Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Ranking the Best Power Forwards, Post-Free Agency

The power forward position is one of the deepest positions in the NBA. Although there are no true MVP candidates ,this position is still very deep with a collection of youth and veteran players alike. Power forwards  in the NBA are so talented that one-way players will not make the cut in this list. To make this list you need to at least play some defense. This also involves those defensive minded players who don't bring much offensively. Those players don't make the cut either. Keep in mind that players like Tim Duncan and Pau Gasol are not ranked onn this list. Tim Duncan is playing more like a center these days while Gasol will move back to the center position with D12 gone. Now let's begin!

Honorable Mention

Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
Once Davis has a full, injury free season under his belt, expect him to be higher up on this list.
Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks
David Lee, Golden State Warriors
As good as Lee is offensively, he almost bring nothing to the defensive end. Once he realizes this, he'll have a spot on the list. 
Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets

10. Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City Thunder
Early on in his career, I felt like Ibaka was a tad bit overrated. He got by mostly with his athleticism and ability to toss shots into the fifth row. Ibaka is a great shot blocker but not a great rim protector. Serge is awful in close out situations and gives up too much ground on the block seeking a blocked shot. Let's put this in perspective, Ibaka allowed 0.88 points per possession last season. That's good enough for...282nd place. Not very good. Ibaka thrives in pick and rolls and has developed a decent mid range jump shot. He brings high value to both ends but still has a long way to go to move up this list.

9. Josh Smith, Detroit Pistons
If Josh Smith ever figured out how to play to his strengths, he would be one of the best in the game. Instead he continues to jack up jump shots all day and continues to miss. But its not all negative with Smith. For years now, Smith has been a stat sheet stuffer. Not many power forwards average 8 rebounds and 5 assists a game. Smith's versatility on both ends of the floor ranks him at 9 on this list. He creates match-up problems offensively but does not give up ground defensively with his quick feet and shoot blocking instincts.

8. Chris Bosh, Miami Heat
In my opinion, Bosh is a very skilled offensive and defensive player than people give him credit for. Much of this criticism points to the fact that Bosh is not a number 1 option anymore. Despite his poor rebounding ability, Bosh is still an efficient offensive player whose numbers are diminished with the presence of Wade and James. What makes Bosh so valuable are his high shooting percentages. Shooting 54 percent from the field last year, Bosh gives opposing defenders fits in close out situations with his ability to put the ball on the floor.

7. Kevin Garnett, Brooklyn Nets
At 37 years old, Garnett continues to prove Father Time wrong. He has continually improved his jump shot each year and it has made him extremely effective. At his age, he can not afford to bang around the rim anymore so Garnett has adapted his game to remain productive and efficient. Only Aldridge and Bosh have made more jumpers than Garnett last season. What Garnett continues to do well is defending. He only allows 0.76 points per possession which is in the top half of the league. This is why Garnett is so highly ranked.

6. Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies
Many people associate Randolph with his most recent poor series against the Spurs in last years playoffs. But that series does not indicate how solid Randolph is. He continues to rank in the top 5 for rebounding each year. His knack for positioning and willingness to pursue the ball are unparalleled. Randolph seeks contact when ever possible and continues to live around the basket which limits his upside. However, he has a very solid post game with a quick first step. Don't fall asleep on Zach Randolph or he'll make you pay.

5. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
How much longer does this elite player have? If the past season was any indication, Nowitzki still has some gas left in the tank. Although he isn't the player of old, Dirk still is a match up nightmare. His fade away jumper is still the most unstoppable shot in basketball. Expect Dirk to continue to play at an All Star level because his game only gets better with age. His size and long arms allow him to get any shot off while providing valuable rebounding on the defensive end. Dirk remains one of the most skilled bigs in the league without a doubt.

4. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
Many people, including myself, overrate Griffin because of his dunking ability but there is much more to his game than meets the eye. Since his rookie year, Griffin has improved every facet of his game. Not only has Griffin improved his post moves but he has become a much better post isolation defender. His strength continues to serve him well and he is able to bully players in the post. Griffin remains one of the best pick and roll defenders in the game. His high expectations tend to have many label him as overrated but don't let this diminish how high quality of a player he is.

3. David West, Indiana Pacers
It is no secret that the Pacers rise as a team began with the edition of David West. I can display a bunch of charts showing how much better the Pacers are with West on the floor but that is pointless. West has one of the biggest two way impacts in the NBA. His physicality on both ends brings a much needed toughness to the Pacers squad. West continues to make a living on his mid range jump shot and is willing to mix it up on the glass. To put in simple terms, West is a guy that you want on your roster because he will bring it every game. His value can not be measured on a chart.

2. LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers
The only reason Aldridge is at number 2 is because of his poor shot selection at times. Aldridge took the most jumpers from 16 to 23 feet in the NBA last year. However, he only made 41 percent of those shots. If Aldridge wants to became an elite player, he needs to diversify his game and showcase his whole bag of tricks. Aldridge is also a very impressive two way player who rebounds and defends at a high level. Expect a huge year from this guy with the edition of Robin Lopez to take some of the defensive pressure off his shoulders. Many forget that Aldridge has played almost his whole career without another standout front court partner. Now is his time to show how good he really is.

1. Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
As with many players in the league, injury holds this guy back. When he is healthy, Love is one of the most unique players to watch. He can step out and drill 3's while also leading the league in rebounding. What holds Kevin Love back is he has yet to be to the playoffs. But you can't blame him as several players on this list didn't go either. Plus he is in Minnesota, the lost team of the Association (or Charlotte). The next thing Love must improve is his defensive ability. Love is no bum defensively but he must begin to separate himself on that end to truly become a great.

Monday, August 12, 2013

5 NBA Players Entering Crucial Seasons

Every NBA season holds huge implications for many players, that goes without saying. But for a few players this season could make-or-break them. In this post, I will profile 5 players who have a very important season coming up. Whether they be coming off of injury, taking on a new role, or out to prove they belong, the 2013-2014 season will determine their NBA futures. So let's see who is under the microscope this season!

Nick Young, Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers will be Nick Young's fourth team in three years. Unless Young finds the ability to be more consistent, his services won't be in high demand anymore. Young is known as a volume scorer which doesn't always have it's positives. He tends to be a ball-stopper and shoot deep 2's, which many coaches hate. Nearly 30 percent of Young's shots came from between 16 feet and the 3 point line, however, he only hits about one third of those. If Young wants to prove his value, he'll have a good shot with the Lakers and their uptempo system. Maybe being in his hometown will rejuvenate Young because if he can't become more efficient then his future might be in doubt.


Kendall Marshall, Phoenix Suns
Where ever Marshall plays next season, he needs show his worth because the Suns don't see it anymore. Marshall must improve on his shooting to become a rotation player. His athleticism and quickness are to be desired, so his shooting must be his calling card. Marshall is an elite passer who sees the floor very well but he shot just 32 percent last year. All his court vision is great but if defenders are sagging 5 feet off of you its hard to punish them for this. Its not easy to make improvements to your jump shot but if Marshall doesn't even show a hint of progress in that area then the Suns might have come to the end of the road with him. Marshall has a crucial season ahead of him.


Wesley Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers
When Wesley Johnson was drafted, many were very excited about his potential. Length and athleticism to be an elite defender and shooting mechanics to be a great scorer. Johnson shot 42 percent from deep in college but is only 34 percent in the NBA, safe to say he hasn't made the transition smoothly. But the Lakers uptempo style could benefit him this year (ex. Earl Clark). Johnson should expect to get some open looks this season, he needs to take advantage of those looks. He has been quoted saying this is the most important season of his life, so he is aware of the situation. What remains to be seen is if he is ready to make the leap and prove his worth.


