A quick glance over a list of remaining free agents is underwhelming to say the least. There is not a lot of talent left in the pool that will push a good team to great, or even a bad team to “I guess I’ll watch this League Pass game while I drink”-esque level of mediocrity. Going through the list of players, my original intent was to rank the best players available. But there’s really no way to rank these leftover pieces that have gone unsigned through the early wave of offseason activity. A lot of how successful these players will ultimately be in 2013 has to do with what team they end up on and how their skill set fits in with everyone else on the roster. So instead, I’m just going to point out any interesting names I noticed along the list.
This dude sucked big time last year. It’s fair to say that Augustin may have been a little overhyped coming out of Texas. After being drafted 9th overall in 2008, Augustin has been wildly disappointing. Last season, his first on a team with talented players and with a reduced role and responsibility, Augustine still managed to be terrible. He’s essentially a turnstile on defense, and at one point got benched for Ben Hansbrough, who is such a scrub this is likely the only time his name will ever appear on this website for the rest of eternity. I honestly won’t be surprised if he ends up overseas this season.
When the player pool becomes this shallow, its important to look at who might have just a little bit left in the tank. When looking at Elton Brand, obviously you’re looking at a guy whose best days are pretty far behind him. But I believe he may still play an interesting role with the right team. Looking at squads like Indiana or Golden State, there appears to be a need for toughness, size, defense and veteran leadership. With Brand, you’re not getting much scoring or athletic creativity. But you are getting a player who will come cheap and will provide some solid minutes off the bench.
While Collins is a 34 year old center who never had much offensive game to begin with, his defensive presence is a worthy asset on any bench in the NBA. With not many true centers left on the market, I really hope Collins finds work this summer. It would definitely be a black mark on the league if the first openly gay player was immediately cast out.
Most of you in the world don’t waste your time keeping tabs on the Pussycats in Charlotte. That’s why you have us. While you’ve been busy not caring about the worst team in the league, Gerald Henderson has quietly built himself into a player who could be very useful on the right team. Currently a restricted free agent, Henderson and Bobcats management have reportedly been struggling to come to an agreement, and Charlotte is said to be looking to move him in a S/T. Some team is going to get this guy on a fair deal and is going to be ecstatic about it.
For most players in the NBA, their hands are vital parts of their games. They need their hands to be in perfect shape for dribbling, shooting and passing. That’s why a guy like Howard is so valuable to a squad. He’s the type of player willing to take the physical abuse of thousands of high fives throughout the course of a season that most players would never be able to withstand. At 87 years old, its impressive Howard’s hands have held up this well this long. Obviously there is some concern that his HFPG could drop in what will be his 20th season in the NBA, but in a league where Tim Duncan almost carried a team to the finals, gambling on Howard’s hands isn’t so scary of a proposition.
Poor Brandon Jennings. The dude thought he was finally going to escape the basketball purgatory that is Milwaukee. Unfortunately, nobody wants a shoot first point guard who can’t really shoot all that well to begin with. Jennings has not improved much since his rookie campaign, a season that saw him score 55 points in one game. It seems nobody is interested in making a run at the naturally gifted player as he has yet to sign an offer sheet. After Atlanta resigned Jeff Teague, Jennings seemed destined (doomed?) to wind up back with the Bucks on what will probably be significantly less money than he thought was originally coming his way.
Just like Jennings, Pekovic is also a RFA, making teams a little wary in pursuit of him as there is a firm belief among teams that the TWolves will match any offer that comes in on the Iron Curtan. I don’t really understand exactly why teams won’t at least make an aggressive offer, something like 4 years/$52. Even though this might be a bit of an overpay, Pekovic is a valuable player whose defense and rebounding make him a rare commodity. And if the Wolves match, that just means that a member of the competition will have less money to spend in the future. It’s really a win-win.
Nate played probably the biggest role he has ever played for an NBA team last year with the Bulls. Robinson averaged 13 points per game, a career high, along with 4.4 assists. He’s never going to be an elite defender at 5’9″ (btw I think that is a generous listing), but he has shown how creative he can be finishing with the ball, making his slight stature less of a problem on offense. I personally would love to see him in San Antonio. Playing for Thibs definitely improved his overall game, and I’m sure Pop would only help more. Also, Parker doesn’t really have a true backup, making this a potentially nice fit.
Metta World Peace
MWP has his heart set on returning to his favorite team from childhood, his hometown New York Knicks. With Metta coming outta Queensbridge, many believe he will take a major hometown discount to presumably finish out his career on a Knicks team that may just be a couple defensive players away from challenging for the Eastern crown. But the most important aspect of this potential deal is the general excitement over what World Peace’s twitter account might look like once he’s permanently in New York. This is truly a scenario where we are all winners.