01. LeBron James
Four-time MVP, plays on both ends of the court, makes his team better, willing to take a pay cut for a chance at a title. Might improve.
02. Chris Bosh
Texas. Smart guy who will and has changed his game to make the team better.
03. Pau Gasol
Near the end of a strong career. Best passing big man in the NBA after Chris Webber and before Marc Gasol and Boris Diaw (Kyle Anderson?) in the best passing team of all time. He can carry the team for stretches of a season, and at the same time will benefit immensely from Pop's minute slashing/game skipping schemes. He's a fun guy on Twitter and might get a laugh at a DNP-Old.
He was never strong defensively and now he's old. He got an ambiguous mention in Tim Kawakami's No Defense Team. Remember when we destroyed the Al Jefferson-Millsap Jazz by repeatedly doing a PNR on Jefferson? Teams can do that against Pau. What he can do is play defense one-on-one in the low or high post so he might be mildly effective on guys like Steven Adams, Al Jefferson, Al Horford, Chris Bosh if his team gives him the ball inside, or LaMarcus Aldridge. But stretch that out to a perimeter iso and it would be problematic. It's a small gripe since we have pretty good defenders to cover him up a bit, but it is something that can be exploited. It's also hard in a game against OKC if they go with Adams-Ibaka: Tiago + 1 would do okay, but you can't counter with Tim-Pau.
He seems attainable in a full-MLE situation (although a bit dubious), and has plenty of other suitors. If Zach Randolph indeed opts out, a Gasol brothers tandem may be etched in stone.
04. Josh McRoberts
Helped the Bobcats into the playoffs. "Sniper-level accuracy on passes." He's not old so he can stick around for a bit, or the Zaza Pachulia young clone I've always wanted. He can play some defense and hit some threes; pretty smart player. He'd be a poorer shooting Matt Bonner with some Boris deception mixed in. He would be an inexpensive cog of the machine, but may be looking for a payday. He has great hair and I do think he's the best fitting FA I can remember.
He may seem similar to other big men targets here (smart, can play defense, can hit threes), but none of them besides Pau has this level of perceptive passing so on a dollar-for-dollar proposition, he gets an edge.
05. Gustavo Ayon (RFA) - He looked promising as a rookie: looked like the second coming of Fabricio Oberto with timely cut and underrated small number rebounding (what), but looking at the number, he's about even with Jeff Ayres. On the flipside his minutes were more meaningful so I would guess that the rates are as inflated by a small sample. He also got FIBA Americas MVP honours and he generally strikes me as a better player than Ayres (hands, defense, scoring AST%; except FT shooting). I would seriously make a run at him if we had slots open and if he didn't get injured so often.
06. Mike Scott (RFA)
He seems attainable even if he is an RFA since ATL now has Horford, Millsap, Antic, and Payne (free agents in Gustavo Ayon, Elton Brand, and this guy). I was high on him coming out of college and has performed as I projected (rotation player for a playoff team with the ability to excel in spurts). He can score a bit (via 3-ball at that) and is decently athletic. Unfortunately, I trust team fan blogs and well, there's this: phrases such as "complete horror show on defense", "has extreme, persistent tunnel vision and tends to ignore his man completely", and "can frequently be seen leaving his man to double team the ball in situations that don’tailer call for it". Yeah, probably not.
07. Channing Frye
Think of him as Matt Bonner: He can spread the floor but he can also play a bit inside, get a few rebounds, defend a little bit, makes his team better. He'd be good as a trailer in our early offense set. He's sort of like Spencer Hawes, I imagine, and would therefore command more money than a Matt Bonner contract for a larger chunk of money slightly incommensurate to his advantage over Matt.
In a vacuum, he would be a good sign, but we're talking about a Matt Bonner replacement. We're not rich enough to offer that contract for the fourth/fifth/sixth big. He'd be a good third big and a pretty good fourth, but Boris brings way more tools as a third big, and we already have three big men signed besides. He has some health issues from the past, and I'm not qualified to say whether they've gone away or are bound to return.
08. Richard Jefferson 3.0 - Healthy, knows the system, not a complete wash on defense, hits the three-point shot at a 40% clip (top ten in the league)—did you know RJ shot just eight attempts less than Ray Allen last year but hit them at a better clip? You know he can dunk.
