20. Carlos Boozer, Chicago Bulls
Stats: 13.7 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 1.6 APG
Boozer definitely is wearing down towards the end of his career. He may have had an average season overall, but relative to his past seasons, it was his worst since his rookie year in 2002-03. He’s likely at the point where he’s just a veteran rotation guy, which is why the Bulls chose to amnesty him. Last year was basically his worst or second worst year in every statistical category, shooting over 6% below his career average. The Lakers are giving him a chance next year, but they’ll likely give more minutes to rookie Julius Randle.
19. Taj Gibson, Chicago Bulls
Stats: 13.0 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.1 APG
So it may seem surprising to see Gibson ahead of Boozer considering Boozer was the starter and had better stats across the board, but PER was one area that Gibson was higher. Their “score that I gave them based on their stats actually differed by just 0.01, so it was close, but Gibson had the slight edge. Playing in all 82 games, Gibson proved himself to be one of the few big men who can be a sixth man, averaging just slightly more MPG than the starter, Boozer. Even though Boozer will be gone, the Bulls will likely put newly signed big man Pau Gasol at PF, allowing Gibson to still come off the bench. That may be just the role for him though.
18. Nene Hilario, Washington Wizards
Stats: 14.2 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 2.0 APG
Nene had a better than average scoring year when comparing it to past seasons of his career, but his rebounding was definitely down. Already a 12 year veteran, the Brazilian struggled to stay on the court, playing just 53 games and only starting 37 of them. He has the potential to still be a very talented player if he plays, but that’s his biggest issue. He won’t be expected to do as much, although I still expect him to start for the Wizards next year. I think he still has some juice left in him.
17. Terrence Jones, Houston Rockets
Stats: 12.1 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 1.1 APG
Jones was a very pleasant surprise for the Rockets last year. He started 71 games and was one of their best players, providing solid numbers as their top PF and playing very efficiently. With a PER of 19.14, he’s certainly more efficient than most guys out there. He shot over 54% from the field and improved in basically every statistical category from his rookie year. I believe that Jones could be an x-factor next year with the departure of Chandler Parsons, possibly allowing Jones’ scoring to increase even more. Jones could be really, really good in another year or two.
16. Markieff Morris, Phoenix Suns
Stats: 13.8 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 1.8 APG
It was unclear with of the Morris twins would be the better NBA player, so the Suns decided to just get both of them and see what happened. Markieff was the better player last year, ranking 19 spots higher on my list than his brother. Markieff actually played better than Channing Frye, the Suns’ starting PF last year, averaging more points, rebounds, and assists, and putting up a much higher PER. Morris didn’t start a single game last year, but played a significant amount of minutes off the bench as one of their primary big men. I expect him to get a chance to start next year with Frye going to Orlando.
15. David West, Indiana Pacers
Stats: 14.0 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 2.8 APG
I think West is an excellent player and was a huge pickup by the Pacers a few years ago. Unfortunately, he’s already played 11 years and had a down year last year, putting up less points and rebounds than his career averages. He may be on the decline, but he still does a lot of things right. His jump shot can fall from basically anywhere on the court (although he rarely attempts a 3-pointer). The Pacers are going to need him to step up a ton next year without Paul George and Lance Stephenson, their best two players last year. I have a feeling he’ll do it.
14. Thaddeus Young, Philadelphia 76ers
Stats: 17.9 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 2.3 APG
The amount of times I’ve written about Thad Young is probably over 100 at this point. He is the only veteran that makes an impact on the Sixers and was their best scorer last year, especially after Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes were traded. He does a lot too, contributing rebounds, assists, and more steals than most players in the league. His shooting percentage is normally very high, but since he was the number one scoring option for a big part of the season, it decreased a fair amount. I have no idea where Thad will end up next year, but a part of me really hopes he stays. I’ll miss him if he goes.
13. Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets
Stats: 13.7 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 1.2 APG
He has the nickname the “Manimal” for a reason; he’s a scary player. He is very large and very athletic, having the ability to dunk it hard over almost any player in the league. His rebounding is very solid and his offense is improving, although I think it is still far from its peak. I see Faried as a guy that can average close to 20 and 10 in a season if he’s given the right amount of looks. He may have a chance to represent Team USA as well, an excellent experience and honor. While he’s not top 10 material, I think he has the potential to be up there next year.
12. Greg Monroe, Detroit Pistons
Stats: 15.2 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 2.1 APG
Monroe is another guy that I definitely see ending up in the top 10 power forwards next year, but that depends entirely on where he plays next year. He is a big name that has yet to be re-signed (or signed at all) this offseason. He also has the potential to average a double double, or at least consistently close to it, such as he did last year. The Pistons are so bad that it makes it hard for him to be great, but his role could decrease if he ended up on the wrong team. I have a feeling he’ll eventually end up back with the Pistons though. Him and Drummond in the front court is a scary duo.
11. Ryan Anderson, New Orleans Pelicans
Stats: 19.8 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 0.8 APG
It was a real shame to see Anderson suffer a severe injury so early on in the season last year. He was having a breakout year and was on the way to maybe even being considered for the All-Star Game. He was averaging an insane three 3-pointers a game, something that pretty much no player can keep up. If he played all 82 games, that would be 246 of them in a season. That would’ve been 2nd in the league, behind only Steph Curry. He played a ton of minutes for not even starting every game since Anthony Davis, who’s really a PF, is also on the roster. Hopefully he’ll be able to make a comeback to full strength because he’s really fun to watch.