NBA Free Agents 2013: Updated Rankings of the Top 10 Players at Every Position

Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistJune 19, 2013

NBA Free Agents 2013: Updated Rankings of the Top 10 Players at Every Position

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    The 2013 NBA free agents have the ability to impact the landscape of the league dramatically, and that's especially true for these 50 players. 

    After all, they're the best 10 at each of the five positions. Most of them have the talent to reshape a team at a certain position. 

    Some positions (the guards in particular) are rather deep, while others (power forward in particular) are shallow. But there's talent at the top for each of them. 

    Regardless of the position that your favorite team is targeting, it will probably have some options here. But are the players the ones you want, though? 

    Feel free to leave your own rankings in the comment section and remember—all types of free agents are eligible. 

     

    Note: All stats, unless otherwise indicated, come from Basketball-Reference.com.

Point Guards No. 10 Through No. 6

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    No. 10: C.J. Watson, Brooklyn Nets, unrestricted free agent

    C.J. Watson may have made unfortunate plays during the Brooklyn Nets' short-lived playoff run, but he was a reason that games were close enough for those mistakes to matter. 

    The career backup shouldn't be anything more than a bench presence going forward. That said, he's proved to be a valuable commodity off the pine, especially on the offensive end of the court. 


    No. 9: Mario Chalmers, Miami Heat, team option

    Although he's not the top-10 point guard he thinks he is, Mario Chalmers is at least in the top 10 at his position among those eligible for free agency. That counts for something, right?

    "Rio" might rank higher if he had more of an opportunity to shine, but playing alongside LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh hasn't afforded him that chance. Even with a more limited role, he's proved that he can run an upper-tier offense and contribute with his impressive floater and three-point shooting. 


    No. 8: Mo Williams, Utah Jazz, unrestricted free agent

    Mostly because he played for the Utah Jazz, Mo Williams never got much attention during the 2012-13 season. No one paid mind to the Salt Lake City residents, even when they were firmly in playoff contention. 

    Despite the lack of spotlight, Williams showed once more that he's worth starting at the 1. He'll never blow anyone away, but a team can count on him for his 12.9 points and 6.2 assists just about every night. Of all the free agents with Jazz ties, Williams is probably the most likely to return and take on an even bigger offensive role. 


    No. 7: Darren Collison, Dallas Mavericks, restricted free agent

    The Dallas Maverick floor general's per-game stats aren't as impressive as Mo Williams, but he played a smaller role for his team and was significantly more efficient. 

    Despite being one of the speedier players out there, Darren Collison isn't the long-term answer for Mark Cuban's franchise. He lacks the explosiveness—not on the court but on the stat sheet. While he's a good shooter and distributor, he can't take over a game or make a consistently positive impact on defense.


    No. 6: Jose Calderon, Detroit Pistons, unrestricted free agent

    This unrestricted free agent's quest for a 50/40/90 season—which ultimately fell short—didn't get as much hype as Kevin Durant's, but it was still impressive. Splitting time between the Toronto Raptors and Detroit Pistons, Jose Calderon shot 49.1 percent from the field, an NBA-high 46.1 percent from downtown and exactly 90 percent from the charity stripe. 

    Calderon isn't a scorer, though. His primary value lies in his ability to distribute the ball, and he's adept at doing exactly that. 

Point Guard No. 5: Jarrett Jack

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    Team: Golden State Warriors

    Age: 29

    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 12.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 0.1 blocks, 0.8 steals, 15.93 PER

    Type of Free Agency: Unrestricted

     

    Jarrett Jack had the unfortunate tendency to play hero ball during the playoffs for the Golden State Warriors, but he still displayed his value. 

    Throughout the postseason, Jack averaged 17.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game on 50.6 percent shooting. He earned a 17.4 PER, proving that, if he wants to, he could leave the Dubs behind and find a starting role somewhere else. 

    Mark Jackson also showed a lot of trust in the 29-year-old floor general, playing him in crucial situations even though Stephen Curry was already on the court. 

    Jack continues to be one of the more underrated players in the NBA, just as he was when he replaced Chris Paul for the New Orleans Hornets. 