Honourable Mentions (ranking irrelevant):
01. Shawn Marion - Can still run out, make put backs, and score off cuts but his offense fell off last year, not sure if it's a blip or a trend. Defense is still there a bit, but the combo might be too small for the full MLE he will command. He is old though, and I do have a bias for guys I can see spending at least two contracts in SA.
02. Spencer Hawes - he has a bunch of tools: big guy, can stretch the floor, can block shots some times, he knows how to pass a basketball. He has a reputation for poor defense though and if you look at career per-minute numbers (Hawes has always been a rotation guy) to Jeff Ayres, he's obviously better, but only marginally so. I'd get him for a slightly bigger salary than Ayres, but not for thrice or five times as much. I haven't seen much of him, but he may be (only) a slight improvement over Byron BJ Mullens.
03. Marvin Gaye Williams - came into the league exactly a year after I started following the NBA. Three Spurs championships later and I still don't know his game. He can space the floor with the three ball, I guess? Seems like a pro but also a very bland cog in the offense.
04. Jordan Hill - seems underrated and an improvement over Baynes or Ayres, but he also said this and might also want a bunch of money. Can the Spurs offer consistent minutes? Nope. Can the Spurs offer a lot of money? Nope. He is an efficient scoring energy guy who can really rebound and block a few shots though. He doesn't have a three, but he has a bit of a long jumper to stretch the floor or most likely as a pressure valve over a broken play.
05. Shaun Livingston - I've always liked the guy and strikes me as a TJ Ford guy who can be a pretty good back-up PG even at this physical condition and advanced age. Think of Andre Miller but younger. He's a smart player who helps his team and a good option to throw some money at if Patty leaves and CoJo isn't ready to play; if only one happens, I prefer the cheaper route on taking a flyer from the countless point guards that went undrafted (Bryce Cotton, DeAndre Kane, Aaron Craft, etc.).
06. Vince Carter - has remade himself over the past few years as a good bench player. Will give you threes, plays some D, might dunk. But man, he is old and not much more than a stop-gap. I think his play fits a larger role better; he's not a microwave. Austin Daye is a better fit.
07. Ray Allen - can really shoot. We do have Austin Daye though.
08. Jan Vesely - is a complete zero on offense. You or me getting a quadruple double is probably more probable than Vesely shooting free throws well. Can be disruptive on defense on occassion with his length and athleticism, but he also fouls a lot. He is as big as Marcin Gortat though.
09. Chris Singleton - He's what Damien Inglis could be. NBA body and decently athletic. He projected to be a 3-D guy and while sample size theater shows that he could have the first bit down, that's not entirely true from an eye test, it seems, as he could hardly see the floor. Three years and he's pretty much the same guy of potential. He still isn't much of a scorer or shooter, played less minutes than Jan Vesely, and gets lost on defense more often than you'd want from your defense guy (this is odd though since he was the defensive anchor/leader of a pretty tough Florida State squad through his four years there). I do think he has a chance (maybe because I was high on him coming out of college, but also because guys who've actually seen him in the NBA over the years think coaching is partly to blame)
10. Kevin Seraphin (RFA) - is French and his fouling prowess is reminiscent of Ian Mahinmi. He is a space eater though and has the tools to block shots. He is a bit of a black hole though and makes some weird decisions with the ball.
11. Trevor Booker (RFA) - fills my undersized but hardworking big man soft spot. Plays solid defense (although overmatched at times), doesn't make mistakes, hustles better than the Bulls, and can rebound a bit. His playoff jumpers were on a Jason Smith level of goodness. His jumper is developing still and I do like a flier on him.
12. Trevor Ariza - is a guy that would likely command a lot of money, and thus out of the running for our team. He fits the role of a 3D wing guy pretty well, but over his career his shot was way worse than it was the past season. Blip or trend? It was a contract year though so the memory of Tim Thomas beckons us once more.
