The NBA playoffs are a different animal than the regular season beast. The stakes are higher on a night-to-night basis, rotations are shortened, and the margin for error approaches zero. The league notices which players thrive in the NBA’s second season and those players can sometimes reap lucrative deals as a result of their performance.
Cody Taylor of Basketball Insiders compiles a list of which soon-to-be free agents have improved their stocks the most this spring. Jonathon Simmons, JaMychal Green, JaVale McGee, Joe Ingles, and Andre Roberson were the five players who made the scribe’s list, which is in no particular order. Hoops Rumors has decided to take it a step further and rank the players based on the change in perceived market value (it’s worth noting that we are purely speculating). Here’s our rankings of the aforementioned players:
- JaVale McGee (UFA): Entering the postseason, it was unclear if McGee would see the floor. However, he’s carved out a nice role off the bench in limited minutes (11.4 per postseason game) and he should continue to give Golden State a shot-blocking threat for the remainder of their playoff run. He’s making the minimum this year, but it wouldn’t be out of the question for a rival team to offer him an annual salary of $7-10MM with the hopes that he could handle a slightly larger role.
- JaMychal Green (RFA): The Grizzlies entered the 2016/17 season with questionable depth and they badly needed one of their fridge rotation pieces to step up. Green answered the call, showcasing his ability to help the team off the bench. He shot 43.8% from behind the arc this postseason and provided tremendous defense on both post players and wings. He proved he can play when the lights shine the brightest.
- Joe Ingles (RFA): Ingles was a key rotation player for the Jazz all season and he stepped up when it matter most against the Clippers in the team’s opening series. He proved he can contribute to a playoff-caliber team and with the demand for wings with three-point range, he could see a sizable raise on his current $2.15MM salary.
- Jonathon Simmons (RFA): Gregg Popovich continues to show the world how much he trusts Simmons by playing him in crucial situations during San Antonio’s playoff run. The small forward has displayed excellent defensive skills and it wouldn’t be surprising if a rival team hands him an offer sheet that’s simply too lucrative for the Spurs to match.
- Andre Roberson (RFA): Taylor notes that Roberson may have been the second most important player on the Thunder this postseason. While that’s probably true, it’s more of a testament to the team’s roster than it is to Robinson’s impact. The small forward displayed tremendous perimeter defense, though he was a liability on the offensive end and no Thunder player other than Russell Westbrook looked particularly impressive this postseason. Heading into the playoffs, the 25-year-old defender was already in line to see a raise on his current salary. It’s hard to argue that the playoffs increased his value all that much.
Agree with the list? Believe another player belongs on it or that is should be rearranged? Let us know in the comment section below!