2021 NBA Free Agency May Be One of the Most Underrated Ever

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When looking at the 2021 NBA Free Agency class, no one would fault you for saying that there aren’t any superstars beyond the likes of Kawhi Leonard. Furthermore, it is fair to say the hype isn’t at the same level as it was for 2019 or even 2020. It seems many people are looking past this upcoming year’s free agency and going right ahead to 2022 and 2023.

2021 NBA Free Agency Class is Surprisingly Underrated

This class has some of the most overlooked players in terms of team impact. The 2021 NBA Free Agency class doesn’t have the names that catch the most attention, but they are the players who can change cultures, establish winning practices, and potentially become the leader for lost franchises.

Chris Paul

From 2019-2021, Chris Paul proved his time with the Houston Rockets might be viewed as one of the biggest missed opportunities. Paul knows how to win. Last season, he led the Oklahoma City Thunder, a projected dead-last team, to the fifth playoff seed and nearly knocked out his former team in Game 7 of the first round. Even more than that, Paul knows how to teach others to win. This season, he’s playing an integral part in making the Phoenix Suns, a perennial draft lottery team, into a top seed. He’s making almost $40 million AAV and has a player option for next season. However, there may be a team looking for a veteran leader that could entice him away from Phoenix, potentially via sign and trade. Paul’s impact will be felt whether or not he returns to the Suns next year.

Kyle Lowry

Kyle Lowry is similar to Paul, the magnitude of his impact cannot be properly represented through his basic stats. Charges taken in the All-Star Game, that type of hustle doesn’t normally show up in the box score. The Toronto Raptors could not reach a deal for Lowry before the trade deadline. However, teams will be looking for a veteran point guard to lead them on a championship run in free agency. Teams like the Los Angeles Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers could benefit from picking up a player like Lowry to try and elevate the games of the players around him.

DeMar DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan has not been an All-Star since joining the San Antonio Spurs in the 2018-2019 season. DeRozan is still capable of being a major player on any team though no longer suited for the primary scorer role. He would, however, be a great second or third option. The veteran leadership of 12 years in the league across different systems can provide that push for a team. DeRozan could return to the Eastern Conference and provide the extra threat that borderline teams such as the New York Knicks and Charlotte Hornets. Teams should get DeRozan for much cheaper due to the downturn in production while in San Antonio.

Victor Oladipo

The last few years for Victor Oladipo have been less than ideal, to say the least. Injuries threw off, and have continued to throw off, the league’s up-and-comers. The injuries leave a question mark above Oladipo’s head. Also, teams will wonder about his durability and if he’s a viable option for the future. Oladipo has the potential to be a key contributor on teams if his health stays in check, but he’s also currently paid just over $21 million. The majority of teams will most likely offer less than that and Oladipo should be expecting such. He has shown himself to be a possible second or potentially even first option quality player despite health concerns. Oladipo being traded to the Miami Heat might be able to jump-start his productivity. Teams like the Washington Wizards, Cleveland Cavaliers, or even Toronto could benefit quite nicely from his scoring prowess.

Norman Powell

Norman Powell is the biggest under-the-radar free agent this upcoming offseason. Powell is a dark horse candidate for Most Improved Player. This year he’s earning a respectable $10.5 million and should see that number increase during the offseason. Powell had league-wide interest approaching the trade deadline before getting moved to the Portland Trail Blazers. A team that could look to make an offer for Powell is the New Orleans Pelicans. New Orleans has struggled shooting the ball this year, especially from three, Powell could be their solution. Teams also looking to solve efficiency problems in free agency are the Heat, Knicks, and Los Angeles Lakers. Powell could prove to be the difference-maker for any team.

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