NBA Free Agents 2011: The 5 Best Unrestricted Free Agents at Every Position
The season is over, and for basketball fans, we are being introduced to an entirely different world.
Every offseason, we are faced with the draft, the free-agent frenzy, NBA Summer League among other things. This season is particularly special because it appears as though a lockout is probable.
However, when you view the success that this NBA season has had from a revenue standpoint, particularly the ratings of the postseason, it is in the best interest of both the players and the owners to find a workable solution to the many issues that are creating the possible lockout.
With that said, this 2011 in particular has plenty of gems that could be found in the free-agent pool, and I will rank the top five unrestricted ones at each position.
No. 5 Point Guard: Earl Boykins
2010-11 salary: $1.4 million
2010-11 stats: 7.2 points, one rebound, 2.5 assists
This 11-year veteran is still putting up excellent numbers and is a very efficient player. He helped the Milwaukee Bucks last season, and while he is 35 years old, he would be perfect for a team looking for a point guard who could contribute 15 solid minutes.
No.4 Point Guard: Earl Watson
2010-11 salary: $1.2 million
2010-11 stats: 4.3 points , 2.30 rebounds , 3.5 assists.
The 31-year-old NBA journeyman has been a solid addition to the Utah Jazz starting 13 times this season and capable of playing 20 minutes per game. He is very efficient and for the price, one lucky NBA team will walk away with a very good deal.
No. 3 Point Guard: Sasha Vujacic
2010-11 salary: $5.5 million
2010-11 stats: 9.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, two assists
After leaving sunny Los Angeles and entering the paradise known as New Jersey, Sasha Vujacic was a good addition to the New Jersey Nets. He poured in 11.4 points per game in nearly 30 minutes. He is a very efficient player and has excellent size for the position.
No. 2 Point Guard: Mario Chalmers
2010-11 salary: $854,839
2010-11 stats: 6.4 points, 2.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists
Fresh off the heals of defeat to the powerful Mavericks, Chalmers was excellent for the most part throughout this postseason particularly in the Finals where he averaged 10.6 points and almost three assists in under 28 minutes. He was excellent and had big games when the Heat needed him.
No. 1 Point Guard: JJ Barea
2010-11 salary: $1.7 million
2010-11 stats: 9.5 points, two rebounds, 3.9 assists
He made a difference during the finals and was simply phenomenal. He drastically increased the Mavericks chances of winning throughout the post season and came up big when needed. He was unstoppable at times and will be a tremendous asset wherever he ends up.
No. 5 Shooting Guard: J.R. Smith
2010-11 salary: $6 million
2010-11 stats: 12.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.1 assists
While his attitude is questionable, there is no doubt about his ability or his energy. He can simply take over at times. However, there are other times where he can take the team out of the game. His shot selection is not always the greatest, but if he finds the right fit, he will be a great asset.
No 4. Shooting Guard: DeShawn Stevenson
2010-11 Salary: $4.2 million
2010-11 Stats: 5.3 points, 1.5 rebounds, 1.1 assists
Once again, we see a player who made a huge difference in the finals. He took over when needed during Game 6 of the NBA Finals, and because of his great three-point display, he will be highly sought out this summer.
No. 3 Shooting Guard: Mike Dunleavy
2010-11 Salary: $10.6 million
2010-11 Stats: 11.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists
This former Duke Blue Devil can certainly bang with the best of them and is capable of hitting the three when needed. He could start for many teams in this league and is very efficient; another player that many teams will want on their roster once the 2011-12 season begins.
No.2 Shooting Guard: Jamal Crawford
2010-11 Salary: $10.1 million
2010-11 season: 14.2 points, 1.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists
He will give you 30 minutes a night and will hit the big shot when needed. He had an excellent postseason providing 15.4 points for the Hawks, and he was unstoppable at times.
No. 1 Shooting Guard: Jason Richardson
2010-11 Salary: $14.4 million
2010-11 Stats: 15.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists
He may be past his prime, but Jason Richardson will give you over 30 minutes a night. He is an excellent three-point shooter and a natural scorer. He will provide immediate scoring assistance wherever he ends up.
No. 5 Small Forward: Grant Hill
2010-11 Salary: $3.2 million
2010-11 Stats: 13.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists
He my be 38 with aging legs and an injury-plagued career, but Grant Hill has solidified his worth this season. He shot almost 50 percent from the field, played 30 minutes a night and started 80 games this season for the Phoenix Suns. Age is a factor, but the numbers do not lie, he had an outstanding season and should be rewarded.
