on 7/5/12): Jamal Crawford has signed with Los Angeles Clippers

    Position: Combo Guard

    Age: 32

    Experience: 12

    For those worried that Jamal Crawford has lost too many steps to compete, fear not. Much like the rest of the Portland Trail Blazers roster, Crawford was caught in a situation in which the talent was not properly utilized and the locker room was poorly managed.

    As Crawford signs in a more fitting location, expect his numbers to go back to those that fit his Sixth Man of the Year reputation.

    The former Michigan Wolverine remains a viable option for primary ball-handling duties. He's also capable of scoring as well any player on any roster, making the Jamal Crawford fans fall in love with a player on the return.

    The question is, how much longer will the 32-year-old last?

    2012 Season Averages

    26.9 MPG, 15.80 PER, 14.0 PPG, 3.2 APG, 2.0 RPG, 0.9 SPG

17. JaVale McGee, Denver Nuggets

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    UPDATE (7/18/12): JaVale McGee agrees to four year, $44 million deal with Denver Nuggets

    UPDATE (7/14/12): Denver Nuggets offer JaVale McGee five year, $50 million deal.

    Position: Center

    Age: 24

    Experience: 4 Years

    JaVale McGee finally put his athletic ability to good use in 2012, pairing with Andre Miller to make for a serious 1-5 threat. His improvements included a 16-point, 15-rebound, three-block, two-steal performance against the Los Angeles Lakers in a Game 3 victory. They also saw McGee post 21 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks in Game 5.

    Over the span of those two games, McGee shot a combined 17-of-24 from the floor. He can be that good.

    While McGee is set to hit free agency and receive a large contract, his best bet would be to re-sign with the Denver Nuggets. For one reason or another, George Karl's guidance has taken McGee a long way towards legitimacy. Time to continue on the proper road.

    2012 Season Averages

    25.2 MPG, 19.90 PER, 11.3 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 2.2 BPG

16. Andre Miller, Denver Nuggets

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    UPDATE (7/10/12): Andre Miller has re-signed with Denver Nuggets

    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 36

    Experience: 13 Years

    Andre Miller's playoff performance against the Los Angeles Lakers spoke volumes to what he has left in the tank.

    Miller remains an elite passer whose court vision is unblemished. Miller is as great as any point guard in the league at developing big men, running the pick-and-roll to perfection and teaching the younger bigs where they need to be for their best chance at scoring.

    Fortunately for the fans in Denver who believe his contributions are needed to chase a title, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports that good news is on the way.

    Nuggets agree to re-sign guard Andre Miller to a three-year deal, sources tell Yahoo! Sports.

    — Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 2, 2012

     

    Ty Lawson and Andre Miller have another year to chase their dreams.

     

    2012 Season Averages

    27.4 MPG, 14.84 PER, 9.7 PPG, 6.7 APG, 3.3 RPG, 1.0 SPG

15. Lou Williams, Atlanta Hawks

38 of 52

    UPDATE (7/10/12): Lou Williams has signed with Atlanta Hawks

    UPDATE (7/6/12): Lou Williams has parted ways with Philadelphia 76ers

    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 25

    Experience: 7 Years

    If not for James Harden's clinical attack, the 2012 Sixth Man of the Year award would have gone to Lou Williams. Rightfully so, as Williams led a playoff team in scoring.

    As Williams hits free agency, the world will become better acclimated with what he is capable of.

    Williams, the 2005 Naismith Prep Player of the Year, is as clutch as they come. He has deep three-point range on his jump shot and a knack to get into the paint and finish strong. With a better offensive unit around him, so will come a lower amount of forced shots.

    Expect Williams to have his best season to date.

    2012 Season Averages

    26.3 MPG, 20.22 PER, 14.9 PPG, 3.5 APG, 2.4 RPG, 0.8 SPG

14. Jeremy Lin, Houston Rockets

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    UPDATE (7/18/12): Jeremy Lin has signed with Houston Rockets.

    UPDATE (7/16/12): New York Knicks unlikely to match Rockets' offer.

    UPDATE (7/8/12): New York Knicks to match Houston Rockets offer on Jeremy Lin.

    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 23

    Experience: 2 Years

    What we must remember as free agency comes into full swing is the fact that the NBA is a business. As we evaluate this class of free agents, there is no better business decision than signing Jeremy Lin.