Point Guard No. 4: Nate Robinson

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    Team: Chicago Bulls

    Age: 29

    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 13.1 points, 2.2 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.1 blocks, 17.4 PER

    Type of Free Agency: Unrestricted

     

    Nate Robinson's value is limited by two things: his defensive play and height. 

    The diminutive floor general can elevate high of the ground, but he's still limited by his size. He can only get off shots over so many defenders. 

    As for his defense, it was much improved but still porous. It was only fitting that Robinson wore red, because he often served as a matador, ushering opposing guards into the paint where Joakim Noah had no choice but to deal with them. 

    With his athleticism, Robinson is about as good as it gets as a scoring spark plug off the bench, but he shouldn't be asked to serve in a bigger role. 

Point Guard No. 3: Jeff Teague

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    Team: Atlanta Hawks

    Age: 25

    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 14.6 points, 2.3 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 0.4 blocks, 1.5 steals, 16.82 PER

    Type of Free Agency: Restricted

     

    Jeff Teague took on more responsibility for the Atlanta Hawks during the 2012-13 season, which worked out for the team. 

    The Wake Forest product is a pesky defender who capitalizes on the mistakes of ball-handlers. While he's not great at anticipating the passing lanes, his hands are quick enough to rack up steals. 

    On offense, Teague thrived when running pick-and-roll sets with the Atlanta bigs, and he was also capable of creating his own offense when in isolation. Teague's passing was phenomenal during the campaign, and his shooting is improving. 

    The 25-year-old probably isn't too far from his ceiling, but he's already playing like one of the 50 best players in the NBA. 

Point Guard No. 2: Brandon Jennings

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    Team: Milwaukee Bucks

    Age: 23

    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 17.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 0.1 blocks, 1.6 steals, 16.20 PER

    Type of Free Agency: Restricted

     

    The Milwaukee Bucks haven't indicated whether or not they'll bring back Brandon Jennings for another season. He's a restricted free agent, so general manager John Hammond controls his rights. 

    Jennings is a potent scorer with an improving perimeter shot, but he still needs to cal his own number less often. While 17.5 points per game are valuable, they're more valuable when not accompanied by 39.9 percent shooting from the field. 

    The southpaw's passing rose to a new high during his fourth season in the NBA, and that improvement is what enables him to inch just ahead of Jeff Teague. Jennings' assists were of a tougher variety, and they came more often as well. 

    Jennings must get more efficient, but he brings a lot of positives to any team. 

Point Guard No. 1: Chris Paul

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    Team: Los Angeles Clippers

    Age: 28

    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 16.9 points, 3.7 rebounds, 9.7 assists, 0.1 blocks, 2.4 steals, 26.43 PER

    Type of Free Agency: Unrestricted

     

    Chris Paul isn't just the best point guard available in this free-agency class; he's the best player regardless of position. 

    CP3 has everything a team could want in a point guard. 

    He's one of the best distributors in the NBA, recording double-doubles like it's his job while making difficult passes look so easy. When necessary, he can score at a high level with his mid-range game, outside touch and ability to get to the rim. 

    On the other end, he plays some of the best perimeter defense in the NBA while stealing the ball more effectively than anyone else. There's a reason he's on the First-Team All-Defense. 

    Paul is the complete package at point guard, and he's the clear choice for this No. 1 spot.

Shooting Guards No. 10 Through No. 6

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    No. 10: J.J. Redick, Milwaukee Bucks, unrestricted free agent

    The former Duke standout was having a fantastic season with the Orlando Magic before he was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks. His new team mishandled him, forcing him to come off the bench and serve as a spot-up shooter. 

    J.J. Redick is more than a sniper. He's a talented pick-and-roll ball-handler, and he's worth starting—just not on an elite team. 


    No. 9: Gerald Henderson, Charlotte Bobcats, restricted free agent

    Because he plays for the Charlotte Bobcats, Gerald Henderson is one of the more underrated shooting guards in the NBA. 

