March 3, 2012; Orlando FL, USA; Milwaukee Bucks power forward Ersan Ilyasova (7) fouls on Orlando Magic power forward Ryan Anderson (33) during the second half at Amway Center. Orlando Magic defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 111-98. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
This is the fourth in a five part series in which I analyze the 2012 Free Agent market by position. As a source I used ESPN's list of 2012 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.
Next to Small Forward, another big man, whether it be a Power Forward or Center, may be the biggest need for the Kings. Currently they have one very good big man in DeMarcus Cousins, but need someone to partner up with him for the long term. Ideally, DeMarcus' partner will be able to be someone who can complement him by doing the thing he can't, like blocking shot and being really athletic.
Another reason the Kings could use another big man is the fact that they were a terrible defensive rebounding team last year. The Kings finished tied for 24th in Defensive Rebounds with... the Golden State Warriors. While DeMarcus is a phenomenal rebounder, everyone else is a bit lacking. Jason Thompson and Chuck Hayes were merely average rebounders, as was J.J. Hickson in his time here.
Keep in mind that when I say the Kings need another big man, I mean in addition to re-signing Jason Thompson. Jason Thompson is a Restricted Free Agent who has gotten better each year he's been in the league. He is a very versatile and skilled player, a very hard worker, and a great teammate. Every team in the NBA wants a Jason Thompson. If the Kings can lock him up on a good deal, they should do it. JT will be just 26 years old next year and a couple of years away from his prime. As first big man off the bench, you couldn't do much better than JT.
Now if the Kings draft someone like Thomas Robinson at the 5th pick, the need to sign another big man is mitigated a bit, but not completely.
Clicking on a Player's name will direct you to their Basketball-Reference page. Player Age is how old they will be at the start of next season.
(R) = Restricted Free Agent
(P) = Player Option
(ETO) = Early Termination Option
(T) = Team Option
|Ryan Anderson (R)||24||21.2||0.589||13.0||14.7||5.1||1.4||1.0||6.4||21.2|
|Jeremy Evans (R)||25||19.6||0.632||9.9||16.6||9.1||1.5||8.8||9.3||11.2|
|Chris Wright (R)||24||18.6||0.597||11.6||15.8||3.3||2.0||5.4||12.0||16.5|
|Vernon Macklin (R)||26||18.2||0.559||12.0||18.3||6.4||1.6||2.3||6.8||15.1|
|Elton Brand (ETO)||33||18.0||0.521||9.2||18.3||9.2||1.8||4.2||9.3||18.9|
|Darrell Arthur (R)*||24||15.7||0.534||8.5||17.0||5.4||1.7||3.2||11.4||21.6|
|J.J. Hickson (R)||24||14.9||0.501||11.7||19.0||5.9||1.2||2.1||13.4||18.7|
|Ivan Johnson (R)||28||14.3||0.558||8.2||20.1||5.7||2.4||1.5||17.8||19.5|
|Marreese Speights (R)||25||14.1||0.491||11.3||21.4||6.0||0.8||1.8||12.1||20.5|
|Lavoy Allen (R)||23||12.7||0.488||8.3||22.2||8.4||1.1||2.2||10.4||14.5|
|D.J. White (R)||26||12.4||0.516||5.0||17.2||8.1||0.8||1.6||10.2||17.8|
|Ronny Turiaf (P)||29||12.3||0.597||8.9||20.6||5.1||2.6||4.9||24.7||9.4|
|Jason Maxiell (P)||29||11.7||0.493||9.9||17.4||4.7||1.2||2.7||14.2||15.8|
|Luke Harangody (R)||24||10.4||0.427||9.5||16.9||4.3||1.4||1.0||5.4||14.5|
|Earl Clark (P)||24||8.1||0.405||7.1||18.6||5.2||1.2||4.5||14.1||14.8|
*Darrell Arthur missed last season to injury so his stats are from the 2010-11 season.
There is absolutely no chance either of them sign with the Kings, but let's take a moment to appreciate what Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett have been able to do throughout their career, even at this late stage. Duncan put up a PER of 22.5 last year, almost the same as what he put up in his stellar rookie year. He's never had a PER of less than 21.9 (and that was last year). Four championships, two MVP awards... and he might not be done yet in terms of championships. As for Garnett, I still remember the ridiculous battles in the playoffs with that Timberwolves team with him and C-Webb going at it. I have no doubt that if C-Webb's knee hadn't blown up that that rivalry would have continued for years. One thing that surprised me about KG's stats was just how good a passer he is. I've never though of him as an exceptional passing big man, but he has a higher career AST% than Vlade and is just a shade under C-Webb. He's also a premiere defender,even now.
