NBA free agency 2023: Austin Reaves, Brook Lopez headline top players back after Day 1

The first day of free agency was, as always, a whirlwind. We handed out 39 instant grades from various industries and signings, along with rankings for all 30 teams’ moves.

There will still be many more signings as free agency continues, and there are a handful of quality names that remain unsigned.

Here are the top remaining players by position.

MORE: Live tracker for all free moves

Best point guards left in 2023 NBA free agency

1. D’Angelo Russell | Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

Russell is a good offensive player. He is able to find his own shot, averaging 17.7 points per game. fight in his career. He also has great range and shot 39.6 percent from 3-point range last season. But he’s not much of a finisher at the rim, and he’s only a mediocre passer.

Russell has had stretches where he has played well defensively and acted as a quarterback of sorts for the Timberwolves’ system. His individual defense hasn’t been that great – he was relentlessly targeted by the Nuggets during the Western Conference Finals.

Still, offensive creation is hard to come by in the league, and Russell offers that ability.

2. Russell Westbrook | Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

Westbrook revived his career after signing with the Clippers. He showed that he is still a very effective player when he is in the right system.

Which system is it? Westbrook needs to have the ball in his hands to be most effective. He also needs shooters around him. When he has those two ingredients, he can still wreak havoc by getting to the rim and spraying the ball out to teammates.

When Westbrook is in the wrong situation like he was with the Lakers, he’s going to look terrible. Teams need to be cautious, but if the ingredients for his success are there, then he can still help a team in a big way.

3. Patrick Beverley | Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

Beverley looked like his best days were behind him after he was waived by the Lakers. He had something of a career renaissance with the Bulls in the second half of the season, helping to propel them into the Play-In Tournament.

Beverley is still a good defender with a nose for the ball and a loud leader. But his offense has taken a dive in recent years.

Once a reliable shooter, he has hit just 33.9 percent of his 3-pointers over the last two seasons. He also has a slow windup and is very hesitant to pull the trigger on open shots.

Still, his defensive value should generate some interest from the Bulls and other teams.

4. Dennis Smith Jr. | Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

Smith was out of the league and thinking about the focal point of a career in the NFL before the Hornets came calling. He has completely rebuilt his game from what the Mavericks thought they were getting when they took him with the No. 9 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.

Back then, Smith was thought of as a dynamic, offense-first point guard with lackluster defense. Now he is more of a defensive specialist. He uses his athleticism to get into passing lanes and harass opposing ball handlers.

Smith’s unreliable jumper was one of the big reasons he got out of the league. That’s still a problem — he hit just 21.6 percent of his 3-pointers last season. But he does enough other things on the floor to be a backup point guard for any team.

5. Cory Joseph | Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

Joseph is a 12-year veteran who has languished in Detroit for the past two and a half seasons. He is a good shooter and a decent defender.

Best shooting guards left in 2023 NBA free agency

Austin Reaves

1. Austin Reaves | Status: Restricted free agent

Reaves showed he was a legitimate third option in the playoffs, averaging 16.9 points per game in the Lakers’ run to the Western Conference Finals. He has some jitters with his dribble, and he shot 39.8 percent from deep last season. He is also elite at drawing mistakes.

Reaves isn’t a one-way player either. He’s a much better one-on-one defender than he’s given credit for, and he plays well within the Lakers’ defensive scheme.

2. Donte DiVincenzo | Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

DiVincenzo rebuilt his value with the Warriors after suffering a nasty ankle injury two seasons ago that caused his game to fall off.

He’s a smart defender and a good 3-point shooter who hit 39.7 percent of his attempts last season. At 26, his next contract will take him through his prime. He could get as much as $12.4 million at the mid-level somewhere.

3. Lonnie Walker IV | Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

Walker broke out in the playoffs for the Lakers, scoring 15 points in the fourth quarter of their Game 5 win over the Warriors. He knows how to find his own shot and can score from all three levels on the floor.

He is also still only 24 years old. He needs to improve defensively as he can lose focus at times.

Best small forwards left in 2023 NBA free agency

Dillon Brooks Memphis Grizzlies

1. Dillon Brooks | Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

Brooks is one of the most polarizing players in the league. His defense is extremely valuable – he was named to his first All-Defensive Team last season. He is an annoying person who is willing to do the dirty work on that end of the floor.

Brooks can also shoot his teams out of games. He is one of the most ineffective players in the league. His 3-point percentage has been declining in recent years, and he will take some shots that completely destroy a team’s offensive flow.

And then there’s Brooks’ unique personality. The Grizzlies have leaked that they have no intention of bringing him back because of the distractions he caused last season.

Brooks has a chance to be a very helpful player if he can rein in his shot selection and attitude issues.

2. Max Strus | Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

Strus turned himself into a quality starter for a finals team. He has hit 37.1 percent of his 3-point attempts in his career, many of them on difficult motion shots.

He’s also a capable defender and won’t be targeted when he’s on the floor. These types of 3-and-D role players are extremely valuable.

Strus is 27 and has been on minimum contracts his entire career. He’ll be looking for a big payday this summer.

3. Kelly Oubre Jr. | Status: Unrestricted free agent

Oubre has always put up good counting stats and last year was no different. He averaged 20.3 points per game in his career.

But he has consistent head-scratching play from game to game that leads to serious questions about his emotion. He should be a good defender, but he often makes his biggest mistakes on that end of the floor.

Oubre is a very streaky player. However, there aren’t a ton of wings with his tools and up.

4. Torrey Craig | Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

Craig has vacillated between starting and coming off the bench for the Suns. He is a good defender, but he has problems with being too passive in attack.

Like Oubre, he can make some head-scratching decisions, but he’s good in a specialized role as a 3-and-D wing.

5. Jalen McDaniels | Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

McDaniels is a talented player who has yet to find the right fit in the league. The Sixers traded for him last season, but he didn’t play much against him in their playoff rotation. He never quite found his groove with the Hornets during his first few years in the league.

However, McDaniels promises something. He is a good defender whose 6-9 frame allows him to guard multiple positions. He has also shown a nice 3-point stroke.

He is not the type of player who will ever average 20 points per game. battle, but he is a good role player.

Best power forwards left in 2023 NBA free agency

Grant Williams Boston Celtics

1. Grant Williams | Status: Restricted free agent

Williams is a good two-way player who has developed his 3-point shot since entering the league, hitting over 40 percent of his attempts from deep over the past two seasons. He has the strength to guard some of the tougher forward assignments in the league and decent feet to stay in front of the guards as well.

Williams is a good rotation player, but for whatever reason, he doesn’t seem to have earned coach Joe Mazzulla’s trust. The Celtics also have a difficult salary cap situation to navigate in the coming years, so a big offer from someone could lead to Williams changing teams.

2. PJ Washington | Status: Restricted free agent

Washington is a good scorer. He averaged a career-high 15.7 points per game on an offense-starved Hornets team last season. He’s a nice stretch option, shooting 36.6 percent from 3-point range for his career, and he also has some drive when attacking closeouts.

He is a good roller with the ability to create a bit with his passing or finish at the rim. He is more of a mixed bag defensively as he can have trouble staying in front of guys at times.

3. Jae Crowder | Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

Crowder sat out most of the year after the Suns told him his role was reduced, then played just 18.9 minutes per game. game with the Bucks after they traded for him in February.

He turns 33 in July, and he’s not the player he once was. But he can still stretch the floor for teams – he shot 43.6 percent from deep for the Bucks. And he is a rugged, shifty defender.

Best centers left in 2023 NBA free agency

Brook Lopez Milwaukee Bucks

1. Brook Lopez | Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

Lopez’s defensive prowess sets him apart as one of the premier big men in the game.

Last season, he demonstrated his ability by finishing as the runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year. What makes him truly unique is his ability to provide top-notch rim protection while spreading the floor with his shooting and providing a good post-up game to take advantage of switches.

At age 35, a long-term deal is a problem. Lopez had to contend with back problems that limited his appearances in the 2021–22 season.

Nevertheless, he should continue to perform at a remarkably high level next season.

2. Christian Wood | Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

Wood couldn’t quite earn Jason Kidd’s trust due to his defensive limitations. Looks like he’s on his way out of Dallas.

Wood is a nice talent who can bomb from deep and hit 37.9 percent of his 3-pointers for his career. He’s also a good vertical threat on pick-and-rolls.

He is a skilled rim protector, but he is undisciplined on defense.

3. Mason Plumlee | Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

Plumlee is a good athlete and a solid backup with the size to match up against some of the bigger players in the league. He’s limited from outside, though he’s worked on a shockingly effective mid-range jumper that looks like it should never go in based on his form.

He’s not going to score a ton of points, but he’ll use his high feel to play mostly flawless basketball.

4. Dwight Powell | Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

Powell is a great guy in the locker room and a player who knows his role in the league. He will try hard on defense, sprint from rim to rim and get some dunks when he is on the floor.

He’ll rarely take bad shots, but he’s not much of a threat from the outside and can’t create his own offense.

5. Dario Saric | Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

Saric played well for the Thunder after being acquired at the trade deadline. He’s a high-skill big man who’s moved to play mostly small-ball center these days.

He has a good jump shot and is hitting 36 percent of his 3-point attempts for his career.

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