13. Greivis Vasquez (RFA) - pounds the ball as much as Patty, but shoots a bit worse (okay on threes, a bit inefficient on twos). He's a pretty good back-up point guard who knows to shoot only from inside or from three but I guess he would be a bit unattainable since Toronto needs/wants him (and the feeling is mutual) and didn't draft a guard. A bit questionable on defense though against smaller guys so he isn't the perfect fit without either Patty or Cojo.
14. Jason Smith - very injury prone (about the same rate as Gustavo Ayon), very little contribution on defense (no idea if he is a turnstile) and is a worse rebounder than Tiago. He is a good FT shooter though and may be the Drazen Petrovic of 20ft jumpers. He, however, cannot hit three. He doesn't take them though so he is, by that measurement, better than Josh Smith.
15. Al-Farouq Aminu - is young and has the tools to be a good defense guy. He's a bit like Chris Singleton, or a bit too much like Chris Singleton. He was PJ Tucker good on corners last year and has okay stats on the 10-16 foot jumper. But the latter was on half of last year's very very few attempts (and it was bad last year) while the former got more featured this year and it bombed—not a three point bomb but a box office bomb. I guess he is a better option than Chris Singleton and he can rebound a bit better (at about the same rate as 2014 Elton Brand).
16. PJ Tucker - is sort of like our friend Bruce Bowen but without the elite defensive chops (he is above average though), and if he could hit threes only from the corners (Bruce has about 88-90% of his threes from the corners but his numbers from everywhere else looked quite a bit better, surprisingly). Plays his ass off. He'd be good at a minimum contract, but his value falls the more money you give him. I don't know how he got the name PJ.
17. Jermaine O'Neal - is somehow still the same guy when he arrived in Toronto back in 2008. He can defend the post for a bit, score a bit, has some veteran smarts, and is a bit creaky.
18. Thabo Sefalosha - has a 3D psychic tattoo but forgot to do either last season: the reverse Trevor Ariza story arc.
19. Emeka Okafor - didn't play at all last year so who really knows. He has a reputation for being a good defensive center. He's Nazr Mohammed when we first got Nazr but may get 10-10 if given minutes.
20. Elton Brand - can be a McDyess pick-up for us with his defense, veteran leadership, toughness, and other intangibles. He was underrated last year as a spot starter and can still play, hit shots, and rebound, with the cloud of age always in the background. He did terribly against the Pacers though.
21. Jeff Adrien - is an undersized scrapper/good rebounder who can hit a jumper occasionally but is more or less inefficient.
22. Ekpe Udoh (RFA) - is an atrocious rebounder who cannot score efficiently. Cool guy though.
23. Andres Nocioni - is Argentinian and can play a bit, though advanced in age.
24. Tyrus Thomas- is a guy Spurs blogs have been consistently pining for over the years (as with Maggette) for reasons only know to NBA 2K programmers. Hasn't played 60 games since the 2008-2009 season and didn't at all last year. Was last an attractive role player in the 2009-2010 season. Never had floor stretching qualities and pretty slim and short for a big man. He reportedly has/had good defense, and might be the second coming of Stromile Swift.
25. Damion James - Part of the morass that was the later 2010 NBA draft first round starting with former Spur James Anderson. On a closer look, Jordan Crawford has a function on some teams as a chucker, Q and Greivis are both useful guys, and Trevor Booker is better than Trevor Mbakwe. I think Damion James was brought on to the team to play defense, and I'm not sure he does it good enough. Spurs have a history of taking fliers at the end of season to borderline NBA guys who you think will blossom but never do though. This seems like the newest one. Is Austin Daye former lottery pick next though?
26. Kris Humphries - he an rebound a bit, and has the tools to dial in on defense. Is a bit better than Jeff Ayres and had quite big jump in long two attempts last year with Boston (60% of his shots) and at the same time increased his percentages there. Doesn't turn the ball over and is a pretty good FT shooter.
27. Anthony Morrow - can really shoot. We do have Austin Daye though.
28. Patrick Patterson - learned how to shoot threes in Canada, but his other attributes seem like a poor man's Channing Frye.
29. Glen Davis - held the Magic back when he was still there.
30. Danny Granger - can score and play a bit but is most helpful in a Jacque Vaughn/Ime Udoka role at this point.
Originally posted on Kitchen Appliance Propaganda