Analyzing the 2013 Free Agents: Guards

Joe Robbins

This is the first in a three part series where we analyze the 2013 NBA Free Agent market by position. First up, the guards.

Free Agency really snuck up on me this year. Usually, I will spend the week before the draft putting out a few posts on the Free Agent Market. This year however there has just been so much happening with the new ownership transition and I haven't had as much time to think about Free Agency.

But hey, this year we might actually get to care about Free Agency! We have a new ownership group willing to spend money along with a new GM who wants to shape the team his way. This could be a really exciting summer. The Kings don't have a whole bunch of cap space, but they could get some through trades, the amnesty clause or letting free agents walk. Also, we're not really going to focus too much on need and fit in this post, because we don't know how much this new front office will change the roster. Just because we're a guard-heavy team now doesn't mean we're going to be a guard-heavy team in three months.

This first post is on the guards. Normally I'd do a separate post for each individual position but since Free Agency begins Monday, we're a little crunched for time.

As a source I used ESPN's list of 2013 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.

First up, the PGs:

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

Name

Age

PER

TS%

ORB%

DRB%

AST%

STL%

BLK%

TOV%

USG%

Jeff Teague (R)

25

16.8

0.543

1.1

6.7

36.1

2.3

0.8

17.6

23.0

Devin Harris

30

14.6

0.565

0.5

8.7

21.7

2.3

0.7

14.7

19.5

C.J. Watson

29

13.9

0.544

2.9

8.4

17.2

2.3

0.6

12.1

17.2

Jannero Pargo

34

10.3

0.475

2.2

5.7

22.8

1.9

0.5

15.8

23.3

Nate Robinson

30

17.4

0.540

1.6

8.6

31.4

2.2

0.4

12.6

25.1

Shaun Livingston

28

13.0

0.536

2.4

10.4

23.2

1.7

1.7

16.3

14.3

Rodrigue Beaubois(R)

25

10.6

0.470

1.9

9.6

22.6

1.8

0.6

14.6

18.7

Darren Collison (R)

26

16.3

0.575

1.5

8.7

26.8

2.2

0.3

17.0

19.6

Mike James

38

9.5

0.481

1.2

8.1

23.7

1.5

0.3

16.2

17.9

Will Bynum

31

16.6

0.532

2.6

6.6

34.8

2.0

0.3

17.3

27.0

Jose Calderon

32

18.8

0.616

1.1

8.6

39.8

1.4

0.3

15.8

17.0

Jarrett Jack

30

15.9

0.542

1.0

10.1

29.9

1.3

0.4

14.3

21.0

Ben Hansbrough (R)

26

7.2

0.501

1.1

8.8

16.1

1.9

0.7

24.0

17.1

D.J. Augustin

26

11.0

0.527

1.9

6.3

21.6

1.5

0.2

16.8

15.1

Chauncey Billups

37

15.0

0.601

0.6

8.4

17.4

1.5

0.2

14.5

19.6

Chris Paul

28

26.4

0.594

2.8

10.5

46.5

3.8

0.4

13.7

22.6

Darius Morris

23

8.1

0.475

4.0

5.2

16.8

1.6

0.2

18.1

16.2

Brandon Jennings (R)

24

16.1

0.510

2.1

7.2

29.1

2.2

0.3

12.9

23.7

Pablo Prigioni (R)

36

13.0

0.595

3.7

9.8

27.5

2.9

0.1

27.1

11.7

Derek Fisher

39

7.7

0.492

0.4

6.6

11.7

1.7

0.4

14.4

16.4

Beno Udrih

31

14.2

0.516

2.5

8.2

32.3

1.5

0.2

17.2

19.3

Charles Jenkins (R)

24

7.5

0.425

2.0

6.0

14.8

1.8

0.4

13.8

15.5

Royal Ivey

32

8.1

0.563

2.5

6.8

6.7

1.7

0.3

11.7

11.3

Diante Garrett

25

9.0

0.375

3.7

7.8

31.3

3.4

0.0

23.1

20.7

Eric Maynor

26

9.3

0.472

1.1

4.4

28.7

1.2

0.1

2.1

18.4

Nolan Smith

25

7.1

0.435

2.8

8.2

19.9

1.3

0.3

18.7

24.7

Toney Douglas

27

13.4

0.531

3.0

9.2

18.3

2.8

0.2

13.9

19.9

Sebastian Telfair

28

10.9

0.488

1.5

8.5

23.9

2.0

0.8

15.9

18.5

Jamaal Tinsley

34

10.6

0.467

1.6

9.5

34.1

2.8

0.9

30.2

13.1

Mo Williams

31

14.4

0.519

2.0

7.2

33.2

1.7

0.5

18.0

22.3

Earl Watson

34

7.7

0.366

3.2

9.1

31.8

2.5

0.8

3425.0

11.0

A.J. Price

27

12.4

0.501

1.7

8.2

16.4

1.3

0.2

12.7

18.0

Garrett Temple (R)

