Power Ranking NBA Free Agents Who Will Have Biggest Impact with New Team

Roy BurtonContributor IJuly 22, 2012

Power Ranking NBA Free Agents Who Will Have Biggest Impact with New Team

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    Just three weeks into the NBA free-agency period, nearly every big-name free agent has put his name on the dotted line.

    While many chose to stay with their current employer, a number of players changed addresses and jerseys this summer, and the balance of power in several divisions changed with them.

    So, as the hectic free-agency period begins to die down, here's a look at the 10 free agents who will have the biggest impact with their new team.

10) Jamal Crawford, Clippers

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    If it wasn't for his suspect shot selection (most of his attempts come from 16 feet and out, according to ESPN affiliate HoopData), Jamal Crawford would be the prototypical combo guard.

    At 6'5", Crawford has the size and skill set to play both guard positions, and he draws contact at a very high rate for a reserve player.

    The fact that Crawford still averaged 14.0 points (while shooting 38.4 percent) in a down season last year is testament to the fact that he's extraordinarily adept at putting the ball in the basket.

    With Nick Young now in Philadelphia, Crawford is more than capable of filling the role as the Clippers' instant offense option off the bench.

9) Aaron Brooks, Kings

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    This isn't a bad offseason for Aaron Brooks. The 6' point guard went from starring for the Guangdong Southern Tigers in the Chinese Basketball Association to signing a two-year, $6 million deal with the Sacramento Kings.

    The last time Brooks was a regular starter in the NBA (2010-11), he averaged 19.6 PPG and 5.3 APG. For the time being, however, Brooks will come off of the bench for Sacramento.

    With the number of guards currently in the Kings' backcourt (Brooks, Tyreke Evans, Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Thornton, Jimmer Fredette), a trade almost seems inevitable. Once that happens, Brooks will have even more of a chance to shine for a Sacramento team that isn't all that far from contending for a playoff spot.

8) Lou Williams, Hawks

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    Since Philips Arena is affectionately known as the "Highlight Factory," newly acquired combo guard Lou Williams should fit right in, given his flair for the dramatic.

    Williams is the rare player who can take fans from disgust (with his questionable shot selection) to utter elation (with his penchant for making those questionable shots) within the span of a single possession.

    While it's doubtful that Williams will start for the Hawks, he'll get his fair share of minutes now that Joe Johnson is in Brooklyn. The 6'1" Williams averaged 14.9 PPG last season and could equal that figure in Atlanta this season.

7) Nick Young, 76ers

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    Not only did the Philadelphia 76ers struggle on offense last year, but the team just lost its leading scorer as Lou Williams signed a multi-year deal with the Atlanta Hawks.

    Fortunately, the team was able to obtain the services of Nick Young—a 6'7" scorer who never met a shot that he didn't like. Young will have every opportunity to put up shots next season for an anemic Sixers' attack that averaged less than 94 points per game during the 2011-12 campaign. 

    If Young can become a bit more focused on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court, he should be in the running for the league's Sixth Man of the Year Award.

6) Luis Scola, Suns

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    Luis Scola is the perfect addition for a young Phoenix Suns team that needs a healthy dose of talent and veteran leadership. And while Scola's play declined a bit last season, he still managed to average 15.5 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. 

    Scola's arrival in Phoenix also reunites him with point guard Goran Dragic. The two had success together for nearly a season and a half in Houston. 

    Will Scola get the Suns over the hump and into the playoffs? Not immediately. But whatever the Suns got him for in the amnesty auction is a small price to pay for an experienced, proven power forward.

5) Ray Allen, Heat

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    If anyone needed proof that the "rich get richer" proverb was (and is) true, the defending champion Miami Heat convinced Ray Allen to take a pay cut to come to South Beach.

    With Allen running off screens and setting up beyond the arc, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will have even more freedom to operate in the half court. Perhaps even more importantly, the signing of Allen only served to weaken the Boston Celtics, who appear to be the Heat's primary nemesis in the Eastern Conference this season.

    If Allen is fully recovered from the bone spurs in his right ankle, Miami will be the odds-on favorite to bring home its second consecutive title.

4) Jason Kidd, Knicks

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    The signing of Jason Kidd was so well-regarded in NBA circles that even opposing players voiced their approval, according to Jonah Ballow of KnicksNow.com.

    "I think it puts Carmelo [Anthony] and Amar'e [Stoudemire] in position to do what they do naturally, which is score the ball and not having to worry about facilitating for others," said Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant.

    Between Linsanity, Baron Davis and a whole host of others, the New York Knicks point guard situation was in a constant state of flux last season. With the stable hand of Kidd running the show—and without 'Melo pounding the ball at the top of the key for 10 seconds per possession—New York should be far more efficient on offense in 2012-13.

3) Jason Terry, Celtics

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    The Boston Celtics may have lost the most prolific three-point shooter of all time (Ray Allen), but they replaced him with a man who has made nearly 1,800 three-pointers in his career (Jason Terry).

    The 6'1" Terry is more than a one-dimensional threat, however. He's a perennial candidate for the league's Sixth Man of the Year Award and could even start at shooting guard for Boston as Avery Bradley recovers from shoulder surgery.

    The arrival of Terry solidifies an already potent Boston bench, and the Celtics are in an even better position to make a run for an NBA title this season.

2) O.J. Mayo, Mavericks

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    Dallas has been desperately looking for firepower this summer. O.J. Mayo was in need of a change of scenery. So, it only made sense for the two of them to come together this offseason, and the resulting marriage should be a thing of beauty.

    After two years in a reserve role for the Memphis Grizzlies, Mayo will slide right into the starting shooting guard spot in a new-look Mavericks' backcourt.

    Mayo has the talent and ability to average 17 to 18 points per game, and along with Dirk Nowitzki and some of Dallas' other recent additions, the Mavs could make some noise in the Western Conference playoffs next season.

1) Steve Nash, Lakers

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    During the postseason, the point guard play for the Los Angeles Lakers left a lot to be desired. The two-headed playmaking monster of Ramon Sessions and Steve Blake was completely outclassed by Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook, and the Lakers simply couldn't keep pace with the Thunder attack.

    Steve Nash is set to change all of that.

    Even at 38 years old, Nash is the best point guard that the Lakers have had in over a decade. Not only will he pair nicely in the backcourt with Kobe Bryant, but the 6'3" Nash is a deft passer who should make everyone on the team better.

    Provided that neither is traded for Dwight Howard, both Andrew Bynum and Paul Gasol should thrive with Nash at the helm, and the Lakers now have a legitimate chance at challenging for the Western Conference title.