Tommy Beer

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2018 NBA Free Agent Top 50

Saturday, June 30, 2018


After examining the top ten at each individual position, the final FA list this offseason will rank the top-50 overall free agents set to hit the open market this summer.


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1. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers (player option):
Even at age 33, still the best player on the planet. LeBron has declined his $35.6 million player option for the 2018-19 season and will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1st.


2. Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors (player option):
The second best player on planet Earth. Fully expected to re-sign with the Warriors for max money.


3. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets (team option):
The Nuggets plan to ink Jokic to a five-year, $146.5 million maximum contract that will keep him in Denver through 2023.

 

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4. Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder (player option):
Is PG-13 homebound and headed to the Lakers, or can OKC convince him to stay?


5. Chris Paul, Houston Rockets:
The Rockets obviously want to keep CP3 in Houston, but are they willing to guarantee $200 million to a 33-year old point guard with an unfavorable injury history?


6. DeMarcus Cousins, New Orleans Pelicans:
Cousins is supremely talented, but has never played in a playoff game and is recovering from a debilitating Achilles tear.


7. Clint Capela, Houston Rockets (restricted):
Last season, Capela became just the fourth player in NBA history to average at least 13 points and ten rebounds per game while shooting over 65 percent from the floor.


8. Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic (restricted):
Gordon’s injury history is worrisome, but his talent and upside are undeniable.


9. Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers (restricted):
Over the second-half of last season (41 games), Randle averaged 19.2 points (on 56.8 percent shooting), 9.0 rebounds and 3.1 assists.


10. DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers (player option):
Bruising bigs don’t have the same value they once did, but DJ can still anchor a team defensively by protecting the paint and finishes at the rim with the best of them.


11. Tyreke Evans, Memphis Grizzlies:
Only three players averaged at least 19 points, five dimes and five boards while shooting better than 39 percent from downtown in 2017-18: Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Tyreke Evans.


12. Derrick Favors, Utah Jazz:
Favors was healthy and productive in 2017-18, averaging 12.3 points, 7.2 boards and 1.1 blocks, while shooting a career-best 56.3% from the floor.


13. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Los Angeles Lakers:
3-and-D wings are highly coveted in the modern-day NBA. KCP is a terrific perimeter defender who shot over 38 percent from 3-point territory (on 5.6 attempts per game) last season.


14. Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics (restricted):
Smart’s value lies outside the realm of standard statistics. He’s a bulldog that is capable of willing his team to wins with hustle, effort and energy.


15. Jusuf Nurkic, Portland Trail Blazers (restricted):
Nurkic had an up-and-down 2017-18 campaign but showcased his upside by averaging 15.2 points (on 57.5 percent shooting), 11.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.8 blocks over the season’s final 19 games.


16. Jabari Parker, Milwaukee Bucks (restricted):
The former No. 2 overall pick is a gifted scorer and is still just 23 years old, but has torn his left ACL twice over the past 25 months.


17. Will Barton, Denver Nuggets:
Once the Nuggets lock up Jokic via a max contract, they likely won’t be able to afford to bring back Barton due to the crippling luxury tax payments that would result.


18. J.J. Redick, Philadelphia 76ers:
Redick averaged career-highs in points (17.1), rebounds (2.5) and 3-pointers (2.8) for Philly, but will probably have to take a steep pay cut from the $23 million he banked last season.


19. Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls (restricted):
LaVine was disappointingly inefficient but did show brief flashes of his incredible athleticism after returning from an ACL tear in February. The Kings will reportedly target him in free agency.


20. Avery Bradley, Los Angeles Clippers:
Bradley averaged over 16 points and six boards and made All-Defensive First Team in 2016-17, but was hampered by injuries and ineffectiveness this past season.


21. Trevor Ariza, Houston Rockets:
ESPN reported earlier this month that Ariza might be tempted to settle for the mid-level exception to join the Warriors.


22. Isaiah Thomas - Los Angeles Lakers:
Thomas was hoping teams would be forced to back up the Brinks truck this summer. Unfortunately, he is still recovering from hip surgery and his earning power has been dramatically diminished.


23. Brook Lopez, Los Angeles Lakers:
L.A. wasn’t an ideal fit for BroLo. He’ll look for a more suitable situation this summer.


24. Rajon Rondo - New Orleans Hornets:
Dating back to the start of the 2014-15 season, Rondo is one of only four players to tally at least 2,000 assists and 1,400 rebounds. The other three are LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and James Harden.


25. Fred VanVleet - Toronto Raptors (restricted):
VanVleet led the Raptors in fourth-quarter assists and minutes played last season, and his 275 fourth-quarter points were second only to DeMar DeRozan.


26. Elfrid Payton - Phoenix Suns (restricted):
He’s Orlando’s franchise leader in triple-doubles. However, for his career, Elf has shot just 45.7 percent from the floor, 29.8 percent from 3-point range and 61.9 percent from the free-throw stripe.


