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NBA 2012 Free Agent Shooters
Posted By Stephen Brotherston On May 26, 2012 @ 6:00 pm In All,Main Page,NBA | No Comments
NBA teams that struggle to score points inevitably look to add a shooter or two by trade or free agency, a long-range threat who can spread the floor and create space for drivers and big men to operate in the paint. At the end of the season, Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey echoed the sentiments of nearly every head coach whose offense didn’t measure up to expectations.
“You can’t teach the type of shooting that you like to have with three-point shooters, those guys are born,” Casey said. “You can work on it to get it a little bit better, but to get where we want to go, you have to have shooters. We need to add shooters to our roster.”
This year’s free agency offers a wealth of three-point shooters for jump-shot-challenged teams to target.
Unrestricted Free Agents
Ray Allen, Boston Celtics
The 16-year veteran is a career 40 percent threat from three-point range and, with 2,718 career three-pointers, holds the all-time NBA record for three-point field goals made and attempted. This past season, Allen continued to fill it up from range by hitting on 45.3 percent of his 5.1 attempts per game despite ongoing ankle problems.
The only concern going forward with the 36-year-old guard is his admission he needs ankle surgery at the end of the season to remove bone spurs, but he has come back from this type of surgery before and Allen hasn’t lost anything off his shot.
Jason Terry, Dallas Mavericks
After 13 seasons in the NBA, the last five coming off the bench, Jason Terry has proven he’s instant offense. A career 38 percent three-point threat, the 34-year-old launched 5.8 shots per game from long range last season while maintaining his career average.
Still deserving of the Jet nickname, Terry represents precisely the type of player established teams would like to add to their roster, someone who can effectively fill the scoring role off the bench and change the look of the offense.
Steve Novak, New York Knicks
On his fifth team in six seasons, Steve Novak finally had a breakout year. It’s not that the 6’ 10 three-point specialist wasn’t hitting his shot before, rather the Knicks finally made him a part of the regular rotation and in 18.9 minutes per game, Novak managed to launch 5.2 three-pointers.
Novak led the NBA in three-point percentage at 47.2 and it wasn’t a fluke. His career average is 43.6 percent. Somebody is going to pay him a lot more than the NBA minimum salary next season.
Randy Foye, L.A. Clippers
This six-year guard was given an opportunity to produce on a vastly improved Clippers team and Randy Foye delivered from the outside, hitting on 38.6 percent of his 5.1 three-point attempts per game.
The Clippers have up to four outside threats heading to free agency this summer and will have some tough decisions to make.
Ersan Ilyasova, Milwaukee Bucks
The 26-year-old forward enjoyed a breakout season with the Bucks averaging 13 points and 8.8 rebounds, recording some otherworldly double-doubles along the way, but he also established that his three-point shot had to be respected by averaging 45.5 percent from deep. Ilyasova only takes a couple of three-point shots per game, but when coupled with the rest of his skill set, this young forward can effectively spread the floor for the rest of his teammates.
Other unrestricted free agents who can spread the floor with their three-point shooting.
John Lucas, Chicago Bulls – 39.3 percent on 2.9 three-point attempts per game
Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns – 39 percent on 2.3 three-point attempts per game
Kirk Hinrich, Atlanta Hawks – 37.5 percent on 2.7 three-point attempts per game
Leandro Barbosa, Indiana Pacers – 38.2 percent on 2.7 three-point attempts per game
Gerald Green, Brooklyn Nets – 39.1 percent on 3.5 three-point attempts per game
Chauncey Billups is expected to miss the start of next season recovering from Achilles surgery. In 20 games this year, the 35-year-old Billups hoisted 6.3 three-pointers a night, hitting on 38.4 percent of them and proving he still hit the big shot.
Player Options and Non-guaranteed Contracts
The list of proven three-point threats entering 2012 free agency could expand greatly depending on the decisions made by various individual players and teams. Some very good shooters could become free agents before July arrives.
Jordan Farmar, Brooklyn Nets, Player Option – 44 percent on 3.2 three-point attempts per game
Kyle Korver, Chicago Bulls, Non-guaranteed – 43.5 percent on 4.2 three-point attempts per game
J.J. Redick, Orlando Magic, Non-guaranteed – 41.8 percent on 4.1 three-point attempts per game
Daniel Gibson, Cleveland Cavaliers, Non-guaranteed – 39.6 percent on 4.0 three-point attempts per game
C.J. Watson, Chicago Bulls, Non-guaranteed – 39.3 percent on 3.5 three-point attempts per game
Mo Williams, LA Clippers, Player Option – 38.9 percent on 4.6 three-point attempts per game
Jameer Nelson, Orlando Magic, Player Option – 37.7 percent on 4.1 three-point attempts per game
Restricted Free Agents
It is rare that a team fails to issue qualifying offers to their skilled young players and it is challenging for these players to successfully move on to other teams once the qualifying offer has been issued except by way of sign and trade. This year, the list of potential restricted free agents with proven three-point range is very enticing and some of them will certainly see offer sheets from other teams if their own club doesn’t step up to the plate quickly enough.
Ryan Anderson, Orlando Magic – 39.3 percent on 6.9 three-point attempts per game
Nicolas Batum, Portland Trailblazers – 39.1 percent on 4.6 three-point attempts per game
Courtney Lee, Houston Rockets – 40.1 percent on 3.7 three-point attempts per game
Brandon Rush, Golden State Warriors – 45.2 percent on 3.4 three-point attempts per game
Daniel Green, San Antonio Spurs – 43.6 percent on 3.5 three-point attempts per game
It is worth noting the Rockets have a team option on Chase Budinger, who shot 40.2 percent on 3.8 three-point attempts per game.
There is an impressive list of free agents and possible free agents who could help a team boost their offensive production from the perimeter next season. Both proven veterans who could provide the short term fix for a contending team and young players to add to a roster for the long term. There are guards and forwards available to boost a team’s outside shooting with minimal disruption. For the offensively challenged team looking to add a serious long range threat, it doesn’t get much better than this.
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