Analyzing the 2011 Free Agents: Small Forwards

MEMPHIS, TN - MAY 13: Shane Battier #31 of the Memphis Grizzlies calls a defensive play against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Six of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at FedExForum on May 13, 2011 in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

This is the third in a five part series in which I analyze the 2011 Free Agent market by position.  As a source I used ESPN's list of 2011 NBA Free Agents and for statistics I used Basketball-Reference.  This list of Free Agents only includes players that were on a teams roster at the end of last season.  Also, please keep in mind that while I will use John Hollinger's PER (Player Efficiency Rating), this is not a be-all, end-all stat.  There are several deficiencies, particularly that it is not a reliable measure for a player's defensive acumen, so keep that in mind.

Since trading Ron Artest in 2008, the Kings haven't had much consistency at the Small Forward position.  The Kings had hoped one of Donté Greene or Omri Casspi could hopefully bloom into that role, but both were way too inconsistent, and ill-suited for the roles they were being asked to play.  In essence the team was trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.  Greene came into the league known as a scorer, and the team wanted him to become a defensive stopper.  Casspi was a passionate player who excelled in transition, and he was asked to defer and turn into a spot-up shooter.  Needless to say, neither plan really worked, and now the Kings have put their hopes in a more steady veteran presence.

The draft day trade to re-acquire John Salmons was an attempt to get some consistency and defense at the spot.  The logic is sound, even if the means might have seemed a bit confusing at the time.  Salmons is a big investment; He's owed $25.2 million over the next three years.  He's the starting wing for the foreseeable future.  The Kings could still use some additional help at the spot though.  Francisco Garcia will play both at the two and the three, but as he has missed major time due to injury the last three years, he can't exactly be relied on.  Donté Greene? He's improved defensively to be sure, but the rest of his game is still unrefined.  Tyler Honeycutt is a complete unknown.  

We might not be as desperate for help as we once were, but if we want it, there are guys available who can help.