    A great athlete, Henderson is becoming a potent scorer as he expands his shooting range. After averaging 0.1 threes on 21.6 percent shooting over the first three seasons of his career, the 2-guard made 0.5 per game on 33 percent shooting during the 2012-13 campaign. 


    No. 8: Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs, unrestricted free agent

    It's a shame that Manu Ginobili has to rank so far down among shooting guards, but the effects of Father Time have changed his game. Not everyone on the San Antonio Spurs is immune to old age, despite what Tim Duncan would have you believe. 

    As the NBA playoffs and especially the finals, have shown us, Ginobili is no longer consistently dominant. He can have a vintage performance every now and then, but he's not a reliable player anymore. 


    No. 7: Kevin Martin, Oklahoma City Thunder, unrestricted free agent

    When Russell Westbrook went down with a torn meniscus in the playoffs, Kevin Martin had his chance to up his offensive game and take over for the injured superstar. He didn't, and the Oklahoma City Thunder weren't able to advance past the Memphis Grizzlies. 

    Martin is still an efficient offensive player who uses his unorthodox three-point stroke and knack for drawing contact to great success, but at this stage of his career, he's not a go-to guy any longer. 


    No. 6: O.J. Mayo, Dallas Mavericks, unrestricted free agent

    O.J. Mayo began the season on fire. 

    Unfortunately for him, he couldn't sustain his shooting success after the scorching start, and Dirk Nowitzki stealing a bunch of touches after his return from surgery didn't help either. 

    Mayo is a potent scorer, but he shouldn't be a No. 1 option. 

Shooting Guard No. 5: J.R. Smith

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    Team: New York Knicks

    Age: 27

    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 18.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 0.3 blocks, 1.3 steals, 17.67 PER

    Type of Free Agency: Player option

     

    Thanks to the coaching of Mike Woodson, J.R. Smith finally started to put it all together this year. The mercurial shooting guard always possessed an inordinate amount of talent, but his mental game often held him back. 

    He still has some slip-ups, but they're happening less often than usual. After cutting down his lapses, Smith won the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year trophy as recognition for his scoring, rebounding and defensive efforts. 

    Smith is still prone to shooting his team out of games almost as often as into them, but you can't deny his overall positive impact. 

    It's crucial that the New York Knicks retain the 27-year-old when he officially opts out of his contract in search of more financial security. 

Shooting Guard No. 4: Tony Allen

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    Team: Memphis Grizzlies

    Age: 31

    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 8.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.6 blocks, 13.2 PER

    Type of Free Agency: Unrestricted

     

    Tony Allen is a limited offensive player, struggling to finish plays around the basket on occasion and air-balling too many shots from the outside.

    That said, Allen's defense more than makes up for his offense. It is good enough to vault him over the other shooting guards behind him in the rankings. 

    No one in the NBA plays better perimeter defense than Allen. Statistically, you could make arguments for a few other players, but Allen often matches up against the opponent's best backcourt or wing player. He keeps the Memphis Grizzlies defense humming along. 

    With Allen off the court, the Grizz allowed 101.1 points per 100 possessions. But when he played, that figure dropped to 94.3. 

    That is defensive impact. 

Shooting Guard No. 3: Tyreke Evans

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    Team: Sacramento Kings

    Age: 23

    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 15.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 0.4 blocks, 1.4 steals, 18.16 PER

    Type of Free Agency: Restricted

     

    Tyreke Evans had been a rather position-less player during the early stages of his NBA career, but he has settled in at shooting guard more than anywhere else. That's why he's listed here and not at point guard or small forward. 

    The 23-year-old hasn't developed a workable jumper, although he looked to be taking strides in that area during the 2012-13 campaign. He started shooting them more as the season progressed, and they were falling with greater frequency. 

    Evans is one of the best in the game at slashing to the rim and finishing among the trees, but defenses know he's coming. That makes him easier to stop. 

    Once the Memphis product can hone his jumper, he'll become the unstoppable offensive player that his rookie season foretold.

