2014 NBA Free Agents: Underrated Assets Who Will Prove to Be Major Acquisitions

Kristian Ibarra@@kristian_ibarraFeatured ColumnistJune 12, 2014

Miami Heat guard Mario Chalmers (15) during the second half of Game 3 in the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals playoff series against the Indiana Pacers, Saturday, May 24, 2014, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

The summer of 2010 had many NBA fans hooked onto their televisions as they awaited to see if the Miami Heat could magically pull off the unprecedented: signing three of the top free agents, and overall players, available. 

They succeeded, and now the Heat are taking part in their fourth straight NBA championship series, looking to capture their third title with the “Big Three.”

This year’s class of free agents is a little different, however. As it stands, there’s no LeBron James, no Dwyane Wade and no Chris Bosh

Though the household names aren’t there, many of these players will go on to play vital roles for their respective teams. 


Mario Chalmers

Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

It’s probably difficult for most of you to decide whether Miami’s Mario Chalmers is underrated or overrated. Most likely, you either think he gets too much credit for what James, Wade and Bosh have been able to accomplish, or you think he’s deserving of his own credit for playing a vital role in the shadows of greatness.

His averages aren't overly impressive, but it's hard to shine when you have three of the best players in the NBA to contend with.

Mario Chalmers Career Averages

Whichever way you choose to view him, it’d be hard for you to deny him of being an asset to Paul George and the Indiana Pacers. Ousted by what will probably be Chalmers’ former team for the second year in a row, the Pacers need to reload.

A player like Chalmers has already proved he doesn’t need to be in the spotlight to help a team succeed, and a team like Indiana needs to give its best player all the help he needs.


Eric Bledsoe

Winslow Townson/Associated Press

Coming off his third season as a pro, the former first-round pick from Kentucky took his game to new heights. Eric Bledsoe helped carry the Phoenix Suns—who were the NBA’s best team to not make the playoffs—to a 48-34 record in 2013-14. 

His 17.7 points, 5.5 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game this season were almost all twice as much as he averaged in the previous two years. Take a look at how he got those numbers in this video:

The 24-year-old point guard from Birmingham will likely stick around Phoenix, but teams in need of a rising young talent would be wise to show interest.


Avery Bradley

Jonathan Bachman/Associated Press

Plagued by a bad Boston Celtics team with an already established point guard, Avery Bradley did the best with what he was afforded.

Selected 19th overall in 2010, Bradley managed to average 14.9 points per game in 2013-14. Don’t let his underwhelming 1.4 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game fool you, though—he’s a stud on the defensive side of the ball.  

Check out his defensive talents in this video:

Though he’s had a history with injuries, his skills on the court cannot be denied. Any established team seeking a defensive role player who can score some points when needed should take a look at Bradley this summer.