JaVale McGee, Denver Nuggets
By getting ride of Kosta Koufas, the Denver Nuggets are investing a lot in JaVale McGee. The Nuggets are handing McGee the big minutes this year and we'll see if he is ready for this increased work load. McGee has great value on the defensive end with his shot-blocking ability but that's about where the positives stop. He's a below average pick and roll defender and can be attacked by elite scorers. He needs to make improvements in this area. Offensively, McGee is very efficient in the pick and roll but can't be relied on at the block yet. If he can become a more reliable player on both ends, his game will go to the next level.

DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings
With all his off-court issues, lets focus on the court for now. Cousins is a very intriguing big man with his skill set. At 22 years old, Cousins has a unique passing game and is 20-10 guy from the start. But Cousins' flaws begin on the defensive end. The Kings were ranked 29th in the league defensively last year and Cousins is a major reason for this. Cousins is a lazy defender and absolutely horrible in the pick and roll. Teams would continually attack him offensively and the Kings paid for it. Offensively, Cousins also has some question marks. Last season he took 530 jumpers, much higher than any other shots combined, only making 29 percent of those. If Cousins can focus on these 2 flaws, he would be a much better player and provide the Kings with a building block for the future.

Monday, August 5, 2013

2013 NBA Rookies with Steepest Learning Curve

For every NBA rookie, there is a learning curve. How steep that learning curve is varies from player to player. Some rookies come ready to go while others must find their roles on the court. Normally, international prospects tend to have the most to learn because of different styles of play between the NBA and Europe. It is also common for ball-dominating players to struggle with this transition and their new roles. Let's take a look at some rookies who will struggle mightily this year.

Steven Adams, Oklahoma City Thunder
Out of all the rookies, Steven Adams could have the toughest time. At this point in his career, Adams is more of an athlete than a player right now. What makes Adams' curve slightly more manageable is his self-awareness of his abilities. Adams will be the first to tell you that he has a lot to improve on. With no real low post game, Adams is a glorified big body right now. He brings the necessary tools to the table - standing 7'0" tall with a 7'4" wingspan and weighing 250 pounds. Adams has a soft touch and can finish at the rim but the Thunder have a project on their hands. I love his size and strength but Adams needs some guidance to elevate his game.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
Giannis Antetokounmpo just left Greece for the first time in his life. I'm more concerned about him being life ready than NBA ready. I see Giannis as a 3 year project. At such a young age, Giannis has a lot to learn. By year 3, Giannis could be seeing minutes on the court but he must learn as much as he can and work as hard as he can. Giannis needs to figure out his position and role in his team and this is easier said than done. Standing at 6'9", Giannis has the size and athleticism to be a very good player. He must first learn his surroundings and adapt to his new lifestyle. Once he does that things will fall into place for him, but this could take up to 3 years.

Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz
What Rudy Gobert brings to the table are his physical tools. At 7'2", Gobert has a 7'8.5" wingspan and a 9'7" standing reach. These are numbers that no one has ever seen before. But that is what Gobert is at this point, a package of measurements and numbers. Gobert doesn't have the understanding or the game to contribute as a rookie. I understand the excitement of Gobert but his learning curve is very steep. His value is obviously on the defensive end. He can literally wipe the glass with windex and then block a shot for his team. Considering Utah's frontcourt depth, Gobert might get some minutes his first year but don't expect him to contribute a whole lot. I really love Gobert's potential right now but that is about all he is at this point. Maybe a couple shakes and steaks will get him where he needs to be.

Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia 76ers
As the first American on this list, Carter-Williams is a great example of a team using a draft pick based on potential. Although his playmaking abilities are unquestioned, his decision making remains to be seen. It doesn't help that Carter-Williams plays a position with a learning curve to start. Many forget that he has only been running the point position full time for one year. What doesn't help Carter-Williams is his awful jump shot, shooting only 29 percent from 3 last year. Once teams figured this out, driving lanes closed for him which made him force the issue resulting 3.4 turnovers a game. A staggeringly high number for such a quality player. It also doesn't help that the 76ers don't have much support for him so expect Carter-Williams to struggle like no other his first year. Once his jump shot improves, this guy could be a scary player but right now struggle will be his middle name.

