NBA Free Agency 2010: 10 Overlooked Free Agents
We know all the big names, we know all the teams fighting for them, but this free agency class goes a lot deeper.
There are savvy veterans, young playmakers, and household names that exist beneath.
There will be no LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson, Chris Bosh, Dirk Nowitzki, Rudy Gay, Yao Ming, or even Shaquille O'Neal beyond this point.
Some of these guys are unrestricted, while others may be difficult to pry away from their teams due to restricted free agency.
But no matter who, they all can have a big impact whether they stay or go.
These are your overlooked free agents for 2010, don't forget about them...
No. 10: J.J Redick
J.J Redick, the sharpshooting, three-point specialist hated by most college basketball fans, has returned to form.
After entering the NBA with an elitist attitude, Redick quickly got an adjustment.
Finally, two years later, many fans who once hated him have endeared his newly found hard-working ways.
He realized he could no longer get by through slacking and has increased his defense and offense to NBA levels.
Redick averaged 9.6 PPG while shooting above 40 percent from three point range.
His 22 minutes per game, of which he played all 82 for the first time in his career, helped show the player he is developing into.
The Orlando Magic offered him a qualifying sheet, leaving him as a restricted free agent. That should not stop teams from inquiring though.
Many teams could use a solid three point shooter either off the bench or in the starting lineup.
Now that Redick plays at a high-energy level on offense and defense, he can fit into most styles of play.
No. 9: Travis Outlaw
Travis Outlaw is a very young and athletic player coming off a mediocre year.
Luckily for him, if you're still young, the NBA still looks for potential.
Plenty of potential exists in Outlaw as he has averaged 9.5 PPG over his career. Outlaw has had some very good years though in the past few.
In 2007-08, he averaged 13.3 PPG and shot 39.6 percent from deep.
In 2008-09, Outlaw scored 12.8 PPG. He also averaged over four RPG in each of those season.
With the right amount of playing time and role, Outlaw can still be a very effective player.
He has proven he knows how to score in multiple ways and adds a solid defensive dimension.
Outlaw would be a perfect player off the bench to bring energy to a lineup.
Look for a team to take a chance on him, but for him to take off from the L.A Clippers where he was acquired last season.
No. 8: Al Harrington
Al Harrington has been around the NBA block quite a few times.
He has been on Indiana, Atlanta, Indiana again, Golden State, and finally New York.
Harrington knows how to score and that will probably never change.
With the faster paced offense in New York he got back to the 17 PPG and above range. He can bang down low and create opportunities for himself
He is a mediocre rebounder, but plays solid defense when called upon.
He may be a late signing somewhere, but expect a winning team to try to use him as a role-playing piece.
In the right situation, Harrington can excel as a starter or off the bench.
No. 7: Josh Childress
A lot of people have long forgotten about Josh Childress.
Childress left the NBA in 2008 to join Olympiakos and brought some fear that this may become common among NBA players.
Well, two years later, Childress may be back in the NBA. He is a restricted free agent for the Atlanta Hawks and some teams will be vying for his services.
Many have him highly valued for this free agency go-around and all indications has him returning to the states.
He averaged over 15 PPG and about six rebounds during his European playing time.
But does lack of NBA competition over the past two seasons work against him?
His seasons were slightly shorter and the opponents not at the same daily level as in the NBA.
Look for Childress to come back and the Hawks to get as much value out of him, as they own his restricted rights.
No. 6: Brendan Haywood
Brendan Haywood enters free agency as a healthy seven footer who can man the middle of most NBA starting lineups.
Last season, he was traded from the Washington Wizards to the Dallas Mavericks, hoping to spring them to a title. It didn't work out that way and now Haywood is on his own.
Before his trade, he was averaging 9.8 PPG and 10.3 RPG for Washington. He is a mammoth on the offensive boards, with almost three per game for his career.
Haywood was a slight disappointment in Dallas, but was never given enough time to fully adjust to the new style of team.