Shooting Guard No. 2: Monta Ellis

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    Team: Milwaukee Bucks

    Age: 27

    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 19.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 0.4 blocks, 2.1 steals, 16.30 PER

    Type of Free Agency: Unrestricted

     

    Now that Monta Ellis has officially opted out of his final year with the Milwaukee Bucks, he'll become one of the most highly coveted players on the market, regardless of position. 

    As indicated by his 19.2 points per game, Ellis is a volume scorer. The problem is how he gets the points, though. 

    Although he might disagree, Ellis isn't an effective shooter from the perimeter. He shot four times per game from behind the arc during the 2012-13 season, but he made less than 30 percent of them. 

    Ellis' value will be hampered by his poor three-point shooting and his penchant for gambling on defense. 

Shooting Guard No. 1: Andre Iguodala

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    Team: Denver Nuggets

    Age: 29

    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 13.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 0.7 blocks, 1.7 steals, 15.27 PER

    Type of Free Agency: Unrestricted

     

    It took a long time for Andre Iguodala to get going during the 2012-13 season, his first with the Denver Nuggets. Perhaps he was adjusting to his new teammates, or maybe he was worn down by the traveling that the NBA forced on the Nuggets at the start of the year. 

    Regardless of the reason, "Iggy" took awhile to start playing at an All-Star level, although he was in tip-top shape heading into the postseason. Then, over the course of six games against the Golden State Warriors, he went nuts. 

    He showed everything he could do in the losing effort, playing stellar defense on multiple positions while averaging 18.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game on 50.0 percent shooting from the field, 48.3 percent from downtown and 72 percent from the free-throw line. 

    Iguodala showed that he can do it all.

Small Forwards No. 10 Through No. 6

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    No. 10: Dorell Wright, Philadelphia 76ers, unrestricted free agent

    Dorell Wright's 2010-11 season now seems like a fluke. His play has diminished each year since, although he has the the green light to fire away from downtown. 

    During the 2012-13 campaign, his first with the Philadelphia 76ers, Wright averaged 9.2 points per game, 5.1 of which came from behind the arc.  


    No. 9: Mike Dunleavy, Milwaukee Bucks, unrestricted free agent

    Even at 32 years old, Mike Dunleavy still has a lot to offer—his three-point stroke, for example. 

    Throughout the 2012-13 season, the small forward shot 42.8 percent from downtown en route to averaging 10.5 points per game. He also locked down on defense for the first time in a while, although maybe he had to, given the porous nature of the Bucks starting backcourt. 

     

    No. 8: Martell Webster, Washington Wizards, unrestricted free agent

    Martell Webster seized the moment during his first season with the Washington Wizards. He had a more impressive season from three-point range than the two small forwards ranked behind him. 

    Starting 62 games, the 26-year-old came alive at the end of the season and finished the year averaging 11.4 points per game. Webster had always been a fairly decent per-minute scorer, and he proved that he could maintain that when given more playing time. 


    No. 7: Metta World Peace, Los Angeles Lakers, early termination option

    While it's unlikely that Metta World Peace will choose to leave the Los Angeles Lakers and test free agency, he does technically possess an early termination option.

    "MWP" couldn't sustain his hot start to the year, but he did put together one of his better three-point seasons. He averaged 1.9 makes per game on 34.2 percent shooting. And, of course, he still plays great defense. 


    No. 6: Earl Clark, Los Angeles Lakers, unrestricted free agent

    Earl Clark emerged as a legitimate small forward throughout the Lakers' tumultuous season. 

    His constant energy and knack for crashing to the rim served the team well, and his 105 defensive rating was lower than MWP's 106. 

Small Forward No. 5: Corey Brewer

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    Team: Denver Nuggets

    Age: 27

    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.3 blocks, 14.7 PER

    Type of Free Agency: Unrestricted

     

    Even though he spent 80 of a possible 82 games coming off the bench for the Denver Nuggets, Corey Brewer still proved his value in the 2012-13 season. 

    His defense took the largest leap. After posting an average of 1.1 defensive win shares per season over the first five years of his career with a defensive rating of 110, Brewer shattered those numbers. His 2.2 defensive win shares and defensive rating of 105 confirm what our eyes told us throughout the year. 