    The Linsanity phase may have come and gone, but the hype surrounding the global superstar remains. This will entice general managers enough to take a chance on the 23-year-old, as they look to build their franchise's reputation and increase revenue via ticket and jersey sales.

    While his abilities suggest a lower ranking, we cannot overlook the power of his name. As unfortunate as it may be, business is a major piece of the NBA's culture, and it plays a major role in this ranking.

    2012 Season Averages

    26.9 MPG, 19.97 PER, 14.6 PPG, 6.2 APG, 3.1 RPG, 1.6 SPG

13. Michael Beasley, Phoenix Suns

40 of 52

    UPDATE (4:22 PM 7/5/12): Michael Beasley has signed with the Phoenix Suns

    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 23

    Experience: 4 Years

    With news that the Minnesota Timberwolves will not make a qualifying offer to Michael Beasley, the embattled star is free to roam free agency. For Beasley and his career, this is the best news possible.

    The combo forward has displayed all the traits of an elite NBA scorer. Beasley is powerful off of the dribble and above-average from the post. He's also a solid jump shooter, although he could decrease his tendency to rely on his mid-range game. Paired with his ability to put up a double-double any night by actually trying on the boards, Beasley is as dangerous as they come.

    All in all, Michael Beasley has the potential to be elite. If he didn't, he would not have gone second overall in the 2008 NBA draft.

    2012 Season Averages

    23.1 MPG, 13.11 PER, 11.5 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 1.0 APG, 37.6% 3PT

12. Jason Terry, Boston Celtics

41 of 52

    UPDATE (4:23 PM 7/5/12): Jason Terry has signed with Boston Celtics

    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 34

    Experience: 13 Years

    Jason Terry is a former NBA champion whose prime is not too far behind him. The former Arizona Wildcat remains a marksman from beyond the arc, while maintaining his ability to penetrate off of the dribble.

    Considering Terry's shooting has led to the crowning of an NBA champion, it's clear why he'll contribute to any playoff hopeful. He's a perennial Sixth Man of the Year candidate and is worthy of his placement on this list.

    Three more years of this level of play is certainly in store.

    2012 Season Averages

    15.80 PER, 15.1 PPG, 3.6 APG, 2.4 RPG, 37.8% 3PT

11. Ray Allen, Miami Heat

42 of 52

    UPDATE (7/7/12): Ray Allen has agreed to terms with Miami Heat

    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 36

    Experience: 16 Years

    Ray Allen is the greatest three-point shooter of all time. He's also a former NBA champion with an infectious hunger for success. Even at the age of 36, Ray Allen would bring something to a team that very few members on this list can match.

    Allen will clearly bring an elite three-point and free-throw shooter to any team. Those contributions on their own are worth attention, as a team winning a championship without sharpshooters is as unlikely as the Charlotte Bobcats taking home the gold in 2013. Ray Allen, however, is much more than a three-point shooter.

    Allen remains a tenacious defender and the single best player in the NBA at moving without the ball. This improves a team's defensive quality and makes life for a point guard much easier to deal with.

    Why any team would pass up on Allen's services is beyond me.

    2012 Season Averages

    14.83 PER, 14.2 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 2.4 APG, 45.3% 3PT

10. Goran Dragic, Phoenix Suns

43 of 52

    UPDATE (4:25 PM 7/5/12): Goran Dragic has signed with Phoenix Suns

    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 26

    Experience: 4 Years

    Goran Dragic has come a long way since backing Steve Nash up in Phoenix.

    The 26-year-old is a favorite amongst NBA fans in hopes of a new star being born. His 23-point outburst in the 2010 postseason made history, while his play in the absence of Kyle Lowry sparked belief. Whether or not Dragic can back the hype up on a full-time basis has yet to be seen, but at 26, the odds are high.

    From his time as Steve Nash's understudy to the trials and tribulations of backing up a player of his own age, Dragic has the necessary experience to thrive. At 26, a potential five-year deal is on its way, and a star will be born.

    2012 Season Averages

    26.5 MPG, 18.03 PER, 11.7 PPG, 5.3 APG, 2.5 RPG, 1.3 SPG

9. Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs

44 of 52

    UPDATE (7/10/12): Tim Duncan has re-signed with San Antonio Spurs for three years. 

    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 36

    Experience: 15 Years

    At age 36, Tim Duncan remains one of the league's most efficient players. He's continued to perform well when his services have been needed the most, all the while maintaining a calm and respected demeanor.

