It’s probably not all that instructive to rank free agents who can’t sign anywhere, but hey, gotta fill the copy monster, right? SI.com’s Zach Lowe unveiled his list of the top 20 wing players who will be available when the lockout is resolved and a couple of Pistons made the list:
2. Tayshaun Prince
At 31, Prince isn’t what he once was, and he was part of a poisonous atmosphere in Detroit last season. But he’s another guy who helps on both ends, and he’s ideal as a third or fourth option on a good team — a guy who might not work as a primary threat, but someone who can post up, hit spot-up three-pointers and isolate in a pinch as the shot clock winds down.
18. Tracy McGrady
McGrady’s season in Detroit has to be considered a success, as he proved he can work as an effective point forward type even though his old athleticism is mostly gone. In what may be a one-year fluke, his one-on-one defensive numbers were outstanding (per Synergy Sports), and the Pistons played much better defense with McGrady on the floor. Painting McGrady as a plus defender at this stage doesn’t quite pass the eye test, and the Pistons were pretty bad on that end regardless of personnel.
But McGrady showed he can be a productive bench guy just about anywhere.
1. Arron Afflalo (restricted)
It’s fine if you think this is crazy. Other guys have bigger names and flashier games, filled with isolation highlights and pick-and-roll mastery. But Afflalo is a two-way player, something several guys on this list can’t say, and he looks to be entering his prime, both in terms of age (he’ll be 26 in October) and playing style. He has gradually evolved on offense from a one-dimensional spot-up shooter into someone who can hurt you in a variety of ways — in transition, coming off screens, working off the dribble and even posting up smaller defenders.
He’ll have to continue that evolution to justify this ranking, and placing him here amounts to a bet that he will.