In about a week the NBA free agency frenzy will begin. Media focus will surround the big names in the market. Carmelo Anthony has already decided to opt out and the unknown still surrounds the Miami big three.

San Antonio won its fifth championship in the Duncan era. They did so be having the best and unmatched bench play in the playoffs. Throughout the NBA there are capable starters coming off the bench. Perhaps they have Corey Maggette type of skills—scorers but a liability on defense. Having a sharp skill on offense is what a bench needs to boost their team. After all their job is to give their starter’s adequate minutes of rest.

With the salary cap in play more than ever, you’re starting to see some coaches utilize their bench with more velocity. Rotating in younger players for a starting veteran that is getting paid a meager salary (Miami with Norris Cole over Mario Chalmers).

Surrounding stars with bench players that are there to work is the model San Antonio has shown. Brooklyn probably was the second best at that this season. Shaun Livingston, Andray Blatche, and several others filled in nicely and were a main reason for the Nets turning their season around. While Phoenix took players that were buried on other rosters (Gerald Green, Mason Plumlee) and turned them into overnight successes.

Here are a look at the non-notable free agents that can offer high value for teams.

Trevor Arizona
Arizona made his fortune off his post Lakers contract. It was obviously a higher contract than he deserved. He is at the point of his career where he can be an effective player off the bench. He provides sharp shooting and size at 6’8. Look for teams to offer him a one to two year deal to provide that lift off the bench.

DJ Augustin
Sure Augustin was a bust as a high first round pick. General managers are over that fact. Augustin showed last year for the Bulls that he can be one of the best backup point guards in the league. Injuries will happen and he can play at a high level for 20 to 25 games. He’ll be an attractive candidate for several teams looking for veteran leadership at the backup point guard position.

Jerryd Bayless
Bayless is the argument the NBA has for college players leaving to early. It’s not that Bayless does not have the talent to be an NBA starter. It’s the fact that he has bounced around the league and not been giving the proper opportunity. Teams have used him for trade bait based on his young talent and ultimately it has hurt his career. Staying in college would have done wonders to his basketball maturation. At this point he is going to have a tough time getting back a starting role.

Vince Carter
I’m shocked to see how Carter has prolonged his career. A few seasons back it looked like his gravestone for his career was finished in Phoenix. He couldn’t move up the floor and had ballooned in weight. Instead he transformed his game and worked on his jumper. It paid dividends in Dallas. His size and shooting can keep him in the NBA for a couple of more seasons.

Others: Ed Davis, Wes Johnson, Shaun Livingston, Ramon Sessions, and PJ Tucker


You must be logged in to post a comment.