This year’s free agency was nothing short of exciting and league changing. With big names like Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving changing teams, the balance in the NBA definitely shifted.
However, as the excitement of free agency has waned due to the lack of talent and stars left on the market, there are still several impactful available for teams. Although these players will not be stars on teams that sign them, they can still play a key role on an NBA roster for a small price. Below are 5 of the best free agents still left on the market.
5. Jamal Crawford
Jamal Crawford is essentially a walking bucket. He is a great shooter and his impact on any team is immeasurable. He is an excellent scorer and a great team leader. As an experienced bench player, Crawford is one of the two players to ever win 3 Sixth Man of the Year awards. He can contribute deeply to a playoff team through his shooting, giving relief to star players. He would also be able to easily mesh with tanking and rebuilding teams like the Cavaliers or Knicks through his leadership as an NBA veteran.
He would be a great role model that could truly help the locker room. Either way, Crawford would be a great addition through his unstoppable offense and his strong locker room presence. Teams should be wary of his positive influence and sign him. Although he is an underrated player, he can make magic for any team that he is on.
4. Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Anthony’s career took a very unexpected turn for the worse. The 10-time All-Star and future Hall of Famer went from a consistent All-Star player to a bench player to unsigned for the course of three years. After signing with the Rockets, many were hopeful that Anthony could turn his career around. Instead, he continued to go for the worse.
As many in the media have said, Anthony, although an elite shooter, is too obsessed about his personal stats and would be reluctant to take a bench role. This proved to be true in his two stints with the Thunder and the Rockets. Although teams should be hesitant to sign him, he would be a great addition to any team with a simple change of mentality. His elite shooting talent would make him a valuable player for essentially any franchise.
3. J.R. Smith
It was no surprise that J.R. Smith was released by the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier this free agency window. He was a big liability in fiscal manners as well as his role on this young, tanking team. Smith, who is a former first-rounder, is almost 34 years old and would be incompatible on the young Cavaliers roster who are looking to become even more younger.
Smith’s talents, however, can be utilized elsewhere in the league. A career great shooter at 42% FG and a decent 3PT shooter at 37%, Smith can be a valuable bench player as a catch- and -shoot player for playoff teams or fringe-playoff teams that need shooting. Smith, although aging, can be a good contributor for teams as a one or two-year rental. However, teams will be very cautious about signing him as he is infamous for his locker room incidents such as throwing soup at a coach during his stint with the Cavaliers. However, all in all, Smith can be a good add for many teams and should be deeply considered by teams such as the Milwaukee Bucks and the Denver Nuggets.
2. Thabo Sefolosha
Thabo Sefolosha is an underrated player that has been on a decline as of late. Playing a sparse 12.2 minutes per game for the Utah Jazz last season, Sefolosha failed to make a massive impact on the young, playoff team. However, his services will be highly valued on the rosters of other contenders. Although he has not been able to live up to his previous role as a backup 3 and D player, he can still serve a similar role on a deep playoff team like the Rockets or the 76ers.
Sefolosha is an above-average defender who allowed only 41.1% of field goals from opposing shooters last year. In addition, his 3 point percentage is 43.6%, which is something that could greatly benefit either team’s bench. Although age is not on his side, teams that are dependent on three-pointers on offense and are lacking defensive talent on their bench could utilize Sefolosha to help their team.
1. Kenneth Faried
It is very surprising that Kenneth Faried is still left on the market, considering that he revived his career with the Rockets last season. Picked up on waivers by the Rockets, Faried came as a replacement for Clint Capela while he was injured during the season. During that time, however, Faried balled out impressing everyone. During the span of his time with the Rockets, Faried played in 25 games (started in 13 of them) and averaged 24.4 minutes. In addition, the former first-round pick out of Morehead State scored 12.9 points per game and averaged 8.2 rebounds per game.
The 29-year-old is fully capable of being a very dependable and strong second-string center on a playoff team. The Rockets were lucky to get such a great and productive player while Capela was gone. Faried is a low-risk, high-reward player and he is definitely worth the gamble for any playoff teams that are in need of depth behind the 4th or 5th spot.