    Coming off of a postseason run in which the San Antonio Spurs came within a 2-0 meltdown of making the NBA Finals, the hunger for one more ring may trump all of the attributes previously noted.

    If a team is looking for a leader, Tim Duncan is that guy. If a team is looking for an elite interior presence who is great on the boards and a force as a shot-blocker, Tim Duncan is that guy. If they want one of the greatest postseason performers of all time, Duncan once again fits the bill.

    While a long-term deal seems out of the question, Duncan is ready to lift any locker room to a new level of production.

    Just don't expect those contributions to come from anywhere but San Antonio.

    Spurs Tim Duncan having good contractual talks with SA about re-signing & its very unlikely he will consider another team, sources told Y!

    — Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 2, 2012

     

    Another title chase should be on the way.

    2012 Season Averages

    22.60 PER, 22.60 PER, 15.4 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 2.3, 1.5 BPG

8. Nicolas Batum, Portland Trail Blazers

45 of 52

    UPDATE (7/18/12): Portland Trail Blazers have matched Minnesota Timberwolves' offer; will re-sign Nicolas Batum

    UPDATE (7/9/12): Portland Trail Blazers to match any offers for Nicolas Batum

    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 23

    Experience: 4 Years

    We all know Nicolas Batum is going to be a star. The question is, when?

    The lanky Frenchman took the beginning steps in 2012 as he established himself as a dangerous defender. Batum finally began to use his length, as he averaged a block and steal per game. This led to plenty of transition scoring opportunities for the Trail Blazers, who are likely to throw everything they have at Batum to retain his services.

    On the offensive end, Batum has always had a nice stroke with solid range. While the consistency isn't always there, that will come in time as the 23-year-old develops a more well-rounded attack. As long as he remains healthy, the Kevin Durant-like expectations may one day be achieved.

    2012 Season Averages

    17.32 PER, 13.9 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 1.4 APG, 1.0 BPG, 1.0 SPG

7. O.J. Mayo, Dallas Mavericks

46 of 52

    UPDATE (7/19/12): O.J. Mayo has officially signed a contract with Dallas Mavericks

    UPDATE (7/17/12): O.J. Mayo has agreed to a multi-year deal with Dallas Mavericks.

    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 24

    Experience: 4 Years

    Before O.J. Mayo was an embattled top-5 draft pick, he was everyone's choice for star in the making. He had averaged at least 17.5 points per game in each of his first two seasons, shooting a solid percentage from everywhere on the floor.

    And then came 2011.

    O.J. Mayo became more of a combo guard in 2011, as Lionel Hollins thrust him into the role of secondary ball-handler and facilitator. This led to Mayo handling the ball more and moving without the basketball less. In turn, Mayo's shooting percentages went down, and his offensive efficiency plunged with it.

    As a free agent, expect Mayo to sign to a situation in which he can go back to his role as a 2. His numbers will improve accordingly, and the 24-year-old will emerge into what we've always expected of him: a star at the position.

    2012 Season Averages

    26.8 MPG, 14.76 PER, 12.6 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.1 SPG

6. Ersan Ilyasova, Milwaukee Bucks

47 of 52

    UPDATE (7/14/12): Ersan Ilyasova has re-signed with Milwaukee Bucks

    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 25

    Experience: 4 Years

    Ersan Ilyasova is a great player in a small market. As a result, not many people really know how good the native of Turkey really is. After the 2013 season comes to its conclusion, the world will know all about this double-double machine.

    Ilyasova is an outstanding rebounder, whose upside on the boards is similar to that of Kevin Love. With his ability to knock down a three, score from the post and influence a game during crunch time, the rest of his game may have Love potential as well.

    Someone is getting a steal.

    2012 Season Averages

    27.6 MPG, 20.55 PER, 13.0 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 1.2 APG, 45.5% 3PT

5. Eric Gordon, New Orleans Hornets

48 of 52

    UPDATE (7/14/12): New Orleans Hornets have officially matched Phoenix Suns' offer. Eric Gordon will remain with Hornets.

    UPDATE (7/14/12): New Orleans Hornets will match Phoenix Suns' offer, plan to keep Eric Gordon.

    UPDATE (7/8/12): Eric Gordon agrees to deal with Phoenix Suns; doesn't want New Orleans Hornets to match.