    Brewer isn't a great shooter, but he doesn't need to be to work his way into the top five for small forwards. There aren't that many appealing options in this class. 

Small Forward No. 4: Shawn Marion

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    Team: Dallas Mavericks

    Age: 35

    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 12.1 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.7 blocks, 18.0 PER

    Type of Free Agency: Early termination option

     

    Now 35 years old, Shawn Marion is unlikely to decline his early termination option, but he'd still have a good deal of value if he chose to do so. 

    Long gone are his stat-stuffing days of old spent with the Phoenix Suns, but he has the ability to contribute in every facet of the game. He won't blow you away in any of them, but he's at least solid in most of them. 

    Marion also showed that the 2011-12 season was more of an aberration than a sign of permanent decline. Despite seeing less time on the court, he raised his scoring average and shooting figures to their previous levels. 

Small Forward No. 3: Kyle Korver

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    Team: Atlanta Hawks

    Age: 32

    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 10.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.5 blocks, 0.9 steals, 13.93 PER

    Type of Free Agency: Unrestricted

     

    In NBA history, only seven players have attempted at least four three-pointers while shooting 45 percent or better from behind the arc. 

    Steve Nash leads the pack, and he's joined by Dana Barros, Glen Rice, Stephen Curry, Dale Ellis, Joe Johnson and—after the 2012-13 season—Kyle Korver. The Atlanta Hawks sniper was that good from long range. 

    Korver doesn't bring too much else to the table, although he's a good passer despite his assist numbers. But that one asset—his deep-range shooting—overshadows everything else. 

    Expect plenty of teams to come calling because they recognize how beneficial he can be. 

Small Forward No. 2: Matt Barnes

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    Team: Los Angeles Clippers

    Age: 33

    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 10.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.8 blocks, 1.0 steals, 15.57 PER

    Type of Free Agency: Unrestricted

     

    Matt Barnes is like a fine wine. He just keeps getting better with age. 

    The small forward posted a 15.5 PER for the second season of his career, and both have come after he turned 30. All he needed was a chance to produce, and that's what the Los Angeles Clippers gave him. 

    Barnes is one of those guys who isn't defined by numbers. Instead, he's a prototypical glue guy, one who does all the little things for his team and is never even afraid to sacrifice his body. 

    His offense took a major step forward when he figured out his three-point stroke, and that only adds to his value. He's an underrated free agent, and the team that signs him will get a boost in a lot of areas.

Small Forward No. 1: Andrei Kirilenko

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    Team: Minnesota Timberwolves

    Age: 32

    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 12.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.0 blocks, 1.5 steals, 17.67 PER

    Type of Free Agency: Player option

     

    Andrei Kirilenko is starting to slow down due to his age, but he's still a valuable player because of his two-way impact. 

    "AK47" has one of the best nicknames in basketball, but he doesn't settle for that. Instead, he makes plays with his scoring and passing on offense, and he guards just about everyone on the defensive end of the court. 

    According to NBA.com, the Minnesota Timberwolves outscored opponents by 2.9 points per 100 possessions more when Kirilenko was on the floor than when he wasn't. They were better on both ends of the court, and that should come as no surprise. 

    Now if he could only get rid of his back tattoo. 

Power Forwards No. 10 Through No. 6

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    No. 10: Tyler Hansbrough, Indiana Pacers, restricted free agent

    What you see is what you're going to get from Tyler Hansbrough. He isn't a glamorous power forward, but he's worth having in the rotation. 

    The artist formerly known as "Psycho T" loves contact and seeks it out—sometimes to an annoying degree. But as a result, he's a solid defender and rebounds the ball well—two traits that guarantee he'll get a job somewhere. 


    No. 9: Boris Diaw, San Antonio Spurs, player option

    Boris Diaw used Game 6 of the NBA Finals to prove that he can be a valuable rotation big. He successfully slowed down LeBron James at times and finished with seven points, four rebounds and two assists. 

    The Frenchman doesn't look like an NBA player any longer, but he's still a skilled power forward whose passing can make a big impact. 


