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2011-12′s Top NBA Free Agent?
Posted By Bill Ingram On November 19, 2011 @ 1:00 am In All,NBA | No Comments
This week’s HOOPSWORLD’s poll asked readers which player they believed to be the top free agent of 2011-12, with the choices being:
1) Atlanta Hawks guard Jamal Crawford
2) Dallas Mavericks center Tyson Chandler
3) Denver Nuggets center Nene
4) Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol
5) New Orleans power forward David West
6) Orlando Magic guard Jason Richardson
7) Memphis Grizzlies swingman Shane Battier
8 ) Detroit Pistons swingman Tayshaun Prince
In a league that is desperately short on great big men, it’s no surprise that the centers on the list drew the lions’ share of the votes. But as always, we’ll start with last place and work our way forward.
#8 – Many NBA insiders see Tayshaun Prince as the kind of defensive presence who could be the final piece of a championship puzzle, or perhaps a player who, like Shane Battier in Memphis last season, helps a team return to the playoffs. NBA fans, however, saw him as by far the least attractive free agent in our poll. Prince garnered just 2% of the vote.
#7 – Jason Richardson may be one of the best scoring guards in free agency, but like Prince he drew little interest from our readers. With just a handful more votes than Prince, Richardson, too, came in with 2% of the vote.
#6 – Hornets big man David West may very well hold the future of Chris Paul as a Hornet in his hands. If the Hornets lose West, it may seal the deal as far as Paul leaving in free agency. West will draw a great deal of interest from teams like Denver and Indiana, who need help at the four, but he got just 5% of the vote in our poll.
#5 – Jamal Crawford has always been a solid NBA contributor, but he may have really shone the spotlight on himself with his play at both guard spots for the Hawks in last year’s playoffs. It’s very likely that he has put himself out of Atlanta’s price range. There are, however, bigger (literally) names on our list, and Crawford has to settle for 6% of the vote.
#4 – Shane Battier may be one of the most under-appreciated players in the NBA, but his value is not lost on our readers. One of the league’s premier defenders and ultimate glue guys, Battier came in with 8% of the vote – the most of any player under seven feet.
#3 – And so it begins. All three of the centers in our poll landed a top three spot, starting with Nene. Some argue he is more of a four, but Nene has been playing center for Denver and more than holding his own. He may not be an All-Star, but he is certainly vital to the rebuilding project in Denver, though the Houston Rockets will absolutely try to lure him away.
#2 – Being an NBA champion couldn’t get Tyson Chandler to the top of our list, perhaps because NBA fans know all too well that Chandler was little more than a role player before teaming up with Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd. Could be be the defensive anchor for a team with less talent on it? If the new CBA doesn’t prevent it, Chandler will be back in Dallas next season, but they had better make him a significant offer, as the Houston Rockets will also be hot on his trail.
#1 – Marc Gasol has played so well over the last couple of seasons that people have started to wonder if maybe Memphis got the better end of what was first believed to be a very lopsided trade with the Los Angeles Lakers. Now fans in Memphis are asking, “Pau who?” Now the question is whether or not the younger Gasol wants to be back in Memphis long-term. The Houston Rockets hope the answer is no, as do a number of teams around the NBA who need help at the center position. Gasol is the top free agent of the class, both in real life and in this week’s HOOPSWORLD poll.
Be sure to check the HOOPSWORLD main page for the newest poll, and check in next weekend for the final results!
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