Shabazz Muhammad, Minnesota Timberwolves
At every level Muhammad has played, he has been the featured option on the court. Now he steps into the NBA where he will no longer be the strongest, most physical guard on the floor. Many knock his skill set but I really think he has decent skills and a scorers instinct. But outside of scoring, Muhammad doesn't bring much to the table. He must now find his place on the court where he can capitalize on his scoring opportunities without interrupting offensive flow. That is easier said than done for a guy who has had the green light his whole career. Expect Muhammad to struggle to find his place.

To be honest, this list could go on as this years draft is filled with guys who aren't ready for the leap(Andre Roberson?). Hopefully these guys prove me wrong but I can't see it right now. Keep on eye on these guys because their development will be very interesting. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

The NBA Summer League All-Star Team

The NBA Summer League is not always about wins and losses. But it's main purpose is to allow franchises the opportunity to see their draft picks in action and maybe watch some hidden gems shine. Now that the NBA Summer League is close to finishing, I want to take a look at the "All-Star's" of the Summer League. Some may be surprising but others aren't. Let's start with the Eastern Conference!

Eastern Conference Starters:
Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic
Averaging 18 points with 5 assists and 4 rebounds, Oladipo turned many heads. What makes his numbers even more impressive is that the Magic moved him over to the point guard position, a place he is not very familiar with. Based on how he handled himself, it is safe to say that the Oladip-as-point-guard experiment is far from over. Not only did he play well but he displayed composure and poise that many haven't seen from him. The Magic front office is understandably very excited about their young prospect.

Dennis Schroeder, Atlanta Hawks
John Henson, Milwaukee Bucks
Although much of the accolades went to other front court players in the Eastern Conference, Henson played extremely well and many writers and coaches saw him as the best player in the Summer League. Henson collected a total of 41 rebounds in 3 games with 15 of those being offensive rebounds. Henson also averaged 3 blocked shots per which is a staggering amount considering the athletes in the Summer League. Henson might be ready to play major minutes this season for the Bucks.

Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons
Jonas Valanciunas, Toronto Raptors
Grabbing much of the headlines this Summer League, Jonas averaged 18 and 10 rebounds per game. Although much can't be valued with these numbers, considering its the Summer League, but Jonas could be primed to have a breakout year if things fall into place. What was clear from his Summer League performance was that Jonas has been hitting gym and working on his game. His skills are much more polished and he is displaying a level of physicality that hasn't been seen from him.


Bench:
Jeffrey Taylor, Charlotte Bobcats
Andrew Goudelock, Chicago Bulls
Marquis Teague, Chicago Bulls
Moe Harkless, Orlando Magic
Kelly Olynyk, Boston Celtics
Solomon Hill, Indiana Pacers
When the Pacers drafted Hill at the 23rd pick, many saw this selection as a stretch. From Hill's performance this summer, it is clear that the Pacers have outsmarted other NBA teams with this selection. Hill contributed all over the board for the Pacers, averaging 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. Many didn't see value in Hill's game at the professional level but he has showcased that he has the tools to be a solid pro. With a team like Indiana, Hill could blossom into a key contributor down the road.

Western Conference Starters:
Reggie Jackson, Oklahoma City Thunder
To the confusion of many, the Thunder added Reggie Jackson to their Summer League roster and Jackson took that personally. Although he only appeared in 2 games, Jackson exploded in one of them tallying 35 in one game. Jackson was the talk of Orlando while only playing in 2 games. Expect Jackson to carry this momentum into the oncoming season.

