This is the second 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.
Of all positions, Shooting Guard is probably the area of least need for Sacramento. In fact, the Kings probably have too many Shooting Guards already. Last season they tried to fix their Small Forward spot by playing Tyreke Evans there, despite Evans being more naturally suited for a backcourt position.
Elsewhere on the roster the Kings have incumbent starter and leading scorer Marcus "The Bayou Bomber" Thornton. Since coming to the Kings in February of 2010, Thornton has averaged 19.6 Points Per Game and was locked into a four year deal last off-season.
Francisco Garcia, John Salmons and even Jimmer Fredette could also be considered Shooting Guards, although all sometimes play different positions (Salmons and Garcia at SF and Fredette at PG). Clearly, the Kings have some depth at the position, even though it might not be the best depth.
Still, one never knows what trades could be made that could take away some of that depth, or if the Kings simply feel that they can't have too many Shooting Guards.
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
|Eric Gordon (R)||23||19.2||0.549||0.8||8.7||19.3||2.3||1.1||12.5||29.4|
|Danny Green (R)||25||15.5||0.579||4.2||12.9||8.3||2.0||2.2||11.4||17.6|
|Brandon Rush (R)||27||15.2||0.628||2.2||14.4||7.9||1.1||2.6||11.9||15.4|
|J.R. Smith (P)||27||15.2||0.508||3.4||12.9||15.2||2.9||0.5||9.7||22.0|
|O.J. Mayo (R)||25||14.7||0.513||1.9||12.1||16.1||2.1||1.1||13.3||23.9|
|Rudy Fernandez (R)||27||13.3||0.549||1.5||8.9||15.9||2.2||0.3||14.1||17.8|
|Courtney Lee (R)||27||12.6||0.534||1.7||8.9||7.9||2.0||0.9||9.4||17.6|
|Landry Fields (R)||24||12.0||0.506||3.6||13.5||14.5||2.1||0.7||15.1||16.0|
|Jodie Meeks (R)||25||11.5||0.551||1.1||9.8||5.0||1.3||0.1||5.4||15.2|
|Dahntay Jones (P)||31||10.3||0.533||2.5||10.0||9.6||1.2||0.8||12.4||16.0|
|Sonny Weems (R)*||26||10.2||0.492||3.2||9.8||11.6||1.2||0.1||13.4||20.3|
|DeAndre Liggins (R)||24||8.9||0.495||5.9||9.2||7.1||2.8||0.0||23.1||17.7|
|Matt Carroll (ETO)||32||5.6||0.409||1.5||10.0||10.6||1.4||0.9||12.1||15.3|
|Cory Higgins (R)||23||4.1||0.402||1.8||7.9||15.0||0.6||1.1||17.3||24.6|
*Sonny Weems played in Lithuania for the lockout shortened season so his stats are from the 2010-11 season.
My first impression is this isn't the greatest Free Agent market for Shooting Guards. If the Kings were to add another SG, I would want it to be a player that is either efficient or a good defender, preferably both. Eric Gordon would fit the bill there, but it is highly unlikely the Hornets are going to let their only real acquisition from the Chris Paul trade go. Gordon's restricted status also makes it pretty much a foregone conclusion that he stays in New Orleans. Even if Gordon was an unrestricted free agent, I'd be hesistant on offering him a huge contract, because he has been very injury prone already throughout his short NBA career.
Then there are a couple of veterans that would be upgrades for the Kings in Jason Terry and Ray Allen, but I have a hard time seeing why either would choose to come to Sacramento. Terry probably has a few good years left in him and will spend it trying to win another championship. The same goes for Allen, and with Allen, he's really on the decline as this last season showed. His ankles have been worn out, and he's basically been relegated to a spot-up shooter. Boston even benched him this year in favor of second year player Avery Bradley.
Last season the Kings almost signed Jamal Crawford, and could try again this year. Just like last year, I'm against this move. Crawford is a ball-dominant, inefficient shooter who takes a lot of shots. Last season he shot just 38.4% from the field, which would have put him at 12th on the Kings. Despite that, he was second on the Blazers in FGA and Usage Rate. No Thank You.
J.R. Smith is kind of similar to Crawford except for the fact that he's younger and even less of a passer. He may or may not choose to exercise his Player Option to become a Free Agent this summer. If he does, I hope the Kings stay far away. Smith could prove to be a toxic presence on a young team like the Kings, both on and off the court.
