2012 NBA Free Agency: How Every Star Will Impact His New Team
Each star NBA free agent will impact his new team in a different way.
While some impact free agents decided to stay put, most notably Deron Williams, some did manage to find new homes where they will surely change the complexion of their teams in a big way.
The 2012 free-agent class didn't have the big names of the 2010 class, but the top guys are stars in their own right. The top free agents have all made an imprint in the league and most of them should start, or at least be one of the first players off the bench.
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When Ray Allen chose to sign with the Miami Heat instead of the Boston Celtics, it was the classic case of the rich getting richer.
Allen, arguably the best long-distance shooter in the history of the NBA, will presumably see the most wide-open looks in his career playing with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. All three of those guys command so much attention, it seems impossible for Allen to not cherry pick open three-pointers.
The Heat had three-point shooters on their team last season, but none of them are as consistent as Allen. Whereas last season the Heat relied largely on Mike Miller and Mario Chalmers to get hot from three, Allen will bring stability.
One more way Allen will make an impact on the Heat: Although the Heat won the 2012 NBA Championship, you still couldn't say they were the best team in late game situations. They improved from their first season together with the Big Three, obviously, but they can still improve.
Allen is great in late game situations. He's been in that spot countless times, and throughout his career he has shown the ability to make big-time shots. Allen will definitely make the Heat a tougher team to beat down the stretch.
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The New Orleans Hornets sign-and-trade deal for Ryan Anderson was a sneaky good move for a franchise heading in the right direction.
Along with 2012 No. 1 draft pick Anthony Davis, the two should make an interesting frontcourt duo. Anderson is a great three-point shooter, and his presence will free Davis up around the hoop. If opposing teams don't close out on Anderson, he'll make triples all game long.
Anderson isn't all offense either. Each of the last three seasons he has improved as a rebounder as well.
Anderson's impact may not be huge in terms of where the Hornets finish in the standings, but he's a valuable role player that will ease Davis' rookie experience.
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Ray Allen who? Hopefully for Celtics fans that's the impact Jason Terry will bring to Boston.
In terms of pure stats, Terry was more productive than Allen in the 2011-12 season. Terry averaged more points and assists, and had a higher Player Efficiency Rating. Terry is also younger and less of an injury risk. In late game situations, Terry is just as, if not more, confident than Allen. He's not afraid of taking big-time shots. In fact, Terry embraces them.
In terms of where Terry fits in with the Celtics, he's actually a better fit than Allen. The Celtics would like to start Avery Bradley at shooting guard, and if Allen were on the roster that would lead to an awkward situation.
Terry likes coming off the bench because that's the best way for him to impact the game. He has the right mind set about it—just because he doesn't start the game, doesn't mean he won't finish it.
Personality wise, Terry couldn't be a better fit with the Celtics. Like Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, Terry has a huge personality. He's not afraid of any team or anybody, and has the confidence that makes his teammates trust him when the game is on the line.
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Take a look at the Houston Rockets current key players:
- Jeremy Lin
- Kevin Martin
- Terrence Jones
- Royce White
- Jeremy Lamb
- Chandler Parsons
- Omer Asik
Don't laugh, but Lin, at the moment, is the Rockets' franchise player. He will be the guy on all the team programs and billboards, he'll have the top jersey sales and yes, he'll be the leader on the court.
Now you can argue both ways on what type of impact Lin will have for the Rockets. He was effective for the New York Knicks last season, but that was in a minimal sample size. It's impossible to guess how he'll do for the Rockets. The only way to know is to wait and see, something not many fans or journalists can do in the social media age.
Off the court, Lin's impact will be huge. He'll have a Tim Tebow-like effect for the Rockets in terms of keeping the team in the public eye. The Rockets haven't had a marketable player since Yao Ming retired and Tracy McGrady was traded to the Knicks.
Even if Lin does become an average player, he'll still be a fan favorite at the very least.
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After trading Nash to the Lakers, the Suns signed Goran Dragic for an estimated $34 million.
In 2011, the Suns traded Dragic and a first-round pick to Houston for Aaron Brooks. What a terrible traded that ended up being for the Suns. Brooks only played half a season for them, before playing in China last season. Dragic went on to flourish for the Rockets, especially after Kyle Lowry went down with an injury.
Now Dragic is back in Phoenix, where he'll become Nash's replacement.
Dragic's impact won't be Nash-like on the court right away, but he could eventually develop into an elite point guard in due time. There's no one on the Suns that will prevent him from being the go-to guy, and he won't have to compete for minutes like he did last year for the Rockets.
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Things never seemed to work out for O.J. Mayo in Memphis.
On the Dallas Mavericks, with a brand new start, Mayo will try to become the star player he was predicted to be coming out of USC.
Mayo's career hasn't been a disappointment because he's played poorly, but because he was a bad fit on the Memphis Grizzlies. With Rudy Gay, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph demanding the ball, Mayo was the man left out.
For the Mavericks, Mayo will be expected to take on a much larger role. His minutes were reduced each of the last two seasons for the Grizzlies, which resulted in his points per game taking a hit. Mayo will play more than 35 minutes per game for the Mavericks, which should allow to showcase his potential.
The Mavericks made a lot of questionable moves in the offseason, but signing Mayo was not one of him. This is just the opportunity Mayo needs.
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Similar to other players on this list, Lou Williams will be assigned with the task of replacing a former player on the roster.
Williams left the Philadelphia 76ers to sign with the Atlanta Hawks. The 76ers roster was overcrowded with combo guards, and Williams was many times the odd man out. On the Hawks, Williams will play more minutes and will have a larger role in the offense.
Joe Johnson is no longer in town, which is a good thing. Williams is six years younger and significantly cheaper. With more minutes and touches, Williams could easily become a next-tier player.
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While Dwight Howard may be the substance, Steve Nash is the glue to the Los Angeles Lakers' offense.
Assuming he can hold up (38 is ancient in NBA years), Nash will be the reason a Kobe Bryant-Howard relationship can be successful. You could team Nash with a bunch of role players, which happened on the Phoenix Suns last season, and he could make them a decent squad.
Now Nash is on the same team as Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace, Howard and Bryant. That's like giving one of the characters from the Expendables unlimited ammunition.
Combined, the Lakers' starting lineup has 33 NBA All-Star appearances and 18 All-NBA First Teams. On paper, the starting lineup has the potential to be the best in the past 25 years.
Nash's impact will be noticed immediately. The Lakers offense will flow because of Nash, and hopefully his presence will allow Bryant to make smarter choices on the offensive end.
One impact Nash will bring to the Lakers that seems to be going under the radar is his shooting ability. Nash is a career 49 percent shooter from the field, 90 percent from the free-throw line, and 42 percent from behind the arc.
Similar to Ray Allen on the Heat, Nash will see a lot of open looks because of the elite players surrounding him.