Acquiring the right shooting guard can change the entire dynamic of a team's offense, but the wrong one can throw an offense out of whack.
The offseason is the prime time for teams to bring in new talent. That's been extremely evident this summer, as numerous contenders signed free-agent shooting guards for the 2012-13 season and beyond.
We won't be able to tell which deal worked out the best for player and team, but we're going to do some speculating.
Here are five smart free-agent shooting guard signings.
Now that, my friends, is a slam dunk.
J.R. Smith is one of those players who can shoot you back into a game (60 points, 14 threes in Chinese League playoff game) or shoot you right out of it (most of the New York Knicks' first-round series against the Miami Heat).
However, what makes this deal so great is the fiscal responsibility exhibited by the Knicks front office. The Knicks signed Smith to a two-year contract with a first-year salary of $2.8 million and a player option of $3.4 million the second year.
Smith came to the Knicks in the middle of the season and looked out of whack at times last year, but $2.8 million for one year is an awesome bargain for a player who can be a bona fide scorer.
Unfortunately for Boston Celtics fans, Ray Allen signed a three-year deal worth $9.5 million with the Miami Heat after playing the last five seasons in Boston.
Allen has averaged 20 points, 3.6 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game over the course of his 16-year career with the Milwaukee Bucks, Seattle SuperSonics and Celtics since breaking into the league in 1996.
He battled an ankle injury last season, but the Heat are hoping he can return to form this upcoming season.
If he is able to do just that, defenses are going to have a ridiculously hard time keeping him from putting points on the board. While LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are attacking the rim, Allen will presumably be camped around the perimeter waiting for an open shot.
Opposing defenses beware.
Before he was forced to retire prior to last season, Brandon Roy was in the top-tier of NBA shooting guards. You could even make the case that he was in the NBA's top-tier among all players.
The "smart level" of this deal is contingent upon Roy's ability to stay on the court. Degenerative knee issues typically don't bode too well for a player who needs elevation to get his shot off, but only time will tell.
If all goes well, the Minnesota Timberwolves won't regret extending a two-year $10.4 million deal to Roy fresh out of retirement.
Rick Adelman could be looking at a starting lineup of Ricky Rubio, Roy, Nikola Pekovic, Kevin Love and whomever the head coach deems fit to play small forward.
Are the T'Wolves contenders for a seven- or eight-seed? There's no reason to think otherwise.
The Atlanta Hawks shipped their starting shooting guard, Joe Johnson, to the Brooklyn Nets and replaced him with Lou Williams.
According to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, the Hawks will sign Williams to their $5 million mid-level exception.
Williams finished second in the NBA Sixth Man of the Year voting, and has been known as a super-sub throughout most of his career. Surely, the Hawks won't let him waste away on the bench and could use him as a starter.
The 25-year-old former second-round pick averaged a career high 14.9 points per contest last season with the Philadelphia 76ers in 64 games.
A mid-level exception deal is a score for the Hawks here, as they are clearly looking to unload their bulky contracts this offseason.
Even before the Boston Celtics knew that Ray Allen would be leaving for the Miami Heat, GM Danny Ainge went after free-agent shooting guard Jason Terry.
According to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe, the Celtics and Terry have verbally agreed to a three-year contract at the $5 million mid-level exception.
At 34 years old, Terry has consistently proved that he could be a solid option off the bench for the Dallas Mavericks, averaging 16.8 points per game over the last four seasons.
Not only will he help the Celtics on the court, he should be able to aid in the development of young shooting guard Avery Bradley, who blossomed into a nice scoring option for the Celtics before he was sidelined with a shoulder injury.