The pickings may have slimmed down a bit, but free agency still has a little name value and some decent players available.
Although it may seem unlikely that any of the remaining players will have big impacts, just remember that Chris “Birdman” Andersen went unsigned last year, and that other late adds like Kenyon Martin and Mike James were playing big minutes.
There is still value to be had, so here’s a look at the top three players remaining at each position.
1. Brandon Jennings
The Brandon Jennings saga wages on. Do the Milwaukee Bucks want to sign him long term or just have him accept a qualifying offer? Do they want to explore a trade with the Detroit Pistons? We’ll wait and see, but Jennings is the most talented point guard left on the market, even though he’s probably overrated given his actual amount of production and lack of potential, save for suddenly making more shots.
2. Mo Williams
For a few months of the season with the Los Angeles Clippers two years back, Mo Williams was a real Sixth Man of the Year candidate. This is a guy who can fill it up. He can spot up and play off ball-dominant guards, but he can also create for himself when plays break down. I wouldn't be crazy about him as a starter, but as a shooter off the bench, he certainly has his value.
3. Beno Udrih
Beno Udrih is a very serviceable point guard. His biggest attribute may be his penchant for pull-up jumpers in transition, which may not be the best thing, but he’s pretty good from that mid-range area. The lefty point guard can score a bit and get his team to run their stuff, which is more than half the battle as a backup.
1. Gerald Henderon
Gerald Henderson should get the chance to be evaluated outside of the Charlotte Bobcats before we write the book on him. As is, he’s a very good leaper and mid-range player, and his stats have improved in nearly every single category during his time in Charlotte. He can pass and is a willing defender, so you’d think he would make for a good role player. It’s important to remember, however, that no team is lining up for guys who can’t shoot threes, and that’s Henderson’s fatal flaw.
2. Gary Neal
You know who can shoot threes? Gary Neal. As we saw in the Finals, Neal has the ability to get hot and fire up shots from all over the court. Although he is prone to taking bad shots, Neal did grow into the San Antonio Spurs system and became a player whom Gregg Popovich trusted enough to play. That should count for something, even if teams are worried how he’ll look and play outside of all that structure.
3. Roddy Beaubois
If you’re looking for a redemption candidate, Roddy Beaubois might be your man. Although he’s technically more of a point guard, Beaubois is a little positionless and a little wild out on the court. A team that could live with his mistakes and be patient could reap some rewards, though, as Beaubois does have a lot of natural ability.
1. Alan Anderson
The small forward position is probably the weakest of the five in terms of remaining free agents, but Alan Anderson can play a little bit. Although he toiled in obscurity, Anderson was often one of the better players for the Toronto Raptors. His numbers may not indicate it because of a shaky shot selection, but Anderson is a pretty good threat from behind the arc.
2. Ronnie Brewer
Again, can you play wings who can’t shoot the three ball in today’s NBA? Ronnie Brewer is a guy who can’t shoot, but he can certainly cut. The former lost him his job in New York with the Knicks, but the latter could help him land somewhere where that talent is appreciated. He can defend and rebound, but offensively he’s not bringing a whole lot to the table.
3. Corey Maggette
Is there anything in the tank left with Corey Maggette? Fewer players have played a more physical style of basketball over their careers, as Maggette has crashed his way into opponents for years and years now. Although he’s a sliver of what he once was, Maggette, 33, still has the craft to get to the line often and pay dividends for a second unit in that way.
1. DeJuan Blair
DeJuan Blair is too short (6'7'') to make a difference defensively, but offensively he can really crash the boards and gain extra possessions. Although he hasn’t had much of a chance to show it, Blair has also improved his range a bit to become a more complete offensive player. There are concerns defensively, but as a minimum-level big guy, why not?
2. Ivan Johnson
It’s a little silly that Ivan Johnson doesn’t have a job yet. He’s an enforcer of a player. He’s a guy opponents will be scared of. Although he’s limited skill-wise, Johnson does do a nice job defensively and on the glass. He’s very serviceable.
3. Jason Maxiell
Jason Maxiell is a streaky big man, which you don’t see much. The effort tends to come and go, but Maxiell will always have a handful of games per year that are extremely impressive. Although he’s undersized (6'7''), Maxiell makes up for a lot of that with his athleticism and crazy wingspan (7'3''). When he’s motivated, he’s worth playing.
UPDATE: Jason Maxiell signed with the Orlando Magic on July 18, per Yahoo! Sports.
1. Brandan Wright
After already having locked up Samuel Dalembert, it appears Brandan Wright won't be on the market much longer either, per ESPN Dallas. Wright’s a lanky guy, but he runs the floor really well and can block a few shots every now and then as well. He’s a good piece to have around, as he always seems to put up numbers in his minutes.
2. Kenyon Martin
Kenyon Martin can’t do a lot of offensively, but he’s not afraid of contact and he’ll play pretty hard. That seems like an easy combination to find, but tough veteran bigs like Martin have their place, even if they may not be guys you want around for 82 games a year. I wouldn’t expect Martin to get signed this offseason, but he’s a good add for a playoff contender down the line.
3. Timofey Mozgov
This spot could conceivably go to Greg Oden, but we'll have a better handle on him if/when he takes the floor in a regular-season game again. For now, Mozgov is a guy who can conceivably clog the middle, contest some shots and even finish around the hoop for 15-20 minutes per game. Moderately productive with the New York Knicks in 2010 and throughout his national career for Russia, Mozgov has been buried on the Nuggets bench and has only recently been known for this. A little more burn could produce better results.
Note: We are assuming Nikola Pekovic will re-sign with the Minnesota Timberwolves.