Posted July 25, 2013

Best remaining free agents

2013 Free agency, 2013 NBA free agency, Brandon Jennings, Nikola Pekovic, Rob Mahoney
Tyrus Thomas

Tyrus Thomas (left) played only 26 games for Charlotte last season. (Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images(

11. Ivan Johnson, F

With a bruising style, the 6-8, 255-pound Johnson is able to work his way into random scraps around the basket — largely from loose balls and drop passes — and hang in there defensively, but a lack of size and pro-level athleticism holds him back. He’ll tangle with any post-up threat and does well to get in the way of pick-and-roll action, but the 29-year-old Johnson, who played for Atlanta the last two seasons, doesn’t have the length to challenge shots in the paint on a regular basis.

The same problem comes into play on offense. Johnson doesn’t have the footwork or interior skills necessary to make up for a lack of physical advantages, leaving him to clean up broken plays, capitalize on offensive rebounds and step out for spot-up mid-range jumpers. The total package is still well worth a slot as an NBA regular, but only with the above caveats in mind.

12. Tyrus Thomas, F

When healthy and willing to play along, Thomas, who hasn’t played more than 54 games in a season since 2008-09, fits the mold of the ideal low-usage big man because of his springy interior defense and athletic pick-and-roll capabilities. But Thomas exploits that potential with increasing infrequency, to the point that Charlotte amnestied the former No. 4 pick (and ate the $18.1 million he’s owed over the next two seasons) to create cap room. Teams will remain intrigued with Thomas because he’s still young (26) and fairly productive (12.5 points, 6.0 rebounds. 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks per 36 minutes last season).

13. Rodrigue Beaubois, G

Beaubois can officially be labeled a reclamation project. Repeated injury and chronic inconsistency have played a sizable part in the 25-year-old’s decline, but even more damning is Beaubois’ dwindling command of the elements of the game that previously came so easily to him. As an unknown rookie in 2009-10, Beaubois showed an excellent capacity for haphazard offense and provided Dallas with an alternative source of scoring when the usual channels broke down. But 2012-13 marked the third consecutive season in which Beaubois’ per-minute scoring dropped. Over the course of his rookie deal, he’s gone from averaging 20.3 points per 36 minutes to a Tony Allen-like 11.9 — so steep a drop that he could offer little to a Mavericks team that suffered mightily for perimeter shot creation and steady ball handling.

A season-ending hand injury that Beaubois sustained in March should be healed by the time training camp rolls around. But even when healthy, he’s proved to be too spotty a scorer and too limited a facilitator to warrant any significant investment.

14. Kenyon Martin, F

Martin, a mediocre rebounder and limited offensive player, is valued for his ability to defend the interior. Most every playoff team needs another player capable of rotating reliably and guarding the post — two attributes that happen to be Martin’s strong suits. The 35-year-old is a known quantity, for better or worse, as his end-of-season run with the Knicks simultaneously showcased what he can offer to a competitive team under the right circumstances and how his lack of offense might hold some teams back.

UPDATE: Martin is returning to the Knicks on a one-year deal.

15. Cole Aldrich, C

Aldrich, 24, hasn’t had much luck finding an NBA home — he’s played for three teams since being drafted No. 11 in 2010 — and a lack of athleticism, range and post moves have prevented him from creating any offensive value. But he’s a young, mobile big man who plays intelligent defense. He has enough defensive potential to project as a rotation-caliber player.

16. Timofey Mozgov, C (restricted)

Mozgov, 27, averaged only 8.9 minutes in 41 games last season as part of an odd center rotation in Denver that included Kosta Koufos, JaVale McGee, and Kenneth Faried. Given the alternatives, that was a fair decision. The 7-1 Mozgov is a decent defensive big man, but not so effective to make up for his offensive limitations; he doesn’t have a very good feel for defending in space and winds up committing tons of fouls as a result. His size allows him to finish around the basket easily enough, but Mozgov doesn’t have much capacity to change directions or angles to respond to defensive play.

17. Lamar Odom, F

Although he barely resembles the ultra-versatile star he once was, Odom remains a decent NBA player because of his long-underrated ability to cover so many different types of opponents and move well within a team defensive concept. His scoring and off-the-dribble game are greatly diminished, and he’s no longer a credible option at small forward. But Odom, 33, was still a net positive for the Clippers last season because of his coverage and rebounding.

18. Ronnie Brewer, G/F

Floor spacing isn’t merely a product of perimeter accuracy; players such as Brewer who move well without the ball can offer their team some of the same benefit that a more conventional spot-up threat might, albeit in a way that leans more heavily on playmakers to read the entire floor and find the cutter at the perfect time. But that defense of Brewer, 27, means that he needs particular conditions to succeed, even if his work as a perimeter defender remains solid. Teams have little incentive to rely on a player with such limited offensive range and little hope for significant improvement as a shooter.

19. Sebastian Telfair, G

Telfair, 28, had a respectable run for the Suns last season before being traded to the spacing-challenged Raptors. He rates as a worthwhile pick-and-roll player for a bargain price. His view of the court isn’t quite as broad as his coaches might like, but Telfair does a nice job of knifing through the defense off of high screens to create makeable mid-range looks. The fact that he doesn’t get all the way to the rim on those pick-and-roll drives is part of what hamstrings his shooting efficiency.

??. Greg Oden, C

It’s impossible to gauge Oden’s value because he hasn’t appeared in a game since December 2009, but he would be worth a roster spot if he’s able to provide even a fraction of what he did when healthy. In the 82 games he played over two seasons, the No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft racked up rebounds (11.9 per 36 minutes), made a marked defensive impact and scored efficiently (15.3 per 36 minutes on 58 percent shooting). Miami, San Antonio, Dallas and New Orleans reportedly all have interest in signing Oden, who is seeking a comeback from multiple knee surgeries.

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If they will take the vet's minmum, looks like the bulls could find some players to finish out the roster. We need a big man and another shot creator wouldn't hurt either.