Kent Bazemore, Golden State Warriors
Playing at point guard, Bazemore displayed that he is much more valuable than his energetic bench celebrations. Notching 18 with 5 rebounds and 3 assists, Bazemore has given Coach Mark Jackson another piece to the already growing Golden State puzzle. Bazemore displayed his defensive upside as well guarding high draft picks Otto Porter and Ben McLemore and holding them to miserable shooting nights. 
CJ McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers
Terrence Jones, Houston Rockets
Thomas Robinson, Portland Trail Blazers

Bench:
Jeremy Lamb, Oklahoma City Thunder
For reasons I can't understand, Lamb did not earn much floor time last season. Now with Kevin Martin gone, Lamb has the opportunity to display his worth. In the Summer League, Lamb has showed us that he is more that up to the challenge, exploding for 32 points one game. Lamb is by far the smoothest player in the Summer League, displaying his sexy stroke along with his amazing off the dribble game. If Lamb can channel his talent, next season could be his year.
Dwight Buycks, Thunder/Raptors
Not many know of Dwight Buycks, but now is the time to take notice. Playing in both Summer League's, Buycks played his way to an NBA contract with the Raptors. Averaging 18 and 5 assists in Vegas, Buycks displayed his heady play and his exceptional ball handling and passing skills. Although he signed with the Raptors, his play in with the Thunder squad earned him a contract which is why he is on the Western Conference squad. Keep some tabs on this guy because he is the real deal. Buycks is great example of the value the Summer League has to unsigned players.

Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
Austin Rivers, New Orleans Pelicans
Reggie Bullock, Los Angeles Clippers

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Best Remaining Free Agents at Each Position

As Free Agency continues to roll along, there remain very few quality players left. If your favorite NBA team is on the search for help still this summer, you could be in some trouble. While there are some standouts left among the rest, there are very few TRUE standouts in the crop. All the stars are off the market, with the exception of 2 players who have shown glimpses of being stars. For this post, we will focus on the guys that don't always shine as bright.

Point Guard: Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee Bucks
The remaining point guards are the deepest group by position remaining. This was a tough pick to select. With Mo Williams and Nate Robinson still available, Brandon Jennings squeaks by as the best point guard available. Now the Brandon Teague is off the market, Jennings has the chance to land a big contract but hasn't which isnt surprising to me. Jennings shot 39 percent from the field last year. This indicates that he is a volume shooter and scorer at 17 points per outing. Jennings has the potential to be an all-star but he must become more consistent from the field if he wants to do so. He has shown improvements but teams are scared off by his asking price of 12 million a year. Brandon Jennings is a great player but many don't want to pay that much for him. Eventually a team will take a gamble on him because he is the best remaining point guard left.

Shooting Guard: Gerald Henderson, Charlotte Bobcats
The shooting guard position is a 2 horse race between Gary Neal and Gerald Henderson. I have Henderson edging out Neal here for several reasons. Although he isn't the outside shooter that Neal is, Henderson provides great athleticism around the rim and can finish very well. Where Neal struggles is where Henderson excels and many teams will value his assets soon enough. In addition, Henderson has developed into a quality defender during his time in the league. Something Neal isn't known for. Once a team snags him up, they will be happy with their investment. Plain and simple, Henderson needs to get out of the black hole that is the Charlotte Bobcats to showcase his immense talent. 

Small Forward: Ronnie Brewer, Oklahoma City Thunder
The small forward position is easily the weakest of the 5 positions remaining in Free Agency. I have Ronnie Brewer as the top free agent literally by default. The crop of small forwards remaining is that bad. Although Brewer didn't earn much playing time under Scott Brooks, he still has valuable assets that any team could use. Brewer is in the NBA for his defensive abilities. With long arms and great timing, Brewer is an elite defender. Because of his broken jump shot, he struggles to see the floor. If Brewer can land on a team in need of a perimeter defender, he will be able to showcase his defensive prowess. Brewer is a decent bench player but his position as the best remaining small forward shows how weak the position is.

