NBA Free-Agent Signings: Underrated Signings by Contenders That Provide Depth

Adam Fromal@fromal09National NBA Featured ColumnistJuly 13, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 18:  Hollis Thompson #1 of the Georgetown Hoyas looks on after a shot against the Virginia Commonwealth Rams in the first half during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the United Center on March 18, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Although we focus on the more glamorous max contracts quite a bit more, the underrated signings by contenders can be the ones that determine championships. 

Each team fighting for the chance to win an NBA title tries to pinch the pennies and get the most bang for its buck. Doing so requires making underrated signings and finding diamonds in the rough. 

These four signings by contenders did exactly that. 


Hollis Thompson, Oklahoma City Thunder

While Hollis Thompson won't be playing with the Oklahoma City Thunder during Summer League as he recovers from a sports hernia, the recently-inked undrafted free agent does have a three-year deal with the defending Western Conference Champions. 

Thompson obviously isn't going to start any time soon, but he will provide a little bit of extra depth off the bench for the Thunder. At this point in the team's maturation, that's all it needs. 

The 6'8" small forward is a terrific spot-up shooter with developing skills off the dribble. It was a bit surprising that he wasn't picked up in the draft, but leave it to Sam Presti to make the savvy move during free agency.   


Hasheem Thabeet, Oklahoma City Thunder

Sticking with the Oklahoma City Thunder for a second-straight player, we come to one of the biggest busts in NBA draft history. 

Hasheem Thabeet has fallen from grace since he was drafted at No. 2 in 2009 by the Memphis Grizzlies. Without much expectations now, he'll finally have a chance to thrive in a tiny role under Scott Brooks. 

The Tanzanian center, who stands 7'3", is still only 25 years old and can block shots quite effectively. As long as he's not asked to do much more than swat ill-advised runners and layups away while helping the Thunder win the rebounding battle, he'll succeed and help provide depth in the frontcourt. 


Mirza Teletovic, Brooklyn Nets

The Joe Johnson trade, Deron Williams signing, Gerald Wallace signing and Dwight Howard drama all knocked this move out of the mainstream news, but it remains an important one. 

One of the best players in all of international basketball, Mirza Teletovic will be joining forces with the rest of the Brooklyn Nets and could immediately find himself playing a prominent part in the rotation. 

He's an incredible sharpshooter with a pure stroke that seems like it's able to will the ball into the basket from anywhere on the court. If he runs the pick-and-pop with Deron Williams and the defense doubles the point guard, he's going to make them pay with a triple. 

Teletovic—who one of my good friends, Shashank, suggested we start calling "The Telescope"—needs to work on his defense and rebounding, but he can make a scoring impact from day one. 

Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs

Yes, the re-signing of Tim Duncan to a three-year deal would qualify as underrated. It was never a big story because no one else even tried to pursue the services of the best power forward in NBA history. 

It was such a done deal that Duncan would be returning to the San Antonio Spurs that no one at all seemed to care when it happened. You should care. 

Duncan's return guarantees the Spurs are going to be one of the best teams in the Western Conference once more. His inspired play during the postseason shows he's still got a lot left in the tank.