NBA Free Agency: 6 Unsigned Players Who Could Have a Big Impact on a New Team
The NBA free-agency pool is drawing rather thin, but there are still players out there who can make a big impact for a new team (or an old one, if they choose to return).
In fact, there are six of them.
From amnesty victims to veterans to young players searching for a team, these six are all quality basketball players who won't be stars, but will be able to contribute to more than a few wins in the right situation.
Just for the record, Alonzo Gee is only excluded from this article because he's expected to re-sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the very near future.
Read on to find out who the six players are.
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Last Team: Denver Nuggets
2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 5.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.4 blocks
"Birdman" has had some struggles in the past, including a run-in with the law that saw him dismissed from the Denver Nuggets last year, but he's a valuable player when on the court.
Last season, Chris Andersen's PER was 18.97 during his time off the deep bench.
Despite his advancing age, Andersen brings a lot of athleticism and hustle to the table. He's a defensive force to be reckoned with in the paint and can provide a nice breather for any starting center.
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Last Team: Indiana Pacers
2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 11.1 points, 2.0 rebounds, .382 three-point percentage
The speedy Brazilian can provide a nice scoring punch off the bench, especially since he's very much a combo-guard who can back up either a point guard or a shooting guard.
A lackluster defender, Leandro Barbosa would only provide an offensive boost though.
He can fire away from outside and rack up the points quickly or use his speed to drive through his man and into the interior of the defensive scheme. Plus, he likes to minimize the turnovers.
If you're looking for a quick offensive shot of energy, this is your guy.
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Last Team: Washington Wizards
2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 8.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, .380 field-goal percentage
Andray Blatche has managed to earn an absolutely miserable reputation during his brief time in the NBA. He has had trouble with the law off the court, made poor decision after poor decision and failed to ever show any semblance of hustle while playing.
Just one season after a scoring outburst, Blatche was an amnesty victim and now remains without a team.
Given the right circumstances, Blatche could easily turn his career around. He's still a solid offensive player with plus athleticism and length.
He just needs to find the motivation to be a solid NBA player once more, and he might have to accept the veteran's minimum to find that proper situation.
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Last Team: Milwaukee Bucks
2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 9.0 points, 3.9 rebounds, .402 field-goal percentage
Carlos Delfino has spent his summer training and playing for Argentina in the London Olympics, using it as a bit of an audition for NBA teams.
Through the first five games, he's averaged 15.2 points, 2.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.5 blocks per game.
Delfino isn't a particularly great athlete, but he's an intelligent player who likes to sit up from the corners and loft up three-point shots. He's also a solid defender and a great rebounder for his size.
He'll never blow you away, but Delfino can absolutely make an impact for any team in the league.
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Last Team: Atlanta Hawks
2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 6.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, .513 field-goal percentage
One of the most interesting players in the NBA, Ivan Johnson just finished his rookie season at age 27. He's been banned for life from South Korean basketball, dismissed from collegiate programs for anger management issues and dominated the technical fouls per game category in the NBA.
Despite all of his baggage and terrifying appearance, "Ivan the Great" was surprisingly effective for the Atlanta Hawks in limited action.
He's a terrific hustle player who seems to get to every loose ball while playing with an unrelenting fire.
I hesitate to say this about too many players, but Johnson will make an impact simply because he wants to and has that much desire.
Last Team: Philadelphia 76ers
2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 8.4 points, 2.5 rebounds, .906 free-throw percentage
Jodie Meeks might be a one-dimensional player at this stage of his career, but he's pretty solid at that one dimension.
From downtown, Meeks loves firing at will and swishing his attempts through the basket without even rippling the net. During this past season with the Philadelphia 76ers, Meeks made 36.5 percent of his four tries from deep per game.
He isn't a great defender and hesitates to drive—even though he's great at drawing contact—but his three-point shooting value should allow him to make an impact.