NBA Free Agency: Ranking the Top 12 Remaining NBA Free Agents
NBA Free Agency: Ranking the Top 12 Remaining NBA Free Agents
Only 84 more days until the 2022-23 NBA season starts. There are still NBA-free agents who are waiting to sign with a team. Ryan Kirksey breaks down the top 12 remaining NBA free agents.
12. Lou Williams, Guard
The instant scorer off the bench and winner of multiple Sixth Man of the Year awards maybe 36 next season, but he can still put the ball in the basket. Williams averaged 15.9 points per 36 minutes last season and might be very welcome on a playoff team looking for some veteran guard leadership. Even in his 17th NBA season he still shot 36% from three-point land last year.
11. Jeremy Lamb, Guard
Injuries have completely derailed what looked like would be a strong career for the silky smooth scorer out of the University of Connecticut. He has not played more than 56 games since the 2018-2019 season and was limited to just 56 last year despite a mid-season trade to the Sacramento Kings. As the Kings go full-blown youth movement, they likely will not re-sign Lamb, but some team will take a chance on his offensive upside. He also averaged more than 15 points per 36 minutes last season including his highest effective field goal percentage in three years.
10. LaMarcus Aldridge, Center/Forward
Even at age 36 last season, Aldrige was a key frontcourt piece for the Brooklyn Nets, averaging 12.9 points per game and 5.5 rebounds per game. His 55% shooting was his best of his career and was a welcome sight after the heart scare that caused him to briefly retire a couple of years ago. Aldridge is one of a number of players likely waiting out what happens with players like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving before deciding which contender to join for the 2022-2023 season. Aldridge could be a nice bench frontcourt piece for a number of contending teams.
9. Dwight Howard, Center
Speaking of bench frontcourt pieces, Howard has accepted that is his role as he prepares to enter his 19th NBA season at age 36. After completing his third stint with the Los Angeles Lakers last year, Howard is likely ready to move on from that circus to another team that could use 65-75 games of backup center minutes. Howard's 16.2 minutes per night were the lowest of his career last year, but he still put up six points, six rebounds, and more than a steal + block per night.
8. Juancho Hernangomez, Forward
The Toronto Raptors must be the only team that watched Hustle on Netlfix as they are now linked to signing the multi-faceted Spanish forward. Hernangomez will need to prove to whichever team signs him that he is healthy and able to contribute for a full season. He played just 40 games last season and 52 the season before that. But he is a coveted big man who can knock down shots (43.8% from three last season), plus he brings some tough energy off the bench.
7. Eric Paschall, Forward
Another forward likely leaving the Utah Jazz this offseason will be Eric Paschall. Paschall is an advanced metrics darling who averaged 16.3 points and 5.2 rebounds per 36 minutes last season. He also shoots more than 37% from three and has a reputation as a three-and-D guy who is an ideal bench piece for both a backup three and four spot. Paschall should have no problems latching on to a team before training camp.
6. Blake Griffin, Forward
The former Rookie of the Year and six-time All-Star knows his role now is a bench scorer and rebounder, and he will likely pursue the LaMarcus Aldridge route. Let the high-priced dominoes fall into place and then take his time sorting out offers before landing on an 18-minute per night role with a contender where he can contribute some scoring and rebounding. For as long as he has been in the league, Griffin is still just 33 years old and could still have some gas in the tank after less than 750 career regular season games.
5. Carmelo Anthony, Forward
Among the top free agents remaining, there is a theme that runs through many of them. Former star players who are past their prime, but still have a lot to offer the right team who is in need of ancillary pieces for a championship. Carmelo may be the best of that group as he can still score at will, especially from beyond the arc, he has a knack for rebounding and still has enough left to be a capable defender in the post. Anthony was one of the few bright spots on the abysmal Lakers team last year, scoring 13.3 points per game in 26 minutes per night and suiting up for 70 of his team's games. Wherever he lands, the team will have one of the NBA's smartest players who can still launch it with the best of them.
4. Hassan Whiteside, Center
In terms of per-minute production, there may be no better player than Hassan Whiteside left on free agency. Per 36 minutes of play last season, Whiteside averaged 16.5 points, 15.3 rebounds, and 3.2 blocks. Playing behind Rudy Gobert he was rarely needed - only playing 17.9 minutes per night - but should he find himself on a team with a less stable center situation, Whiteside could become one of the steals of late free agency.
3. Dennis Schroder, Guard
Schroder is another player who has seemingly been around forever, but will actually only be 29 when the 2022-2023 season tips off in 3.5 months. He has averaged at least 10 points and four assists per game for nine straight years and is a career 34% shooter from three. He became somewhat expendable after Boston traded for Derrick White last season, but the production was still there. As a backup for Boston, he averaged 14.4 points and 4.2 assists per game in 29 minutes on the floor. Schroder still has plenty left to offer in the NBA and should latch on as one of the top three guard options on a team in need.
2. Montrezl Harrell, Center
Harrell is one of just a handful of players who can claim to have averaged at least 13 points and six rebounds per night for four straight seasons. Even settling into a bench role for the Washington Wizards and the Charlotte Hornets, he had a toughness in the interior that allowed him to put up massive production in less than 25 minutes per night. So why would a team not jump on that kind of guaranteed output from a player still under 30 years old? The answer is legal trouble. Harrell was arrested with a felony-level amount of marijuana in his car last month and now faces an uphill legal battle. If he can put that behind him, he is likely to start drawing interest from several teams, albeit at a severely discounted rate. He might just have to take a one-year prove-it deal for whoever takes a chance on him.
1. Collin Sexton, Guard
The most prized free agent still on the market is actually restricted free agent Collin Sexton. Coming off a torn meniscus, teams have been hesitant to offer Sexton a $20-million per year deal he is looking for, but someone is going to come to an agreement with the young, dynamic scorer. Cleveland can agree to match any contract submitted to Sexton, but the prevailing thought is that they will not with Darius Garland, Kevin Love, Lauri Markannen, Jarrett Allen, and Evan Mobley already in tow. Assuming Sexton is fully healthy, some team is going to get one of the most electric young scorers in the NBA. Before his injury, Sexton averaged 24.3 points per game in 2020-2021, including shooting 47.5% from the floor. Once the price comes down a little, Sexton is going to likely sign a long-term deal.
Proudest husband and dad you will ever find. When I'm not with my wife and two kids I split my time working in higher ed, grinding DFS and season-long, collecting silver age comics, studying behavioral economics, and drinking coffee. I once played Pat Connaughton in an actual NBA DFS lineup for money. Astros, Rockets, and Texans for life.