Those teams immediately scrounge through the available free agents in search of role players who can help their team throughout the regular season and into the playoffs. Guys like James Posey, Robert Horry and Peja Stojakovic come to mind as terrific shooters who have helped teams win championships with their clutch shooting.
Before we take a look at the top 15 shooters in this 2011 free agent class, let me lay out the ground rules:
1) The article title says shooter. It means, literally, shooter. Not scorer. Specifically, I am using shooter as defined by a player's ability to hit the three-ball.
(Goodbye, Vakeaton "Von" Wafer.)
2) This article isn't about 15 good shooters who also happen to be fantastic at everything else. If they are fantastic at everything else, teams wouldn't be just "considering" them, would they?
(Nice try Jamal Crawford, Caron Butler, J.R. Smith, Shane Battier, Jason Richardson, Michael Redd, Mickael Pietrus and Leandro Barbosa.)
3) This article isn't including shooters who may or may not be dead.
(We are talking to you Mike Bibby and Josh Howard.)
4) This article is only discussing players who are unrestricted free agents. Because of the complexities during a lockout, restricted free agents are going to have an extremely tough time going anywhere this offseason.
(Maybe next year—Arron Afflalo, Reggie Williams, Goran Dragic, Mario Chalmers, Marco Belinelli, Daequan Cook and Marcus Thornton.)
5) Lastly, this article is not including players who are expected to re-sign with their current teams.
Sorry, that took way too long. Without further ado, your top 15 free-agent shooters.
***I used this ESPN page as my FA guide***
Getting by more on reputation than actual performance, Mason is walking a tightrope right now.
With his shooting percentages dropping to a horrific 34 percent, and his minutes falling faster than a skydiver, Roger must start to play better. One more bad year and he could have trouble finding work. Heck, he could have trouble finding work this season.
But we all have seen what he can do when he gets comfortable. A title contender can take a flier on him and hope they catch lightning in a bottle.
Best game of the year: 25 MIN, 3-6 FG (2-4 3FG), 4 REB, 2 AST, 3 STL, 9 PTS.
Novak was extremely solid for San Antonio/Dallas this year.
Averaging about eight minutes per contest, Novak was able to score four points per game, while shooting a staggering 58.7 percent from long range.
Obviously, if he had played longer minutes, Novak wouldn't have been as effective. But at the same time, he is a 6'10" lights-out shooter in a league where big men are very sparse.
Best game of the year: 18 MIN, 5-6 FG (3-4 3FG), 5 REB, 13 PTS.
The reason Cook gets the nod over the statistically superior Novak is that Cook played more minutes per game last year, although he did fizzle out in the second half.
In the first half of the season, Cook played 30 games, shooting a terrific 43.7 percent from three. He averaged 5.7 points in only 13 minutes per game.
He is also better than Novak because he is a good rebounder with terrific length.
Best game of the year: 27 MIN, 6-9 FG (4-5 3FG), 10 REB (3 OFF), 16 PTS.
And this is why he is so high on the list. It looks like hes crying. And Pietrus is about to OWN him.
You might be wondering why someone who has averaged 11.6 points per game and 8.3 rebounds per game in his career is low on this list.
Let me explain.
I am a diehard Celtics fan. I watched Murphy "play" for the last two months this season. "Play" is in quotations, because what Murphy was doing was not playing. He was wandering.
Wandering into teammates on offense. Wandering out of position on defense. Wandering around in a daze after two minutes of court time.
Murphy was just wretched.
Listen, the man has talent, don't get me wrong. But if you asked a non-NBA fan to determine the worst player on the Celtics based on any game that Murphy played in, he would be chosen. Every time.
If Murph gets on to a team that can hide his defensive inabilities and can give him 16 minutes a game to get into a rhythm, he could be a steal.
But don't count on it.
Unfortunately, Murph didn't have a best game of the year. So instead, we will showcase his worst stretch of the season:
March 2nd-March 9th: 41 MIN, 0-10 FG (0-5 3FG), 3 PTS. Three points. In 41 minutes.
The Serbian might not be the best-looking guy in the NBA, but with his size, strength and shooting ability, teams would be foolish not to take a look in his direction.
He never caught on for Boston, both because of the language barrier and the limited in-game reps, but in one fantastic game on the last day of the season, Sasha reminded NBA teams what he was capable of.
Pavlovic scorched the Knicks for 19 points on a red-hot 7-10 FG (4-5 3FG). Not only was he seemingly hitting every shot, Sasha's defense was phenomenal.
Unfortunately, a lot of NBA insiders are suggesting that Pavlovic is going to head east to Russia, following in the footsteps of former teammate and comrade, Nenad Krstic.
I do think Pavlovic should remain in the NBA for one more year. He just needs some consistent playing time.
A young 33 years of age, House almost always seems to be a part of the "shooters available in free agency" team.
