NBA Free Agency 2011: 5 Best Wing Players on the Market
While the lockout draws on and the NBA continues to be at a standstill, along with the numerous free agents who were expected to be on the move as well.
So while the 2011 list of free agents may only be a precursor to 2012's list, there is still plenty of talent available for teams this summer to have at, hopefully sooner than later.
One particular abundance available to teams comes in the form of shooting guards and small forwards.
Whether its a playoff tested veteran three point shooter or young an athletic guard who hustles on both ends of the floor, or even former All-Stars seemingly on the verge of returning to their glory days, 2011's free agency market has quite a bit to look forward to, especially in the wing department.
Naturally, many teams in the NBA are looking for a missing piece to push them over the hump this season and in many cases, teams like the Chicago Bulls for instance, are one offensively gifted player away from becoming a true title contender.
That being said, here are five of the best wing players on the market.
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Considered in many circles to be one of the best free agents available on the market, the Denver Nuggets' Arron Afflalo is now a restricted free agent.
Averaging 12 points per game, three assists and two rebounds, the 25 year old is only now approaching his prime years and his game has showed.
Already a solid shooter from beyond the arc, Afflalo's offensive versatility has really come out.
His confidence on the offensive end has grown and the Los Angeles native has shown an hints of a potential in his game, moving better without the ball and doing more with it in his hands.
Defensively, Afflalo was always great, but now with a budding offensive game, he's become a real jewel for the Nuggets.
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Jamal Crawford has been invaluable to the Atlanta Hawks as a sixth man and one of the best shooters in the league.
He plays well off of screens and is more than capable of creating his own shot.
More importantly, he can thrive in pick and roll opportunities and can make big shots in crunch time, if needed.
Everyone knows he plays close to no level of decent defense, however is ranked purely on his offensive ability, Crawford is near the top of the heap, solely because of his value as a scorer.
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While injury set him back from participating in the Dallas Mavericks' 2011 Championship season, Caron Butler is still one of the most valuable assets to the team, assuming he's healthy.
Already on a team chalked full of offense, Butler was slowly but surely finding his niche on the team, focusing more on developing aspects of his game other than his one on one scoring ability.
The former two time All-Star was even extending his range, on his way to shooting a career high 43 percent from the three point line, until he was derailed by injury.
The Mavs picked up Rudy Fernandez in case of another mishap with Butler, but he still remains the more capable of the small forward / shooting guards on the team.
Given J.J. Barea's playoff performance and Butler's time on the bench due to injury, a team might be able to steal away the possibly undervalued Butler from under the Mavs' noses.
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Boasting a 33 point performance in their last game of the season against the Los Angeles Lakers last season, the Sacramento Kings' Marcus Thornton has shown some real potential.
Before the loss to the Lakers, he posted 21 points in the game before against the Oklahoma City Thunder and another 21 before that against Golden State Warriors.
Thornton is no doubt a talent when it comes to scoring the ball and at 24 years of age, he could potentially be a budding star or at the least, a solid scoring option.
His defense may be suspect, but at 6'4", he's shown an ability to play at either of the guard positions and is full of possibilities.
He's another young talent and one that teams are going to at least make a move for, but the someone the Kings are definitely going to try to keep around.
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Once the league's most talented man above the rim, the Orlando Magic's Jason Richardson has gone the route of the high flying shooting guard who now relies on his jump shot.
Already proficient from beyond the arc, Richardson found his place on the Magic as one of its many three-point shooters.
He's not really the type to attack the basket now but is more than capable of moving without the ball and freeing himself up for the shot.
On a team full of shooters he was able to distinguish himself as a solid scoring option, and with so many teams on the lookout for either a secondary scoring option or a more traditional shooter, J-Rich can fill either of those voids.