NBA Free Agents 2011: Impact Guards Still Available

Joe AcampadoCorrespondent IOctober 26, 2011

NBA Free Agents 2011: Impact Guards Still Available

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    We'll be right back with Dumb and Dumber 3: The NBA Lockout after a word from the NBA free agents.

    Yes, we're still talking about free agency even though November's a week away.  

    Today's topic is the best impact guards currently available.

    This year's free agent class can offer some good value, especially in the guard department.  The only problem is shifting through those who will be playing elsewhere because of the lockout.  

    And there's the whole lockout thing to settle, too.

    So let's take our minds off the lockout and instead examine the top 10 available guards.

Marcus Thornton

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    Marcus Thornton first made noise with the New Orleans Hornets as an efficient scorer off the bench.

    Then, he became a starter with the Sacramento Kings and showed everyone what he can do with starter's minutes.  He averaged 21.3 points with a .450 field goal percentage.  He averaged 38.1 minutes in 27 games.

    Any team looking for a high scorer who's also efficient should look no further.

    Thornton's a restricted free agent, and the big question is how he'll fit in. The Kings' Tyreke Evans is healthy and they drafted Jimmer Fredette.

Aaron Brooks

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    Aaron Brooks is a young point guard and only a year removed from his 19.6 PPG, 5.3 APG, and .398 three-point percentage season for the Houston Rockets.

    He lost playing time last year but showed what he can do as a starter.  It also helps he was playing behind Steve Nash in Phoenix.

    Brooks is a restricted free agent, and the Phoenix Suns will probably want him as insurance as Nash's successor.  

    However, any team in need of a solid young point guard would be wise to consider Brooks.

Nick Young

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    Let's keep it rolling with the restricted free agent guards who can be high-impact scorers.

    Nick Young showed flashes of what he could do, starting 40 games for the Washington Wizards last season.

    He's also shown he can be a sniper from beyond the arc, posting three-point field-goal percentages of .406 and .387 the past two seasons.

    He stands at 6'7" so Young can also play the small forward position.  He is a versatile player who isn't afraid to attack the rim and would be a welcome addition for most teams.  

Michael Redd

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    Michael Redd's been a shell of himself these past few years, having been bothered by injuries.  But he can still help out a team off the bench, given the right situation.

    A change of scenery could get him to be that marksman he was with a career .449 field-goal percentage and .383 three-point percentage.

    The question remains if he can stay healthy and whether or not he's a starter.   I say no, but prove me wrong, Mr. Redd.  

    Should he get back to form, he can be a valuable asset for a contending team as a sixth man.

Rodney Stuckey

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    Bet you thought we were done with the restricted free agents, didn't you?  Well, we're not because here's Rodney Stuckey.

    Stuckey was supposed to be the guy who took over for the Detroit Pistons once Chauncey Billups left.

    Things didn't go as planned, as Stuckey was left with an aging and dysfunctional Pistons team that needs to press the restart button fast.

    Stuckey isn't known for his three-point shooting abilities, but he can handle the ball well, steal, and make good, accurate passes.

    He's got the skills to help out a team.  Maybe the situation in Detroit just isn't motivating him enough.

Shannon Brown

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    Shannon Brown's been itching for a chance to prove himself as a starter.  Lately, he's been stuck behind a certain Mr. Kobe Bryant, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

    Brown is a great finisher with his dunking abilities and athleticism.  Not to mention he'll actually play defense, which is a question mark with some of the other guards on this list.

    The only question with him is his three-point ability.   He's not exactly Ray Allen (well, no one is except Ray Allen), and his passing ability can be brought into question since he's more of a scorer.

    He probably won't end up getting the starter's salary he's looking for, however.

J.J. Barea

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    It's hard to imagine the Dallas Mavericks not bringing back J.J. Barea.  Then again, it was hard to imagine this little guy being able to play basketball at all, let alone give his team needed bursts of energy.

    Barea showed what he can do in last season's Finals.  

    He's a high-energy guy who can get the team and fans motivated with his playing style.

    He's by no means a starter, but rather better suited as that go-to guy off the bench.  Any contending team would love to have him.  

    The only question with him is, who did he pay at ESPN to get his official height to be six feet?

Jamal Crawford

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    You can't get much more production than a guy who'll consistently make four-point plays and is solely known for his shooting streaks.

    Jamal Crawford won the Sixth Man of the Year Award in the 2009-2010 season.  

    That season, he averaged 18.0 points with a .449 field-goal percentage.  Can't ask for much more from your sixth man.

    Of course, the down side with Crawford is that the only thing he'll do is shoot.  

    Defense and passing are not to be found in his dictionary.  Hey, when you build a reputation as a shooter, there's kind of no point in reinventing yourself, is there?

Aaron Afflalo

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    This would've been J.R. Smith's spot if, you know, he didn't defect to China for a season.

    On the opposite end of the Jamal "I'm Gonna Shoot All Day" Crawford spectrum, we have Aaron Afflalo, one of the better defensive guards on the market.

    Afflalo can shoot, too, after posting a .498 field-goal percentage and .423 three-point percentage last season.  

    It's also not a fluke as his career numbers indicate a .464 field-goal percentage and .423 three-point percentage.

    Off course, with J.R. Smith in hiatus, the Nuggets will likely keep him.  At the same time, he's one of the more versatile guards out there so another team may look to add him to their side.

Jason Richardson

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    Jason Richardson can still play and at a high level, too.

    He can be that high-volume scorer a team needs or be the secondary guy as well.  Richardson will also play some defense and can rebound the ball, as seen by his 5.2 career rebounds per game.

    Richardson can shoot the ball well, even the three, and finish at the rim better than most.  You can't forget about him winning the Slam Dunk Contest twice (those count for something, right?).

    His versatility may make him the best unrestricted free agent out there.  

    Any team in need of a shooting guard (looking at you, Chicago Bulls) should probably get in contact with him once this whole lockout thing is over.

    Oh right, that's still going on.