Let me warn you before you continue reading: The following list is not filled with future All-Stars or Hall of Famers. At this stage in the game, if you’re still a free agent, you’re most likely looking for an NBA roster spot before you have to settle for an overseas gig. But with that in mind, there are still some talented players – under the age of 25 – that are worth the minimal investment for the potential future payoff. I’m not saying sign them to a five-year, $34 million like the Raptors did with 23-year-old Amir Johnson, but you get the picture. Without further ado, here are the Top 5 NBA Free Agents Under 25 Years Old.
1. Shannon Brown (24)
2009-10 Stats: 8.1 ppg, 42.7% FG, 2.2 rpg
Of everyone on this list, Brown is clearly the most likely to get significant minutes next season. And from everything we’ve heard, that will either be in Los Angeles or New York. While his role is pretty well defined with the Lakers, Brown could be an exciting piece to the future of the Knicks. But would you trade in the chance at a three-peat to play?
2. Patty Mills (21)
2009-10 Stats: 2.6 ppg, 41.7% FG, 0.5 apg
Of everyone on the list, Mills deserves the biggest shot. After falling deep in last year’s Draft, he suffered a fracture in his right foot and never really got his chance. While the Australian could definitely go back home and make some money, at only 21 years old, he should stick around and be given a chance to develop. Even if he ends up back in the D-League, there’s too much upside here to let it slip away.
3. Kyrylo Fesenko (23)
2009-10 Stats: 2.6 ppg, 54.7% FG, 1.8 rpg
Don’t blame Fesenko for not developing when he had to play in a front court that featured Carlos Boozer, Paul Millsap, Andrei Kirilenko and Mehmet Okur. And you’d be a fool not to sign a 7-1 center who’s learned from Jerry Sloan and is only 23. Why he hasn’t already signed with someone remains a mystery to me.
4. Joe Alexander (23)
2009-10 Stats: 0.5 ppg, 16.7% FG, 0.6 rpg
You can’t just let a former Lottery pick fade into obscurity this easily. So why not take a waiver on Alexander? With great athleticism and youth, all he needs is a chance.
5. Oleksiy Pecherov (24)
2009-10 Stats: 4.5 ppg, 41.0% FG, 2.8 rpg
Pecherov never quite materialized in Washington and was shipped off to Minnesota last season. And you have to remember, seven-footers don’t grow on trees. (Even in the Ukraine.) So for teams looking for size and have the depth to develop, give the man they call “Buckets” another shot.
The Rest: Javaris Crittenton (22), Cedric Jackson (24), Nathan Jawai (23), Randolph Morris (24), Patrick O’Bryant (24), Marcus Williams (24)
What do you think? Who would you want your team to sign?
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