There are still assets out there in players, that maybe you don’t know much about. They are not covered like a Lonzo Ball or LeBron James. They are not in that type of a limelight, but they are still serviceable and rotational pieces for most teams. Some, that even have the ability to be stars in this league. They just need to be utilized correctly. The point is there are still hidden gems on this jewel board that is the NBA Free Agency pool.
First here are some honorable mentions that just missed the cut on our list.
The Jet’s latest stop on his 18 year NBA journey was with the Milwaukee Bucks. In about 18 minutes of action a night, Terry averaged a career low 4.1 ppg. It wasn’t for a drop off in efficiency. The Jet shot his highest percentage from 3 at 43% since his Dallas days. Terry also proved to be an underrated lob passer and playmaker. Yes, even after 18 years, the basketball IQ is still top level. Would be a great pickup for a team that needs shooters or a veteran presence.
Ian Clark is coming off his second straight finals appearance with the defending NBA champs, the Golden State Warriors. Clark was quite a contributor in their 2017 playoff run, where the guard averaged 6.8 ppg on 50% shooting overall including 36% from 3 and 94% from the stripe. Ian Clark could be a nice addition for a club that lacks that scoring punch within their second unit.
The French power forward gives you everything that you could ever want in a big man. Diaw possesses good range on his jump shot. A career 34% shooter from 3, which is good for a power forward. A capable passer and playmaker that can run the offense for stretches. Diaw led the Spurs in apg during the finals, averaging 5.8 a game back in 2014. Whatever team picks this guy up, will be getting a multi-faceted big man that can do it all in small samples.
Now, here are the Top 5 remaining NBA free agents.
5. Nikola Mirotic
The Spaniard is still incredibly valuable to any team as a stretch four. In three seasons for Chicago, Mirotic shot 35% from 3. Mirotic proved to be capable of having big scoring nights late in the season. In fact, during the month of March, Mirotic had 3 outings of season highs of 28 points each to help propel the Chicago Bulls into the playoffs. In the right system, Mirotic can thrive as catch and shoot man.
Right now, the Chicago Bulls are hopeful they can bring him back into the fold, but anything can materialize in these coming weeks. At 26 years old, the best years should be ahead for Mirotic’s development as he enters his prime. The potential for stardom was always there when the Bulls originally draft and stashed him back in 2011. The former 23rd overall pick stock can still rise as an NBA player, but some team needs to take the gamble. He likely won’t command too much as the NBA market has dried up with most rosters filled up, no player has much leverage.
4. Mason Plumlee
Minus great range on his shot, Plumlee can do it all for a team in limited minutes. At 27 years old, Plumlee is one of best passing centers in the NBA. I would say the fourth best playmaking 5 outside of Nikola Jokic, Al Horford, and Marc Gasol isn’t too much of a stretch. He runs the floor real well and has great hands to catch lobs on the fast break. With his athleticism, he has proved to be a capable shot blocker at the NBA level, averaging over a block a game in his 4-year career.
Plumlee hasn’t been making much noise this NBA offseason. He is a restricted free agent for the Denver Nuggets and considering how their roster is almost filled up. It would take some great convincing to get him at a bargain. Would make for a great big man rotation between Millsap, Jokic, Hernangomez and Plumlee in Denver. As you hear all the time, what better to have in a pace and space offense than a playmaking big. It fools defenses and makes the coach second guess coverages.
3. Nerlens Noel
Yes, as you could’ve guessed it by now most of the top free agents are starter level bigs. Originally, it was foreseen that Nerlens Noel would be a chief part of the Mavericks rebuild going forward. However, as of recently, both sides are still far apart on negotiations with Noel demanding more money (according to Alex Kennedy of ESPN). I expect the Mavericks match likely any of the offers, the restricted free agent receives. They cannot let this raw talent with elite defensive potential fade into the hardwood. Big man with quick hands and the capability to be a rim protector are a commodity in the NBA.
Having Noel on your team would give an instant and reliable defensive rebounder and rim protector. At age 23, the kid from Everett Massachusetts still possesses the ability to be a Rudy Gobert, DeAndre Jordan or Hassan Whiteside like player. He is in that mold. Last season in his final 22 games with Dallas, Noel averaged 8.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg, and 1.1 bpg in 22mpg. So, the talent is raw, the potential is real.
2. Tony Allen
With “the Grindfather”, Tony Allen, the question the few years has been his durability at age 35. Tony Allen has failed to play more than 70 games in 3 of his last 4 seasons with Memphis. The latest injury sidelined him for the playoffs. Should be healthy by season start though. There is no question once you disregard health, he is a great defensive asset for any team. Leading the league in steal percentage last year at 3.1 and be elected to his third ever All NBA Defensive 2nd Team (2017, 2016, 2011).
One of the best on the ball and perimeter defenders we have in the league. At age 35, Allen is still arguably a Top 10 defender in the NBA. Last heard Boston and the Clippers were interested in the free agent. Since then, talks have been non-existent. It’s not to say, there isn’t still teams that could use his locker room presence and much-valued leadership on the defensive side of the ball.
1. JaMychal Green
People felt like JaMychal Green would be snatched up quickly in free agency by offers, but he has failed to make any notable noise on the market. According to Mark Spears on the Undefeated, “Memphis is basically challenging Green to find an offer sheet from another team before they make an offer.” The poor man’s Draymond Green might need to step back and sign the Qualifying offer Memphis extended for way less than his talent value. Averaging 8.9 ppg and 7.1 rpg on 50% shooting overall and 38% shooting from 3 in 27 mpg on the 2016-17 season.
Green can provide versatility at 6’9 to play up to three different positions. Has the range built for small ball lineups.Possesses the toughness and defensive skills needed to be a nightmare on the floor. At this point, Memphis is committed to hefty contracts for Marc Gasol, Mike Conley Jr., and Chandler Parsons. They don’t have much cheddar to doll out. Many are calling Green a victim of circumstance this offseason because in an ideal world, Green would be getting around 10-15 Mil a year. Now the restricted free agent may need to settle from anywhere between 2-5 Mil a year.