With players like Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler and other stars on the move this offseason, it is easy to turn your attention to the top tier talent changing teams or teaming up. Despite all the star power that took over free agency, there were over four billion dollars in signed contracts and a third of the league were free agents going into the summer. This brought on many open slots for quality role players to make moves that could affect the landscape of the 2019 – 2020 season. Here are ten underrated free agent signings that could turn a fringe playoff team into a title contender.
1. Malcolm Brogdon to the Indiana Pacers
Known as "The President" and the 2016 Rookie of the Year, Brogdon provides stability at point guard for a pacers team desperate for ball handlers. As a career 50-40-90 player in terms of percentages shooting from the field, behind the arc and the free throw line, it is clear that the man is an efficient shooter. Brogdon provides a high basketball IQ, quality decision making and formidable defensive capabilities that make him a perfect fit alongside Victor Oladipo. Between both Brogdon and Oladipo, injury concerns are the biggest dilemma that could stunt their growth as a potential top backcourt. This little wrinkle in the roster may be enough to keep Indiana afloat in the midst of the departure of Bojan Bogdanovic to Utah. With the return of Oladipo, the addition of Brogdon and the hopeful offensive improvement of Myles Turner, the Pacers have the potential to remain a top four team in the East.
2. JJ Redick to the New Orleans Pelicans
Two words: Knockdown Shooter. As a career long sharpshooter from behind the 3-point line, Reddick provides the Pelicans with range, floor spacing and a veteran presence in the locker room. Coming out of the draft and the trading of Anthony Davis to the Lakers, the Pelicans now infuse the roster with youth and the athleticism that coach Alvin Gentry needs to run his Run-n-Gun high tempo offense. Reddick provides constant motion off the ball and the threat as a shooter that will open up the lane for players like Zion Williamson to operate inside and get easy points. The Pelicans are looking to be a fringe playoff team and Reddick could potentially be their sixth man of the year candidate as a three-point sniper off the bench.
3. Bojan Bogdanovic to the Utah Jazz
The West continues to improve and the Utah Jazz are at the forefront of the conference in terms of getting better overnight. Averaging 18 points, four rebounds while shooting over 40 percent from the floor and from three last season for the Pacers, Bogdanovic had a break out season in the absence of Victor Oladipo. Pair Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley, Rudy Gobert and Joe Ingles, Utah will have a balanced starting lineup with a combination of ball handlers, slashers and shooters that can be deadly in the half court. With the departure of Derrick Favors, Bogdanovic may be the missing piece that helps the Jazz become a perennial threat in the Western Conference for years to come.
4. Julius Randle to the New York Knicks
Not a needle mover in terms of playoff contention, but the signing shows signs of stability in the Knicks' front office. After missing out on the Zion sweepstakes and losing Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to Brooklyn, New York never panicked. Rather than scrambling and over paying players in a frenzy as the Knicks of the past would, they instead made solid acquisitions of quality players on short-term deals. Randle being the poster child of the Knicks' free agency averaged 21 points and nearly nine rebounds for the Pelicans last season. Randle alongside RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson and others will displays signs of a young developing squad that shows way more promise than a group of veteran players hogging up roster spots on bad contracts.
5. DeAndre Jordan to the Brooklyn Nets
The hidden gem in the Brooklyn Nets' offseason. Most will focus on the KD and Kyrie, but Jordan could potentially be one of the most impactful players on this team this season. The Nets desperately needed depth and offense at the center position behind Jarrett Allen and Jordan checks both of those boxes. Expect nothing more than lobs and put-back dunks as Jordan will act as a high-energy rim runner on pick and rolls with Irving or even Spencer Dinwiddie. The Nets offseason was among the best in recent memory as they look to officially takeover New York basketball.
6. Patrick Beverley Resigns with the Los Angeles Clippers
Mr. 94 feet tuned down $50 million from the Sacramento Kings and for what? For a chance at a chip. With the recent acquisitions of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, Beverley has the chance to be the next Ron Harper in terms of historically great defensive point guards. Similar to the Harper-Jordan-Pippen combination on those championship Chicago Bulls teams, Beverley, Leonard and George have the potential to be one of the greatest defensive units in NBA history. Casual fans will look at Leonard and George as the sole source of any of the Clippers' championship success, but it is the "know your role" players like Beverley that will help put them over the top.
7. Ricky Rubio to the Phoenix Suns
Similar to Julius Randle to the Knicks, this is not a sexy pick or a needle mover, but it is a solid signing at a position of dire need. With players like Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton who have significant potential offensively, they just need someone to get them the ball. Known primarily as a facilitator, Rubio has averaged between five and nine assists per game showing his willingness to get others involved. This signing is not major in regards to the standings, but it is potentially a huge step forward for a Suns organization just trying to find something that will stick.
8. Enes Kanter to the Boston Celtics
A potential double-double machine, Kanter has the potential to replace Al Horford's production at least offensively. In a Brad Stevens office predicated on ball movement and finding miss matches, Kanter can be a quality big man on a team already loaded with wing depth. As a potential pick and roll partner with Kemba Walker, he will be relatively productive as an offensive threat while also providing an attitude to a team in search of an identity.
9. Mario Hezonja to the Portland Trail Blazers
He is no stat stuffer or special talent, but he provides a much-needed level of athleticism at the power forward/center position for the Trail Blazers. With Nurkic and now Hassan Whiteside, Hezonja further adds depth to their frontcourt which most would consider to be their biggest hole in the roster. In the Western Conference where depth is key amongst these star-led teams, this top team continues to sure up their roster in little ways to hang amongst the West's best.
10. Boban Majanovic to the Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks now have two of the tallest players in the league in Boban and Kristaps Porzingis, which makes them formidable in terms of protecting the paint and inside presence. This combo gives them a unique lineup with potential to out rebound opponents consistently, providing extra looks and easy buckets. You cannot teach seven feet and now Dallas has two seven footers on the same team.