This year’s free agent class is filet and lobster while last year’s was chicken and shrimp. The premiere free agents last summer were Hedo Turkoglu and Ron Artest. They wouldn’t rank among the top 10 this year!
The crop this summer is deep and loaded with some of the league’s most talented players, most of which who are in the prime of their careers. Their strengths are numerous, but that’s not to say they are without weaknesses, even the King himself.
NBA Free Agency 2010 Scouting Report
1. Lebron James
Strengths: It’s safe to say there will never be a more physically gifted NBA player. The only way that changes is if he decides to have a superhuman baby with someone like Serena Williams. Can you imagine that kid? A player of his size who moves as well as he does is astounding. He is the NBA’s most impressive specimen.
He could match up with any point guard in the league in the speed department. What strikes me most about Lebron isn’t his dominate scoring ability or anything athleticism related really. It’s his passing awareness. He sees the game play out before it actually happens and delivers the ball accordingly. There are only a handful of players blessed with this skill. Think Chris Paul and Steve Nash, to name a few. But those are pure point guards not 6’8″ genetically constructed mutants like Bron.
It wouldn’t surprise me in the least bit if he starred in the next X-Men flick.
Jordan was never even the passer that Lebron is today. Kobe? No chance. Lebron’s strengths can essentially be summed up in one sentence: He can legitimately dominate a game from any position on the court. The only other player who you could ever have said that about is Magic.
Weaknesses: Suspect perimeter shooting. He isn’t bad. But he is too streaky to be considered a good deep shooter (33% from three last year). If he ever gets up in the high 30th percentile range from the perimeter it’s time for Commissioner David Stern to think about putting him down.
Best Fit: Cleveland, Miami, Chicago.
2. Dwyane Wade
Strengths: Has the ability to get into the lane at will. Uses his strength and agility to get by anyone, and once he gets to the rim he displays unparalleled body control. Excellent shooter within twenty feet. One of the best crunch-time scorers in NBA history and has the ability to take over a game at any moment. His defense is elite when he wants it to be. A true leader and winner.
Weaknesses: Just like James, it’s his deep perimeter shooting (29% career from three). Shot selection is questionable at times as he often settled for shots from the perimeter last year. To take his game to the next level he needs to develop a consistency from the three point line.
One thing that really bothers me is his abandonment of the bank shot from fifteen feet. That shot butchered the Mavs in the ’06 Finals.
Best Fit: Miami. It’s his only fit. The day he leaves is the day I streak in the nude down US-1. I’m either that confident in his return or a just a demented human being.
3. Chris Bosh
Strengths: A finesse big man. Ideally he will play along side a big physical center to compliment his game. Great mid-range shooter. A force attacking the basket with either hand. Excellent rebounder. A very smart defender. He also is an 80% free-throw shooter.
Weaknesses: He’s thin (6’10 230), so he has trouble defending the post against the bigger, physical post players. He’s also not an intimidating shot blocker despite his length and athleticism.
Best Fit: Miami, Chicago.
4. Dirk Nowitzki
Strengths: One of the best shooting big men in NBA history. Not only can he kill you from the perimeter off the catch, but he can put the ball on the floor with either hand to create his shot as well. A strong pick and roll player.
Weaknesses: Settles for jumpers sometimes when he should be taking the ball inside. He isn’t a physical presence on the defensive end. One of the NBA’s biggest whiners. They all are, but he takes it to a new level. Never in the history of his career has he actually committed a foul.
Best Fit: Dallas, Chicago.
5. Joe Johnson
Strengths: Lights-out shooter on the catch or off the dribble. Great size and quickness, which allows him to play three positions effectively. He showed he could be the man in Atlanta, but his best fit would be as a number two or three option.
Weaknesses: Doesn’t have elite athleticism and can be beat off the dribble by the quicker wing players. He has shown you’re not going to win a title with him as your best player.
Best Fit: Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, New York.
6. Carlos Boozer
Strengths: Just might be the best post player in basketball. Excellent scorer with his back to the basket. He uses his wide frame and strength to get easy buckets and rebounds inside. Great mid-range game and excellent off the pick and roll. Uses every inch of his body to get position.
Weaknesses: He is somewhat undersized at 6’8″ and it limits him defensively. Has had Injury issues in the past. A bit older than some of the other top big men (29).
Best Fit: Chicago, Miami, New Jersey.
7. Amare Stoudemire
Strengths: One of the game’s premiere offensive power forwards. Elite athlete. Amazing finisher. He also has an accurate mid range jumper that keeps the defense honest.
Weaknesses: Would he be as good without Steve Nash? Has lapses defensively. Has injury issues and likely will need work done on his knee in the near future.
Best Fit: Phoenix, Chicago, Miami, New York.
8. Paul Pierce
Strengths: A great shooter from anywhere on the court. Excellent in one on one situations. Extremely efficient player.
Weaknesses: Has lost a couple steps over the past few years. How many quality years does he have left? Two, three?
Best Fit: Boston.
9. David Lee
Strengths: Great athlete with a very quick first step. He gets a majority of his points off the pick and roll. A very mobile big man
Weaknesses: Not a good shot blocker. Often times makes you wonder if he is even on the court defensively. How effective would he be in a slower paced offense?
Best Fit: New York, New Jersey, Minnesota. Run the other way Pat!
10. Ray Allen
Strengths: One of the best shooters in NBA history. His quick release allows him to get his shot off at any moment. One of the best free throw shooters ever. He takes pride in taking care of his body and is always one of the best conditioned guys on the court.
Weaknesses: Much streakier than he used to be. How many years does he have left in the tank at 34?
Best Fit: Miami, Boston, Chicago.