    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 23

    Experience: 4 Years

    Eric Gordon may be the most hyped free agent of this class.

    From his tenacious attack of the basket to his impressive mid-range jump shooting, the world has been waiting on Eric Gordon for quite some time. With his involvement in the infamous Chris Paul trade, the hype grows louder and expectations come with it.

    Gordon's ability backs it up, as he has true star potential. He can light the scoreboard up, swipe steals with ease and is a much-improved defender since the beginning of his career. Unfortunately, Gordon has a long history of injuries that he must overcome.

    As for where Gordon may end up, the Indiana Pacers, Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets appear to be early favorites.

    2011 Season Averages

    18.56 PER, 22.3 PPG, 4.4 APG, 2.9 RPG, 1.3 SPG

4. Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics

49 of 52

    UPDATE (7/14/12 at 3:49 p.m.): Kevin Garnett has officially re-signed with Boston Celtics

    UPDATE (7/5/12 at 4:00 p.m.): Kevin Garnett has agreed to re-sign with Boston Celtics

    Position: Center

    Age: 36

    Experience: 17 Years

    According to Frank Dell'Apa of the Boston Globe, Kevin Garnett has signed a three-year deal worth $34 million. The lucky suitors? The very Boston Celtics team that he's spent the past five years chasing championships with.

    Whether this report proves to be true or the deal falls through, Garnett is worth the money. Even at age 36, the former league MVP remains one of the top 5 interior defenders in the NBA. He's still active on the glass and as consistently efficient a scorer as any in the league.

    His championship pedigree and unmatched work ethic push Garnett right into another top-5 list, as he ranks amongst the free-agent elite.

    2012 Season Averages

    20.47 PER, 15.8 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.0 BPG, 0.9 SPG

3. Steve Nash, Los Angeles Lakers

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    UPDATE (4:30 PM on 7/5/12): Steve Nash has agreed to sign-and-trade with Los Angeles Lakers

    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 38

    Experience: 16 Years

    With the Phoenix Suns drafting Kendall Marshall, it appears the man who saved their franchise will be on the move. Even if they did offer Steve Nash a decent deal, playing for development will not occur in Phoenix if it happens at all.

    Even at 38, Nash has proven that he remains amongst the NBA's elite. His 10.7 assists per game ranked second to just Rajon Rondo, the newly crowned king of the assist. Due to this fact, every team in the league has begun to consider enlisting Nash's services as he aims to ride into the sunset with a title in hand.

    Whichever team pulls the trigger, knows what they're in for—an elite point guard who took a weak Phoenix Suns team to the cusp of playoff glory.

    2012 Season Averages

    20.29 PER, 12.5 PPG, 10.7 APG, 3.0 RPG, 53.2% FG

2. Roy Hibbert, Indiana Pacers

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    UPDATE (7/11/12): Indiana Pacers match Portland Trail Blazers' offer for Roy Hibbert.

    Position: Center

    Age: 25

    Experience: 4 Years

    The 2012 NBA season was kind to Roy Hibbert, as the former Georgetown Hoya achieved three major firsts. During the regular season, Hibbert was named to his first All-Star game. During the postseason, Hibbert and the Indiana Pacers made it to their first Eastern Conference semifinals appearance since 2005.

    As for the third feat, Hibbert and the Pacers became the first team to own a series lead over the Miami Heat. It's the small things that count.

    Entering free agency, Roy Hibbert has already proven to be a hot commodity. The elite interior defender is already on the receiving end of a max contract offer from the Portland Trail Blazers and is likely to be the recipient of several other major potential deals.

    Consider Roy Hibbert a prized target.

    2012 Season Averages

    29.8 MPG, 19.35 PER, 12.8 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 1.7 APG, 2.0 BPG

1. Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets

52 of 52

    UPDATE (4:30 PM on 7/5/12): Deron Williams has re-signed with Brooklyn Nets

    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 28

    Experience: 7 Years

    There is no debate about who the best free agent on the market is. Deron Williams is a top-15 player in the NBA and a top-5 point guard. The only question is, who will acquire his services?

    Deron Williams may be the best scoring option on the market. He's also one of the top two facilitating options with Steve Nash rivaling him for first, so the big money deal will be there. The benefit of signing Williams will be just as obvious once he hits the floor.

    2012 Season Averages

    20.34 PER, 21.0 PPG, 8.7 APG, 3.3 RPG, 1.2 SPG