2013 Free Agency Preview Part V: Centers

A statistical and subjective look at the top free agent centers available this summer
by Jason Friedman
Rockets.com Writer/Reporter

HOUSTON - In free agency, the name of the game is value. Give $15 million a year to one of the ten best players on the planet and the deal will likely turn out to be an absolute bargain. But hand half that amount to an average player who just so happens to be coming off a career year and you may quickly find yourself stuck with the kind of cumbersome contract that kills flexibility and stifles a club’s ability to improve going forward.

Such is the dance that takes place between players, agents and general managers every summer in the NBA. Free agency offers teams a unique opportunity to improve their rosters in a hurry. But buyers beware because it can just as easily hamstring squads who roll the dice on the wrong player at the wrong price for the wrong number of years. Figuring out the proper price tag for those rare, precious and irreplaceable blue chip guys is easy; for everyone else tough, smart and calculated decisions must be made to ensure teams get enough bang for their free agent buck.

That is the key concept to keep in mind as Rockets.com rolls out our annual, position-by-position breakdown of the players available on the free agent market. Today in the fifth and final installment of our free agency primer we’re taking a statistical and subjective look at some of the top centers who are hitting the open market this summer (shot location statistics courtesy of HoopData.com, shot charts courtesy of NBA.com and Synergy stats courtesy of Synergy Sports Technology). Click here if you missed Part 1 in which we examined the free agent market for point guards, here for Part 2 and a look at the two-guard crop, here for Part 3 and a breakdown of the available small forwards, and here for Part 4’s perusal of the best available power forwards.

Dwight Howard (UFA)

The basics: 17.1 ppg, 12.4 rpg, 1.4 apg, 2.4 bpg, 1.1 spg, .577 FG%, .492 FT%, 19.48 PER

Advanced stats: 19.1 rebound rate (7th among qualifying Cs), 27.4 defensive rebound rate (5th), 10.4 offensive rebound rate (28th), 7.4 assist rate (40th), 15.4 turnover rate (41st)

Shooting percentages by location: At rim: 70.4% (Cs averaged 66.9% from that distance in ‘12-‘13), 3-9 feet: 44.9% (C average: 40.1%), 10-15 feet: 38.5% (C average: 40.1%), 16-23 feet: 30% (C average: 38.6%)

Noteworthy Synergy stats: Offense: Post-ups: .746 points per possession (37th percentile), Pick-and-roll roll man: 1.302 ppp (95th percentile), Transition: 1.231 ppp (75th percentile), Cuts: 1.328 ppp (81st percentile)

Defense: Post-ups: .559 ppp (96th percentile), As big defender dealing with the PNR ball-handler: .787 ppp (49th percentile), As big defender dealing with PNR roll man: .761 ppp (69th percentile), Spot-ups: .741 ppp (93rd percentile), Isolation: .833 ppp (45th percentile)

Dwight Howard 2012-13 shot chart:

Beginning with the 2008-09 season, Dwight Howard enjoyed a sparkling five-year run that saw him rank among the five best players on the planet while racking up three consecutive Defensive Player of the Year awards. He lifted Orlando to an NBA Finals berth in 2009 and anchored a Magic defense that was a top-3 unit for three consecutive years. Simply put, he was a devastating defensive force, dominating the boards, protecting the rim and singlehandedly blowing up one pick-and-roll after another. He wasn’t too shabby on the other end of the floor, either, where his ability to finish and draw fouls by the bushel allowed Orlando to operate a pick-your-poison offense that surrounded Howard with shooters as a perpetual dare to any opponents wishing to send a swarm of double-teams his way.  And not only was he the most dominant big man in the league; he was also the most durable, never missing more than 4 games in any season through his first 7 years in the league.

Then came the back injury that derailed the end of his 2011-12 campaign. Then a trade to the Lakers. Then a season that saw him attempt to return to action while still recovering from the back issue, only to have a new ailment (this time a shoulder injury though he still only missed six games all season) provide yet another bump in the road. But Howard got better as the season wore on, producing post All-Star break numbers (19.6 points and 14.5 rebounds per 40 minutes) that were not a far cry from the per 40-minute averages he put up during the 2011-12 season when he finished with the sixth highest PER of any player in the league. He still showed himself to be a rebounding and shot-blocking machine who’s an elite finisher at the rim and perhaps the most deadly pick-and-roll roll man in existence. He carried a Laker defense that fell apart anytime he was not on the floor (from March 1 through the end of the season, LA's defensive rating was nearly 11 points better per 100 possessions when Howard played as compared to how the club's D performed when he sat). Oh, and he’s still just 27-years-old.

