Yet, one important group of players I seemed to forget about were the shooters off the bench. More often than not, these guys are the men who can change the game with one shot and shift the momentum from the other team to their own. J.R. Smith (pictured) is an ace at this, having won many games with some electrifying three-point shooting, not to mention some crazy dunks.
That being said, let's honor Smith and the six best bench shooters available on the market.
At 5'5", most would not expect Earl Boykins to be an effective player off the bench. Once he steps on the hardwood, he makes his critics eat their words.
He only played in 57 games last year and averaged 15.1 minutes, but Boykins was effective for the Milwaukee Bucks averaging 7.2 points in that time and a shot 38 percent from three-point land. Having been a bench shooter for most of his career, Boykins career average from downtown hovers right around a respectable 35 percent.
Don't let his size fool you. This man is a beast when at his best and once the lockout ends, he'll surely get a few calls.
At 6'9" and 230 pounds, one would think that Mike Dunleavy was a forward who could also play some defense. Yet, ever since his days at Duke, he has been known as a three-point threat. In nine seasons split between the Golden State Warriors and the Indiana Pacers, he has filled that role both in the starting lineup and off the bench.
Despite being plagued by injuries the past few seasons, Dunleavy has still managed to be effective from long-range. Last season, he averaged 27.6 minutes per game and made the most of that time in averaging 11.2 points on 40 percent three-point shooting. For his career, he has averaged 36 percent from beyond the arc.
His body may be slowly breaking down and he may not be the same level of electrifying shooter he once was, but Dunleavy's heart and determination will definitely get him at least a couple of contract offers once free agency starts.
I'm going to go out on a limb here, folks. If James Jones had been available during the NBA Finals, the Miami Heat would have won. His unbelievable three-point shooting was terribly missed as the Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks had their way with the Big Three.
On the season, Jones only averaged 19.1 minutes and 5.9 points per game. Yet, he made an incredible 42 percent of his three-pointers and also 42 percent of his field goals in general. For his career, he has shot 40 percent.
Jones isn't getting any younger at 30 years old, but has proven that he has value wherever he goes. Once the lockout is over, don't be surprised if Miami retains him.
J.R. Smith is one of those guys off the bench who can simply do it all on offense. He can dunk, drive to the basket and can be a best from long range. Last season, he averaged 12.3 points in 24 minutes of play while making 39 percent of his threes.
The only issue regarding Smith's impending free agency is that he has already agreed to play in China, so opting out of his contract once the lockout ends could prove to be a chore as the Chinese Basketball Association has already stated it will not allow NBA players to opt out of deals.
Yet, Smith is so talented and valuable in the NBA that once free agency begins, he will not let himself be on the outside looking in as his fellow bench shooters sign for big money.
At a generous listing of 6'0" and 175 pounds, J.J. Barea does not look like a threatening player. Yet, without him, there is no way the Dallas Mavericks would have won a championship.
He only averaged 20 minutes per contest during the regular season, but he averaged 9.5 points off the bench and made 35 percent of his long-range shots. He slightly regressed in the playoffs, but that didn't matter. Barea used his other great talent of driving hard to the basket to help the Mavericks take home championship gold.
His size may worry some teams as could the possibility of him being a flash in the pan, but Barea's heart alone is enough to give him both the No. 2 spot on this list and, hopefully, a contract he deserves.
Simply put, Jamal Crawford is the best bench player not just on the market, but he could be the best in the NBA. Two seasons ago, his first with the Atlanta Hawks, he averaged 18 points a game in 31 minutes, making 38 percent of his threes. He played in 79 games and the crazy part is, he started none of them.
The former Michigan Wolverine slightly regressed last season, but was still effective as the Hawks made the playoffs again and went toe-to-toe with the Chicago Bulls before losing to them in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Once the lockout ends, team management's first priority should be to bring Crawford back.
The man is not only a great player, but also a great teammate. Wherever he goes, he is sure to be the bench shooter who gets the biggest contract.