NBA Daily: The Best of the Rest
Shane Rhodes looks at the best of the remaining free agents still on the market in early August.
It’s August. As next season slowly creeps up onto the horizon, most guys are at home, counting their cash and working to get ready for training camp.
But not everyone.
While the big names have all come and gone from the free agent market, there are plenty of players still available that can make an impact next season. While these may not be the players that bring home the Larry O’Brien Trophy, they are the best of the rest and are more than capable of helping a team win games next season.
It is absurd that Rodney Hood still remains unsigned.
One of just two restricted free agents still available, Hood continues to look for something beyond the $3.4 million qualifying offer the Cleveland Cavaliers offered him back in June. The shooting guard did himself no favors after a midseason move to Cleveland — refusing to check into a playoff game isn’t the best look — but more than a few teams could make use of the 6-foot-8, twitchy scorer that Hood can be on the wing. On the season, Hood averaged 14.7 points while shooting 38.1 percent from three on over five three-point attempts per game.
Hood has posted an effective field goal percentage of 50.3 percent across his four seasons in the NBA, fifth best amongst his draftmates to play at least 6,000 minutes and higher than the likes of Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine — both of whom have signed lucrative long-term extensions in the past two seasons — and others. His career 464 three-point makes ranks fourth best in his class as well.
Poor decision or not, Hood deserves a deal either with the Cavaliers or someone else. It would be a shame to see him languish further on the open market.
Dwyane Wade flashed back to The Flash during the Miami HEAT’s postseason series against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Wade averaged 16.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.4 steals during the HEAT’s short playoff run. While he wasn’t able to lead the team to a series win, Wade reminded everyone who he can be and what he can do on the floor, even as a 36-year-old.
While he has yet to sign, Wade certainly has his suitors, both in the NBA and overseas. The leadership he can provide both in the locker room and on the court is unlike any other free agent still available; he knows what it takes to win and he has the ability to step up and produce in crucial moments when the team needs him too.
His pedigree and ability to provide offensive spark could prove invaluable to any team come playoff time. So, while it would be sad to see Wade leave Miami again, it’s only a matter of time before some team scoops him up.
He’s not the same Jamal Crawford of old, but the former 6th Man of the Year can still get it done when he needs to.
The 38-year-old did just that for the Minnesota Timberwolves, who made their first postseason appearance in over a decade. Crawford scored 10.3 points per game on 41.5 percent shooting, his highest percentage since 2013. He shot 33.1 percent from downtown as well. During the postseason, Crawford boosted those numbers to 11.8 points, 44.7 percent and 41.2 percent respectively.
So, assuming he sees some playing time, Crawford can definitely provide a spark off the bench for some team. He won’t be the most efficient player, but another 10 points per game wouldn’t be out of the question.
Crawford has been around the block, too. A team looking for a cheap vet to help their younger guys learn the game could take a long look at Crawford, assuming he’s comfortable with taking on an even lesser role.
Greg Monroe bounced around the league last season, spending time with the Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns and Boston Celtics.
The Celtics-Monroe relationship didn’t exactly pan out for either party. While he was brought in to help an injury-depleted Boston offense, Monroe’s defensive deficiencies kept him off the floor when it mattered most. While he played in 26 games down the stretch, Monroe was virtually unplayable in the postseason, where he averaged just 9.5 minutes across 11 games.
Still, Monroe is a capable offensive threat and could help a team looking for a band-aid fix at the center position. When given time, he can still drop it in the bucket and help on the glass; Monroe has averaged 13.7 points and 8.6 rebounds for his career. Some team comfortable with his defense, or lack thereof, could certainly make use of Monroe
Another big that made his rounds last season, Trevor Booker spent time with the Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers last season.
While he didn’t spend much time with any of these teams, Booker is a gritty big that can make an impact on a winning team. While Booker isn’t as offensively inclined as Monroe — Booker has averaged just 6.9 points across 532 NBA games — he can make a difference on the defensive end. Booker has shown he’s willing to throw his body around to make some hustle plays that others may avoid as well.
Only 30 years old, Booker is definitely worth a flier for teams looking for a veteran big.
Nick Young isn’t the best all-around player, but he can still be a decent signing for a contender looking to add more shooting off the bench a la the Golden State Warriors a season ago. Young shot 37.7 percent from three last season with the Warriors and has averaged 37.6 percent from downtown in his career. Young’s front row seat to Golden State’s winning culture could be considered an asset for an up-and-coming team as well.
Again, these aren’t the players who are going to tip the scales; not everyone is made to do so. Still, these players, and many other available NBAers, can make an impact next season.
As the best of the rest, they just need to be given an opportunity.
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