    No. 8: Jason Maxiell, Detroit Pistons, unrestricted free agent

    Starting 71 games for the Detroit Pistons, Jason Maxiell continued to use his shooting and energy to overcome his lack of size. 

    The Cincinnati product may stand only 6'7", but he plays much larger and does nice work on the boards and in the paint. Maxiell will never be a glamorous player, but he's a valuable commodity, especially in such a weak crop of power forwards. 


    No. 7: Elton Brand, Dallas Mavericks, unrestricted free agent

    Elton Brand may have spent some time at center for the Dallas Mavericks, but he's a natural power forward. That's where he'll settle in as he continues to play out his career. 

    The 34-year-old is coming off the worst season of his career, averaging 7.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.7 steals and 1.3 blocks per game, but he's still a great rebounder and defensive player. Counting on Brand for offense would be pure folly, but he can do many other things on the court. 


    No. 6: Brandan Wright, Dallas Mavericks, unrestricted free agent

    While Brandan Wright played center for the Dallas Mavericks at times, he's a natural power forward.

    Sound familiar? It should, because too many Mavs frontcourt players were out of position during the 2012-13 season. 

    Wright isn't the defender or rebounder that Brand is, even considering the former standout's advancing age, but he's much more potent offensively. Despite averaging only 8.5 points per game this past season, he shot 59.7 percent from the field.

Power Forward No. 5: Marreese Speights

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    Team: Cleveland Cavaliers

    Age: 25

    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 8.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.7 blocks, 0.3 steals, 17.35 PER

    Type of Free Agency: Player option

     

    It's a testament to how weak this power forward crop is that Marreese Speights ranks in the top five. 

    The man with a player option for the Cleveland Cavaliers is a valuable player who's still improving, but he's a role player. Look at his per-game stats for proof. 

    Speights' primary impact comes in two areas: rebounding and spreading the court with his jump-shooting. Neither is necessary for Cleveland given its crowded frontcourt, so look for the 25-year-old to opt out of his contract and test the market. 

    During the 2012-13 season, the big man managed to knock down 48.4 percent of his jumpers from 16 to 23 feet and displayed some ability to extend his range beyond the three-point arc. If he can do that, his value will skyrocket. 

Power Forward No. 4: Carl Landry

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    Team: Golden State Warriors

    Age: 29

    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 10.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.4 blocks, 0.4 steals, 17.60 PER

    Type of Free Agency: Player option

     

    I root for Carl Landry because he's one of those players who makes the best of his physical talents. 

    The former Purdue standout displays the Boilermakers mentality on a daily basis, banging around with players far bigger than him and not giving up an inch in anything but literal height. Even though he's 6'9", Landry can play with much larger power forwards and dazzle them with his creativity around the basket. 

    Few players have better touch than Landry, who can get the ball into the basket regardless of shot difficulty. 

    Landry, much like Marreese Speights, is a role player, but he's an elite one. 

Power Forward No. 3: Paul Millsap

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    Team: Utah Jazz

    Age: 28

    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 14.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.0 blocks, 1.3 steals, 19.89 PER

    Type of Free Agency: Unrestricted

     

    Paul Millsap doesn't need NBA-caliber height to be successful. And from the looks of things, he doesn't need the benefit of sight either. 

    Then again, I'm not sure anyone needs to play with their eyes open to score on Carlos Boozer. 

    Millsap is the purest representation of the Energizer Bunny that you can find in the NBA. He just keeps going and going.

    With tremendous bounce and long arms, Millsap thrives in the paint, where he can score in a variety of ways. Just as he did back at Louisiana Tech, he still loves to seal players off deep in the paint, but he's expanding his range more as his career progresses. 

    The addition of a consistent three-point shot would allow him to shift over and play small forward more frequently, but there's no guarantee that happens. 

Power Forward No. 2: David West

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    Team: Indiana Pacers

    Age: 32

    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 17.1 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 0.9 blocks, 1.0 steals, 20.15 PER

    Type of Free Agency: Unrestricted

     

    David West was the heart and soul of the 2012-13 Indiana Pacers, so expect them to pursue the 32-year-old power forward once he hits free agency, much as they did the last time he was on the open market. 