One veteran's name does intrigue me and that's Leandro Barbosa. Barbosa is kind of like the poor man's Ginobili, able to attack the basket or hit outside shots. He's also a capable distributor although not special or anything. I'd much rather have him than Crawford, and he could probably be had for cheaper too.
Tracy McGrady, weirdly enough, would be another solid option. McGrady seems to have made the transition from former superstar to roleplayer better than most (looking at you Allen Iverson and Gilbert Arenas). Over the last two years in Detroit and Atlanta, McGrady has taken on a smaller role and done relatively well. He's a phenomenal rebounder for his size, and also capable of making plays. I wouldn't count McGrady as a likely option though, as he'll probably look for a contender. These last two years were essentially his audition tape as a bench contributor.
Gerald Green came back to the NBA last year after a couple year absence to have a pretty darn good season for the Nets. Green was very efficient from the field, and contributed in other areas as well. For a cheap one or two year deal, Green would be a nice addition, particularly if this comeback season wasn't a fluke.
If the Kings want another shooter, they couldn't do much better than Sylvester Stallone lookalike Marco Belinelli. Belinelli has clocked in a 3P% of 39.3% for his career to date and would be a much better option as a spot-up shooter than say, Francisco Garcia. However, Belinelli is pretty one-dimensional.
A more expensive, but better option, is Restricted Free Agent Brandon Rush. Maybe I'm biased from the fact that the Kings made Brandon Rush look like an All-NBA 1st Team player this season, but they could really use someone with his skills. Rush shot a ridiculous 45.2% from three point range last year, his third straight year of shooting over 41% from three. With Klay Thompson, Dorell Wright, and Richard Jefferson on the books already, as well as Stephen Curry returning, the Warriors might not be overly concerned about retaining Rush.
There are a few other Restricted Free Agents of note that slot below Rush in my preferences. In no particular order, they are Jodie Meeks, O.J. Mayo, Danny Green, Landry Fields and Courtney Lee.
Meeks is a bit like Belinelli above, a one-dimensional shooter. However, he's not as consistent as Belinelli.
Green is a trickier situation because while his numbers and efficiency look good, I wonder how much of that has to do with the Spurs system and how great they are at setting up shooters in the corner for open looks. Getting easy looks is not one of the Kings' strong suits.
Fields came onto the scene in his rookie year as a complete surprise. Not many people had heard of the Stanford product, but he ended up as one of the better rookies, finishing on the All-Rookie 1st Team. His sophomore campaign however was a big disappointment. Fields' production slipped across the board, most notably in his efficiency. So the question when evaluating Fields as a Free Agent prospect is which year do you think is the better indicator of Fields' value? And which one do the Knicks feel is?
O.J. Mayo has had a weird career. During his rookie year, he gave Derrick Rose a run for his money for Rookie of the Year, averaging 18+ points a game and looking like the next big thing. His sophomore year was almost exactly identical to his rookie year stat wise. Trouble began in his third year though, when his production saw drops across the board. Mayo became the subject of many trade rumors, and was nearly traded several times. Now the Grizzlies face a tough decision on whether or not to re-sign him. They can match any offers, or they can give him a sizeable one-year Qualifying Offer, letting him become an Unrestricted Free Agent next year. For my money, I'm alright with Thornton over Mayo.
Courtney Lee, on the other hand, offers a different look for a team like the Kings. Lee is not only a knockdown shooter (career 38.6% from three), but is also gifted as a defender. That's something the Kings could really use. However, it might be tough to pry him from Houston with Kevin Martin's future there in doubt. Still, the Kings should at least look into Lee this summer.
The only other player Kings fans might be interested in that I'll mention is Nick Young. Despite his relative youth and unrestricted Free Agent status, I want little to do with Nick Young. Young is a similar player to J.R. Smith, except Young almost never passes. When Young gets the ball, it's almost guaranteed that he's shooting. We have Marcus Thornton to do that, and he's better at it.
A final note on Shooting Guards: DeShawn Stevenson played 960 minutes over 51 games last season and managed a PER of just 4.3. That's impressive. I looked it up to see if it was some sort of record, and surprisingly, it wasn't, as three players have managed a worse PER in more minutes with Jason Collins bottoming the charts at 3.0 over a whopping 1,844 minutes in the 2006-07 season.
DeShawn Stevenson is probably who the Kings will end up signing.
(Coming Tomorrow: The Small Forwards)