Name

Age

PER

MPG

PPG

TRB%

3P%

TS%

AST%

TOV%

USG%

Grant Hill

39

19.5

34.8

17.5

10.7

0.319

0.554

22.5

13.7

24.1

Andrei Kirilenko

30

19.1

30.8

12.4

11.1

0.312

0.571

14.9

15.4

18.9

Peja Stojakovic

34

17.1

33.5

17

7.8

0.401

0.577

8.6

8.4

21.5

Caron Butler

31

16.2

36.3

16.6

9.4

0.319

0.524

13.8

12.5

22.7

Thaddeus Young ®

23

16

28.2

12.5

10.3

0.338

0.55

6.6

10.7

20.6

Reggie Williams ®

25

15.3

23.2

10.6

7.6

0.405

0.586

11.8

8.4

18.6

Tayshaun Prince

31

15.2

33.4

12.9

8.3

0.368

0.528

13.8

9

18.9

Wilson Chandler ®

24

13.5

32.1

13.9

9.2

0.324

0.524

9.2

10.1

20.4

Jamario Moon

31

13.3

22.9

6.4

11.2

0.331

0.544

6.9

7.8

13.1

Shane Battier

33

13.2

32.9

9.6

8.3

0.385

0.559

9.3

10.7

13.3

Steve Novak

28

13

9.7

4

6.5

0.417

0.602

4.6

4.7

16.2

Jeff Green ®

25

12.8

33.6

13.9

9.4

0.337

0.526

7.9

12

19.9

Derrick Brown ®

24

12.8

10.5

3.5

9.6

0.412

0.552

7.8

13.8

16.3

Julian Wright

24

12.8

13.2

3.9

10.3

0.262

0.522

9.1

15.9

15.7

Anthony Parker

36

12.4

28.2

9.3

6.8

0.409

0.555

12.5

10.7

15.4

Al Thornton

28

12.3

28

11.9

8.6

0.293

0.511

7.4

10.9

21.3

Damien Wilkins

32

12

20

6.8

7.5

0.331

0.509

11.4

13

17

Maurice Evans

33

12

19.7

6.7

7.5

0.363

0.538

6.1

7.4

15.8

Luc Mbah a Moute ®

25

11.9

26

6.7

12.5

0.214

0.521

6

14

13.2

Gary Forbes ®

26

11.7

12.6

5.2

8.5

0.328

0.489

9.7

12.9

20.1

Shawne Williams

25

11.7

15.9

5.9

10.2

0.354

0.528

6.8

11.2

17.4

Chris Douglas-Roberts

25

11.6

20.6

7.7

6.1

0.286

0.517

10.6

12.3

19.1

James Jones

31

11.4

18.9

6.3

7.1

0.402

0.561

4.9

6.6

14.7

Larry Owens ®

29

11.2

11.9

3.3

6

0.462

0.556

8.4

12.2

12.7

Jason Kapono

30

10.6

18.3

6.9

5.5

0.437

0.537

7.5

9.4

18

Dominic McGuire

26

10.4

15.2

2.6

13

0.25

0.447

11.2

19

10.9

Jared Jeffries

30

9.7

22.6

5.1

10.7

0.255

0.474

9.2

17.6

12.7

DaJuan Summers

24

6.5

9.2

3.2

5.7

0.381

0.463

4.7

11.4

19.4

Statistics used are career averages to give a larger sample size.  Players with  ® next to their name are Restricted Free Agents.

Pre-John Salmons trade, I would've stumped for acquiring one of Tayshaun Prince, Andrei Kirilenko, Caron Butler or Shane Battier.  My thoughts on those guys can already be found here so I won't spend too much time on them, other than to say that other than Battier, the door has probably closed on signing one of them.  Even Battier, who I'd love to sign purely as a veteran mentor for the young guys on this roster, is probably going to sign with a contender, as he doesn't have many years left to win that elusive ring.

I would've offered Wilson Chandler as much money as John Salmons is making, but odds are the Nuggets would match any offer for him.  Chandler was one of the centerpieces of the Carmelo Anthony trade, and has yet to reach his prime.  The same goes for a few of the other Restricted Free Agents.  I know a lot of people like Thaddeus Young, but I'm not as enamored.  He's a tweener, and most of his buckets come from attacking the rim (where he's super efficient).  He's not a great shooter though, although he isn't terrible.  He's a nice young player, I'm just not sure he's worth a hefty investment.

Reggie Williams would've been interesting, although he's purely a scorer, even if he's an efficient and prolific one.  Jeff Green is made of a similar mold, but he's more of a volume scorer than an efficient one, and he's a big defensive sieve.  Luc Mbah a Moute is on the opposite spectrum in that he's a terrific defender and good rebounder, but he has no offensive game whatsoever.

These RFAs are all interesting but acquiring any of them (especially now with Salmons on board) is unlikely. Other options exist; We know the Kings want defense and three point shooting from their wings, and there are some guys who can help in those categories

If we purely want another shooter, there is the possibility of bringing back Peja Stojakovic to play one more year and retire with the Kings.  He might not be much else anymore, but he's still an amazing shooter.  If we're keeping sentimentality out of it though, James Jones would probably a better option.  He knows and accepts his role as a spot-up three point shooter and few do better.  Last year 84% of his made Field Goals were three-pointers, and he hit them at a great percentage (42.9%).  Then there are the Steve Novak and Jason Kaponos of the world.  They're both so bad at everything that is not three-point shooting though that its not worth it.

The best options though would probably have to be Anthony Parker or Maurice Evans.  Evans is probably the better defender (its not like either of them are elite though), but Parker is better at everything else, especially shooting, where he's hit almost 41% of his career threes.  Both players can play either wing position too as a bonus.  Would they want to come here instead of a contender? Eh, probably not (this is a recurring theme in these Free Agent posts), but it can't hurt to make an offer right?

Aside from those guys there are a couple of other guys I am interested in, although they'd be projects.  Dominic McGuire intrigued me when he was here for his defense, and while he's not much of a shooter or scorer at all, he could develop into a designated stopper.  Chris Douglas-Roberts is another guy with potential, although his lies on the offensive end.

Those guys aren't realistic targets though.  Potential is nice, but its probably more prudent for the Kings to sign veterans like Parker or Evans who can play now.  We don't need any more projects.

 (Tomorrow, we take a look at the available Power Forwards)

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