An element of risk hovers over every prominent transaction. But the fact remains: Players of this ilk just don’t become available very often. A fully healthy Dwight Howard can still be one of the best players on the planet and someone capable of nearly singlehandedly elevating his team’s defense to top-5 status. And at the end of the day, that is the type of player teams need in order to perennially compete for championships.

Andrew Bynum (UFA) (All stats from 2011-12 season)

The basics: 18.7 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.9 bpg, .5 spg, .558 FG%, .692 FT%, 23.00 PER

Advanced stats: 18.7 rebound rate (9th among qualifying Cs), 26.1 defensive rebound rate (7th), 10.6 offensive rebound rate (28th), 7.2 assist rate (35th), 12.9 turnover rate (28th)

Shooting percentages by location: At rim: 73.2% (Cs averaged 66.9% from that distance in ‘12-‘13), 3-9 feet: 42.6% (C average: 40.1%), 10-15 feet: 26.5% (C average: 40.1%), 16-23 feet: 26% (C average: 38.6%)

Noteworthy Synergy stats: Offense: Post-ups: .897 points per possession (74th percentile), Pick-and-roll roll man: 1.147 ppp (83rd percentile), Transition: 1.509 ppp (96th percentile), Cuts: 1.553 ppp (96th percentile)

Defense: Post-ups: .714 ppp (78th percentile), As big defender dealing with the PNR ball-handler: .787 ppp (51st percentile), As big defender dealing with PNR roll man: .846 ppp (47th percentile), Spot-ups: .842 ppp (75th percentile), Isolation: .728 ppp (65th percentile)

Andrew Bynum 2011-12 shot chart:

If the NBA world is scrambling to figure out the Dwight Howard conundrum, just imagine what they’re currently doing with regard to Andrew Bynum. It’s hard to believe we’re just a year removed from the then 24-year-old producing the kind of season that left some wondering whether or not he had assumed the crown of best center in the league. Bynum was an absolute monster in the low-post and on the boards and though he wasn’t in Howard’s class as a defender, he still served as one heck of a rim protector. But no one needs to be convinced of Bynum’s impact when he’s on the floor, of course; they simply want to know whether or not they can actually count on him getting – and staying – there. Knee injuries have plagued him throughout his entire career and prevented him from seeing even a second of playing time this past season. So now the stage is set for one of the most fascinating subplots of the summer. No other player possesses Bynum’s boom-or-bust potential. Gamble in hopes of hitting the jackpot? Or better to play it safe? As the preamble to each of these previews states, assessing that risk ultimately boils down to finding the value (how much, how many years, etc.) that works for you, and that value likely varies from team to team. Without access to a DeLorean and a flux capacitor, there is no obvious answer. And you wonder why some NBA General Managers age as if they were American presidents …

Al Jefferson (UFA)

The basics: 17.8 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.1 bpg, 1.0 spg, .494 FG%, .770 FT%, 20.99 PER

Advanced stats: 16.3 rebound rate (19th among qualifying Cs), 25.9 defensive rebound rate (9th), 7.0 offensive rebound rate (47th), 10.2 assist rate (24th), 6.6 turnover rate (1st)

Shooting percentages by location: At rim: 73.7% (Cs averaged 66.9% from that distance in ‘12-‘13), 3-9 feet: 46.8% (C average: 40.1%), 10-15 feet: 36.3% (C average: 40.1%), 16-23 feet: 41% (C average: 38.6%)

Noteworthy Synergy stats: Offense: Post-ups: .887 points per possession (71st percentile), Spot ups: .835 ppp (33rd percentile), Pick-and-roll roll man: 1.008 ppp (64th percentile), Isolations including passes: .845 ppp (60th percentile), Cuts: 1.406 ppp (91st percentile), Transition: 1.176 (62nd percentile)

Defense: Post-ups: .789 ppp (63rd percentile), As big defender dealing with the PNR ball-handler: .865 ppp (27th percentile), As big defender dealing with PNR roll man: .935 ppp (36th percentile), Spot-ups: 1.009 ppp (44th percentile), Isolation: .981 ppp (15th percentile)

Al Jefferson 2012-13 shot chart:

One of the best post-up scorers in the NBA. Jefferson is a throwback on the left block, effectively utilizing a diverse offensive arsenal that none other than low-post savant Kevin McHale helped him learn. The 28-year-old can score in myriad ways from his favored spots, is a much-improved passer, strong rebounder and almost never turns the ball over. Of course, the latter point exists in large part because Jefferson rarely attacks the rim anymore; he took nearly eight shots per game from the 10-23 foot range, effectively ensuring that he rarely gets to the line relative to most scorers of his stature. Even so, he’s still an undeniably effective offensive player who brings a good deal of value to that end of the floor. It’s on the other side where the more problematic issues arise. Jefferson’s lack of foot speed frequently leaves him in no man’s land defending rolls, making him vulnerable to both blow-bys and a bevy of wide-open jumpers – a big part of the reason why Utah’s defense was more than nine points per 100 possessions better this season when Jefferson was off the floor rather than on it according to NBA.com. And though Big Al does block shots, his 1.1 per game average in that category this season was his lowest since the 2005-06 campaign back when he was still just a bit player for Boston.

Nikola Pekovic (RFA)

The basics: 16.3 ppg, 8.8 rpg, .9 apg, .8 bpg, .7 spg, .520 FG%, .744 FT%, 20.26 PER

Advanced stats: 15.9 rebound rate (23rd among qualifying Cs), 19.0 defensive rebound rate (35th), 13.0 offensive rebound rate (11th), 5.1 assist rate (50th), 9.7 turnover rate (10th)

Shooting percentages by location: At rim: 62.8% (Cs averaged 66.9% from that distance in ‘12-‘13), 3-9 feet: 34.6% (C average: 40.1%), 10-15 feet: 37.0% (C average: 40.1%), 16-23 feet: 23% (C average: 38.6%)

Noteworthy Synergy stats: Offense: Post-ups: .84 points per possession (59th percentile), Pick-and-roll roll man: 1.234 ppp (92nd percentile), Cuts: 1.247 ppp (64th percentile), Transition: 1.233 (77th percentile)

Defense: Post-ups: .717 ppp (80th percentile), As big defender dealing with the PNR ball-handler: .747 ppp (64th percentile), As big defender dealing with PNR roll man: .912 ppp (40th percentile), Spot-ups: .971 ppp (54th percentile), Isolation: .709 ppp (77th percentile)

Nikola Pekovic 2012-13 shot chart:

There might not be a better current NBA doppelganger duo than the Nikola Pekovic/Non the Destroyer combo that’s been making the rounds on the Internet for the last year or so. The resemblance is uncanny, not to mention fitting given the fact the 27-year-old plays with the sort of brute strength befitting an extraterrestrial super villain. Pekovic is an absolute bully along the interior, collecting offensive rebounds en masse, earning trips to the free throw line at a high rate, and downright lethal when barreling down the lane as a pick-and-roll finisher. He’s also done well to become a better defensive rebounder and has dramatically cut down on his turnover rate, now ranking among the best at his position in that category – just two years after being one of the worst. Pekovic is not fleet of foot nor does he possess exceptional length or explosiveness, so he’s unlikely to ever be anything even remotely resembling a defensive anchor. That said, he’s made strides on that end of the floor by more effectively using his burly brawn along the low block, improving his overall awareness and positioning, and acquiring the art of banging bodies without picking up fouls in bunches. Pekovic is apparently human, however: After missing 10 games due to injury last season, he missed 20 more in 2012-13. None of the maladies that felled him during that time was considered serious, but it will be something to at least keep in mind when the inevitable bidding war for his highly sought-after services ensues.

Tiago Splitter (UFA)

The basics: 10.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.6 apg, .8 bpg, .8 spg, .560 FG%, .730 FT%, 18.72 PER

Advanced stats: 14.9 rebound rate (32nd among qualifying Cs), 20.3 defensive rebound rate (29th), 8.8 offensive rebound rate (37th), 14.2 assist rate (14th), 10.9 turnover rate (15th)

Shooting percentages by location: At rim: 67.8% (Cs averaged 66.9% from that distance in ‘12-‘13), 3-9 feet: 29.6% (C average: 40.1%), 10-15 feet: 40.0% (C average: 40.1%), 16-23 feet: 13% (C average: 38.6%)

Noteworthy Synergy stats: Offense: Post-ups: .893 points per possession (72nd percentile), Pick-and-roll roll man: 1.234 ppp (92nd percentile), Cuts: 1.223 ppp (58th percentile), Transition: 1.262 (81st percentile)

Defense: Post-ups: .705 ppp (83rd percentile), As big defender dealing with the PNR ball-handler: .706 ppp (75th percentile), As big defender dealing with PNR roll man: 1.01 ppp (22nd percentile), Spot-ups: .945 ppp (61st percentile), Isolation: .771 ppp (61st percentile)

Tiago Splitter 2012-13 shot chart:

Last year saw Splitter take a big step forward offensively. This season bore witness to the 28-year-old Brazilian making similar progress on the defensive end. As a result, Splitter’s services should be in very high demand this summer, especially since the basketball world has had an opportunity to see the value he brings to a San Antonio team playing on the national stage and preparing for its latest trip to the NBA Finals. On offense, Splitter is good in the low post and downright great as the roll man in pick-and-rolls. He finishes well around the rim, improved significantly as a free throw shooter this season and, like seemingly everyone does in San Antonio, he’s become a clever passer as well. But his most important development came on the defensive end, where Splitter became a key cog in the Spurs’ rise from 11th to 3rd overall in defensive efficiency from last year to this current campaign. The Brazilian big man is not an elite shot blocker or rebounder but his positioning has greatly improved, as has his awareness of how to create problems with his length and size. The numbers bear that out as well: not only are Splitter’s individual defensive metrics much better than they were a year ago but so, too, are San Antonio’s as a team when he is on the floor: According to NBA.com, the Spurs’ defensive rating when Splitter played produced a mark that would have led the league; when he sat that figure ballooned to a mark that was close to league average. No, Splitter isn’t a dominant defender. But in a league forever lusting after bigs capable of making an impact at both ends of the floor, he’s definitely done enough this season to place himself in that category and earn his share of attention.

J.J. Hickson (UFA)

The basics: 12.7 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 1.1 apg, .6 bpg, .6 spg, .562 FG%, .679 FT%, 19.71 PER

Advanced stats: 20.7 rebound rate (4th among qualifying Cs), 28.5 defensive rebound rate (3rd), 13.2 offensive rebound rate (10th), 8.0 assist rate (34th), 13.2 turnover rate (31st)

Shooting percentages by location: At rim: 68.2% (Cs averaged 66.9% from that distance in ‘12-‘13), 3-9 feet: 32.0% (C average: 40.1%), 10-15 feet: 44.4% (C average: 40.1%), 16-23 feet: 45% (C average: 38.6%)

Noteworthy Synergy stats: Offense: Post-ups: .725 points per possession (31st percentile), Pick-and-roll roll man: 1.095 ppp (79th percentile), Spot-ups: .898 ppp (45th percentile), Transition: 1.364 ppp (91st percentile), Isolations including passes: .657 ppp (21st percentile), Cuts: 1.237 ppp (63rd percentile)

Defense: Post-ups: .937 ppp (49th percentile), As big defender dealing with the PNR ball-handler: .787 ppp (49th percentile), As big defender dealing with PNR roll man: .805 ppp (59th percentile), Spot-ups: .98 ppp (53rd percentile), Isolation: .917 ppp (26th percentile)

J.J. Hickson 2012-13 shot chart:

Not too shabby of a contract year push, Mr. Hickson. The 24-year-old pogo stick produced the best season of his career, by far, in 2012-13, especially with regard to rebounding where he became downright beastly on the boards. Despite playing out of position as a center all season, Hickson was a dominant rebounder at both ends of the floor. He was also terrifically productive around the rim and delivered solid results when playing pick-and-pop (while doing well to avoid becoming overly reliant upon it; something that had occasionally plagued him in the past). The problem with Hickson is figuring out what to do with him defensively. He’s clearly overmatched going up against centers night in and night out, but his results to date haven’t been appreciably better against power forwards, either. Due to that rather glaring deficiency, it’s hard to envision Hickson as a full-time starter on a playoff caliber club at this point. But he could potentially provide a good deal of value in a reserve role on an up-tempo team in need of a backup big to provide some scoring and rebounding pop off the bench.

Andray Blatche (UFA)

The basics: 10.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.0 apg, .7 bpg, 1.0 spg, .512 FG%, .685 FT%, 20.99 PER

Advanced stats: 15.8 rebound rate (24th among qualifying Cs), 19.6 defensive rebound rate (32nd), 12.2 offensive rebound rate (16th), 8.7 assist rate (32nd), 12.6 turnover rate (37th)

Shooting percentages by location: At rim: 68.2% (Cs averaged 66.9% from that distance in ‘12-‘13), 3-9 feet: 37.6% (C average: 40.1%), 10-15 feet: 35.2% (C average: 40.1%), 16-23 feet: 41% (C average: 38.6%)

Noteworthy Synergy stats: Offense: Post-ups: .849 points per possession (62nd percentile), Spot ups: .787 ppp (25th percentile), Pick-and-roll roll man: .833 ppp (23rd percentile), Isolations including passes: .878 ppp (67th percentile), Cuts: 1.105 ppp (36th percentile), Transition: 1.364 (91st percentile)

Defense: Post-ups: .878 ppp (41st percentile), As big defender dealing with the PNR ball-handler: .857 ppp (28th percentile), As big defender dealing with PNR roll man: .829 ppp (53rd percentile), Spot-ups: 1.014 ppp (43rd percentile), Isolation: .568 ppp (94th percentile)

Andray Blatche 2012-13 shot chart:

Well, well, well. Who saw this coming? Reborn in Brooklyn, Blatche got himself into better condition, improved his frequently egregious decision-making and as a result returned to being a useful NBA player again. He dramatically cut down on the number of long twos taken. He finished around the rim better than ever before. He posted the highest field goal percentage of his career (in fact, it was the first time he’d ever hit more than 50 percent of his shots). All good things for a player who’s always had talent yet too often lacked the maturity to make the most of it. That said, there remains plenty of work to be done, especially on the defensive end. His pick-and-roll defense is porous – and that’s being kind – and that obviously poses a wee bit of a problem in a league that throws one screen-and-roll after another at opposing defenses. But after taking a significant step back toward respectability this season, hopefully the 26-year-old can take yet another while continuing to rebuild the career he came so close to throwing away.

Brandan Wright (UFA)

The basics: 8.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg, .6 apg, 1.2 bpg, .4 spg, .597 FG%, .615 FT%, 21.03 PER

Advanced stats: 12.6 rebound rate (47th among qualifying Cs), 16.7 defensive rebound rate (44th), 8.4 offensive rebound rate (40th), 7.3 assist rate (41st), 6.6 turnover rate (1st)

Shooting percentages by location: At rim: 74.4% (Cs averaged 66.9% from that distance in ‘12-‘13), 3-9 feet: 55.9% (C average: 40.1%), 10-15 feet: 48.8% (C average: 40.1%), 16-23 feet: 55% (C average: 38.6%)

Noteworthy Synergy stats: Offense: Pick-and-roll roll man: 1.203 ppp (89th percentile), Cuts: 1.343 ppp (84th percentile), Transition: 1.098 ppp (45th percentile), Post-ups: .324 points per possession (1st percentile), Spot-ups: 1.109 ppp (83rd percentile),

Defense: Post-ups: .927 ppp (32nd percentile), As big defender dealing with the PNR ball-handler: .706 ppp (75th percentile), As big defender dealing with PNR roll man: .55 ppp (92nd percentile), Spot-ups: 1.033 ppp (37th percentile), Isolation: .763 ppp (64th percentile)

Brandan Wright 2012-13 shot chart:

Is Brandan Wright a perpetual tease or a legit talent that just needs a little more time to reach full bloom? The latter is not particularly unusual with big men and there’s certainly no question Wright possesses some gifts that make him a rather intriguing future bet. He’s a long, springy athlete who is nothing short of outstanding around the rim. He can block shots in bunches. He never turns the ball over. And his length and athleticism give him the ability to be very disruptive when defending pick-and-rolls. But now five years into his NBA career, Wright still has no post game to speak of and the 25-year-old’s lack of bulk and physicality have too often left him as a liability along the interior where he has a tendency to get bullied both on the boards and on the block. Again, time remains for Wright to capitalize on his considerable potential. But until some of the holes in his game are addressed, inconsistency will be an ever-present issue and the ‘back-up big’ label will loom as his likely NBA destiny.

Samuel Dalembert (UFA)

The basics: 6.7 ppg, 5.9 rpg, .4 apg, 1.1 bpg, .4 spg, .542 FG%, .691 FT%, 18.60 PER

Advanced stats: 19.4 rebound rate (6th among qualifying Cs), 24.9 defensive rebound rate (12th), 14.2 offensive rebound rate (6th), 6.0 assist rate (45th), 14.6 turnover rate (38th)

Shooting percentages by location: At rim: 65.9% (Cs averaged 66.9% from that distance in ‘12-‘13), 3-9 feet: 38.5% (C average: 40.1%), 10-15 feet: 52.6% (C average: 40.1%), 16-23 feet: 36% (C average: 38.6%)

Noteworthy Synergy stats: Offense: Pick-and-roll roll man: 1.016 ppp (65th percentile), Cuts: 1.226 ppp (59th percentile), Post-ups: .714 points per possession (28th percentile), Spot-ups: .76 ppp (22nd percentile)

Defense: Post-ups: .926 ppp (32nd percentile), As big defender dealing with the PNR ball-handler: .806 ppp (42nd percentile), As big defender dealing with PNR roll man: .839 ppp (52nd percentile), Spot-ups: 1.118 ppp (18th percentile)

Samuel Dalembert 2012-13 shot chart:

You know what you’re getting with Samuel Dalembert: elite rebounding and shot blocking, the occasional monster game that makes you think he’s capable of giving you so much more (hello, his 35 and 12 effort on February 5), followed by some head scratching disappearing acts that ultimately leave him coming awfully close to finishing the year near his career average marks of 8 points, 8 rebounds and nearly two blocks per game.  Now 32-years-old, Dalembert is who he is. But show me an NBA team and I’ll show you a club that can use rebounding and rim protection. Dalembert won’t be a high profile acquisition, but there’s a strong likelihood he’ll be a helpful one.

Chris Kaman (UFA)

The basics: 10.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg, .8 apg, .8 bpg, .4 spg, .507 FG%, .788 FT%, 16.32 PER

Advanced stats: 15.1 rebound rate (31st among qualifying Cs), 22.0 defensive rebound rate (21st), 8.0 offensive rebound rate (42nd), 6.3 assist rate (43rd), 12.7 turnover rate (28th)

Shooting percentages by location: At rim: 64.3% (Cs averaged 66.9% from that distance in ‘12-‘13), 3-9 feet: 57.6% (C average: 40.1%), 10-15 feet: 42.5% (C average: 40.1%), 16-23 feet: 51% (C average: 38.6%)

Noteworthy Synergy stats: Offense: Pick-and-roll roll man: 1.203 ppp (89th percentile), Cuts: 1.159 ppp (47th percentile), Post-ups: .746 points per possession (37th percentile), Spot-ups: .89 ppp (44th percentile)

Defense: Post-ups: .779 ppp (66th percentile), As big defender dealing with the PNR ball-handler: .815 ppp (38th percentile), As big defender dealing with PNR roll man: 1.05 ppp (19th percentile), Spot-ups: .708 ppp (94th percentile), Isolations: 1.152 ppp (5th percentile)

Chris Kaman 2012-13 shot chart:

Chris Kaman is not the flashy type – that much should be apparent just by taking one quick look at his appearance – and it certainly holds true while trying to describe his hoops game as well. He’s a decent offensive player – able to score in the low post and via some pick-and-pop – though not a terribly efficient one, largely because his scoring these days increasingly comes away from the basket thereby putting a serious drag on his ability to get to the free throw line. He’s also not much of a passer and has a tendency to turn the ball over quite a bit. It’s a similar story at the other end of the floor. The 31-year-old is a good short blocker, solid defensive rebounder and is able to use his size to good effect as a post defender, but his lack of foot speed can be exploited in situations that require more mobility (pick-and-rolls, isolations, etc.). With 10 years of NBA service now under his belt and a pretty lengthy injury dossier to boot, Kaman likely can no longer be relied upon to man the starting five-spot for a playoff caliber club. But his no-frills game can still come in handy in a reserve role, especially if the price is right.

Chris Andersen (UFA)

The basics: 4.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg, .4 apg, 1.0 bpg, .4 spg, .577 FG%, .677 FT%, 17.44 PER

Advanced stats: 17.0 rebound rate (16th among qualifying Cs), 21.5 defensive rebound rate (24th), 11.9 offensive rebound rate (22nd), 8.3 assist rate (33rd), 11.7 turnover rate (23rd)

Shooting percentages by location: At rim: 62.2% (Cs averaged 66.9% from that distance in ‘12-‘13), 3-9 feet: 33.3% (C average: 40.1%), 10-15 feet: N/A (C average: 40.1%), 16-23 feet: N/A (C average: 38.6%)

Noteworthy Synergy stats: Offense: Pick-and-roll roll man: 1.327 ppp (97th percentile), Cuts: 1.311 ppp (78th percentile)

Defense: Post-ups: .774 ppp (67th percentile), As big defender dealing with the PNR ball-handler: .75 ppp (62nd percentile), As big defender dealing with PNR roll man: .636 ppp (84th percentile), Spot-ups: 1.159 ppp (11th percentile), Isolations: .889 ppp (32nd percentile)

Chris Andersen 2012-13 shot chart:

Life sure is good when you get to play with the best player in the universe and the best team in the NBA, isn’t it? That’s not to take anything away from Andersen, who certainly gave Miami a spark upon his arrival in late January. His energy off the bench is infectious, he rebounds reasonably well, blocks some shots and has given the Heat some semblance of an inside presence when the need has arisen. But more than anything else, he’s smartly taken full advantage of the playmaking exploits of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, setting screens for them before rolling to the rim for a flurry of dunks and other assorted easy buckets off duck-ins and baseline cuts when defenses load up on that duo – which is pretty much always – leaving themselves exposed to the kind of damage Andersen can inflict. Even at the age of 34, the Birdman has proven himself to still be a useful player. Just don’t expect quite the same sort of impact from him next season unless your team somehow manages to steal LeBron away as well.

Jermaine O’Neal (UFA)

The basics: 8.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg, .8 apg, 1.4 bpg, .3 spg, .482 FG%, .835 FT%, 16.76 PER

Advanced stats: 16.2 rebound rate (20th among qualifying Cs), 23.8 defensive rebound rate (16th), 8.9 offensive rebound rate (36th), 7.8 assist rate (35th), 13.6 turnover rate (35th)

Shooting percentages by location: At rim: 66.1% (Cs averaged 66.9% from that distance in ‘12-‘13), 3-9 feet: 43.7% (C average: 40.1%), 10-15 feet: 45.6% (C average: 40.1%), 16-23 feet: 28% (C average: 38.6%)

Noteworthy Synergy stats: Offense: Pick-and-roll roll man: 1.159 ppp (83rd percentile), Cuts: 1.169 ppp (48th percentile), Post-ups: .867 points per possession (66th percentile), Spot-ups: .742 ppp (19th percentile)

Defense: Post-ups: .628 ppp (92nd percentile), As big defender dealing with the PNR ball-handler: .758 ppp (59th percentile), As big defender dealing with PNR roll man: .964 ppp (31st percentile), Spot-ups: .931 ppp (65th percentile), Isolations: 1.35 ppp (1st percentile)

Jermaine O’Neal 2012-13 shot chart:

Upon further review, Jermaine O’Neal’s comeback season probably ranks as an even bigger surprise than the one turned in by Andray Blatche. With injuries and age having left him just a shadow of his All-Star self, the 17-year vet looked ready to retire a year ago, especially after turning in back-to-back seasons with a PER below 10. But with an assist from the medicine men in Phoenix, O’Neal managed to turn back the clock a bit for at least one campaign while giving the Suns quality minutes in a backup role. The 34-year-old doubled his scoring rate from the previous season and recorded his highest rebound rate in nearly a decade. Given his age and injury history, asking O’Neal to duplicate that kind of production next year is probably akin to finding a $20 bill on the street on the street today and expecting the same thing to happen tomorrow. But if O’Neal can stay healthy, he has at least shown he’s still able to help out in a limited role.

Players possessing opt out options they are unlikely to exercise: Andris Biedrins (ETO), Emeka Okafor (ETO)

Other notables: Cole Aldrich (UFA), Kwame Brown (UFA – Player option), Jason Collins (UFA), Aaron Gray (UFA – Player option), Ryan Hollins (UFA), Nazr Mohammed (UFA), Timofey Mozgov (RFA), Byron Mullens (RFA), Zaza Pachulia (UFA), Johan Petro (UFA), Joel Pryzbilla (UFA), Robert Sacre (RFA), Ronny Turiaf (UFA)