Now let's move on to the top two possible targets at this position: Ryan Anderson and Ersan Ilyasova. If you haven't read TZ's pieces on Anderson and Ilyasova, do so now. Now, my thoughts. Both players would be great fits for the Kings and quality starting PFs for years, but in different ways.
El Dorado Hills-native Ryan Anderson is the much more offensively inclined of the two, possessing a killer three point stroke for a big man. He hit 39.3% of his threes last year and led the league in overall three pointers made. Anderson is also a very good offensive rebounder, and a decent (not great) defensive rebounder. His addition would make our offense instantly better. However there would still be rebounding problems as well as defensive issues. There's also the issue of his Restricted status, meaning Orlando could match any offers made to him. Regardless on the Magic's eventual plans with Dwight, they'll probably want to keep Anderson as a building block.
The more intriguing option of the two is Ersan Ilyasova. I'm a little biased because I've liked Ilyasova for a while now but I think the stats and overall play support my opinion, especially after this year's big improvement. Ilyasova is a tough, wiry Power Forward who is very efficient from the field, can rebound, doesn't turn the ball over much, and plays physical defense (just ask Tyreke). He's also athletic enough to step out and guard wings. While not the prolific shooter that Anderson is, Ilyasova can also step out and hit threes at a good rate. Last year he attempted just about two a game and hit them at a phenomenal 45.5% rate. Over his four-year career, he's shot 35.7% from three. Best of all, Ilyasova is a completely unrestricted Free Agent, meaning that if our owners dig into their pockets and ... oh yeah. Shit.
Kris Humphries would be a good option to look at if Jason Thompson is not re-signed. Humphries is a very good rebounder and efficient scorer, and he plays tough defense as well. He'll be just 27 next year, meaning he could be a longer term option. Ideally though, I'm not sure Humphries is a long term starter, but instead is best suited as a first big off the bench, like Thompson.
There's not many great shotblocking prospects at PF in this year's FA market. The ones that are good at blocking shots don't tend to do much else. Jeremy Evans led this crop in Block rate last year, but Evans has barely been able to get off the bench for a big-laden Utah team and has mostly just faced garbage time minutes. Also, if you don't like John Henson because of his weight and frame, you wouldn't like Evans (who is 6'9 and 196 lbs). Anthony Randolph is another young shotblocker, but Randolph hasn't seemed to figure out how to maximize his potential at all over his first four years, and it's a big factor in why he's already played for three teams in his career. On a cheap flier, maybe I'd consider Randolph but I wouldn't risk a significant investment.
I included Elton Brand because even though he has an ETO he's not likely to exercise, the Sixers may choose to amnesty him. Brand would be a good veteran addition, and he's re-made himself into a very good defender, and hasn't missed much time the last couple years. If the Kings were to pick him up off the amnesty wire for a year, I think I'd like that, simply as a mentor and someone who can teach by example for our other young bigs.
On Carl Landry and J.J. Hickson: Been there, done that.
Brandon Bass is a player sure to be in high demand this summer after a phenomenal playoffs, but Bass is essentially Carl Landry with a better outside jumper and worse post-game. Like Landry, he's a bit of a black hole on offense, with just a 5.0% career Assist Rate. He's also a poor defensive rebounder for a PF. While Bass could be a great role player for playoff team like the Celtics, I don't see him as a great fit for the Kings.
While compiling the data on this post, I hadn't expected to say much about Jordan Hill. Hill, the 8th pick of the 2009 NBA Draft, has bounced around from New York to Houston to L.A. already in his career and hasn't made much of an impact anywhere. However, his stats look a lot better than I thought they would. He's a great offensive rebounder and a good defensive rebounder, he's a decent shot blocker, and he shoots around 50% from the field. He'll also be just 25 next season, so there's still plenty of time for him to grow further as a player.
One guy that I used to really like but don't so much anymore is Ian Mahinmi. I still like him, but I don't see him as a potential future starter anymore. He's really efficient from the field, is only an ok rebounder, and he defends well. Could he be something more than a great roleplaying bench big on a team that gives him more latitude? Maybe, but I doubt it would be much more than what a guy like JT could give you.
The rest of these guys are a bit of a crapshoot of younger talent and veterans way past their prime (Hi Antawn!). One or two of them, like Craig Smith, could be useful, but I wouldn't consider any of them long term options.
Eduardo Najera is the devil.
(Coming Tomorrow: The Centers)