Power Forward: Kenyon Martin, New York Knicks
At 35, Kenyon Martin is showing no signs of slowing down. He might not be the player he was in his prime but he is still a great player who knows his role and does it well. In 18 games with the Knicks, he shot 60 percent from floor. Martin still has the ability to be effective especially on the defensive end. The Knicks would be smart to resign him but Martin is too high profile of a name and player to still be a free agent. He remains on the board mainly because of his age, as many teams feel that he doesn't have much left. On the contrary, I think Kenyon Martin has plenty left.

Center: Nikola Pekovic, Minnesota Timberwolves
In my opinion, Nikola Pekovic is the best player remaining in free agency. At the 5 spot, it is not even close with Greg Oden and Brandon Wright also available. His tremendous physicality on both ends of the floor remains his biggest asset. Pek continues to improve and once he develops a low post game and becomes a better passer, he could be an all-star. The team that does sign him will be making a future investment as Pek will only get better with experience and time. Even if Pekovic takes a step backward next year, he still remains the best available in free agency. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Best 7 Footers in College Basketball

One of the biggest mantra's in basketball is that you can't teach size. However, recently big men are starting to become undervalued but why? Some of the most iconic basketball players are big men: Lew Alcindor, Wilt Chamberlain, and Shaq are just a few. Although there aren't any college basketball 7 footers of their caliber, but there are definitely some great 7 footers in the game. So why not rank the best 7 footers in college basketball? That's exactly what we have here!!

7. Przemek Karnowski: Gonzaga
Seen as a steal last year for Gonzaga by many basketball insiders, Mark Few has a good player on his hands. Karnowski is 7'1", 305 pounds, a seasoned product of the Poland National Team setup. Although he received limited minutes behind the monster that is Kelly Olynyk, Karnowski still averaged 5.4 points and 2.6 rebounds. Not many know of this guy but Gonzaga won't complain about that. Now with Olynyk gone, expect Karnowski to display the talent that many see as the next Marc Gasol. His combination of monstrous size and touch around the rim will be on display next year.



6. Willie Cauley-Stein: Kentucky
 If this list was based of potential, Cauley-Stein would be at the front of this list. This rising sophomore has a great combination of size, athleticism, and footwork that gives him the ability to dominate both sides of the ball. To put his athleticism in perspective, he was a ride receiver for his high school football team. Kentucky head coach John Calipari says that Cauley-Stein has the potential to be one of the best that he has coached. Now that is saying something. Believe the hype because Wildcat fans everywhere can't wait to see this guy next season.




5. AJ Hammons: Purdue
Fans are very excited about the potential of Hammons after he made the Big Ten All Freshmen Team. The 7 foot, 280 pounder has already talked about getting into better shape this off season after averaging 10.6 points and 6 rebounds this season. Hammons finished off the year strong finishing in double figures 3 out of the last 4 games. If he can build off this strong finish, Hammons could be a force in the loaded Big Ten conference. With his long arms and soft touch, Hammons could be a lottery pick down the road. His improvement need to be made on the boards. He must also start to develop an offensive repertoire. If everything falls into place, expect Hammons to be an All American.

4. Kaleb Tarczewski: Arizona
Tarczewski arrived at Arizona as a heralded five star recruit. He would struggle in his first few games as he was making adjustments. Once he made those adjustments, many began to see why he is such a highly touted talent. At 7'0", 225 pounds, Tarczewski is a load on both ends of the floor. For his size he has great hands and footwork in the post but also runs the floor well. Although he wasn't a focal point for Sean Miller's team last season, Tarczewski still found ways to contribute. If he is given room to provide production, he could be a double-double machine next season.



3. Jordan Bachynski: Arizona State
It was an up and down season for the Sun Devils but one of the bright spots outside of Jahii Carson was Jordan Bachynski. Bachynski averaged 9.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, and an impressive 3.4 blocks per game. His 120 blocks this season set the Pac 12 record. Bachynski is spending his summer with the Canadian Development National Team which will be great for his development. Bachynski holds the title of being the only member on this list to have a triple double in the category of points, rebounds, and blocks. This feat is quiet remarkable. Look out for this guy next year as he is ready to put a wall up in front of the rim.



