Connect with us


NBA free agency 2023: Austin Reaves, Brook Lopez headline top players remaining after Day 1

The first day of free agency was a whirlwind as always. We handed out 39 instant grades from various trades and signings, along with rankings for the moves of all 30 teams.

There will still be plenty more signings as free agency continues, and there are a handful of quality names that remain unsigned.

Here are the best remaining players by position.

MORE: Live tracker for all free agency moves

Best point guards remaining in 2023 NBA free agency

1. D’Angelo Russell | Status: Unrestricted free agent

Russell is a good offensive player. He’s capable of finding his own shot, averaging 17.7 points per game in his career. He also has great range, shooting 39.6 percent from 3-point range last season. But he’s not much of a finisher at the rim, and he’s only so-so as a passer.

Russell has had stretches in which he has played well defensively, acting as a sort of quarterback for the Timberwolves’ system. His individual defense hasn’t been as good — he was targeted relentlessly by the Nuggets during the Western Conference Finals.

Still, it’s hard to find offensive creation in the league, and Russell offers that skill.

2. Russell Westbrook | Status: Unrestricted free agent

Westbrook revitalized his career after signing with the Clippers. He showed that he’s still a very effective player when he’s in the right system.

What system is that? Westbrook needs to have the ball in his hands in order to be at his most effective. He also needs shooters around him. When he has those two ingredients, he can still create chaos by getting to the rim and spraying the ball out to teammates.

When Westbrook is in the wrong situation, as he was with the Lakers, then he will look terrible. Teams will need to be careful, but if the ingredients for his success are there, then he can still help a team in a big way.

3. Patrick Beverley | Status: Unrestricted free agent

Beverley looked like his best days were behind him after getting waived by the Lakers. He had something of a career renaissance with the Bulls in the second half of the season, helping to lead them into the Play-In Tournament.

Beverley is still a good defender with a nose for the ball and a loud leader. But his offense has taken a nosedive in recent years.

Once a reliable shooter, he’s only hit 33.9 percent of his 3-pointers over the past two seasons. He also has a slow windup and is very hesitant to pull the trigger on open shots.

Still, his defensive value should generate some interest from the Bulls and other teams.

4. Dennis Smith Jr. | Status: Unrestricted free agent

Smith was out of the league and thinking of pivoting to a career in the NFL before the Hornets came calling. He has completely remade his game from what the Mavericks thought they were getting when they took him with the No. 9 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.

Back then, Smith was thought of as a dynamic, offense-first point guard with lackluster defense. Now, he’s more of a defensive specialist. He uses his athleticism to get into passing lanes and harass opposing ball handlers.

Smith’s unreliable jumper was one of the big reasons why he found himself out of the league. That is still a problem — he hit only 21.6 percent of his 3-pointers last season. But he does enough other things on the floor to be a backup guard for any team.

5. Cory Joseph | Status: Unrestricted free agent

Joseph is a 12-year veteran who has languished in Detroit for the past two-and-a-half seasons. He’s a good shooter and a decent defender.

Best shooting guards remaining in 2023 NBA free agency

Austin Reaves

1. Austin Reaves | Status: Restricted free agent

Reaves showed that he was a legitimate third option in the playoffs, averaging 16.9 points per game in the Lakers’ run to the Western Conference Finals. He has some shake with his dribble, and he shot 39.8 percent from deep last season. He’s also elite at drawing fouls.

Reaves isn’t a one-way player, either. He’s a much better one-on-one defender than he’s given credit for, and he plays well within the Lakers’ defensive scheme.

2. Donte DiVincenzo | Status: Unrestricted free agent

DiVincenzo rehabbed his value with the Warriors after suffering a nasty ankle injury two seasons ago that caused his play to fall off.

He’s a smart defender and a good 3-point shooter, hitting 39.7 percent of his attempts last season. At 26, his next contract will take him through his prime years. He could get the full $12.4 million mid-level exception somewhere.

3. Lonnie Walker IV | Status: Unrestricted free agent

Walker broke out in the playoffs for the Lakers, scoring 15 points in the fourth quarter of their Game 5 win over the Warriors. He knows how to find his own shot, and he can score from all three levels of the floor.

He’s still only 24 years old, too. He does need to improve defensively, as he can lose focus at times.

Best small forwards remaining in 2023 NBA free agency

Dillon Brooks Memphis Grizzlies

1. Dillon Brooks | Status: Unrestricted free agent

Brooks is one of the most polarizing players in the league. His defense is extremely valuable — he was named to his first All-Defensive Team last season. He’s an irritant that is willing to do the dirty work on that end of the floor.

Brooks can also shoot his teams out of games. He’s one of the most inefficient players in the league. His 3-point percentage has been falling in recent years, and he will take some shots that completely destroy a team’s offensive flow.

And then there’s Brooks’ unique personality. The Grizzlies have leaked that they don’t intend to bring him back because of the distractions that he caused last season.

Brooks has a chance to be a very helpful player if he can rein in his shot selection and attitude problems.

