2014 NBA Free Agency: Top Shooting Guards
Everyone wants to know what is going to happen with LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. It’s only natural, as James and Anthony are only two of the biggest stars in the NBA.
They’re not the only players worth tracking, however, as one of the crazier NBA free agency periods in recent memory continues on. Let’s see who else is worthy of being plucked off the open market at the shooting guard spot by looking at the top five players available at the position:
1. Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat) Unrestricted Free Agent
Wade has bulky knees and is slowly regressing at 32, but he’s still an elite scorer and playmaker when healthy. He flashed brilliance in 2013-14, but really failed to show up in the NBA Finals. That’s half San Antonio shutting him down and half Wade letting it happen. For now it seems like he’s content waiting to see what LeBron James does, but one way or another it’s almost a lock he’s headed back to the Heat one way or another.
2. Lance Stephenson (Indiana Pacers) Unrestricted Free Agent
Stephenson turned down a nice long-term deal from the Pacers, so he might be a tough free agent to nail down. On the surface he’s an elite talent, though, as he’s a great defender and facilitator and overall is simply a very balanced and versatile threat. He still needs to improve his shooting, but he’s very young and has loads of untapped upside. Odds are Indiana is his final destination no matter what, but depending on what happens with LeBron and Melo, he could go elsewhere.
3. Nick Young (Los Angeles Lakers) Unrestricted Free Agent
Young isn’t the versatile wing man or elite shooter Ray Allen and Vince Carter are (below), but he’s younger with more upside and is easily the better pure scorer at this point. He showed last year with the Lakers (17.9 points per game) he can handle a big load and isn’t shy when it comes to defensive attention or the media. He shouldn’t be anyone’s top option and probably not their second, but it’s arguable he can be a very effective third scorer somewhere.
He’s probably still best served as a spark off the bench for a contender, though, as his defense is inconsistent and he doesn’t do a whole lot beyond scoring the basketball. He could wind up back in L.A., while teams in need of outside shooting like the Atlanta Hawks or Utah Jazz could also express interest.
4. Ray Allen (Miami Heat) Unrestricted Free Agent
Allen isn’t as versatile as he once was, but he can still shoot the lights out. He hit 116 three pointers a year ago and remains arguably the best corner three-point shooter in the game. With that said, his defense has dropped off and he is visibly not an elite factor the more minutes he’s seen on the floor. He’s also toying with the idea of retirement.
He could decide to hang’em up, but he still has an elite skill to contribute to a championship contender. Word on the street says he’ll likely follow LeBron James, which likely will have him back with the Heat for at least one more year.
5. Vince Carter (Dallas Mavericks) Unrestricted Free Agent
Vinsanity was probably supposed to be in decline at age 37, but he’s actually adapted quite nicely to his role as pure scorer off the bench over the past couple of years. He was able to be relied upon for almost 12 points per game during the 2013-14 NBA season and even still displays some of his trademark athleticism from time to time. Time is running out, but he’s put the brakes on retirement to this point. He should be a good veteran presence for the team he signs his likely final deal with. It’ll probably be the Mavs again.
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