NBA Free Agents 2013: Unheralded Players Available That Would Help Contenders

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistJuly 8, 2013

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 23:  Nick Young #1 of the Philadelphia 76ers dribbles the ball against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on December 23, 2012 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

While Chris Paul and Dwight Howard receive most of the headlines in the offseason, there are often smaller moves that end up making big impacts.

Every year, unheralded free agents sign for small roles on contending squads and the teams are much better because of it. With playoff games as close as they are, one or two players can make a huge difference.

These players will not be signing huge contracts this summer, but any team that grabs them will be taking a step toward winning a championship.


D.J. Augustin

After starting for two years with the Charlotte Bobcats, D.J. Augustin found a small role with the Indiana Pacers last season. He should be able to find a similar role on a team this offseason.

The young point guard is incredibly quick with good ball-handling ability that allows him to get into the lane with consistency. His lack of size likely will prevent him from being a full-time starter, but he is more than capable of playing 20 minutes per game for a very good team.

Augustin could solidify a contender's second unit while also providing help as an outside shooter. These are things that are often overlooked when building a team, but it ends up having a huge impact when games get more important.

A smart team should sign the guard soon before he is off the market.


Nick Young

In his six years in the league, Nick Young has shown the ability to handle many different roles. In his last full season with the Washington Wizards, he was a go-to scorer and averaged 17.4 points per game.

Over the last year-and-a-half with the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Clippers, he became more of a bench player who displayed his ability to score in short bursts.

The one constant over this time has been his shooting ability. He is a 37.4 percent career three-point shooter, and at 6'7", he has the height to get off many shots that smaller guards would have trouble with.

Any squad looking for a scoring boost should grab the veteran guard and watch him make a big impact on a regular basis.


Kenyon Martin

It took almost the entire regular season for someone to sign Kenyon Martin, but the New York Knicks are happy they finally made the call.

The veteran ended up making 11 starts down the stretch, and in 18 total games he averaged 7.2 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. He also shot a career-high 60.2 percent from the floor.

Although he was inconsistent in the playoffs, he was a big help when he was on his game. He continued to show his ability as a strong defender that can rebound and finish at the rim as well as almost anyone else on the team.

As Chris Andersen showed in last year's postseason, a big man off the bench can make a huge impact in games. Contenders should look to add Martin to the roster to provide additional toughness inside that is hard to find elsewhere.


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