The Wizards need another wing player. Here's the skinny on all their free-agent options

We all know the Wizards need a small forward (or two), since the only one on the roster right now is Al Thornton. So ... yeah, that's pretty much all I have to say to introduce this.  Below the jump, some quick thoughts on pretty much all the small forward free agent options out there this summer.

Tony Allen, Celtics

  • Age next season: 29
  • Per-36 averages: 13.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists
  • PER: 14.2
  • USG%: 19.6
  • Fun Synergy Stat: There isn't one offensive stat, other than offensive rebounding (which accounted for less than seven percent of Allen's offensive opportunities) in which Allen finished any higher than the 125th most efficient player in the league.
  • Projected price range: Doubt he gets any more than $3.5-4 million, but he was on display in the playoffs, so you never know.
  • Competition: Boston.
The skinny: Tony Allen is dreadful offensively, and I mean dreadful.  His jump shot is atrocious (these stats are not pretty), and he still has a tendency to put his head down and needlessly drive to the basket.  But he's also an unbelievable defensive player, as we all saw in the Finals, and I think he'll come relatively cheaply.  I liked him two years ago, and I like him now.

Matt Barnes, Magic

  • Age next season: 30.
  • Per-36 averages: 12.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists.
  • PER: 13.6.
  • USG%: 16.2.
  • Fun Synergy Stat: Nearly 38 percent of Barnes' attempts were spot-up attempts, which tends to happen when you play with Dwight Howard. Unfortunately, Barnes hit only 37.1% of his twos and 32.4% of his threes in those situations. 
  • Projected price range: Don't see him getting any more than half the mid-level exception.
  • Competition: Detroit, Orlando (but not really).
The skinny: Orlando's hefty payroll and preference for J.J. Redick probably puts Barnes out of their plans.  Barnes received a lot of credit for bringing some toughness to Orlando, and indeed, he had a good year.  But he's also not much of a three-point shooter, even though you would think otherwise.

Ronnie Brewer, Memphis

  • Age next season: 25
  • Per-36 averages: 10.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.2 assists
  • PER: 12.5
  • USG%: 13.9
  • Fun Synergy Stat:  Brewer was 36th in the NBA last year in defending pick and roll plays, surrendering just 0.73 points per possession in his 128 opportunities.
  • Projected price range: Full mid-level exception.
  • Reported competition: Memphis, so far.
The skinny: In a truly strange move, the Grizzlies decided not to give Brewer the qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent. Brewer had an off year last year before getting hurt in Memphis, but he had been a key cog in Utah's system for the past three years. His shooting is a concern, but he knows his role, scores efficiently within it and is great at finding open space to get his points. My one concern is that he fares better in a system like Utah's flex, which emphasizes off-ball cutting, rather than a standard pick-and-roll NBA set, where his lack of deep shooting gets exposed.  My other concern is that he'll be too expensive.

Keith Bogans, Spurs

  • Age next season: 30.
  • Per-36 averages: 8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists.
  • PER: 7.7
  • USG%: 11.
  • Fun Synergy Stat: Bogans was 29th in the league at defending the ball-handler in a pick and roll, surrendering an average of just 0.71 points/possession.
  • Projected price range: Veterans minimum.
  • Competition: Nobody.
The skinny: The local product started for the Spurs at times last year, which is nice, but realistically, he's Quinton Ross with a slightly better jumper.  That might not be terrible for the veterans minimum, but it's definitely a fallback option.

Devin Brown, Bulls

  • Age next season: 32.
  • Per-36 averages: 13.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists.
  • PER: 10.
  • USG%: 19.8%
  • Fun Synergy Stat: While with the Hornets, Brown was the 28th most efficient finisher in transition in the entire league.
  • Projected price range: Veterans minimum.
  • Competition: Nobody.
The skinny: Devin Brown went from being a below-average, but serviceable starter (thank you Chris Paul!) to a forgotten man on a shallow Bulls team.  He's also 32.  Pass.

Rasual Butler, Clippers

  • Age next season: 31.
  • Per-36 averages: 13 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists.
  • PER: 10.7.
  • USG%: 17.
  • Fun Synergy Stat: Butler got a lot of spot-up opportunities, but hit only 37.8% of his twos and 35.2% of his threes.
  • Projected price range: Half the mid-level exception.
  • Competition: Nobody.
The skinny: Butler is another player who got a bump from playing with Chris Paul.  He can sort of shoot, and he runs a decent pick and roll, but that's it.  He's not even that great on defense.  This would be a pretty lazy signing (i.e. "I've heard of that guy, he's a vet, let's sign him!), and I don't want to see it happen with so many other options out there.

Josh Childress, Greece

(Stats are 2007/08 stats in Atlanta).

  • Age next season: 27
  • Per-36 averages: 14.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists
  • PER: 17.8
  • USG%: 15.8
  • Fun Synergy Stat: I got nothing
  • Projected price range: More than the mid-level exception.
  • Competition: Atlanta (not really), Toronto, many more.
The skinny: Childress was a really underrated player in Atlanta because of his lockdown defense and his ability to score in transition.  He then went to Greece, where he's starred, albeit not with much of an improved jumper, his biggest weakness in the NBA.  I've always been a Childress fan, don't get me wrong, and I was in favor of signing him before the Kirk Hinrich trade, since we had some cap flexibility to use.  But at this point, he's going to get overpaid in this market, and I think we're better off looking for a bargain.  

Marquis Daniels, Celtics

  • Age next season: 30.
  • Per-36 averages: 11.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists.
  • PER: 9.6
  • USG%: 15.8.
  • Fun Synergy Stat: Daniels scores well off cuts, I guess (38th in the league last year).
  • Projected price range: Veterans minimum.
  • Competition: Nobody.
The skinny: Daniels was supposed to be a key bench player on a title-contending team last year.  Instead, that guy was Tony Allen.  Pass.

Josh Howard, Wizards

  • Age next season: 30.
  • Per-36 averages:  12.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists.
  • PER: 12.7.
  • USG%: 24.8.
  • Fun Synergy Stat: Don't ask Josh Howard to consistently shoot spot-up shots.  His Dallas stats placed him a dreadful 316th in the league on those opportunities.
  • Projected price range: $2-4 million - tough to tell with his injury.
  • Competition: Nobody.
The skinny: The positives: he likes it here, can shoulder some of the scoring load, hustles and is only one season removed from being one of the better small forwards in basketball. The negatives: he's hurt, was abysmal last year before being traded, doesn't do well as a spot-up shooter, needs the ball in his hands a lot and isn't exactly a squeaky-clean character (though I will say the Mavericks did him wrong by trashing him on his way out last year). In the end, as much as Howard provided some good fun in his short four-game stint here last year, there are other options. 

Richard Jefferson, Spurs

  • Age next season: 30.
  • Per-36 averages: 14.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists/
  • PER: 13.1
  • USG%: 18.3
  • Fun Synergy Stat: Jefferson was the sixth-most effective player in the NBA in offensive plays where he scored off a cut, scoring an average of 1.61 points/possession.  This would be great, except those plays only made up eight percent of Jefferson's offensive opportunities. 
  • Projected price range: He thinks mid-level. I'm guessing less.
  • Competition: Knicks? Nets?
The skinny: Gilbert Arenas' buddy can't play much anymore.  Pass.

Kyle Korver, Jazz

  • Age next season: 29.
  • Per-36 averages: 14.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists.
  • PER: 13.9
  • USG%: 16.2
  • Fun Synergy Stat: Korver was the second-most efficient spot-up shooter in basketball last year.
  • Projected price range: $3-5 million.
  • Competition: Not sure, but probably not Utah.
The skinny: Korver's definitely available after the Jazz selected Gordon Hayward.  Unfortunately, he's abysmal defensively.  

Wes Matthews, Jazz

  • Age next season: 24.
  • Per-36 averages: 13.7 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists.
  • PER: 12.3
  • USG%: 16.5
  • Fun Synergy Stat: Good luck shedding Matthews with a bunch of off-ball screens. The Jazz youngster ranked eighth in the NBA in defending those plays, surrendering an average of just 0.63 points/possession. 
  • Projected price range: $3.5 million at worst, full mid-level exception at best.
  • Competition: Utah, San Antonio, Portland, LA Lakers, Milwaukee.
The skinny: Matthews is one of my favorite players in the league and an ideal fit for what we need, but he's getting a lot of interest from better teams, not to mention the Jazz, who obviously want to keep him.  I don't think he's a realistic option.


Mike Miller, Wizards

  • Age next season: 30
  • Per-36 averages: 11.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists.
  • PER: 14
  • USG%: 14.7%
  • Fun Synergy Stat: Miller was the seventh-most efficient spot-up shooter in the NBA, scoring an average of 1.29 points per possession on those shots. 
  • Projected price range: Mid-level exception or higher.
  • Competition: Cleveland, LA Clippers, Miami, New York, LA Lakers.
The skinny: We covered Miller here. I don't think he's worth the price he'll command, and whoever signs him will wish they got someone cheaper.

  • Age next season: 25. 
  • Per-36 averages: 16 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists.
  • PER: 14.
  • USG%: 17.8%
  • Fun Synergy Stat: Morrow's spot-up shooting ability is simply superb. He was the fourth-most efficient player in the league in those spots last year, hitting 51 percent of his shots and 50.8 percent of his threes. This isn't a sample size thing too - Morrow had 252 spot-up attempts last year, good for 31 percent of his offensive repertoire. 
  • Projected price range: Full mid-level exception.
  • Competition: Golden State, San Antonio, LA Lakers, Boston, Portland, LA Clippers, Utah.
The skinny: Morrow's a real diamond in the rough offensively, since he's a lethal spot-up shooter with other skills to boot.  Unfortunately, his defense is pretty poor, though a lot of that has to do with Golden State's coaching.  A good team, with a great defensive system, can probably make him into a good defender, but that team isn't us.  Also, he's going to cost a lot because he's a restricted free agent.  

Travis Outlaw, Clippers 

  • Age next season: 26.

  • Per-36 averages: 9.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1 assist.
  • PER: 13.3
  • USG%: 21.4
  • Fun Synergy Stat: Outlaw didn't play much this year, so the sample sizes are too small.
  • Projected price range: Anything up to the full mid-level exception.
  • Competition: Clippers.
The skinny: I like Outlaw, and his issue this year had a lot to do with his injury problems.  That said, he tends to get most of his points on mid-range jumpers off the dribble, so I don't think he's a good fit with two ball-dominant guards like John Wall and Gilbert Arenas.

Quentin Richardson, Heat

  • Age next season: 30.
  • Per-36 averages: 11.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists.
  • PER: 12.9.
  • USG%: 14.8.
  • Fun Synergy Stat: You shouldn't worry too much about Richardson creating his own offense.  An astounding 55.4 percent of his offense last year came via spot-up shots.
  • Projected price range: $2-3 million.
  • Competition: Not sure.
The skinny: There's something about Q-Rich that rubs me the wrong way, and he certainly doesn't fit the youth movement.  But for $2 million/season for one or two years, you could certainly do a lot worse.

Antoine Wright, Raptors

  • Age next season: 26.
  • Per-36 averages: 11.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists.
  • PER: 8.6.
  • USG%: 16.1%.
  • Fun Synergy Stat: Wright actually does a decent job in isolation situations defensively, finishing 35th in the NBA in that category last season.
  • Projected price range: Veterans' minimum-low-level exception.
  • Competition: Raptors, Celtics.
The skinny: Antoine Wright played for a team that was historically deficient in two categories: defense, and toughness.  Wright is pretty awful at pretty much everything ... except defense and toughness, where he's probably average.  Therefore, playing for the Raptors made him look a lot better than he is.  Pass.

Dorell Wright, Heat

  • Age next season: 25.
  • Per-36 averages: 12.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists.
  • PER: 14.5
  • USG%: 15.8.
  • Fun Synergy Stat: Wright has a lot of defensive potential, but he finished 309th in the league at defending isolation opportunities.
  • Projected price range: $2-3 million.
  • Competition: Nobody.
The skinny: Wright is still my top choice.  He finally realized he could stick in the league as a spot-up corner three-point shooter, and ended up having his best season yet.  His defensive fundamentals could improve, but the tools are there.  The Heat trusted him much more later in the year, giving him nearly 27 minutes per game in April as they surged into the playoffs, so you know he can be trusted.  He's young enough to fit the team's timeline, but experienced enough to know he has to defer for the good of the team.  He'll also come cheap, since Miami no longer has his Bird Rights.  Sign me up.  
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