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Top 5 Players For Each Position Going Into Free Agency

With free agency right around the corner, teams are preparing massive contracts to throw at some of the biggest names in basketball. This Summer could potentially cause an enormous power shift in the league, and players will definitely have a lot on their mind before they decide where they want to spend the next years of their careers. And because different teams have different needs, we have decided to rank the top 5 free agents at each position.

POINT GUARD

 

1. Kyle Lowry

2013-2014 team: Toronto Raptors

2013-2014 stats: 17.9 ppg, 7.4 apg, 4.7 rpg, 1.5 spg

via bleacherreport.com
via bleacherreport.com

Kyle Lowry turned in a fantastic 2013-2014 campaign, setting new career highs across the board and leading the previously irrelevant Toronto Raptors to a playoff berth. Lowry consistently came through in the 4th quarter when his team needed him, as well as every time he was on the court. Kyle Lowry’s consistency to do everything on the court earns him the spot as free agency’s best point guard.

2. Eric Bledsoe

2013-2014 team: Phoenix Suns

2013-2014 stats: 17.7 ppg, 5.5 apg, 4.7 rpg, 1.6 apg

 

With a nearly identical (but not quite as good) statline as Lowry, Bledsoe is a close second on our list of free agent point guards. Bledsoe exploded onto the scene after playing behind Chris Paul for the majority of his career. While the Suns could not make the playoffs in the ferocious Western Conference, you can’t pin that on Bledsoe. Expect him to sign a hefty contract this off-season.

3. Isaiah Thomas

2013-2014 team: Sacramento Kings

2013-2014 stats: 20.3 ppg, 6.3 apg, 2.9 rpg, 1.3 spg

 

Thomas has already defied every expectation set for him after being selected with the last pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, but continues to improve year after year. What he lacks in size he more than makes up for in passion and skill. He’s had the bad luck of playing on a team that has struggled to remain relevant, but his contribution is undeniable. Perhaps a change of location would do wonders for him.

4. Avery Bradley

2013-2014 team: Boston Celtics

2013-2014 stats: 14.9 ppg, 1.4 apg, 3.8 rpg, 1.1 spg

 

1.4 assists seems downright unacceptable for a point guard, but that’s not Bradley’s contribution. Bradley is an underrated defender, one of the best in the league, and even if 1.1 spg doesn’t seem like an elite defensive stat, Bradley excels beyond that. With the scoring point guard becoming much more prominent in today’s game, someone who can lock down opposing guards would be extremely valuable. With Bradley, you’re going to get a guard who can score inside and outside with ease as well as single-handedly shut down an opposing offense.

5. Ramon Sessions

2013-2014 team: Charlotte Bobcats/Milwaukee Bucks

2013-2014 stats: 12.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.4 apg, .6 spg

Sessions was a great 6th man for the Bobcats, playing behind Kemba Walker, but regressed in his 2nd year with the team, resulting in a trade to the lowly Bucks. There, Sessions was able to pick his game back up. While he may not have the eye popping stats like other point guards, Sessions is a quality starting point guard who can score and distribute with a few good years left in him.

 

 

SHOOTING GUARD

1. Dwyane Wade

2013-2014 team: Miami Heat

2013-2014 stats: 19 ppg, 4.7 apg, 4.5 rpg, 1.5 spg

via msn.foxsports.com
via msn.foxsports.com

Though he is getting older, Dwyane Wade remains an elite shooting guard who excels on both ends of the court. He will likely never play more than 65 games in a season for the remainder of his career, but his productivity on the court when he’s healthy is still high. Dwyane Wade showed us all that he now has a 3 point shot this post-season, which will help him as his athleticism leaves and it’s time for his “old-man game”. A “heat-for-life”, very difficult to imagine him leaving South Beach.

 

 

2. Lance Stephenson

2013-2014 team: Indiana Pacers

2013-2014 stats: 13.8 ppg, 4.6 apg, 7.2 rpg, .7 spg

 

Lance Stephenson had quite a year, posting career highs across the board and leading the league in triple doubles (5). He showed us that he can do it all: score, facilitate, rebound, handle the ball, defend well, the list goes on. Stephenson is still only 23 years old, so this may only be the beginning of a long and prosperous career.

 

 

3. Nick Young

2013-2014 team: Los Angeles Lakers

2013-2014 stats: 17.9 ppg, 1.5 apg, 2.6 rpg, .7 spg

 

Swaggy P had a pretty good year considering the position he was in. Once Kobe Bryant was out, Nick Young was the only legitimate scoring threat left on the otherwise incompetent Lakers. He was able to average almost 18 points per game, but his 43.5% from the field was a little low. But it’s his job to take the shots. Any team looking for an offensive spark off the bench, look no further.