27

8.8

0.478

2.8

9.1

15.5

2.3

1.2

18.2

13.2

Let's get this out of the way right at the beginning: The Kings are not signing Chris Paul. Paul is the best point guard in the NBA and would make every single team better. But he's not coming to Sacramento. First, the Kings do not have the cap space. Second, the Kings cannot offer as much money as the Clippers even if they did have the cap space. Third, the Kings are not close to contending, even with Chris Paul and as such aren't an enticing destination. Fourth, the Kings are not signing Chris Paul.

There are other point guards the Kings could target. Currently the Kings have Isaiah Thomas, Jimmer Fredette and Ray McCallum at the position. Thomas is the only one who has shown he can play the PG role at an above average rate; Fredette has struggled as a playmaker, being more effective off the ball, and McCallum is an unknown at this point. There's not even a guarantee that McCallum sticks on the team (although I think he will).

As Thomas is the best PG the Kings currently have, let's take a look at this list and see which players are available that are or might be better than him, Chris Paul notwithstanding. I see five names:

* Brandon Jennings

* Jeff Teague

* Nate Robinson

* Jarrett Jack

* Darren Collison

The first, Brandon Jennings, probably isn't as good as Thomas is now. He's wildly inefficient, with a career FG% of just 39.4%. He also assists at only a slightly higher rate. Jennings has better size and athleticism than Thomas but Isaiah possesses better leadership qualities and plays better off the ball. There's also the fact that Jennings' restricted status means it will likely take a much bigger offer than a team like the Kings would be willing to give to pry him away from Milwaukee. Reports indicate that the Bucks will match any offer for Jennings.

Nate Robinson is better than Isaiah Thomas is now but Robinson is also 6 years older. They're kind of similar players, but Robinson is more explosive and has actually learned how to create for others at a pretty solid rate in the past few years. Robinson isn't enough of an upgrade that I'd be willing to shell money for. Still, if Isaiah is traded or something, he's a possible cheap replacement.

Jarrett Jack had a bit of a breakout year in Golden State, becoming a serious sixth man of the year candidate. He shot the ball really well and did a good job of balancing creating for himself and creating for others. His size also offers problems on the defensive end and allows him to pair well with smaller guards, as the Warriors sometimes did with him and Curry on the floor at the same time. He's probably seeking a contract above the MLE ($5 mill+) and would offer the Kings a chance to roll with some big lineups. You could pair him up with McLemore or Evans, and there could even be a Jack/McLemore/Evans lineup on occasion. He will be 30 years old next season so I'm not super excited, but I wouldn't be upset if the Kings took a hard look at signing him. There is that Golden State connection.

Darren Collison has had a bit of a rough start to his career. Along with Marcus Thornton, he showed glimpses of greatness in his rookie year when Chris Paul went down with an injury. He hasn't really been able to match that rookie year yet though, but last year was a decent start. Collison turns the ball over more than I'd like but he's a good shooter and great in the Pick and Roll. Defensively he has problems due to his height (he's not much taller than Isaiah). He'd be an interesting option to look at.

Finally we come to the name that is most intriguing to me on this list, Jeff Teague. Teague hasn't been especially remarkable in his first four years, but he's been good enough on a good Atlanta team that I'd be willing to take a chance on him. He showed last year that he can handle an increased playmaking load with aplomb, upping his assist rate from 24.3 to 36.1. He's a good, not great, shooter, and he's also one of the most athletic players in the league. A Teague/McLemore backcourt seems like it would fit right into D'Alessandro's vision of a fast-pace, high scoring and unselfish team. There is the problem of his Restricted Status however. One option to possibly consider given that Atlanta isn't going to be able to get the two superstars they were seeking this summer (since Paul is likely staying a Clipper) is to do a double sign-and-trade of Tyreke Evans for Jeff Teague. It's probably not likely, but he'd be a guy that I'd personally target this summer.

