August 31, 2023, 1:35 am
Top-10 Unrestricted Free Agents to Draft
NBA players are human like the rest of us and there’s often a real motivation to kick their game into high gear when they are on the cusp of signing a massive deal. The new CBA kicks in soon and with the new TV deal also looming, there is a Brinks truck worth of money available to stars that become indispensable to their franchise. There are generally two types of unrestricted free agents, one that is looking for their first big contract once making the leap after their first or second deal and the established vet who is looking for a massive payday later in their career. This isn’t a great free agent class by any means, but that just means there will be more mid-tiered players looking to cash in on their breakout season. Here is a list of the top unrestricted free agents you should avoid drafting in fantasy for the coming season.
Nicolas Claxton – C – (BRK)
Claxton went from finishing the 2022 season ranked outside the top-200 in totals to being a top-15 player last season and you won’t see a meteoric jump like that very often in the annals of fantasy hoops. Claxton is only 24 years old and in search of his first big deal and all signs point to him following last season with another monster. His 54.1 FT% hurts, but everything else is gravy and his ability to contribute defensive stats (2.5 blocks 0.9 steals) sets him apart from almost all other fantasy players. The Nets were a chemistry mess last season and the only true constant was Claxton protecting the rim.
They now have a solid foundation and moving forward it should continue to be all roses for the bouncy big man. He only played in 30 minutes per-game last season and if he could up that closer to 35, the sky is the limit. Claxton makes an ideal pairing with Giannis Antetokounmpo in a free throw punt strategy and even without Giannis; his 3.4 FTA per-game isn’t a killer. He played in 76 games last season and was still finding his footing and confidence on both ends. If he has another gear left in him; expect him to hit it this season as he seeks out the kind of contract that will set him and his family up for generations. If you missed out on him last season, don’t make that mistake again even with the increased draft capital.
Tobias Harris – PF – (PHI)
Harris is one of the league’s forgotten men and almost always slides on draft day because he doesn’t do anything great and none of his lines pop in the box score. Would it shock you to learn that Harris has finished top-50 in totals the last four seasons and top-25 in two of those four? Harris has had a “bloated” contract ever since the Sixers decided to keep him instead of Jimmy Butler, but he’s lived up to that deal and will now be in search of an even bigger one.
The Sixers are a mess right now and who knows if they keep James Harden, dump him for spare parts or trade Joel Embiid and blow the whole thing up. As far as Harris is concerned, he’s a winner either way because all Harris needs is the opportunity to put up stats across the board. His percentages are always great (50.1 FG%, 87.6 FT%) and he’s almost always healthy, playing in 62-74 games in each of the last four campaigns. Harris is still in his prime, versatile and underutilized on this current Sixers roster and you better believe he’s going to try and convince a team to give him 200 million dollars next season. No one will clap for you when you draft Harris, but I promise you are almost always getting two rounds of value simply because other GMs will view him as boring.
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