The Top Five Free Agent Point Guards

(Editor’s Note: The following is from James Brocato at Shut Up and Jam. James will be evaluating the free agents that teams should pursue in the offseason. The following is his first piece reviewing the available Point Guards. Enjoy!)

This is the first post in what will be a series of posts evaluating the 2011 Free Agent class. I realize this might all be for naught, since currently there technically is no free agency what with the lockout and all, but it still makes for a fun and interesting post to evaluate the would-be free agents in 2011.

The following is table lists all the free agent point guards in terms of recent value (determined by multiplying the weighted average number of wins produced in the past 3 years by $1.58 million, the average value of a win, which is determined by dividing the total in NBA salaries by the total number of wins in the NBA). UFA = unrestricted free agent, RFA = restricted free agent.

2011 Free Agent Point Guards ordered by last three year value.

Though I’m starting with the point guards, it is easy to see that this is by far the most underwhelming position in terms of availability in free agency this year. In other words, there really aren’t any great point guards in free agency. Teams that need a point guard who didn’t pick one up in the draft should look to trade if they need a guy to make an immediate (or long term for that matter) impact at the one. None of the free agent point guards produced more than four wins in the 2010-11 season, which should not yield optimism to any teams shopping for a starter.

The Top 5

1. Rodney Stuckey: 25 years old, 4 wins produced in 10-11. While he’s hovered right below the average mark for most of his career, Stuckey is still relatively young. Even if he produces about 4 wins per season from here on out, that is probably better than any other point guard on this list will do. He probably shouldn’t start, but he’d be a decent helping hand off the bench. That, and he pretty much single handedly dominated my high school in the semifinals of the state tournament in 2004.Unfortunately, it will be hard to get him at a reasonable rate.

2. Mario Chalmers: 25 years old, 1.6 wins produced in 10-11. Though he’s been very underwhelming as of late, he has shown promise in the past (6.5 WP as a rookie) and he’s still young, although like Stuckey, after this year he very well may see a slight but steady decrease in production. The big upside here is teams can probably get Chalmers at or near his true value (~3.5 mill), which is not the case for some of the other players on the list.

3. T.J. Ford: 28 years old, 0 wins produced in 10-11. Ford has had some relatively impressive seasons. Just not lately. He managed to play at an above average rate from 2006-07 to 08-09, but has underperformed the last two seasons, even losing his starting job. Still, Ford shows some promise, he is still under 30, and he can probably be acquired at a decent rate, albeit probably less than he is actually worth.

4. J.J. Barea: 27 years old, 2.1 wins produced in 10-11. Barea opened some eyes with his deceptive scoring ability during this year’s playoffs. This will certainly skyrocket his perceived value in the league. However, he has underwhelmed his entire career, and continues to play below average basketball. He’s not starting material (is anyone on this list?), but he’ll get the job done as a backup just like he did in Dallas. Unfortunately, whoever gets him is almost certainly going to have to grossly overpay.

5. Mike Bibby: 33 years old, 2.6 wins produced in 10-11. Bibby has actually been the most productive point guard of the free agent class over the past few years. But not by much. And the fact that he’s getting up there in age really hurts his case. Again, a decent backup point guard if you need one, but just don’t pay him the big bucks.

Who to Avoid at All Costs

Sebastian Telfair – Telfair has played 7 seasons in the league and has cost his team wins in each of those seasons. Enough said.

Aaron Brooks – Brooks, like Telfair, is very unproductive. He got a lot of love after leading the Rockets in scoring during their 09-10 Ming-less playoff campaign, but even then he was producing at well below average numbers. After all, points per game doesn’t make a player productive. A lot of teams would probably pay a lot for him, but they would be doing themselves a disservice by doing so.

Honorable Mentions: Law, Quinn, Shakur, and Mills should be avoided at all costs.

Who to Avoid at a High Cost

Everyone. There isn’t a free agent point guard who is worth top dollar. That being said, the two that could be very dangerous both appear on the top 5 list (not much competition): Stuckey and Barea. Both have pretty high perceived values, but neither is even above average, much less worth a large salary.

-James

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