Free Agency is about to heat up the NBA offseason, no pun intended, and there are many teams that feel as though they are just a few key role players away from holding up the Larry O’Brien trophy next June.
We’ve seen how much deeper the Spurs were than other teams this season and sports are copycat leagues, so expect these 10 players to really make an impact for contenders next season.
D.J. Augustin – He picked up the slack for the oft-injured D. Rose last season and will probably land a starting PG spot this offseason, but he could opt to be the missing piece for a team like the Heat that need a starting PG or the rebuilding Lakers who also have a void at that position.
Loul Deng – Deng has been a forgotten man since being traded from the Chicago Bulls but he still has an extremely skilled mid-range game and can defend in both the post and out on the wing. He could play a Boris Diaw-esque role for a contender like the Clippers or a Bulls team that lands a Melo or Kevin Love.
Patty Mills – Patty Mills made himself a lot of money this playoff season. He was the catalyst of that second group for the Spurs and he will most likely be thrust into a starting role. If he wants to start a team like the Mavs will be a great fit and a team like the Pacers would probably welcome in a high character player like Mills.
Jimmer Fredette – Fredette will never be able to match his college fame but a player that can come off of the bench and hit spot up 3s is an asset for NBA teams. He hasn’t hit shots at an amazing clip so far in his NBA career but he has yet to be an accessory to a superstar. The bets fits for Jimmer would be the Miami Heat (If the Big 3 return) or the LA Clippers.
Spencer Hawes – 7 footers don’t grow on trees. Especially 7 footers that can stretch the floor with elbow jumpers and still grab 10 rebounds. Hawes is only 26 years old and can be a back up Center option for teams with flexible offensive sets. Spencer would be a nice fit on the Spurs if Boris Diaw decided to chase a larger contract elsewhere.
Jordan Hill – Hill showed the ability to create his own shot and rebound extremely well at his position. He is a big man that can run the floor in up & down offenses. Teams like the Raptors and Suns should really look at Hill to bolster their depth & add to their existent athleticism.
Shaun Livingston – Livingston was arguably better last season than the max-contract player he shared the backcourt with, Deron Williams. Livinston’s length at the PG position made him a match-up nightmare and his leadership was off the charts. The Pacers should move mountains to make room for Livingston in their starting lineup.
Isaiah Thomas – Thomas had an off year in Sacramento but it’s hard not to see him as one of th ebest back up point gaurds in the league if he slid into that role. The Bulls will probably lose D.J. Augustin and Thomas could slide into that back up role behind D.Rose. He will quickly remind Bulls fans of the days when they had Nate lighting it up off of the bench.
Kris Humphries – Yes, that Kris Humphries. It’s always good for championship contenders to have one player who is an irritant. Humphries has never been afraid to do the dirty work for a team and he is always willing to get posterized for the greater good of his squad.
Xavier Henry – Henry is only 23 years old and is on his way up as a player. Getting him now may be the steal of free agency. his size, speed, and length place him at the higher end of the athleticism arc in the NBA. He can run up and down the court and provide teams with a spark off of the bench. I think he’d be a perfect fit in the Thunder’s second unit next to Jeremy Lamb.