2. Max Strus | Status: Unrestricted free agent

Strus turned himself into a quality starter for a Finals team. He’s hit 37.1 percent of his 3-point attempts for his career, many of them on difficult movement shots.

He’s also a capable defender, and he won’t get targeted when he’s on the floor. Those types of 3-and-D role players are extremely valuable.

Strus is 27 and has been on minimum contracts for the entirety of his career. He’s going to look for a big payday this summer.

3. Kelly Oubre Jr. | Status: Unrestricted free agent

Oubre has always put up good counting stats, and last year was no different. He averaged a career-high 20.3 points per game.

But he consistently has head-scratching plays from game to game that lead to serious questions about his feel. He should be a good defender, but he oftentimes makes his biggest mistakes on that end of the floor.

Oubre is a very streaky player. There aren’t a ton of wings with his tools and upside, though.

4. Torrey Craig | Status: Unrestricted free agent

Craig has vacillated between starting and coming off the bench for the Suns. He’s a good defender, but he has problems with being too passive on offense.

Like Oubre, he can make some head-scratching decisions, but he is good in a specialized role as a 3-and-D wing.

5. Jalen McDaniels | Status: Unrestricted free agent

McDaniels is a talented player who hasn’t found the right fit in the league yet. The Sixers traded for him last season, but he didn’t play him much in their playoff rotation. He never quite found his groove with the Hornets during his first few years in the league.

McDaniels does offer some promise, though. He’s a good defender whose 6-9 frame allows him to guard multiple positions. He has also shown a decent 3-point stroke.

He’s not the type of player who will ever average 20 points per game, but he is a good role player.

Best power forwards remaining in 2023 NBA free agency

Grant Williams Boston Celtics

1. Grant Williams | Status: Restricted free agent

Williams is a good two-way player who has developed his 3-point shot since coming into the league, hitting over 40 percent of his attempts from deep over the past two seasons. He has the strength to guard some of the tougher forward assignments in the league and decent feet to also stay in front of guards.

Williams is a good rotation player, but for whatever reason, he seems not to have earned the trust of coach Joe Mazzulla. The Celtics also have a tough salary cap situation to navigate in the coming years, so a big offer from someone could lead to Williams switching teams.

2. P.J. Washington | Status: Restricted free agent

Washington is a good scorer. He averaged a career-high 15.7 points per game on an offense-starved Hornets team last season. He’s a good stretch option, shooting 36.6 percent from 3-point range for his career, and he has some driving juice when he attacks closeouts, too.

He’s a good roller with the ability to create a little with his passing or finish at the rim. He’s more of a mixed bag defensively, as he can have trouble staying in front of guys at times.

3. Jae Crowder | Status: Unrestricted free agent

Crowder sat out most of the year after the Suns told him that his role was being reduced, then only played 18.9 minutes per game with the Bucks after they traded for him in February.

He’s turning 33 in July, and he’s not the player he once was. But he can still stretch the floor for teams — he shot 43.6 percent from deep for the Bucks. And he’s a rugged, switchable defender.

Best centers remaining in 2023 NBA free agency

Brook Lopez Milwaukee Bucks

1. Brook Lopez | Status: Unrestricted free agent

Lopez’s defensive prowess sets him apart as one of the premier big men in the game.

Last season, he demonstrated his skill by finishing as the runner-up in in the Defensive Player of the Year race. What makes him truly exceptional is his ability to provide top-notch rim protection while spreading the floor with his shooting and providing a good post-up game to take advantage of switches.

At age 35, a long-term deal is a concern. Lopez had to contend with back issues that limited his appearances in the 2021-22 season.

Nevertheless, he should continue to perform at a remarkably high level next season.

2. Christian Wood | Status: Unrestricted free agent

Wood couldn’t quite earn the trust of Jason Kidd because of his defensive limitations. It looks like he’s on his way out of Dallas.

Wood is a good talent that can bomb from deep, hitting 37.9 percent of his 3-pointers for his career. He’s a good vertical threat on pick-and-rolls, too.

He’s a capable rim protector, but he’s undisciplined on defense.

3. Mason Plumlee | Status: Unrestricted free agent

Plumlee is a good athlete and a solid backup with the size to bang against some of the bigger players in the league. He’s limited from outside, although he has worked on a shockingly effective midrange jumper that looks like it should never go in based on his form.

He’s not going to score a ton of points, but he will use his high feel to play mostly mistake-free basketball.

4. Dwight Powell | Status: Unrestricted free agent

Powell is a great locker room guy and a player that knows his role in the league. He’s going to try hard on defense, sprint from rim to rim and get some dunks when he’s on the floor.

He will rarely take bad shots, but he’s not much of a threat from outside and can’t create his own offense.

5. Dario Saric | Status: Unrestricted free agent

Saric played well for the Thunder after being acquired at the trade deadline. He’s a high-skill big man who has moved to mostly playing small-ball center these days.

He’s got a good jump shot, hitting 36 percent of his 3-point attempts for his career.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Advertisement here

Must See

More in Basketball