Under-the-Radar Offseason NBA Pickups with Biggest Immediate Impact
From Steve Nash signing with the Lakers, to Ray Allen taking his talents to South Beach, the 2012 offseason has certainly been full of high-profile signings that will shape the NBA over the next few seasons.
While those kinds of signings get all the spotlight, there are a number of under-the-radar pickups that will have an immediate impact in the NBA during the 2012-13 season.
Players like O.J. Mayo, Antawn Jamison and Randy Foye are not only going to thrive with their new teams, they are going to help their teams become more competitive.
Ahead are seven under-the-radar offseason pickups that will have the biggest immediate impact.
Lou Williams, G, Atlanta Hawks
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2012-13 Projected Stats: 34.5 MPG, 16.5 PPG, 4.5 APG
Lou Williams was an above-average player with the Philadelphia 76ers, but he was consistently held back by the talent that was around him on their roster.
Williams' minutes suffered because of the 76ers' depth, and that's something that won't happen with the Atlanta Hawks. That's part of why Williams will have such a strong immediate impact on his new team.
If Williams is coming off the bench in Atlanta, he could certainly be a contestant for the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year award. If he's inserted into the starting lineup, which is more than likely, Williams will be a foundational piece of the Hawks' success during the 2012-13 season.
Williams' athleticism and ability to slash into the paint is going to be a breath of fresh air for the Hawks, who have lacked that kind of talent at the point over the last few seasons.
Antawn Jamison, PF, L.A. Lakers
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2012-13 Projected Stats: 21.0 MPG, 11.0 PPG, 3.2 RPG
Antawn Jamison went from being one of the most overpaid players in the NBA to being an integral piece of the Lakers' championship hopes for the 2012-13 season.
Jamison, with his efficient offensive production and his ability to bang in the paint, is exactly the veteran kind of player the Lakers have needed on their bench for the last two or three seasons.
It will be difficult for Jamison to adjust from being a starter to being a role player coming off the bench, but once he does, that he'll certainly be one of the best bench players in the NBA.
Jamison's talents will make or break the Lakers next season. They will look to Jamison for immediate bench production, and if he can bring that, he'll easily be the steal of the 2012 offseason. When the Lakers are making a serious push for the 2013 NBA Finals, most will give credit to Steve Nash's presence. But the real credit will need to go to Jamison.
Marco Belienelli, SG, Chicago Bulls
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2012-13 Projected Stats: 27.5 MPG, 15.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG
Marco Belinelli didn't really set the world on fire in his time with the New Orleans Hornets.
But that wasn't because he's not capable of being an above-average shooting guard. It was because the Hornets lacked legitimate talent to help Belinelli out on the wing.
With the Bulls, opponents will struggle shutting down players like Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng and even Joakim Noah, and that will open up the floor for Belinelli. It will also help him be a more productive player almost immediately.
Belinelli alone won't be able to help the Bulls dominate the Eastern Conference without Derrick Rose, but his production and versatility at the shooting guard position will certainly be a step in the right direction. It's rare that a player's production increases as his minutes decrease, but that will be the case with Belinelli because of the players he has beside him with the Bulls.
Randy Foye, G, Utah Jazz
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2012-13 Projected Stats: 31.5 MPG, 15.5 PPG, 3.5 APG
Signing Randy Foye was exactly the move the Utah Jazz needed to make. It's a lease on a player with a lot of potential, and Foye will certainly realize that potential early on in the Jazz's weak backcourt.
They needed a player to add some athleticism and production to the wing, and that's exactly who Foye is. He will be able to run in transition and also help spread the floor so the Jazz can best utilize their solid frontcourt trio of Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors.
The best part of signing Foye to a one-year, $2.5 million deal—as reported by Yahoo! Sports—is that if Foye flops, which he won't, the Jazz will be able to part ways with him and look elsewhere for depth in their backcourt.
Foye will certainly struggle with efficiency because he's the kind of player who can throw up low-percentage shots too often. But he will still be an upgrade over the talent the Jazz had on the wing last year, and that's why he will make such an immediate impact.
There's no reason why Foye shouldn't be able to help the Jazz make a repeat playoff appearance at the end of the 2012-13 season.
O.J. Mayo, SG, Dallas Mavericks
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2012-13 Projected Stats: 37.5 MPG, 19.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG
O.J. Mayo signing with the Dallas Mavericks might not exactly be an "under-the-radar" signing, but for the price the Mavericks paid, the production Mayo will bring to the team will certainly be significant.
The Mavericks managed to sign Mayo to a two-year, $8.5 million deal that will actually result in Mayo taking a pay cut next season. That goes to show just how much Mayo needed a change of scenery.
Mayo's athleticism in transition and in the halfcourt offense at the shooting guard position will be at the foundation of the Mavs' success next season. There's no questioning the fact that Mayo can be inefficient at times, but the explosive production he brings to the court outweighs that inefficiency.
Mayo has a player option after his first year with the Mavs, and after they see his growth and maturity on the court, they will quickly sign Mayo to a long-term deal that will give Mayo the big-time payday he's been looking for.
With Dirk Nowitzki, Elton Brand and Chris Kaman demanding defensive focus inside the paint, Mayo will thrive, as the court will consistently be spread wide open for him and his athletic abilities.
Michael Beasley, SF, Phoenix Suns
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2012-13 Projected Stats: 34.5 MPG, 19.5 PPG, 6.5 RPG
Michael Beasley thinks he'll be an All-Star next season, and while that's a major stretch, he'll certainly be a much more productive player with the Phoenix Suns than the was with the Timberwolves last year.
The main reason why Beasley is going to return to his pre-2012 form is because he will have Goran Dragic controlling the offense and helping utilize his talents in transition—which is where Beasley thrives.
Beasley just needs to focus on not trying to do too much, because when he lets the game come to him, he's an extremely dangerous, dare I say, "All-Star-caliber" player. When he tries to do too much, though, he quickly becomes an inefficient player, and that's what Beasley needs to make sure he doesn't do.
Don't be surprised if Beasley helps the Suns return to the playoffs next season and even catapults them into a first-round series that goes a full seven games.
When Beasley is playing in the right system, he can be one of the most versatile players in the NBA, and Phoenix is certainly the right system for him.
Elton Brand, PF, Dallas Mavericks
2012-13 Projected Stats: 24.0 MPG, 12.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG
Elton Brand never truly earned the massive amounts of money he was making in Philadelphia. The good news for him is that now he's not making enough to warrant serious starter production, and that's the best place for him to be.
Brand will undoubtedly be a productive piece of the Mavericks bench next season. They will finally have frontcourt depth in their second unit, and the toughness Brand brings to the court will be a major part of that.
While Brand might not be the most physical player in the paint, he's a 6'9'', 255-pound player with a polished level of fundamental post skills, and that will help the Mavs compete in a very competitive Western Conference.
After failing to land any major free agents this offseason, the Mavericks have put together quite the cast heading into the 2012-13 season. With Brand leading the way off the bench, don't be shocked if the Mavs are one of the top contenders in the West at the end of the regular season.