NBA Free Agents 2011: 3 Smartest Players Available in Free Agency

Ryan SimonCorrespondent IIAugust 24, 2011

NBA Free Agents 2011: 3 Smartest Players Available in Free Agency

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    Basketball IQ may be the most underrated term in the basketball.

    People tend to get caught up in ESPN highlights and don't give the true fundamentals of the game enough time.

    While one-handed dunks and double-clutch layups are nice—what about hitting a mid-range jump shot?

    Or being able to predict future plays? How about being able to predict defenses?

    These aspects of the game are fundamental to a player's development. It's hard to teach an old dog new tricks, and the same applies for fundamentals.

    While most players don't have fundamentals, here are the three smartest players available in free agency.

Jose Juan Barea

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    Jose Juan Barea was amazing this postseason.

    Coming off the bench for most of the postseason, Barea averaged 8.9 PPG and 3.4 APG.

    Barea is an extremely fast point guard, but he knows how to use his speed and small stature to his advantage.

    He exploits cracks in the opposing teams defense time and time again.

    While Barea isn't your typical NBA point guard, his basketball IQ and scoring production make him a valuable asset for any team.

Grant Hill

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    If you're 38-years-old and still playing basketball, you're doing something right.

    Grant Hill has been doing it right for 16 years. While injuries have hampered his career, Hill has managed to have a reasonably successful tenure in the NBA.

    Whether it's guarding Kobe Bryant, putting up assists (4.3 for his career) or taking charges—Hill can do it all.

    You're not getting a superstar when you take him, but Grant Hill can get it done.

Shane Battier

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    Even as a Los Angeles Lakers fan, I still love Shane Battier's work ethic.

    Guarding Kobe Bryant is no easy task. Even though he was never able to fully limit Kobe's effectiveness over the course of time, Battier made things difficult for Bryant.

    He defends extremely well, rarely makes bad plays and he always fills his role very well.

    Even though he isn't the defense force he once was due to his foot injury, I'll still take Battier to defend Kobe over almost any player in the league.