We all know about the NBA’s top free agents. As LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Andre Drummond (Restricted), Hassan Whiteside, DeMar DeRozan, Mike Conley and Al Horford look for new contracts, there are cheaper free agents who can impact any NBA franchise. Teams need key role players to surround stars. Depth is key in the NBA playoffs. These players listed below are veterans who will sign for less, young players who are on the rise and average players no one talks about. Who are the NBA’s most under-appreciated free agents? Take a look.
C Al Jefferson
Al Jefferson had his worst season in 2015-2016 in his last 10 seasons. He posted 12 points and 6.4 rebounds per game over 47 games (18 starts). That is 4.6 points and 3 rebounds less than his 2014-2015 campaign. Jefferson’s big money days are over, but that doesn’t mean his NBA days are over. He weighs 289 pounds and has a size advantage over a lot of NBA centers. He has slowed down a lot, so Jefferson can produce but needs reduced minutes. He can join many teams to form a scary low post three-headed monster.
Potential Destinations: Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, Portland Trail Blazers
SG Allen Crabbe
Allen Crabbe stepped up as the Portland Trail Blazers best bench player. He posted career highs in points, rebounds, assists and field goal percentage in 2015-2016. Crabbe formed a three-headed monster at guard with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. There are many teams in the NBA who need better bench production. Since he is a bench player, we won’t cost a lot. I’ll take a cheap 10.3 points per game any day. He can still improve at 24.
Potential Destinations: Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Portland Trail Blazers
SF Evan Turner
Evan Turner has revitalized his career these last two seasons with the Boston Celtics. With the Celtics star searching, they don’t have enough money to re-sign Turner unless he takes a hometown discount. Luckily for the Celtics, he has expressed interest in doing so. Turner is a great rebounding and passing forward who has learned to accept his role. He went from starting to sixth man in two seasons and still worked his hardest on every possession. Turner may not be the franchise player the Philadelphia 76ers expected him to be, but he has figured out his role in the NBA.
Potential Destinations: Boston Celtics, New York Knicks
PF Mirza Teletovic
Yugoslavian swingman Mirza Teletovic took complete advantage over his increased role with the Phoenix Suns. He cam off the bench for every game except one and posted career high numbers in points, field goal and three-point shooting percentages. The reason no one talks about him is because he played on a terrible Suns team. Teletovic dropped 22+ points in six of his final seven games. His shot is falling, and the NBA needs to be put on notice.
Potential Destinations: Memphis Grizzlies, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns
PF Terrence Jones
Terrence Jones had an awful year on an awful Houston Rockets team. 2015-2016 was a big season to prove Jones was a starting caliber power forward in the NBA. His 8.7 points and 4.2 rebounds over 50 games, 11 starts, destroyed his case for a large contract. Jones now enters the offseason looking for a one-year, prove it contract anywhere but Houston. Most players play better when given a second chance. It wasn’t long ago he averaged 12.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.
Potential Destinations: Indiana Pacers, Phoenix Suns, Toronto Raptors
C Zaza Pachulia
After the Dallas Mavericks got shut down by DeAndre Jordan, the Mavericks responded by trading a second-round pick to the Milwaukee Bucks for Zaza Pachulia. In 2015-2016, Pachulia almost made the Western Conference All-Star team. The trade worked out. Pachulia averaged 8.4 points and 9.4 rebounds in 2015-2015 and enters the offseason as the most under appreciated free agent on my list. He had his most productive season, but not good enough to sign a large contract. Pachulia will make one general manager happy this offseason.
Potential Destinations: Dallas Mavericks, Milwaukee Bucks, San Antonio Spurs