NBA Free Agents 2011: 10 Slowest Players on the Market
Players with speed have become highly sought after in today's NBA, but what about the guys whose game has little to do with being able to move fast?
Before next season, a bunch of players will get picked up by teams for other reasons though. It may be due to the fact that they can shoot or play defense, or maybe they are just a big body, but quickness definitely will not be a deciding factor with these guys.
I've narrowed the list down to the 10 slowest free agents that will be available this offseason. There are no guards on this list, but here are the few big men I've selected that have trouble getting out of first gear.
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Brian Cardinal is a player who provides a team with decent perimeter shooting and a little bit of harassing defense (that's not to say he is a lock-down defender), but don't confuse his tenacity and effort for speed.
You would think that Cardinal's haircut, or lack thereof, would make him more aerodynamic, but it doesn't help him out much.
Cardinal was a member of the NBA champion Dallas Mavericks last season, and while he did see the floor at times, the Mavericks won't be hurting if Cardinal ends up somewhere else next season.
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Brian Scalabrine is a three-point specialist, and although he is faster than most people would think (Scalabrine ran a 3/4 court sprint at the NBA combine in 3.47 seconds), he still isn't very quick.
Scalabrine probably won't be back on his former team, the Chicago Bulls, or any of his former teams for that matter (New Jersey Nets, Boston Celtics), but there will likely be someone that's willing to bring him in for his locker room presence and his minute on-court contributions.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
The longtime NBA veteran has been in the league since being drafted by the Miami Heat in 1995.
Kurt Thomas' age has started to catch up with him though (he turns 39 in October), and while he may have once been able to avoid this list, he's now brought into games to hit an occasional open jump shot and take up space in the paint.
Thomas was never quite the scorer in the NBA that he was for TCU, but he managed to have a long career as a journeyman in the league.
Thomas' basketball IQ is the reason why he is the oldest player in the NBA, but the question begs to be asked, was 2010 his last season?
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Marc Gasol, at 7'1" and 265 pounds, is about as slow as NBA big men get, but he is a surprisingly effective scorer. At times, you will even see Gasol running the lanes at the wing using solid footwork and great hands to field a pass for an easy layup.
But one thing is for sure, he will never look like his brother, Pau. Even after Gasol toned up and shed some pounds, he hasn't become much quicker.
The Memphis Grizzles aren't too interested in how fast he is though. After receiving a qualifying offer from the Grizzles, Gasol should be back in Memphis for years to come.
Claus Andersen/Getty Images
Erick Dampier has been clogging the lanes in the NBA since 1995. Once famously dubbed "Ericka Dampier" by Shaquille O'Neal, Dampier has played on four different NBA teams in his long career.
Last season, he was a member of the Miami Heat, just one year removed from the Dallas Mavericks roster (I bet Dampier was wishing he could have stayed in Dallas).
As a big man who comes in the game only for his defensive prowess (although he did see the floor quite a bit last season), the 36-year-old's playing days are likely coming to an end. While Dampier's days are numbered in the NBA, he might just have enough in the tank to pull out one more year, just as long as he isn't running on fumes.
Harry How/Getty Images
You can't expect someone as big as Aaron Gray to be fast, can you? At 7'0" and 270 pounds, this behemoth of a man takes up almost the entire paint.
Gray isn't a player who's going to put up lofty numbers, but he does provide what he is brought into games for, mainly rebounding and to use his large frame in the paint.
There is no debating that Gray is slow (he ran a 3.7 in the 3/4 court sprint at the combine), but with his size, teams aren't expecting him to win a footrace against Usain Bolt.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Jason Collins stands at 7'0" and weighs in at 255 pounds. Like his twin brother, Jarron, Jason Collins' size has been a major reason for his longevity in the NBA.
Both Jarron and Jason's careers are not what they once were, but Jason managed to contribute just over 12 minutes per game for the Atlanta Hawks last season.
Jason Collins is now 32 years old, add in the extra weight he has been carrying around the past few years, and Collins easily makes the list as one of the slower players in free agency.
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Jamaal Magloire is still an imposing physical presence, but over the years he has all but lost his ability to challenge quicker players coming into the lane.
For the Charlotte Hornets (and eventually the New Orleans Hornets), Magloire had a few good seasons with the help of a dynamic guard by the name of Baron Davis. Magloire even became a one-time NBA All-Star while in New Orleans, but these days he is lucky to even find a few minutes on the court.
Like with Erick Dampier, I can't see the Miami Heat in dire need of his services for the 2011-2012 season. If they do happen to ask, he'll be able to come back and squeeze in a few minutes a game.
Harry How/Getty Images
Steve Novak is 6'10" and 240 pounds, but he is the only player on the list who wouldn't even be considered to play in the paint.
Novak, like Brian Scalabrine, has spent most of his time in NBA making a living by stretching the floor from the three-point line. The long-range specialist played with the San Antonio Spurs last season.
You can bet it wasn't his athleticism that got him the job, but if he can shoot .548 percent again from three (like he did last season), it doesn't matter that John Wall could beat him down the floor on his knees. Novak will have a job somewhere come next season.
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
I know, Yao Ming has retired, but I had to put him on the list (if he can get some new feet, you never know).
Ming has been plagued with injuries which have kept the big man out of a ton of games the last few years. The Houston Rockets built a team around the 7' 6" center, and if he had stayed healthy throughout his career, no one knows just how much he could have accomplished.
There is no questioning Ming's talent, but when he was on the floor, the team's offensive style was run in half-court only. He had great footwork, but even without the injuries, Ming's game was never predicated on speed.