10 Biggest Steals Remaining in 2013 NBA Free Agency
Following the first wave of NBA free agency, teams are stuck sorting through the wreckage for the few remaining players with something to contribute. A handful of those guys will come on the cheap, too.
Whether gambling on a player with an injury history or just discovering a diamond in the rough, there are more than a few ways to bargain shop as the summer winds on.
Just a few of the remaining players will command more than $5 million per year on their next contract, so teams with just a few million bucks left in cap space (or a salary cap exception) are in luck.
While some free agents will slip through the cracks and inevitably end up as mid-season signings—like Chris Andersen and Kenyon Martin last season—the rest should find a new home soon enough, much to the delight of organizations looking for a steal.
10. Mo Williams
2013 Stats: 12.9 points, 2.4 rebounds, 6.4 assists, 1.0 steals, 43.0 FG%, 38.3 3PT%
Regarding Mo Williams as a "steal" will really depend on the contract he signs, but with the relative lack of interest and how long he's stuck around, it seems that he's going to be had for a fair price.
Williams won't bring stellar defense to his new team. He'll turn the ball over a bit too much, and he's obviously lost a step since running alongside LeBron James. However, that doesn't mean he's completely useless.
The veteran point guard remains a viable ball-handler, either as the primary floor general or the first guard off the bench. Plus he's a strong little dude. Add a frame capable of playing a physical game along with some good spot-up shooting, and Williams seems bound to be underpaid.
9. Gerald Henderson
2013 Stats: 15.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.0 steals, 44.7 FG%, 33.0 3PT%
Gerald Henderson might be asking for a bit too much from the Charlotte Bobcats, so they're currently exploring sign-and-trade possibilities for the four-year guard.
On offense, Henderson is a very good ball handler who can run the pick-and-roll with ease, he can slash to the rim and finish well. The only problem is that he doesn't have magnificent range.
Other than that, he has great size, is strong enough to play in the post a bit and has very good instincts.
Defensively, it's a bit hard to see where he's at. As a team, the Bobcats are perpetually terrible. However, Henderson can keep his defender in front, aggressively fight through screens, and—on top of it all—he's still developing.
Ignoring that Bobcats stink that lingers from his past four years, he could be a huge addition to a young team.
8. Brandan Wright
2013 Stats: 8.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, 59.7 FG%
Brandan Wright is that ideal player who never really developed early on in his career.
Between the athleticism, size, incredible wingspan and the natural feel for the game, Wright has turned into a guy who doesn't do much wrong when he's on the court. Offensively, he doesn't have a very mature game, but he efficiently produces around the basket and can take offensive rebounds off the rim at ease.
He's really come along on defense thanks to his size, and given the proper floor time he could really develop into a nice player.
One of the important things to remember about Wright is that he's played for three different teams in four seasons, which could be seriously hindering his development.
7. Ronnie Brewer
2013 Stats: 3.0 points, 2.3 rebounds, 35.4 FG%, 30.3 3PT%
Two years ago, Ronnie Brewer was one of the best wing defenders for the Chicago Bulls on a team that was the best defensive squad in the NBA.
Fast forward a bit, and the swingman is splitting time between New York Knicks and Oklahoma City Thunder during the 2012-13 campaign, rarely getting off the bench for the latter. Because Brewer adds almost nothing offensively, it's been difficult for him to win serious minutes.
That's not going to change next season.
However, insert him into the right defensive set and a team could find themselves with a tremendous defender off the bench.
6. Greg Oden
2013 Stats: He made thousands of Portland Trail Blazers fans cry thinking about what could have been.
Greg Oden is the ultimate low-risk, high-reward player this offseason, so the high level of interest shouldn't be that surprising. At most, he'll end up being a sunk cost of a few million bucks, but he could be so much more than that.
When Oden was playing (which seems like a decade ago, I can't quite recall), his defense was game-changing, while his offensive impact was definitely noticeable.
Before his knees fell apart and the Trail Blazers became the victims of yet another big man with injury issues, he looked like a sure thing to be the next great center in the NBA.
There's no telling what he could add now that he's been inactive since 2010, but he's at least going to be a wise defender off the bench.
