Thursday, May 17, 2012

2012 NBA Free Agents: Eric Gordon and Top Restricted Targets

NBA restricted free agents don't get nearly as much press as unrestricted free agents, but they are just as important—and this year, just as good. 

Usually teams will match an offer sheet for any player worth a dang, but there are always situations where the relationship between team and player isn't good or the team is simply trying to save money. In those cases, the restricted free agent suddenly becomes available. 

So while Deron Williams and Steve Nash are garnering most of the attention, let's take a look at the top restricted free agents, who could be available for the right price. 


Eric Gordon, New Orleans Hornets

Gordon's injury problems (he appeared in just nine games this season) might cause the Hornets to go a different direction, but there's no denying this kid's talent.

He's a bit of a shooting guard/point guard hybrid. He is quite comfortable handling the ball and distributing (4.4 apg last season), but first and foremost, he has a scorer's mentality. 

Gordon is one of the best in the league at getting to the hoop and finishing inside, yet he can also get hot and knock down a bunch of three's on any given night. 

In 2011, Gordon scored 22.3 points per game and hit almost two three-pointers per contest. At just 23 years old, EG is one of the more underrated stars in the league when healthy. 

Some team is going to give him a big offer sheet. 


Nic Batum, Portland Trail Blazers

Speaking of young underrated players, here we have Nicolas Batum.

The 23-year-old small forward is long, athletic, and deadly from the outside. He was fairly up-and-down this season, but he still finished with 13.9 points per game on 39 percent shooting from long range.

And when he was "up," he had games like this:

Not only is he continuing to develop his soon-to-be-dangerous offensive game, Batum's length makes him a great defender. This season, he averaged a block and a steal per game, and has proven that he can guard almost any position.

There aren't many players in the league who are as unique as Batum, and it should get him a solid raise this summer. 


Ryan Anderson, Orlando Magic

The Most Improved Player award winner is a bit of an enigma. 

He was the best three-point shooter in the league this season (2.4 makes per game at 40 percent), but was he just a product of double-teams on Dwight Howard? Some say so, and his mediocre playoff performance further proved that.

Still though, despite not being a prototypical post-playing power forward, Anderson is deadly from long range and he is quietly one of the best offensive rebounders (3.7 per game) in the league.

I'd imagine the 24-year-old Anderson stays in Orlando, but if a solid team can afford to give him a good contract and make him their third-best scoring option, he has the ability to put up huge numbers. 



Roberto Traven Chad Akebono Rowan Josh Hendricks Darren M Jackson Ivan Serati

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