    The former Xavier Musketeer plays with unrelenting physicality. 

    He isn't afraid to slam his shoulder into a defender's chest, and he's not hesitant to switch roles if necessary either. His intensity and aggressiveness often set the tone for the rest of this squad. 

    West has a surprising level of finesse as well, draining jumpers and making the offense work with his passing out of the post and from the elbows.

Power Forward No. 1: Josh Smith

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    Team: Atlanta Hawks

    Age: 27

    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 17.5 points, 8.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.8 blocks, 1.2 steals, 17.82 PER

    Type of Free Agency: Unrestricted

     

    Josh Smith has the potential to develop into a bona fide All-Star and possibly even a lower-tier MVP contender, but only if he finds himself in the right spot. "Smoove" needs discipline and a coach who won't stand for his shenanigans. 

    When the 27-year-old drives to the rim or puts his back to the basket, he's nearly impossible to stop. Unfortunately for the Atlanta Hawks, though, he never seems to realize that. Instead, he sets out to stop himself by launching long-range two-pointers. 

    Smith is so physically talented that he ranks at No. 1 despite his mental shortcomings. The forward is a defensive ace and an unstoppable force in transition already, and he has the potential to develop into so much more. 

Centers No. 10 Through No. 6

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    No. 10: Samuel Dalembert, Milwaukee Bucks, unrestricted free agent

    Samuel Dalembert still plays efficient offense, but he's no longer athletically able to stay out on the court for long stretches. He averaged only 16.3 minutes per game for the Milwaukee Bucks during the 2012-13 season, and that's about how much time he'll play going forward. 

    I also wouldn't count on any more explosions like the one he had in a loss to the Denver Nuggets. In that early February game, Dalembert recorded 35 points and 12 assists on 17-of-21 shooting. 


    No. 9: Emeka Okafor, Washington Wizards, early termination option

    During his most recent season, Emeka Okafor transitioned from a declining two-way player into a defensive specialist. 

    He posted 3.7 defensive win shares and 0.7 offensive win shares during the 2012-13 season, easily the most one-sided split since his rookie season back in 2004-05 for the Charlotte Bobcats. That is unlikely to change in 2013-14, especially if he remains with the Washington Wizards. 


    No. 8: Tiago Splitter, San Antonio Spurs, unrestricted free agent

    The NBA Finals have made Tiago Splitter into a bit of a punchline. Between his inability to catch and hold onto the ball, his numerous mistakes and the epic LeBron James block, his stock has suffered under the glare of the sport's most brutal spotlight. 

    However, such a small sample size should not detract from the fact that Splitter dominates games on a per-minute basis. During the 2012-13 season, he posted an 18.7 PER while averaging 15.1 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per 36 minutes on 56 percent shooting from the field. 


    No. 7: Chris Kaman, Dallas Mavericks, unrestricted free agent

    The 31-year-old didn't get much playing time in a crowded Dallas Mavericks rotation, but he still proved his value. Between Chris Kaman, Dirk Nowitzki, Brandan Wright and Elton Brand, there were too many quality bigs for everyone to get consistent minutes. 

    Per 36 minutes, the former Chippewa averaged 18.3 points and 9.8 rebounds, outpacing even the per-minute stud who comes in one spot behind Kaman. 

     

    No. 6: Andray Blatche, Brooklyn Nets, unrestricted free agent

    The Brooklyn Nets big man looks to be turning around his career after an ugly ending with the Washington Wizards. 

    During his first season in the Barclays Center, Andray Blatche put his offensive skills—including the pretty turnaround jumper—on display over and over again, averaging 10.3 points and 5.1 rebounds per game with a 21.98 PER. 

Center No. 5: J.J. Hickson

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    Team: Portland Trail Blazers

    Age: 24

    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 12.7 points, 10.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.6 blocks, 0.6 steals, 19.71 PER

    Type of Free Agency: Unrestricted

     

    Once expected to become a career journeyman because of his inconsistency, J.J. Hickson has emerged as a quality starting center.

