Top 10 Tuesday: Top 10 2011 Unrestricted NBA Free Agents

By: Victor Olowojoba / @BIGVic978

10. Tayshaun Prince

Prince has been putting work in the league since he was drafted in 2003 out of Kentucky. With career averages of 12.9 points and 4.7 rebounds, Prince can provide solid defense (4 All-NBA Defensive Second Team selections) and scoring from the 3 spot for any NBA team. He has been with the Pistons his whole career helping them win a championship in 2004 but Detroit is in rebuilding mode and Prince has expressed a desire to play for a championship contender. Look for Prince to join a new team for the first time in his solid NBA career.

9. Glen Davis

Big Baby Davis has been a very good player during his 4 years in the league. Numbers can’t explain how important he has been to the Celtics. He plays a vital role as the young, energetic sixth man coming off the bench for a team that is full of veterans. He provides post scoring and defense even though he is considered undersized for a power forward. Losing Davis would be a huge blow for a Celtic team that is only getting older in the front court. I believe he will receive a nice contract because of his play this past year (11.7 points, 5.4 boards off the bench) which is bad news for Boston because they probably will not be able to afford him. A handful of teams could use Davis’ talents and I expect plenty of them to come calling for his services.

8. Jason Richardson

Jason Richardson has been a good shooting guard in the NBA starting on every team he has been in. Many people who do not follow the NBA might just know J-Rich as a great leaper that has won multiple dunk contests however, there is more to Jason Richardson’s game than just dunking. He can provide great 3 point shooting and can become a primary scorer when needed (20 ppg in 3 seasons). He proved to be a nice asset in Orlando and should be able to help a team needing 3 point shooting and veteran leadership.

7. J.J. Barea

Barea is coming of an incredible postseason and NBA championship victory. Other than Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler, Barea arguably was the next important Mav during the finals as he provided great ball security and scoring all while standing at 5’9″.  He is short in stature, but he plays big in the biggest games. Like Davis, the price to sign Barea to a contract may have skyrocketed with his play in the Finals. My instinct tells me that he will resign with the Mavs, but if a team offers him the right contract then I think he would leave the only NBA team he has ever known.

6. Jamal Crawford

The Michigan Product is one of the best sixth men in the league. Crawford won the Sixth Man of the Year award in 2010 and finished 3rd in last years voting. For his career, he averages 15.4 points per game but that is only because has been coming off the bench so much. Crawford is very capable of scoring 20 points a game if asked to and also can play some point. This versatility is what makes Crawford one of the top free agents available. A return to Atlanta is very likely, but in my opinion they will never win a championship with the core they have there and I believe that if he wants to win a ring then he should go elsewhere.

5. J.R. Smith

Smith seemed to fit in perfectly with the Denver Nuggets as there number one player off the bench. He has provided instant scoring off the pine these last couple of seasons as well as great 3 point shooting. Smith and Richardson are much alike with the main difference being age. Smith will be 26 years old when the season starts and is about to reach his prime years. Smith’s role as a sixth man suits him well, but he could definitely start at the two guard in the NBA. He gets a bad rap as he has had numerous troubles with the law and the league, but without a doubt many teams would love to have J.R. Smith on their team this upcoming season.

4. Caron Butler

10 year veteran Caron Butler has been great wherever he has been. He can be the feature guy or he can come off the bench but either way your getting a player that can give you 15 points, 5 rebounds, 5assists and a couple of steals on any given night. He is arguably the best all around player in the free agent market and the best small forward available this year. He missed a few months with a knee injury, but with the impending lockout and many months of recovery he should be ready to go for the 2012 season. Teams that need a starting small forward who can play both sides of the ball will be looking Butler’s way this offseason.

3. Tyson Chandler

Tyson Chandler impressed me this postseason. He has found a nice home in Dallas as their starting center and was a major part in them beating the Miami Heat in the Finals. He was the exact piece the Mavs needed because they lacked that presence down in the middle. What he brings to a team is defense, toughness and leadership. These are three characteristics that all teams love and they are salivating because it is coming from a 28 year old 7’1″ NBA champion center. I think that the center position is the shallowest position in the league and almost all of the teams will be interested in Chandler’s services. If Dallas plans on defending their championship, Chandler must be their main priority and they should pay him because he definitely earned it.

2. David West

2 Time All Star David West is one of the best free agents available this summer. I compare him to Tim Duncan in the fact that he’s not a flashy player, but gets the job done consistently and efficiently. New Orleans struggled terribly after West went down with an ACL tear which only showed how important he was to that team. The knee injury may scare a few teams away but if he proves to be healthy he’s guaranteed to produce 20 points and 8 boards a game.

1. Nene

The best unrestricted free agent in this years class is Neñe. He had a career year last year leading the league in field goal percentage (61.5) and had averages of 14.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. When Carmelo anthony got traded, the Nuggets began to lean on him as their number one option. He is blessed with great size and strength as well as great quickness which allows him to score in the post effectively. He is 29 years old, so he is right in the middle of his prime years and I think he can be someone that could average a double-double. He led the Nuggets during the second half of the season and showed that with touches and minutes could be an elite big man in the NBA. The best fit for him would be to stay with the Nuggets as he would have an important role on the team, but like all free agents the money and years have to be right.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: