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Fran Blinebury

At 23 years old, Jordan Farmar could be a real catch for a team during the free agency period.

Young free agents ready to make a splash

Posted Jun 28 2010 7:05AM

Youth, it is often said, is wasted on the young. But sometimes in the NBA all that youth needs is a chance to shine.

As the free agent class of 2010 prepares for the mad rush toward LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the other superstars on July 1, there are plenty of young players who have not quite proven themselves yet or are looking for the right situation to take the next step up and come into their own.

Here are a handful of 25-and-under, below-the-marquee free agents who could still be looking at plenty of upside:

Ronnie Brewer

2009-10 team(s): Jazz, Grizzlies
Pos: SG-SF
Height: 6-7
Age: 25
Status: Restricted free agent

In a free agent class that has many available scorers, Brewer can stake his claim as an aggressive defender on the perimeter, playing the passing lanes. He has an odd-looking shot and doesn't have long range, but is quite efficient on offense hitting at a 52 percent clip in his four-year career. He couldn't quite carry enough of the offense in Utah when injuries struck the backcourt and was sent to Memphis to trim payroll and quickly tore a hamstring and played just five games with the Grizzlies. He's not going to be a breakout star, but could be a solid rotation player for a team that wants to add some defensive bite.

Jordan Farmar

2009-10 team(s): Lakers
Pos: PG
Height: 6-2
Age: 23
Status: Restricted free agent

Since they plucked him out of UCLA in 2006, the Lakers have been grooming Farmar and waiting on him to solidly stake his claim as the backup point guard with an eye on running the team in the future. For the most part all he's shown are occasional flashes and there are plenty around the league who are willing to write him off as another case of unfulfilled potential. However, he's still just 23 and has had to make all of his youthful errors under the glare of the Lakers spotlight and Kobe Bryant's scowl. He could find few solid contract offers as a restricted free agent, because not many clubs will be willing to overpay to pry him out of L.A. But if the Lakers have tired of his nothing-but-promises act, he's worth a gamble.

Kyle Lowry

2009-10 team(s): Rockets
Pos: PG
Height: 6-0
Age: 24
Status: Restricted free agent

Lowry's engine runs at one speed. That's high. And he usually goes in one direction. That's straight ahead. He couldn't get close to the 6-foot height he's listed at unless he was standing on a phone book. But that doesn't stop him from finding cracks in the defense to slither and bull his way to the basket, where he can finish and make free throws. He's become better at drawing defenses to him and dropping off passes to his teammates and teamed up with Aaron Brooks last season in Houston to give the Rockets a solid 1-2 punch of munchkin point guards. He's chomping at the bit to be the main man like he was at Villanova, playing 35-40 minutes a night and that kind of promise, along with the right contract offer, could turn his head.

Wesley Matthews

2009-10 team(s): Jazz
Pos: SG
Height: 6-5
Age: 23
Status: Restricted free agent

He was undrafted out of Marquette, but was scooped up out of the summer league by the Jazz, who would like to keep him in the fold for the long term. But Utah was forced to unload Eric Maynor and Ronnie Brewer last season in salary dump moves to avoid the luxury tax and could be affected here by the handcuffs continuing to be on. He's Jerry Sloan's type of player, a hard-nosed defender and a fearless shooter who could fit in on plenty of rosters with those attributes. He's never going to be the kind of shooting guard who will carry the scoring load. But if you pair him up with an offensive-minded partner in the backcourt, he can make everybody pay for overlooking him in the Draft.

Anthony Morrow

2009-10 team(s): Warriors
Pos: SG
Height: 6-5
Age: 24
Status: Restricted free agent

One night you're passed over by all 30 NBA clubs and a few months later you're shooting 15-for-20 and pouring in 37 points against the Clippers, the most ever by an undrafted rookie in league history. Don Nelson turned him loose and the Warriors have seen that Morrow can shoot, shoot, shoot from anywhere on the floor. The impressive thing is he makes them too, connecting at 46 percent from behind the 3-point line in his first two seasons in the league. He's got a nose for the basketball and gets more than his share of rebounds from his spot in the backcourt. He's more than just a product of Nellie's system and could be a breakout performer on a playoff team, if you can get him out of Golden State.

Fran Blinebury has covered the NBA since 1977. You can e-mail him here and follow him on twitter.

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