    A team can't ask him to become a key offensive contributor, or else his efficiency will plummet, but he's solid in that area. That allows him to avoid becoming a liability and makes his work on the boards even more significant. 

    Hickson is a terrific athlete, and he has a nose for the boards. Only six players recorded more rebounds during the 2012-13 season: Omer Asik, Dwight Howard, Nikola Vucevic, Reggie Evans, David Lee and Zach Randolph. 

    The Portland Trail Blazers are looking for an upgrade at center, but Hickson is still a quality 5. 

Center No. 4: Nikola Pekovic

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    Team: Minnesota Timberwolves

    Age: 27

    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 16.3 points, 8.8 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.8 blocks, 0.7 steals, 20.26 PER

    Type of Free Agency: Restricted

     

    Nikola Pekovic will drum up a lot of interest during the free-agency period, but the Minnesota Timberwolves control his rights. No matter what other teams offer, Flip Saunders will likely choose to match the contract and bring back "Pek." 

    The 27-year-old hasn't developed much finesse, but he hasn't needed to. He's impressive enough with his physicality. 

    Pek manhandles centers on both ends of the court, and he was one of the most consistent contributors during Minnesota's injury-riddled 2012-13 season. He can't pass the ball well, and his post moves need work, but opposing players just can't push him around. 

Center No. 3: Al Jefferson

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    Team: Utah Jazz

    Age: 28

    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 17.8 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.1 blocks, 1.0 steals, 20.99 PER

    Type of Free Agency: Unrestricted

     

    Al Jefferson sometimes refuses to play a lick of defense and can be athletically limited, but he's one of the few remaining back-to-the-basket centers in the league. And he's good at what he does. 

    Often going to work on the left block, Jefferson tortures defenders with his arsenal of post moves. They don't know whether to expect step-arounds, pump-fakes, up-and-unders or face-up shots. 

    He is good at them all, which has allowed him to emerge as one of the best offensive centers in the NBA. He scores in volume while maintaining his efficiency, hence the 20.99 PER in a leading role for the Utah Jazz. 

    Expect Jefferson to sign an eight-figure contract this offseason but not quite a max deal.

Center No. 2: Andrew Bynum

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    Team: Philadelphia 76ers

    Age: 25

    2011-12 Per-Game Stats: 18.7 points, 11.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.9 blocks, 0.5 steals, 23.00 PER (with Los Angeles Lakers)

    Type of Free Agency: Unrestricted

     

    The 2012-13 season was lost for Andrew Bynum, whose knees never allowed him to get on the court for the Philadelphia 76ers. Instead, he made noise for his ridiculous hairstyles and the speculation about whether or not he'd ever return. 

    That's not a bad thing, and Sixers fans have a right to be upset about their 7-foot investment. They're also correct to question whether he'll ever dominate again. 

    However, let's not forget just how special Bynum was during his final season with the Los Angeles Lakers. He controlled games on both ends of the court, and people were starting to think that he could challenge Dwight Howard for supremacy at the position. 

    That didn't happen in 2012-13, but Bynum is just 25 years old. He has a lot of quality basketball left in the tank if he can get healthy again.

Center No. 1: Dwight Howard

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    Team: Los Angeles Lakers

     Age: 27

    2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 17.1 points, 12.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 2.4 blocks, 1.1 steals, 19.48 PER

    Type of Free Agency: Unrestricted

     

    Dwight Howard spent his first season in purple and gold while wearing a compression shirt to keep everything in place. And people question his toughness...

    We can wonder how mentally tough Howard is, but there's no denying his physical grit. He had every excuse to sit out for extended periods but never did it. Instead, he put together a great season, even if it wasn't on the level we've come to expect. 

    This injured version of Howard still led the league in rebounds per game and averaged 17.1 points on 57.8 percent shooting. He was still the fourth-best center in the game, trailing only Marc Gasol, Tim Duncan and Joakim Noah. 

    Now, what does that say about the healthy version of D12?