In terms of other PGs that Sacramento might look at, there's Jose Calderon, who is the best passer of the bunch next to Chris Paul. He's also a dead-eye shooter. He's old, but he doesn't play a lick of defense anyway, so it's not like his age or a lack of athleticism is going to take away his two greatest strengths. I would like Calderon on the team as a backup or even maybe temporary starter, but at this point in his career I think he'd want to go help a playoff team, even if it meant taking a little less.

In a similar spot as Calderon is Mo Williams. Williams reportedly doesn't want to re-sign in Utah if it means backing up Trey Burke. I'm not sure why he'd want to back up Isaiah Thomas instead.

A few years ago, I would have been all over D.J. Augustin or Rodrigue Beaubois. Both have seemingly declined. The good thing is that they could probably be had for cheap if you think they can turn their careers around.

I liked what Toney Douglas did last year as well, and if Sacramento is looking for a cheap option to come in and play hard on both ends, I wouldn't mind re-signing him. However, I have a feeling Pete D'Alessandro is going to look to Ray McCallum to perform that role.

Next up, the SGs:

Name

Age

PER

TS%

ORB%

DRB%

AST%

STL%

BLK%

TOV%

USG%

Dahntay Jones

33

6.4

0.482

2.7

8.4

6.7

1.1

0.5

12.3

14.0

Jerry Stackhouse

39

8.5

0.500

1.1

6.1

10.4

0.7

0.6

11.6

17.5

Gerald Henderson (R)

26

16.4

0.531

2.9

10.8

15.6

1.7

1.3

9.8

23.5

Reggie Williams

27

13.2

0.517

2.3

13.3

18.2

1.7

0.2

11.9

19.2

Marco Belinelli

27

10.4

0.513

0.8

7.8

12.9

1.3

0.2

10.7

18.7

Daequan Cook

26

5.8

0.398

1.8

14.1

6.7

0.9

1.2

8.0

19.2

Wayne Ellington (R)

26

12.2

0.546

1.7

10.3

10.1

1.4

0.1

9.2

16.8

Daniel Gibson

27

7.7

0.475

0.6

7.3

13.4

1.7

0.4

10.5

14.3

O.J. Mayo

26

13.9

0.556

1.4

9.6

19.4

1.6

0.6

15.7

20.9

Anthony Morrow

28

12.0

0.530

3.3

5.6

5.6

1.8

0.2

4.9

19.6

Francisco Garcia

32

11.0

0.519

0.9

9.4

9.2

2.3

2.9

9.4

14.7

Devin Ebanks

24

6.3

0.411

5.7

16.7

7.8

0.8

0.4

12.2

20.4

Tony Allen

32

13.2

0.489

6.6

13.8

7.6

3.1

1.7

11.5

17.8

Marquis Daniels

33

9.2

0.432

4.6

10.5

9.0

2.4

0.7

10.7

16.9

Monta Ellis

28

16.2

0.493

1.5

8.8

27.1

2.8

0.9

13.7

26.3

J.J. Redick

29

14.7

0.571

0.8

7.3

20.0

0.8

0.3

12.5

20.8

Xavier Henry

22

7.6

0.481

3.9

13.4

3.2

1.4

0.7

13.3

17.3

Roger Mason

33

10.0

0.570

1.1

12.0

9.5

1.2

0.8

13.6

14.3

J.R. Smith

28

17.6

0.522

2.7

16.3

14.5

2.0

0.8

8.8

26.5

Kevin Martin

30

16.0

0.608

1.8

7.4

7.9

1.7

0.3

10.2

21.0

DeQuan Jones (R)

23

8.4

0.485

2.4

12.4

3.0

1.2

2.1

11.1

15.3

Damien Wilkins

34

12.5

0.533

3.2

7.8

12.9

1.8

1.3

11.9

17.4

Nick Young

28

13.3

0.525

1.9

8.7

9.7

1.3

0.8

7.7

21.2

Elliot Williams

23

18.8

0.537

5.4

9.6

8.0

2.1

1.6

5.8

26.7

Tyreke Evans (R)

24

18.1

0.558

3.1

13.5

19.0

2.3

1.0

12.6

22.3

Gary Neal (R)