27. Enes Kanter, New York Knicks (player option):
Last season, Kanter became just the eighth player in NBA history to average at least 14 points and 11 boards while also converting over 59% of his field-goal attempts.


28. Dante Exum - Utah Jazz (restricted):
Exum’s impressive combination of size and athleticism at the point guard position will have GM’s intrigued. His injury history will have GM’s apprehensive.


29. Kyle Anderson, San Antonio Spurs (restricted):
Anderson set career-highs across the board last season, and the Spurs will need depth on the wing if they trade Kawhi Leonard this summer.


30. Rudy Gay, San Antonio Spurs (player option):
Gay was able to stay relatively healthy last season, but it was still somewhat surprising to see him decline his $8.8 million player option for the 2018-19 campaign.


31. Rodney Hood, Cleveland Cavaliers:
Hood didn’t live up to expectations in Cleveland following a mid-season trade. However, he’s still just 25 years old and has proven he score points in bunches.


32. Wayne Ellington, Miami Heat:
His 218 3-pointers off the bench last season were the most ever by a reserve in NBA history.


33. Nerlens Noel, Dallas Mavericks:
Between inconsistent play, injuries and a suspension, 2017-18 was a nightmare for Noel. He may have to settle for a one-year deal to re-establish his value leaguewide.


34. Montrezl Harrell, Los Angeles Clippers (restricted):
Over the second-half of last season, ‘Trez averaged an impressive 14.0 points and 4.5 rebounds, while shooting a scorching 66.0 percent from the floor.


35. Joe Harris, Brooklyn Nets:
In 2018, Harris shot 46.7 percent from 3-point territory, which was the second-best mark in the league over that stretch.


36. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks (team option):
Dirk was surprisingly durable last season, starting 77 of the Mavericks first 78 games.


37. Seth Curry, Dallas Mavericks:
Curry missed the entire 2017-18 campaign due to a left tibia injury but was finally medically cleared in May and has been engaged in full basketball-related activity for a month.


38. Mario Hezonja, Orlando Magic:
After two disappointing seasons to start his career in Orlando, Super Mario averaged 9.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.2 triples for the Magic in 2017-18.


39. Jerami Grant, Oklahoma City Thunder:
Grant provided much-needed defensive versatility off the bench last season in OKC. If he can improve his 3-point accuracy, he could be one of the free-agent steals of this summer.


40. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat:
Wade scored a game-high 28 points off the bench in Game 2 of the Heat’s first-round series vs. the Sixers, which is the most points by a reserve in a playoff game in Miami franchise history.


41. Luc Mbah a Moute, Houston Rockets:
LMBM was a valuable role player for Houston, averaging over 25 minutes, for the 65-win Rockets last season. They will look to bring him back, but will likely have to offer more than the veteran’s minimum.


42. Michael Beasley, New York Knicks:
Beasley got plenty of buckets for the shorthanded Knicks, averaging over 13 points for the first time since 2010-11.


43. Alex Len, Phoenix Suns:
Per NBA.com Len ranked second in the NBA (min. 20 games) with an average of 7.2 rebounds when coming off the bench this season, and ranked third with seven double-doubles as a reserve (trailing only Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic).


44. Kyle O'Quinn, New York Knicks (player option):
O’Quinn declined his $4.3 million player option for the 2018-19 season. He averaged career highs in scoring (7.1 points per game), rebounds (6.1) and assists (2.1) last season.


45. Ed Davis, Portland Trail Blazers:
Davis led all reserves in rebounding last season, pulling down 7.4 boards in just 18.9 minutes per contest.


46. Aron Baynes, Boston Celtics:
How about this for a stat: Aron Baynes was 11-of-23 (47.8 percent) from 3-point territory during the 2018 postseason. DeMar DeRozan was 10-of-35 (28.6 percent) from 3-point territory during the 2018 postseason.


47. Ersan Ilyasova, Philadelphia 76ers:
Ilyasova emerged as an important contributor off the Sixers bench late in the season, averaging 10.8 points and 6.7 rebounds in 24.1 minutes.


48. Greg Monroe, Boston Celtics:
Lumbering, back-to-the-basket bigs are frequently exploited defensively in today’s NBA, which is why Monroe averaged a career-low in minutes in 2017-18.


49. Jeff Green, Cleveland Cavaliers:
Green settled for a one-year deal with the Cavs last summer, but was relatively productive off the bench, averaging 10.8 points per game, with a career-best True Shooting percentage of 58.7 percent.


50. Shabazz Napier, Portland Trail Blazers (restricted):
Averaged career-highs in points (8.7), rebounds (2.3), steals (1.1), 3-pointers (1.1) and minutes (20.7) with Portland in 2017-18.




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