4. Vince Carter

2013-2014 team: Dallas Mavericks

2013-2014 stats: 11.9 ppg, 2.6 apg, 3.5 rpg

 

Vinsanity’s career has been on the decline for some time now, but that doesn’t mean he’s done just yet. He can still throw it down over defenders and shoot 3’s with the best of them. Big nights are rare, but he can still put up big numbers on occasion. Carter is a true veteran who can instantly contribute to a contender while he has a few years left in his career.

 

 

5. Ray Allen

2013-2014 team: Miami Heat

2013-2014 stats: 9.6 ppg, 2.8 apg, 2.5 rpg, 1.6 3pm

 

At this point in his career, Ray Allen is done putting up big numbers. However, that doesn’t mean he can’t contribute to a team. Just by being on the court, Ray Allen challenges defenses by opening up the lane for drives due to his consistent 3 point bomb. He’s the kind of player who can impact the game without ever touching the ball, and can also hit a big shot when you need it.

SMALL FORWARD

 

1. LeBron James

2013-2104 team: Miami Heat

2013-2014 stats: 27.1 ppg, 6.3 apg, 6.9 rpg, 1.6 spg, 56.7 fg%

via www.totalprosports.com
via http://www.totalprosports.com

The King remains the best player in the league, and therefore the best player in free agency at his position. Very few players in this league (as in just Kevin Durant) can even come close to matching his all around production. Any team that signs him becomes an immediate title contender and possibly title favorite.

2. Carmelo Anthony

2013-2014 team: New York Knicks

2013-2014 stats: 27.4 ppg, 3.1 apg, 8.1 rpg, 1.2 spg

 

Carmelo Anthony is a star. He is one of the most prolific scorers in the league and an underrated rebounder. He has also never won an NBA championship. This off-season, he looks to change that, and he has already taken the first step by opting out of his contract with the New York Knicks. He can bring a team into contention if he lands in the right spot, just so long as that team can handle his lack of defense and occasional questionable shot selection.

 

 

3. Luol Deng

2013-2014 team: Chicago Bulls/Cleveland Cavaliers

2013-2014 stats: 16.0 ppg, 2.9 apg, 5.7 rpg, 1.0 spg

 

Luol Deng was having a great season in the windy city before being dealt to the Cav’s. There, he saw a significant drop in every major statistic, lowering his value. But don’t let that fool you. Deng was an all-star in 2012-2013 and was actually having a better year than that one while he was in Chicago during 2013-2014. Deng is still a great starting small-forward who can lock down opposing forwards and score in a variety of ways.

4. Gordon Hayward

2013-2014 team: Utah Jazz

2013-2014 stats: 16.2 ppg, 5.2 apg, 5.1 rpg, 1.4 spg

 

Gordon Hayward is a promising player who was stuck on a miserable Jazz team that finished as the 4th worst team in the league. It’s tough to score efficiently when your next best scorer is Alec Burks. Hayward’s percentages (41.3% from the field, 30% from 3 point range) can only go up with a change of location, as he is a gifted scorer who also rebounds and passes well.

 

 

5. Trevor Ariza

2013-2014 team: Washington Wizards

2013-2014 stats: 14.4 ppg, 2.5 apg, 6.2 rpg, 1.6 spg

 

Ariza played very well this season, carving out a niche for himself as a productive veteran on a young Wizards team. He shot a blistering 41% from 3 this season and looks to carry over that success to any team looking for immediate and efficient contribution.

POWER FORWARD

 

1. Dirk Nowitzki

2013-2014 team: Dallas Mavericks

2013-2014 stats: 21.7 ppg, 2.7 apg, 6.2 rpg

via bloguin.com
via bloguin.com

Dirk Nowitzki’s percentages from the 2013-2014 season were: 49.7% from the field, 39.8% from 3, and 89.9% from the line. Missed the 50-40-90 club by that much. That kind of production at this stage in his career is nothing short of incredible. While it’s highly unlikely that Dirk signs with a team not named the Dallas Mavericks, he is still by far the best power forward in free agency. His ability to knock down 3’s at an incredible rate, as well as signature fade-away jumpshot, make him invaluable.