After Eddie's totally random Finals Game 6 extended appearance (in which Eddie unsurprisingly did well: 3-6 3FG, 0 TO, 9 PTS, and probably would have hit another three if it wasn't for this ridiculous no-call on a blatant hit in the face), teams will remember why House is so valuable in the first place. Let's call it the "Four E's."
Energetic, Emotional, Erratic and Electric.
No one plays the game harder than E Money. He is always hopping up and down, always ready to go. Case in point: After totaling just 24 minutes in the Playoffs up to that point, House played a pivotal role in Game 6, giving Coach Spoelstra 21 minutes off the bench. Most players come out rusty. Eddie? He was ready, as always.
Eddie's emotion is what separates his game from so many other terrific shooters. I remember when he was on the Celtics. Even in those frustrating games where he took bad shot after bad shot, his mere presence on the floor always riled up his teammates. He raised everyone's game. Eddie was the emotional leader for the Celtics off the bench in that championship year.
Anyone who has watched more than one game that he has played in knows—when he's hot, he's hot (see below), and when he's not, he's really not. For someone who is as good of a shooter as he is, it boggles my mind sometimes how atrocious some of his jumpers will look. He's probably the only 39 percent career three-point shooter who averages an airball a game (a stat I just made up, it just feels that way).
This last one is undeniably Eddie. It is a culmination of all three. It's his emotion, his ability to catch fire, his ability to bounce back and be a spark plug for any team in search of a title.
This is why, yet again, Eddie will find a home with a playoff contender.
Best game of the year: 45 MIN, 14-27 FG (7-13 3FG), 35 PTS (I did not make this up, go look for yourselves).
Under any normal circumstances, Cardinal would be lower on this list. But this, obviously, is not a normal circumstance.
Cardinal just proved his worth in front of millions of people all around the world with his spectacular Game 6 performance. He also probably doubled in value this Offseason because of it.
Either way, he is a solid shooter (who clearly isn't afraid to take a big shot), and a tough defender who can play the role of enforcer when needed.
Whoever ends up with him will be lucky to have him.
Best game of the year: 17 MIN, 4-8 3FG, 3 STL, 12 PTS.
Side question: Do you think Dallas has to keep him? He may have been the one who keyed Dallas' Game 6 third-quarter run. Don't you have to re-sign him?
Leave your thoughts below, I am unsure of where I stand on this.
Despite any other verifiable skills, Vlad's silky smooth "J" has kept him relevant in the NBA for way too long.
He has terrific size for a shooter, 6'10", and he has plenty of playoff experience (with LAL).
Radmanovic is a guy who I think will fly under the radar this offseason because he played pretty sparingly in Golden State.
With many, many teams looking to add size, Vlad will eventually find a team who is willing to pay him, but he will not make the money he would have made had he been on a big-market team like the Lakers.
Best game of the year: 28 MIN, 5-10 FG (3-5 3FG), 8 REB (2 OFF), 2 AST, 2 TO, 2 STL, 15 PTS.
With a nearly flawless release, James Jones defeated the defending three-point competition champion (Paul Pierce) and the three-point champion of NBA history (Ray Allen).
Despite the appearance of a player 10 years his junior, Jones is actually turning 31 this coming fall. He has shown flashes of brilliance, like his dynamic Game 1 performance in the Eastern Conference semifinals against Boston, but he has also shown an inability to produce game in and game out.
Jones can certainly light up the scoreboard, and he might be one of the most automatic open threes in the league, but he is going to have trouble finding a better situation than what he has right now in Miami.
LeBron, Wade and Bosh stay inside the three-point line, and Jones just waits for the defense to collapse until getting a perfect pass from one of the three Miami stars. Sometimes Jones has enough time to kiss the ball for good luck before a defender is even within 10 feet of him. Just wide open looks, one after another.
If he does leave Miami, he should go to a team that has a fantastic slasher. Outside of drive and kick-outs, Jones is actually a pretty useless player.
Best game of the year: 28 MIN, 5-7 3FG, 10-10 FT, 25 PTS.
Side note: Isn't basketball such a funny game sometimes? Usually, a big game like this propels a shooter to become more confident, and overall up his game. With Jones? He played like garbage for a few more games, then rode the bench until the end of the playoffs. Weird.
Give me a minute to explain myself.
I know he averaged .7 points per game and .5 rebounds per game on only 12.5 percent 3FG. I know he averaged a measly 4:35 minutes per game.
I also know that a guy who has over 1000 career three-point attempts while maintaining a terrific 43.7 percent conversion rate, is someone who knows how to shoot the lights out.
Kapono has been awful since he left Toronto.
Let me restate that: Kapono has been a complete catastrophe since he left Toronto.
If Michael Vick was the best signing a Philadelphia team has ever had, you can put Kapono down as the worst. He was pitiful.