2. Isaiah Austin: Baylor
Standing at 7'1", 220 pounds, Austin has the most awkward frame on this list. However, he is the most versatile out of the group. After averaging 13 points and 8.3 rebounds as a freshmen, many were surprised when he decided to return for his sophomore year. Austin is a couple protein shakes away from becoming a very highly sought after NBA talent. With his combination of shooting ability that extends to the 3 point line and size, Austin is a match up nightmare for every team he faces.
1. Alex Kirk: New Mexico
Alex Kirk is what you would call a throw back or a traditional big man. Kirk's back-to-basket game is the best in college basketball. As a sophomore he averaged 12 points and 8 rebounds. Kirk doesn't run the floor as well as scouts like but his low post game can't be ignored. He has the ability to face up and shoot a jumper or bang inside to get to a hook with either hand. Whether Kirk plays for UCLA or New Mexico next year isn't certain but where ever he plays Kirk will showcase his talent for all to see. Expect Kirk to be an All American if all the stars align.

The Biggest Mistakes of NBA Free Agency So Far

Now that the summer has begun, this now marks the opening of NBA Free Agency. One of my favorite times of the year, Free Agency allows for teams to improve and fill holes in their rosters. But not every team makes the right signing or gets the guy they want. Whether it be paying someone too much money or bringing in a player at a position that is already filled, teams have already made mistakes this off season. So lets take some time and look at the duds of Free Agency so far.

Andrea Bargnani to the Knicks
Maybe the Knicks know something we don't know or maybe they are as crazy as we think they are. Either way we will find out when Bargnani takes the floor this season. The Knicks gave up a lot for the former no. 1 overall pick, including Novak, Camby, and a first round pick in 2016. Had the Knicks not given up their first round pick this trade might have been justifiable. But the Knicks are investing a lot in a guy who shot 39 percent from the field and 30 percent from 3. The biggest concerning statistic according to Basketball-Reference states that Bargnani is the only 7 footer in NBA history to average 28 minutes a game and only pull down fewer than 4 rebounds a game. This must be concerning for the Knicks. Hopefully they see something we don't.

Bucks emerge with near nothing in 3 team deal
The Suns and Clippers both emerged victories in the 3 team trade that saw Eric Bledsoe head to the hot desert and JJ Redick joining Doc Rivers in LA. The loser in this trade is the Milwaukee Bucks. Not only did the Bucks get 2 weak second round picks for Redick but they are now stuck in a roster flux. Many remember that the Bucks gave up the promising Tobias Harris for Redick at the trade deadline earlier in the year. The Bucks problems don't stop there. Zaza Pachulia recenlty inked pen to paper for 3 years worth 16 million. This only further crowds their front court. 5 million annually for Pachulia is a steep price for the lack of production. Pachulia now joins Larry Saunders, Ekpe Udoh, John Henson, Drew Gooden, and Ersan Ilyasova in the front court. Minutes will be far and few in between for some of these guys while in process stunting the growth of many of the Bucks young players.

Josh Smith inks 56 million deal with Pistons
Where do we start with this signing? The Detroit Pistons made their biggest signing in years with the contract of Josh Smith. But this signing was a very puzzling one. Smith is one of the most athletic and versatile players in the game. However, he provides close to nothing on the offensive end. And when I say close to nothing, I mean he brings NOTHING. Josh Smith has a love affair with his jumper, a jumper that rarely goes in. For 16 million a year, the Pistons are getting a guy who shoots 33 percent from 16 to 23 feet. Also the Pistons already possess 2 front court studs in Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe. If Smith is going to be the centerpiece, Joe Dumars would be smart to trade one of his young prospects and get something in return. But I don't see this happening. Hopefully the Pistons figure something out because is the most confusing signing in years. Josh Smith is great player who warrants attention on the court but he is not worth 56 million.