Sunday, June 28, 2009

2009 Free Agent Outlook

As free agency approaches, the natural inclination is that everybody else's refuse is our treasure. We look at the warts on the players on our roster and wonder how great it would be if some team would make a deal with us?

The HHB wanted to take as honest a look with what limited statistical knowledge we have (thanks to Basketball Reference) and see if the grass was truly greener on the other teams via the free agency route.

From what we could gather from ESPN, here is the list of free agents for 2009 with their corresponding PER (Hawks players in bold) and will be updated with latest news:

Free Agents (restricted) PER
David Lee (RFA) 19.07
Nate Robinson (RFA) 18.95
Paul Millsap (RFA) 18.77
Andre Miller 18.71
Charlie Villanueva
Chris Anderson
Zydrunas Ilgauskus
Ramon Sessions (RFA) 17.65
Carlos Boozer 17.28
Marcin Gartat (RFA)
Ben Gordon
Jason Kidd 16.95
Hakim Warrick (RFA)
Antonio McDyess 16.63
Lamar Odom 16.60
Brandon Bass 16.49
Mike Bibby 16.38
Drew Gooden 16.34
Marvin Williams 16.04
Shawn Marion 16.02
Allen Iverson 15.89
Ron Artest 15.64
Trevor Ariza 15.51
Grant Hill 15.26
Rasheed Wallace 14.91
Hedo Turkoglu 14.82
Von Wafer 14.79
RFM 14.79
Anderson Varajao 14.62
Rasho Nesterovic 14.15
Zaza Pachulia 14.14
Joe Smith 13.85
Raymond Felton (RFA) 13.80
Shelden Williams 13.78
Chris Wilcox 13.37
Jarrett Jack (RFA) 13.10
Wally Szczerbiak 12.18
Anthony Parker 12.16
Solomon Jones 12.08
Robert Swift 11.50
Theo Ratliff 11.22
Glen Davis (RFA) 10.77
Raef Lafrentz 10.40
Channing Frye (RFA) 10.09
Ime Udoka 9.57
Stromile Swift 6.80
Malik Rose 5.28

We know that PER isn't the perfect tool, but this gives a general idea of what's out there and by a little more advanced statistical look, how our current free agents stack up.

Some thoughts:

Some of these players need to be looked at not how they did last year specifically, but how they are trending, their age, etc. For example, Andre Miller still looks like a productive PG, but how will he look at the end of a three year contract, if he accepts that? Same goes for our own Mike Bibby.

Also, one year aberrations should be noted as well, as in the case of RFM, who had his second best season out of the (7) seasons in the league.

Drew Gooden is in his Age 28 season in the league. Seems like he's been in the league for a long time. He is likely entering the "underrated productive forward" stage of his career and then end up in "used to be underrated but then everyone realized he was underrated and now he overrated/overpaid" part of his career. Bottom line---he's always been productive (he always seems to kill the Hawks) and will likely be underrated going into this offseason--could be a bargain.

Robert Swift was as productive as Solomon Jones, though both played in limited minutes---but it's interesting to note in case Rick Sund decides to bring Swift aboard.

Trevor Ariza is poised to get wildly overpaid (thanks to his Finals run) for somebody with his track record of league average play.

It will be interesting to see how Allen Iverson performs next season. 2008-09 was obviously his worst season, but has been a terrific producer (if you can handle what he does/doesn't do offensively) statistically. He is prime for a 1-year, prove it, contract--but from whom? You would think that Atlanta would suit him perfect--the town would love him, his defense would look superb compared to what currently passes, and he (ahem) knows the Hawks offense.

Speaking of shorter deals, Jason Kidd has settled into the next tier down from his excellent run in New Jersey. He is going into his Age 36 year, so one has to wonder what he has left--likely looking at a Sam Cassell circa 2005 contract (2 years). His fit on the Hawks would be questionable, given the Hawks anxiety about pushing the ball (unless a forward has the ball) and the propensity towards isolation sets.

Borrowing from Hoopinion's great cap status post here, we can look at the Hawks financial outlook for 2009 as it stands today. It looks as if we can almost rule out a RFA signing, as even with tendering Marvin and renouncing everyone else (Zaza, Childress, et al) the Hawks could only start @ around 6 million for free agents. With the RFA list including Sessions, Lee, Nate, Charlie V, you would think that a contract starting there would be matched immediately.