5. DeJuan Blair
2013 Stats: 5.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 52.4 FG%
Getting snubbed by Gregg Popovich is like being excommunicated by the Catholic Church, which might be why DeJuan Blair's value has diminished so quickly in four years.
It's basically the NBA equivalent of Michael Corleone disowning Fredo in The Godfather Part II.
The problem wasn't always necessarily with Blair himself. It's just that he didn't quite fit into a Popovich system, especially since they've become a fast-paced team offensively. Still, Blair has something to contribute if he goes to a team that plays a slower, half-court style game.
Not only that, but he's basically a tree stump on defense. He might not be very big, but he is incredibly sturdy, hard to move and stubborn.
4. Kenyon Martin
2013 Stats: 7.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 0.9 blocks, 0.9 steals, 60.2 FG%
The big question during the NBA Finals was why so many teams declined to sign Chris Andersen until the Miami Heat nabbed him midseason.
What's more surprising is that Kenyon Martin was largely ignored until the New York Knicks came calling in mid-February.
Following a miserable offensive year with the Los Angeles Clippers, Martin was looked at as no more than an energy player who can stand up on defense and rebound a bit. Once he came to New York, though, Martin showed that there's definitely something left in that tank of his.
Not only did he seem determined to help his team as much as possible, but he was extremely productive in the tip-ins and point-blank shots that he was able to attempt.
3. Jason Maxiell
2013 Stats: 6.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, 44.6 FG%
Somehow Jason Maxiell is already 30 years old. While hidden up in Detroit behind some questionable management and coaching decisions, he slid past his prime and turned the corner to "veteran big man" status before anybody could blink.
His offensive game remained horribly underdeveloped, while he stewed on being an unappreciated member of a bad basketball team.
Victimized by poor team defense since their last trip to the Eastern Conference Finals back in 2008, Maxiell is looked at as little more than an undersized power forward. However, his extremely strong frame, ridiculously long arms and hound dog intensity make him a great asset on defense.
He may not be a guy you want on the floor for 34 minutes a game thanks to his lack of an offensive game, but he's more than capable of putting a positive stamp on games with his defense.
2. Samuel Dalembert
2013 Stats: 6.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.1 blocks, 54.2 FG%
Samuel Dalembert is a strange case. He's a 32-year-old who, up until about three years ago, was constantly included in talks about players bound to have a breakout season. Back when he signed your typical, inflated "young, big dude with potential" contract for right around $65 million, spending big on Dalembert seemed like a great idea for the Philadelphia 76ers.
While his defensive game remained on point because of his size and athleticism, Dalembert's offensive game remained rudimentary. As he got slower and lost some lift, his minutes waned and he became less intimidating.
Injuries and the Milwaukee Bucks' desire to develop their younger talent limited him in 2013, but he remains a sound defender with the ability to put in a few shots here and there.
For less than the mid-level exception, Dalembert could certainly be a steal.
1. Nate Robinson
2013 Stats: 13.1 points, 2.2 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.0 steals, 43.3 FG%, 40.5 3PT%
No team is going to trust Nate Robinson until he puts together two or three straight seasons of productive basketball.
So far he's on about one-and-a-half.
His 2012 stint with the Golden State Warriors was strange, mostly because it seemed like he was putting up good numbers on a bad team. However, after joining Jimmy Butler as the only member of the Chicago Bulls to play in all 82 games in 2013, it's time to start changing our opinions of Robinson.
If there was one coach who wouldn't deal with Robinson's antics, constant heat-checks, and streaky defense, it was Tom Thibodeau.
However, out of necessity and the best all-around season to date from Robinson, Thibodeau grew accustomed to the bad and realized that the good Robinson brought was more important.
Usually somebody described as an "energy player" is an undersized big man who uses hustle to make up for other deficiencies. Well, Robinson is not only a legitimate energy player, but he's also turning into something of a consistent threat.
Not only that, those ridiculous three-pointers are going in at a more consistent rate.
Robinson seems destined to yet again be the guy playing on a cheap one-year deal, but making an impact like he's one of the best backup point guards in the NBA.