29

11.5

0.512

1.1

9.6

13.5

1.0

0.1

9.9

21.7

Manu Ginobili

36

19.0

0.560

2.6

13.4

30.6

2.9

0.7

17.3

25.2

Mickael Pietrus

31

6.0

0.472

1.5

9.7

3.5

1.7

1.2

13.1

14.7

Alan Anderson

31

12.6

0.509

2.7

9.2

11.7

1.7

0.4

10.5

23.6

Randy Foye

30

11.7

0.550

0.9

5.8

11.7

1.5

0.9

10.3

18.1

Leandro Barbosa

31

13.5

0.509

1.9

8.5

19.0

1.7

0.9

9.1

21.4

This has to be the least interesting position in Free Agency for Kings fans. Currently, the Kings have Tyreke Evans (if they retain him), Ben McLemore, Marcus Thornton at the shooting guard, along with two players in John Salmons and Jimmer Fredette who also see time at the spot. For the Kings to go after a FA shooting guard would likely mean a big overhaul.

One thing I'm certain of is that the Kings probably aren't trading Ben McLemore anytime soon. Everyone else is fair game. So which of these above guards make sense with McLemore on the roster? Which players would do well coming off the bench, or even starting while McLemore develops?

O.J. Mayo is an interesting case. He got off to an incredible start in Dallas last year but his production petered out as the season progressed. Mayo has a good assist rate for a SG but not for a PG. I don't think you could play McLemore and Mayo together. Mayo would make a lot of sense as a sixth man bench scorer, but I'm pretty sure that's not the role he wants given how he ended things in Memphis.

Defensively, there is no perimeter defender in this bunch better than Tony Allen. Allen isn't a good shooter from outside, but he can take the ball to the basket and scores at an efficient rate inside the arc (career 47.5% from the field). He's only listed at 6'4, but he can easily guard the other team's best wing, be it a SG or a SF. Allen has made the All-Defensive team in each of his last three seasons, gaining a 1st team selection in the last two. He would definitely help this team defensively.

Since the Kings drafted McLemore, I've seen a few comments to the effect of "Thank God, this means we won't sign Ellis". I'm guilty of making such a comment myself while watching the draft with section214. However, this isn't necessarily the case, especially if the team looks at Ellis as a PG. Offensively, a backcourt of Ellis and McLemore would be one of the most offensively potent and explosive (assuming McLemore lives up to his billing) in the league. However, I would not go after Monta Ellis for a bevy of reasons, and I'm hopeful D'Alessandro and his front office see that as well: Ellis is inefficient, a high-volume shooter, and doesn't put much effort on the other end of the court.

J.J. Redick would be a good fit as a sixth man bench scorer, and a good person for McLemore to learn from. Redick has transformed his game from a spot-up shooter to becoming a respectable defender and playmaker. I think a lot of teams would be very happy to have Redick come off their bench or even start.

I have zero interest in signing J.R. Smith, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year. He shoots way too much and takes a lot of shots out of the offense. He'll put up a lot of points, but doesn't offer much else. On a young team with few veterans, he's not a presence I want around.

While I will always hold a special place in my heart for Kevin Martin, he's not what this team needs right now, and he's not going back to a young team with scant playoff hopes after tasting the possibility of real success this season.

Gary Neal is an interesting option because he is a bit of a combo guard, although his primary focus is always scoring. He doesn't seem like the guy that would leave a contender to play for a rebuilding team though, unless the money was much more, which it wouldn't be; Gary Neal isn't that good.

Nick Young is a worse J.R. Smith. People talk about Tyreke Evans like he's a black hole sometimes. Nick Young has been in the league for six seasons and has never had more than 95 assists in a season. He has 421 career assists. Tyreke had 414 assists in his rookie year.

Speaking of Tyreke, just based off this list, he looks to be the most attractive SG on the FA market this year. He's younger than almost anyone, he's got the highest PER other than Manu Ginobili (Elliot Williams and his small sample size don't count), and he's the most versatile. Manu Ginobili is the only player on this list that I would say is clearly better than Tyreke Evans is now and Ginobili is a first-ballot Hall of Famer with exponentially more experience. This is one of the reasons I don't see Sacramento letting Tyreke walk for nothing. At worst, you can get valuable assets back in a sign-and-trade. Also, if you keep him, I think he can play well next to Ben McLemore at either the PG or SF. Keeping Evans also gives Sacramento the option of bringing McLemore along at a much steadier pace off the bench, instead of immediately throwing him into the fire because there is no other option.

Coming Later Today: The Small Forwards

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