Hakim Warrick has improved every season and last year came close to equaling Josh Smith's totals, though Smith's were his lowest since his second season. Warrick, however, doesn't come close to touching Smoove in the block/steal categories.

The HHB wishes that they could bring Zydrunas Ilgauskus in, given that he has consistently produced for CLE, can run a pick and pop, and rebounds so well. Shaq is more productive, even @ 3 years older than Z--but not by that much statistically and not in the same way. If Z gets away, then he'll be the top center out there for someone to grab.

Ben Gordon might wish that he already had that 6 year, 54 million dollar deal in hand--especially considering he had provided slightly above average numbers for the Bulls in his five seasons there. The Hawks can hope that Jeff Teague gives them that level of production with the 19th pick.

Admit it, you're surprised that Ron Artest is less productive than Marvin Williams. Look at his career, and you'll see he's been overrated compared to what his perceived value has been, not even measuring in the insanity factor.

(Sidenote: When he was a rookie in the 1999-2000 season, we mentioned to the late, great Jeffrey Denberg that we loved Artest's defensive intensity and wished he was on the Hawks, to which Denberg quickly responded, "You don't want him, he's psycho." In his rookie season. Well done, Mr. Denberg.)

You can see why Brandon Bass is getting some attention out there. Teams are probably thinking they can get the guy on the cheap, but his production since coming to Dallas has been obvious and it looks like people noticed, making him a candidate to get overpaid. When Bass worked out for the Hawks in 2004 when he first put his name in the draft--he looks like he is now, a tough competitor who doesn't look pretty, but gets the job done.

Shawn Marion used to be considered elite when he was @ Phoenix, but whether it's malaise or the effects of not being with an all-star PG, his production numbers have dropped across the board. A west coast team might be able to coax better seasons, especially those with a good point guard (let's rule out the Hawks then), considering he is entering his Age 31 season, but he may just be falling fast.

Hedo Turkoglu wants 50 million dollars over 5 years like Corey Maggette got last season, trying to revive the ol' "one bad contract deserves another" philosophy to negotiation. Turkoglu was a piece in the Magic's success, but it is saying something that the Magic would turn him loose so quick. They basically got an upgrade on the one trick pony by bringing in Vince Carter. This would be a player that the old Hawks might have signed, pre-Billy Knight. Thankfully, those days are gone--we hope.

Raymond Felton doesn't score well on the PER either, so it's good to look at why, considering Felton is touted as a good, young PG. His turnovers are high and his shooting percentage is awful, especially in the EFG, TS%, and his raw 3pt shooting, you understand why. When you have to envy Josh Smith's 3-pt prowess, you are struggling.

When you look at the crop of free agents, Marvin Williams comes out looking pretty good. Zaza Pachulia plays up to his backup center status and as one of the league's best offensive rebounders. Mike Bibby is as effective as his shot makes him--no big surprise there--last year being very good to him and lifting him above the league average. RFM produced at league average for minimum pay--he likely won't have to settle for that, but any team that signs him (especially the Hawks) have to understand his inconsistency and history. Solomon Jones may not get another look if the Hawks cut him loose, and while we have been down on Jones here, there are obviously worse players collecting a check. Doesn't mean the Hawks have to have him though, right?

UPDATE: As we said, we knew we'd miss someone, and Sekou has the name first on his free agents entry---his name and PER has been inserted--and yes, we should be interested--greatly.

UPDATE 2: Electric Boogaloo: Milwaukee has decided NOT to offer Charlie V a qualifier, making him unrestricted.

The HHB are not sabermagicians and understand that PER has limitations and this list may not be completely complete (hey, if airlines can have a last final call, we can have completely complete)---All conversation will be held inside the think tank that is the Comments Area.


thirdfalcon said...

Bummer about Charlie V. that likely puts Sessions out of reach.

Good stuff though, HHB

Jason Walker said...

Much appreciated, TF!

Yes, you would think if they were protecting one right of first refusal and not the other, that it would indicate their intent, would it not? I would be surprised if Session got a fast offer, since team are going to figure the Bucks to match (a la Josh Smith).