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2018 Free Agent Rankings: SGs

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Earlier this week, we ranked the top-10 free agent point guards set to hit the open market in July. Today, we tackle the shooting guard position.

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1. Tyreke Evans, Memphis Grizzlies:
Evans entered the free agent market last summer in an unenviable position. He had appeared in just 40 games in 2016-17, starting only six. The year prior, he missed 57 contests. Thus, he was forced to settle for a one-year, $3.3 million contract with Memphis. This summer, Evans brings far more bargaining power to the negotiating table. ‘Reke resurrected his career in Memphis, averaging 19.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.1 steals, and 2.2 treys in 30.9 minutes. Per Basketball-Reference, he became the first player in franchise history to average more than five boards, five dimes, two triples and one steal per game over the course of a full season. He was also one of just two players to average at least 19/5/5 while shooting better than 39 percent from downtown in 2017-18. The other two were Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant. While Evans injury history is undeniably worrisome, GM’s will be eager to invest in a player capable of posting the numbers Evans did this past season.


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2. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Los Angeles Lakers:
Like Evans, Caldwell-Pope also inked a one-year deal last July, albeit for far more money ($17.7 million). KCP will be looking to secure a long-term, multi-year deal this time around. Although his offensive numbers don’t jump off the page, KCP has greatly improved accuracy from 3-point territory over the last few years. In 2015-16, Caldwell-Pope shot 30.9 percent from downtown on 4.9 attempts per contest. In 2017-18, he shot 38.3% on 5.6 attempts. Furthermore, KCP’s calling card since he entered the league has been his defensive abilities, which were on full display once again this past season. Lastly, he’s proven to be durable, never missing more than six games due to injury in any season over his entire five-year career.

3. Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics (restricted):
The flaws in Smart’s game are obvious to anyone glancing at his statistics. For his career, Smart shoots just 36.0 percent from the floor and a frigid 29.3 percent from beyond the arc. Last season, he also averaged 2.4 turnovers per game. However, although his inefficiency on the offensive end is undoubtedly an issue, Smart’s positive impact on the other end of the floor is equally undeniable. He is a rugged, crafty defender who plays with unparalleled effort. His combination of strength, agility and high basketball-IQ allows him to guard multiple positions. There are also the difficult-to-quantify intangibles he brings to the table. Brad Stevens, Danny Ainge and fans throughout New England all agree that Smart has been an integral part of Boston’s success the last two years. The question is what type of price tag should be put on that total package. Smart has said he’s worth “more than $12-14 million.” If true, that may price him out of Boston’s budget.

4. Will Barton, Denver Nuggets:
Barton did everything asked of him in Denver last season. He started and came off the bench. He played point guard, shooting guard, small forward, and even PF in a pinch. Barton was especially effective when logging heavy minutes. He played 35+ minutes 31 times in 2017-18 and averaged 19.8 points, 6.0 boards, 4.6 assists and 1.4 steals on 44% shooting from three-point range in those contests. For teams in the market for a versatile, efficient wing, those numbers will be awfully enticing.


5. J.J. Redick, Philadelphia 76ers:
There were some doubts as to whether or not Redick was still an elite shooter heading into last summer. He experienced a decline in his production in 2016-17, when he averaged less than 15.2 points per game and shot below 45 percent from the floor for the first time since 2012-13. However, Redick bounced back in a big way for the Sixers. He averaged career-highs in points (17.1), rebounds (2.5) and 3-pointers (2.8) per game in his first season with Philadelphia, while also providing veteran leadership inside the young Sixers locker room.

6. Avery Bradley, Los Angeles Clippers:
Had Bradley entered free agency last July, he would have been one of the more coveted two-way players on the market. Not only was he named to the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team in 2016-17, he also averaged 16.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.0 treys per game. However, 2017-18 was nightmarish for Bradley. After an offseason trade to Detroit, he was surprisingly ineffective for the Pistons. Detroit gave up 108 points per 100 possessions while he was on the floor, while allowing just 103.4 points while he was on the bench. Bradley's net differential of minus-7.4 points was the worst among Piston rotation regulars. Then, after a deal in February sent him to the Clippers, he had to undergo surgery to repair his adductor and abdominal muscles. I’m of the opinion that Bradley’s value is currently lower than it should be, which will likely result in a shrewd team signing him to a great value contract.

7. Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls (restricted):
LaVine is a fascinating case study in free agency upside versus risk aversion. There are plenty of positives working in his favor. He just turned 23 in March, and was averaging 18.9 points with a True Shooting Percentage of 57.6 over the first 47 games of 2016-17, before he tore his ACL. Yet, due to the injury, NBA front offices are going to have to attempt to predict how much of his game was reliant on his incredible athleticism and whether LaVine will be able to recapture that unmatched bounce. He was one of the critical pieces in the trade of Jimmy Butler, so the Bulls will have a very tough decision to make should LaVine sign a major offer sheet this summer.

8. Rodney Hood, Cleveland Cavaliers (restricted):
Hood struggled after a mid-season trade sent him from Utah to Cleveland. However, after being banished to the bench for the first two games of the NBA Finals, Hood was given an opportunity to play in Game 3 and tallied a total of 25 points and 14 rebounds over the final two games of the series. Still just 25 years old, he's averaged 14.0 points per contest over the past three seasons combined. Hood's inconsistency on both ends of the floor has been an issue, but he has the tools to be a solid scorer and a quality rotation player on a good team.

9. Austin Rivers, Los Angeles Clippers (player option):
Rivers has a $12.7 million player option for the 2018-19 campaign and has to decide if he will opt in by the end of this month. He did average career-highs in points (15.1), assists (4.0), three-point percentage (.378) and minutes (33.7) last season, but this an unfriendly free agent market. It’s highly unlikely he’ll be able to secure a deal north of $10 million annually, but he would have a good chance to secure a multi-year deal that would provide more guaranteed money over the life of the contract. There may be some interesting discussions between father and son in the Rivers household over the next few weeks.

10. Wayne Ellington, Miami Heat:
Ellington knocked down 218 triples this season off the bench, the most by a reserve in NBA history. He was also one of just five players in the league to average more than seven 3-point attempts per game, while also shooting above 39 percent from downtown. The other four were Stephen Curry, Kyle Lowry, Klay Thompson and Paul George. Although Ellington's game is mainly one-dimensional, his primary skill is extremely valuable in today’s NBA.

Best of the Rest:
* Joe Harris, Brooklyn Nets:
* Seth Curry, Dallas Mavericks
* Danny Green (player option), San Antonio Spurs
* Marco Belinelli, Philadelphia 76ers
* Lance Stephenson (team option), Indiana Pacers
* Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
* Patrick McCaw, Golden State Warriors
* Jamal Crawford, Minnesota Timberwolves
* David Nwaba, Chicago Bulls
* Vince Carter, Sacramento Kings
* Nik Stauskas, Brooklyn Nets
* Gerald Green, Houston Rockets


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