But that's the thing. He is going to cost almost nothing to acquire. He has no leverage whatsoever. At the same time, a fringe contender can give him 12 minutes a game, and if he produces, then great, you have a potential sixth or seventh man. If not, who cares? He's going to be paid the minimum anyway!
The man is 29 years old. He isn't slipping. Pay him, and then pray that he can find his sweet stroke from 2006-2007 (51.4 percent 3FG).
Best game of the year: None. It was just one of those years.
One of the great three-point gunners of our generation, Peja had a total rebirth this spring in Dallas.
After a magnificent 2007-2008 season with New Orleans (44 percent 3FG, 16 PPG), Peja failed to regain his magical touch until he joined the Mavs this year.
His Game 4 performance to close out the L.A. Lakers series was otherworldly, and his on-court demeanor after being benched in the Finals was what you expect out of a veteran leader—cheer on your teammates, smile for the cameras and keep your mouth shut about playing time.
Although Peja has some major deficiencies (RE: Defense), he would be a savior to any of the Eastern Conference contenders. Boston, Chicago and Miami, all teams that are sound defensively, are also all looking for outside bombers to stretch the defense.
I think he would fit best in Miami, but Miami definitely doesn't have the money that he is going to demand in the open market.
Considering Boston is going to spend its money on a center and Chicago is almost certainly going to spend it on a backcourt option, Peja will probably remain where he is most comfortable: the Western Conference.
Best game of the year: 30 MIN, 7-7 FG (6-6 3FG), 3 STL, 21 PTS.
Maybe New York's most consistent player in the Boston series, Williams probably earned himself an extra couple million dollars this offseason.
He has great size and athleticism, and unlike the guys before him on the list, he is still very young (25). I can't see any team in either conference not taking a long look at this guy. He's got great tools, works extremely hard and actually played fantastic defense on Paul Pierce at different points throughout the series.
Williams should get some decent money this offseason, and he earned it.
This kid is going to get a lot better with experience.
Best game of the year: 36 MIN, 8-12 FG (7-8 3FG), 25 PTS.
DeShawn was one of the most entertaining players this postseason, and with his outstanding three-point performance in the NBA Finals, I think he deserves the No. 3 spot on this list.
He went 13-23 from long range against Miami, and that is including some huge shots that he hit after he was surprisingly benched after a quiet Game 3. A lot of players would have sulked and cried that they didn't deserve to be yanked.
Behind all that swagger and bravado, underneath all those ridiculous tattoos, is a competitor as fierce as they come.
Not many people choose to go toe to toe against LeBron James. Not only did Stevenson choose it, he relished it. He made his presence felt.
And to top of the series-clincher by nailing three bombs? That is just icing on the cake.
Best game of the year: 22 MIN, 5-9 FG (5-7 3FG), 4 AST, 17 PTS.
Side note: I wouldn't be surprised to see him back in Dallas. Very similar situation to Cardinal, how do you just let him leave after that?
Parker is a bit of a dark horse after a semi-disappointing season in Cleveland.
Although considering the fact that he lost LeBron James, a three-point shooter's best friend, he actually maintained very solid numbers across the board. Parker is a great shooter to add, because it isn't the only thing he does.
He's not fantastic in any other area (except maybe defense), but he is a good passer, a decent rebounder and is extremely durable despite his age (36). He has missed only 22 games since the start of the 2006-2007 season.
I personally would love to see him in Celtics green, and a few NBA insiders have mentioned it as a definite possibility, but I wouldn't be surprised to see the veteran return to Cleveland and help mentor Kyrie Irving and mysterious pick X.
Best game of the year: 37 MIN,7-10 FG (4-5 3FG), 5 REB, 5 REB, 2 STL, 19 PTS.
I know, I know. He's not such a good three-point shooter. In fact, he has the worst career 3FG percent out of everyone on this list.
Then how is he No. 1?
First of all, his three-ball has been steadily improving (31percent in '07-08, 31 percent in '08-09, 33 percent in '09-10, 35 percent in '10-11). Second of all, this isn't just a list of the best shooters, it is a list of the best free-agent shooters.
So despite not having the sweetest stroke, Shannon's improving three-point shot, along with his ability to nearly fly, have taken him to the top of this list.
Brown is the second-youngest player on here (25), and he has shown flashes of brilliance in his ability to dribble drive and have a more in-between game.
If he leaves LA, which seems extremely sensible, considering his recent twitter situation, Brown will by far be the most highly coveted out of these 15.
If you are frustrated that I kept Shannon Brown on the list despite his mediocre shooting, then just imagine the list ending with Anthony Parker. No need to go wild in the comments. If you don't like it, make your own list.
My list ends at No. 1 with high-flying shooting guard Shannon Brown.
Best game of the year: 17 MIN, 5-9 FG (4-4 3FG), 5 REB (2 OFF), 2 AST, 0 TO, 1 STL, 16 PTS.
Is that good enough shooting for you?
Thanks for reading! Don't forget to share your opinion down below. I know you have one!