The NBA offseason is here, and free agency begins on Monday, Aug. 2 at 6:00 p.m. when teams can begin negotiating contracts with free agents.
This free agency class is highlighted by a number of All-Stars and former All-Stars, but it's not just top-heavy. There is plenty of talent throughout the class, with a number of players who will be in high demand based on specific skills they bring to the table.
2021 NBA Free Agency: Top free agents | PG | SG | SF | PF | C
We've broken down the best free agents, both overall and by position, so now gear up for the free agency period with a look at the best shooters, passers, defenders, rim protectors and 3-and-D specialists available.
1. Duncan Robinson (Restricted)
Undrafted in 2018, Robinson has established himself among the league's top 3-point shooters in three short seasons. Robinson finished the 2020-21 NBA season fourth in 3-point makes (250) and fifth in made 3-pointers per game (3.5), doing so at a 40.8 percent clip. Of players who shot above 40 percent from deep, only MVP finalist Stephen Curry (337) made more 3s than Robinson.
A catch-and-shoot ace, over three-fourths of Robinson's 3-point makes came in such situations.
2. Tim Hardaway Jr. (Unrestricted): Knocked down 3.0 triples per game at a 39.1 percent clip in 2020-21, and drained a career-high 10 3s in a win over the Miami Heat in May.
3. Devonte' Graham (Restricted): Second among all free agents with 3.3 made 3-pointers per game in 2020-21 season, shooting at a 37.5 percent clip.
Five more: Gary Trent Jr., Norman Powell, Wayne Ellington, Doug McDermott, J.J. Redick
1. Chris Paul (Player Option)
One of the greatest passers to ever play the game, the 36-year-old Paul is coming off of a season in which he averaged 8.9 assists per game and crossed the 10,000 assist plateau.
MORE: Best options for CP3 in free agency
Paul's facilitating extends beyond his assists, as he is a gifted passer who has the ability to dictate the offence with his playmaking and all-time basketball IQ. Ranked as the second-best free agent in the class - and best point guard - Paul is set to make a major impact wherever he lands in his 17th season, if it's a return to Phoenix or not.
2. Lonzo Ball (Restricted): Ball is a gifted passer, from lead passes and lobs to simple half-court reads. Career average of 6.4 assists through four seasons.
3. Kyle Lowry (Unrestricted): Heading into Year 16, Lowry gets better with time. Over the last three seasons, the 35-year-old averaged 7.9 assists per game, including a career-best 8.7 in the 2018-19 season.
Five more: Mike Conley, DeMar DeRozan, Devonte' Graham, Cameron Payne, TJ McConnell
1. Kawhi Leonard (Player Option)
A two-time Defensive Player of the Year, Leonard is fresh off of earning the seventh All-Defensive Team selection of his 10-year NBA career.
MORE: Kawhi's best free agency options
While rehab from surgery to repair a partially torn ACL will hold Leonard out for at least part of the 2021-22 NBA season, all signs indicate he will make a full recovery, meaning he can return to being a defensive game-changer as soon as he returns to the floor.
2. P.J. Tucker (Unrestricted): Look no further than the Milwaukee Bucks' title run to learn about Tucker's defensive prowess. At 36, he used his physicality to make things difficult for Jimmy Butler, Kevin Durant, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Trae Young, Chris Paul and Devin Booker in the postseason.
3. Torrey Craig (Unrestricted): At 6-foot-7 and 220 pounds, Craig's size and solid frame allow him to be a versatile defender, something he put on display as a key perimeter defender during the Suns' run to the NBA Finals.
Five more: Chris Paul, Kyle Lowry, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Alex Caruso, Trevor Ariza
Best rim protectors
1. Jarrett Allen (Restricted)
At 23, Allen stands to be in high demand despite being a restricted free agent.
At 6-foot-11, Allen's wingspan measures at 7-foot-6, making him a threat to block and defend shots around the rim. While his career average of 1.4 blocks per game might not immediately jump off of the page, the numbers support that Allen is one of the league's best defenders within six feet of the rim, as he uses his size and length to alter and discourage shots.
That's what rim protection is all about, anyway.
2. Nerlens Noel (Unrestricted): At 27, the 6-foot-11 Noel is coming off a season in which he averaged a career-best 2.2 blocks per game, including some big stops at the rim.
3. Khem Birch (Unrestricted): At 6-foot-9, Birch has length, athleticism and instincts that make him a threat to defend anything around the rim, making him a solid defensive anchor in spurts.
Five more: Mitchell Robinson (Team Option), Richaun Holmes, Serge Ibaka, JaVale McGee, Dwight Howard
Best 3-and-D players
1. JaMychal Green (Player Option)
Having reportedly already declined his player option for the 2021-22 season, Green jumps to the top of this list.
With a 6-foot-8, 225-pound frame, Green has the physical tools to guard multiple positions. As for shooting, Green has knocked down 242 triples at a 39.5 percent clip over the last three seasons, proving to be an extremely valuable asset everywhere he's played.
2. P.J. Tucker (Unrestricted): What more can be said about Tucker? In addition to his defensive profile, he maintains the reputation of a corner 3-point specialist.
3. Danny Green (Unrestricted): A key part of Philadelphia's second-ranked defence, Green knocked down 2.5 3s at a 40.5 percent rate in the 2020-21 season.
Five more: Jeff Green, Otto Porter Jr., Tony Snell, Trevor Ariza, Wesley Matthews
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