No. 4 Small Forward: Josh Howard
2010-2011 Salary: $3 million
2010-2011 Stats: 8.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists
He did not have the numbers that Grant Hill had, but he is not 38 years old. Josh Howard is a very efficient player at times, and while he has had injuries throughout the season, he is expected to make a full recovery. In just over 20 minutes, he is exactly what a lot of teams are looking for in terms of production.
No.3 Small Forward: Shane Battier
2010-11 Salary: $7.4 million
2010-11 Stats: 7.6 rebounds, 4.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists
The 32-year-old Duke product provides an inside presence that a lot of teams will be looking for. When looking at Battier, the emphasis is not on the stats. The nine-year veteran plays excellent defense, and his presence on the floor is highly valuable.
No.2 Small Forward: Caron Butler
2010-11 Salary: $10.8 million
2010-11 Stats: 15 points, 4.1 rebounds,1.6 assists
Caron spent most of this season as a spectator due to a ruptured tendon in his right knee but expect a full recovery. Also, expect a pure scorer who will give you 30 minutes a night and can hit the three-point shot when needed.
No.1 Small Forward: Tayshaun Prince
2010-11 Salary: $11.1 million
2010-11 Stats: 14.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists
He started 78 games this season, shot 47 percent from the field, averaged nearly 33 minutes a night and is known for his outstanding defense. He is a proven winner and is a threat every time he is on the floor.
No. 5 Power Foward: Chuck Hayes
2010-11 Salary: $2.3 million
2010-11 Stats: 7.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists
He does it all on the floor but is known for his rebounding. Hayes is capable of playing 30 starters minutes every night and will dominate the boards. He is also great at finding the open man; he will be a great asset next season.
No. 4 Power Forward: Carl Landry
2010-11 Salary: $3 million
2010-11 Stats: 11.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 0.6 assists
He had a very big postseason averaging 16 points and five rebounds in six games. He has the 6'9" frame that many general managers will want and he shoots over 50 percent from the floor.
No. 3 Power Forward: Andrei Kirilenko
2010-11 Salary: $17.8 million
2010-11 Stats: 11.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, three assists
Kirilenko will be looking for a change of scenery; things did not quiet work out in Utah the way everyone would have liked. However, Kirilenko is capable of contributing from all areas of the court. He will have to take a pay cut but is very efficient and will be on the lists of many general managers.
No. 2 Power Forward: Glen Davis
2010-11 Salary: $3.3 million
2010-11 Stats: 11.7 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists
He may have magically disappeared during this offseason, but "Big Baby" could certainly play. He is young, capable of playing 30 minutes a night and is a legitimate scoring threat and is an excellent rebounder. He may have lost some value this postseason, but he is a terrific player.
No. 1 Power Forward: Kenyon Martin
2010-11 Salary: $16.8 million
2010-11 Stats: 8.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists
This 10-year veteran is about as physical as they come. He averaged just 25 minutes per game this season but is a gifted rebounder. His physicality is highly desired in this league, and he had a great postseason which saw him grab nearly eight boards a game.
No.5 Center: Joel Przybilla
2010-11 Salary: $7.4 million
2010-11 Stats: 1.8 points, four rebounds, 0.4 assists
The 10-year veteran does not have the stats to justify his salary and will take a drastic pay cut this offseason, but he could provide 15 solid minutes for a team in desperate need of some rebounding.
No. 4 Center: Jeff Foster
2010-11 Salary: $6.7 million
2010-11 Stats: 3.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 0.8 assists
Another excellent rebounder, Foster is an 11-year veteran who can provide 17 solid minutes for any NBA team in the league. His rebounding is a terrific asset, especially his ability to grab offensive boards.
No. 3 Center: Samuel Dalembert
2010-11 Salary: $13.8 million
2010-11 Stats: 8.1 points, 8.2 rebounds, 0.8 assists
This eight-year pro from Seton Hall will provide a balance of scoring and rebounding. He should be providing over 20 minutes a night, and his 250lb frame is nothing but an asset to any team in the league.
No. 2 Center: Marc Gasol
2010-11 Salary: $3.6 million
2010-11 Stats: 11.7 points, seven rebounds, 2.5 assists
He is young, has a large 265-pound frame and can do it all. Marc Gasol is due for a big pay day, shooting almost 53 percent from the floor; he is capable of contributing over 30 minutes to any team in the league.
No. 1 Center: Tyson Chandler
2010-11 Salary: $12.6 million
2010-11 Stats: 10.1 points, 9.4 rebounds, 0.4 assists
A proven winner, he deserves to be No. 1 on this list. He came up big in the Finals, especially on the offensive boards grabbing a combined 16 rebounds during Game 3 and 4 of the NBA Finals. He is a very physical player and will be highly valued during this offseason.