The big man plays solid defense, is hard to push around on the inside, and has decent hands for a big man.
Haywood could be important to a roster needing someone in the middle. Look for a team that is a couple pieces away to take a run at him just like Dallas did.
No. 5: Raymond Felton
Raymond Felton is coming off another strong season as he enters into free agency.
Felton has proven over the past five years that he belongs as a starting point guard in the NBA. His career numbers have him at 13.3 PPG and 6.4 APG.
Under the tutelage of Larry Brown, Felton's point guard skills have continued to improve. He controls the tempo well, plays solid defense, and is a good rebounder for a player listed at 6'1".
Felton also took a big step in improving his shot last season.
After struggling in the low 40s his first four seasons, Felton raised it to 46 percent last year. He also shot a career best 38.5 percent from three point range.
While it may be best for him to stay and continue developing under Brown, Felton should not be forgotten. Plenty of teams need a solid point guard and he may be the best true point guard on the market this offseason.
No. 4 Tyrus Thomas
Joining his teammate Raymond Felton on the market is Tyrus Thomas.
Recently acquired in February, by the Charlotte Bobcats, Thomas finds himself a restricted free agent. He was a the fourth pick in the draft, but in the end didn't fulfill what the Bulls had hoped.
Thomas showed great improvement in his maturity and defense under Larry Brown. He was hurt for a large portion of last year, but played well near the end.
He averaged 10.1 PPG, 6.1 RPG, and 1.5 BPG in 21 minutes per game for Charlotte.
He capped off his season with a strong playoff performance against the Boston Celtics with 21 points and nine rebounds in 29 minutes.
If the 23-year-old can be more consistent, he could be a gem in this free agent class.
It's expected the Bobcats will match any offer, and learning under Larry Brown will only help him, but sometimes a lot of money talks.
No. 3: John Salmons
John Salmons was a surprise addition to the free agent pool for this year.
Looking to cash in on a situation where a team lost out to one of the bigger names or find a new spotlight to shine under, Salmons is taking a chance.
He showed Milwaukee Bucks fans that he can help teams win and is reaching the peak of his game.
Salmons averaged 19.9 PPG for the Bucks last season and has shot about 40 percent from three-point range the past two years.
He has changed places a lot over the first eight seasons of his career and wants to ride out his peak in a solid home.
Milwaukee traded for Corey Maggette and there is a good chance Salmons goes elsewhere.
With his improved shooting, ability to get the hole, and solid defense, he could be a nice addition somewhere.
No. 2: Luis Scola
Luis Scola finds himself in a strange predicament. He's 30 years of age, yet restricted on the free agent market.
The feisty Scola, standing at 6'9", is a solid offensive player who attacks the opposing defense well. He averaged 16.2 PPG last season and has shot 52 percent for this career.
He is a good rebounder, ripping down 8.6 RPG (including 2 ORPG), and knows how to get to the free-throw line.
Scola's style of play mixes well with any scheme he were to join.
The one downfall is the mediocre defensive skills he possesses. But the energy and passion he brings helps overcome some of that deficiency.
Look for Scola to be one of the players that teams who lost out on a big man tries to pry away from the Houston Rockets.
No. 1: David Lee
Amidst all the New York Knicks free agency talk, David Lee has become forgotten.
For all the big names (who shall not be named) New York seems to be targeting, Lee has been left behind.
After resigning for one year, Lee produced his best season in the NBA.
Lee averaged 20.3 PPG, 11.7 RPG, and 3.6 APG. But the name Lee, just isn't enough.
People know he is a free agent, but many don't realize how good he was last year.
He got himself to the free throw line and converted regularly at 81.2 percent and shot 54.5 percent from the field for the second straight year.
He works hard, hustles on every play, and his defense has slowly improved to at least an acceptable level.
Lee may not have the marketing appeal for a variety of reasons, but whatever team decides they want this player, they may have a steal.