NBA Free Agents 2011: 12 Most Athletic Players Available
Athleticism has become something that every team in the NBA yearns for.
Players who can run up and down the floor and rise above the rim to finish mind-boggling dunks bring more fans to the arenas, which ultimately leads to more revenue for NBA teams.
Today, we'll take a look at a few superior athletes available in the market.
Though he's known mainly for his streaky shooting and his staunch perimeter defense, DeShawn Stevenson's athletic ability is rather underrated.
Sure it's been a year or two since he's had a poster dunk like this, but he hasn't necessarily had the freedom to do so within the Dallas Mavericks offense.
He's only 30 years old, so I'm sure Stevenson's still got the legs to get up and throw a few monster dunks down throughout the rest of his career.
Jason Richardson is Mr. 360. Whether it be in a slam dunk contest, a fast break or just practicing in his backyard at home, Richardson is guaranteed to pull of a body-distorting dunk every chance he gets.
He's getting a bit older, but Richardson's still showing that he's got something left in the tank. Here's a few of his dunks to get you warmed up.
Though he's never really gotten a lot of exposure during his years in New Orleans and Toronto, Julian Wright is an electrifying dunker who has above average leaping ability.
Wright's not the greatest outside shooter by any standard—he shot a miserable 20 percent from deep last season—but he's a solid perimeter defender and he's got great ball-handling skills for a player of his size.
Wright's lack of a jump shot hurts him the most. He drives the lane where he runs into crowds, and ultimately makes poor decisions at the rim. If Wright can develop a jumper, he might attract a bit more attention from new teams.
Just watch the video.
If you don't believe he belongs on this list, you must be Blake Griffin. Yet aside from his freakish athletic ability, Jamario Moon's actually got some more to his game.
Moon can knock down the three if he's left open and he's a great defender. Team's will be sure to make him some offers, and seeing as though he's a low maintenance kind of guy, he should find a new home in no time.
Von Wafer hasn't been graced with a generous amount of minutes—part of which is due to his lack of emphasis for the defensive end of the court—but he can definitely rise up with some of the best of them.
He's known primarily for his streaky shooting from deep, but Wafer's actually got a few springs stuffed inside those feet of his. Here's a small glimpse of the wreckage he's caused.
Easily the craftiest player in the NBA, Jamal Crawford actually has some athleticism to compliment his incredible ball-handling skills.
Using his sick crossover or his nasty double behind-the-back hop step, Crawford penetrates the lane with the best of them. And when he gets to the paint, he either finishes at the rim with an especially soft touch or makes a great pass to the open teammate.
However, where Crawford uses his athleticism best is on his jumper. He releases his shot at the top of his jump, making it nearly impossible for defenders to block. For a guy who can score in so many ways, it's definitely a tough task to guard him.
Tyson Chandler uses his athleticism greatest when dunking or defending—his two strongest suits.
Though the seven-foot center only averaged 1.1 blocks per game last season, there's no question that he's one of the best shot changers in the league. Chandler also uses his leaping ability to snag rebounds over stronger big men down low.
Stuckey isn't a flashy dunker, nor does he gave the greatest hang time, but he definitely knows how to use his body to his advantage. He should probably improve his outside shooting if he wants to take his game to the next level.
Jeff Green is an athletic, combo forward who does a little bit of everything to help his team win games.
Most effective during his time in Oklahoma City, Green lived as a scorer who spread the floor with his shooting and was able to put the ball on the floor and attack the basket. He's yet to find his niche in Boston, and I'm not too sure he will.
That dunk above should sell you on the athleticism aspect of his game.
Clearly the second most athletic center in the NBA behind only Superman himself, Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan combines his impressive leaping ability with his incredible size to finish plays above the rim.
Though he only played 25 minutes per game backing up Chris Kaman, Jordan averaged 7.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. He's not a flashy dunker by any means, but rest assured, if he catches the ball above the rim, it's going to be a powerful jam.
Shannon Brown can electrify the dullest of crowds in an instant with his nasty dunks. He let each and every one of his fans down at the 2011 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest, but we all know that if Brown gets a fast break, he will finish in style.
Shannon Brown is what I like to call a finesse dunker. He can manipulate his body in such a way that he can finish around a defender if he has to. Just watch the video and you'll see what I mean.
One of the most athletic players in the NBA, J.R. Smith found himself ousted from Denver after last season and is now a free agent looking for a new home.
Smith lived for the highlight reel, sprinting down the court for the fast break where he never disappointed the crowd. From windmills to 360s, vicious tomahawks to monster two-handed dunks and everything in between, Smith's imagination ran endless when nothing stood between him and the rim. You see the video.
Unfortunately, he began focusing too much on that aspect of the game rather than winning—playing for highlight reel moments rather than the team's overall success. And for that, J.R. Smith is now looking for a a new team.
Some ideas that cross my mind are Chicago, where he would be a second scoring option to Derrick Rose; New Jersey, where Deron Williams would monitor his touches and possibly be lulled into staying with the franchise; or maybe even Cleveland where he, Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams could form the league's next Big Three.
Wherever he may end up, J.R. Smith might be an off-court liability, but his production on the offensive end of the ball is something that no point-deficient team should pass up on.
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