2. Chris Bosh

2013-2014 team: Miami Heat

2013-2014 stats: 16.2 ppg, 1.1 apg, 6.6 rpg, 1.0 bpg

 

Chris Bosh has slowly added a three point shot to his arsenal, and it has come in handy quite a few times. This dimension of his game more than makes up for his relatively low rebounding numbers (see: Dirk Nowitzki). Despite what critics may say, if you’re the 3rd scoring option for your team and you are putting up more than 16 points per game, you’re doing very well for yourself.  Despite what the numbers may say, Chris Bosh is still an elite, versatile  player who can play the 4 or the 5.

3. Greg Monroe

2013-2014 team: Detroit Pistons

2013-2104 stats: 15.2 ppg, 2.1 apg, 9.3 rpg, 1.1 spg

 

Greg Monroe experienced a slight dropoff in terms of production, but that can largely be credited to Andre Drummond’s emergence as one of the NBA’s top centers. Detroit would be best suited letting Monroe walk in free agency while sliding Josh Smith to the power forward spot (mainly so he doesn’t feel the need to continue shooting 3’s). Monroe is still a very skilled big man who has a ton of potential and a lot of time to reach it.

4. Zach Randolph

2013-2014 team: Memphis Grizzlies

2013-2014 stats: 17.4 ppg, 2.5 apg, 10.1 rpg, .7 spg

Z-Bo continued to dominate the paint and the glass last season by averaging yet another double-double. Due to Randolph’s play style, he will be able to thrive in the league for several more years before he can’t keep up. Until then, he is a reliable option in the post and will continue to fight for every rebound no matter who he plays for (though its unlikely he doesn’t resign with Memphis).

5. Pau Gasol

2013-2014 team: Los Angeles Lakers

2013-2014 stats: 17.4 ppg, 3.4 apg, 9.7 rpg, 1.6 bpg

 

Gasol continued his consistent career by turning in another solid statline. However, now 33 years old, he may be on the downside of his career. Nevertheless, Gasol will continue to be effective due to his rebounding prowess, mid range jumpshot, and post moves. With the Lakers looking at a total rebuild, it’s very likely that Gasol finds another team to play for this off-season.

 

 

CENTER

 

1. Marcin Gortat

2013-2014 team: Washington Wizards

2013-2014 stats: 13.2 ppg, 1.7 apg, 9.5 rpg, 1.5 bpg

via (Keith Allison/ Flickr.com)
via (Keith Allison/ Flickr.com)

Gortat had a very productive season with the Wizards. High quality big men are slowly reducing in number, meaning this could be big summer for Gortat. His numbers may not jump off the page, but he is a huge defensive contributer to anyone who signs him.

 

2. Spencer Hawes

2013-2014 team: Philadelphia 76ers/Cleveland Cavaliers

2013-2014 stats: 13.2 ppg, 3.0 apg, 8.3 rpg, 41.6% from 3

 

Spencer Hawes is arguably the best 3 point shooting center in the league. 41.6% from deep with an average of 1.6 made 3’s per game becomes even more impressive when you add in the fact he’s 7 feet tall. While unathletic, his offensive versatility is valuable for a team looking to spread the floor and open lanes for slashers. He’s also only 26 years old. His combination of youth and skill could prove useful for anyone willing to give him a long term contract.

 

3. Channing Frye

2013-2014 team: Phoenix Suns

2013-2014 stats: 11.1 ppg, 1.2 apg, 5.1 rpg, 2 3pm

 

Channing Frye is a bad rebounder. There’s no denying it. But Frye is a very good shooter. He is nearly 7 feet tall with a 248 lb frame, which allows him to body-up opposing centers in the post. He fits very well with the Suns, and would also excel in another uptempo offense in need of a floor spacer.

 

4. Andray Blatche

2013-2014 team: Brooklyn Nets

2013-2014 stats: 11.2 ppg, 1.5 apg, 5.3 rpg, .5 bpg

 

Andray Blatche is an ideal backup center. He only played 22.2 minutes per game last year, meaning he averaged almost 9 rebounds per game per 36 minutes. He has an array of post moves and is an unorthodox 6th man.

5. Chris Andersen

2013-2014 team: Miami Heat

20130-2014 stats: 6.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.3 bpg, 64.4% from the field

 

I’m not going to lie, the free agent center market is pretty weak. But that doesn’t mean these guys can’t make an impact, and the Birdman (or Birdzilla) is no different. Andersen actually had one of the best seasons of his career last year (which isn’t saying much). He proved he can still contribute to a team even in his older age. He is still a great athlete who can block shots and rebound at a good rate.

 

 

What do you think about these rankings? Think I left someone off the list, or i ranked someone too high/low? Comment your opinions!

 

All player positions from www.espn.go.com

All stats courtesy of www.basketball-reference.com

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