The talent pool at forward has thinned out considerably, but the remaining players by far represent the most diverse group and the largest.
Let’s look at three options for frontcourt players. In no particular order:
Apr 16, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Dante Cunningham (33) shoots in double overtime against the Utah Jazz at Target Center. The Utah Jazz win 136-130 in double overtime. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
1) Dante Cunningham (Unrestricted)
1) Dante Cunningham (Unrestricted)
Dante Cunningham is one of the best role players available on the market. He subbed in well for the Minnesota Timberwolves, and helped keep the team afloat in the midst of Kevin Love’s injuries. Cunningham has played 80 and 81 games over the last two seasons, so durability is not an issue at all. H
Cunningham played 20 minutes a game for the Minnesota Timberwolves last season and averaged 6.3 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. His per-36 numbers project well, at 11.2 points and 7.3 rebounds.
Cunningham is an excellent midrange shooter with 52.3 percent of his shots coming in the top of the key. His percentage from that area is 49.1 percent, so he will keep defenses honest and and the opposing power forward won’t have the chance to collapse on Dwight Howard.
2) Ekpe Udoh (Unrestricted)
Ekpe Udoh is kind of a one trick pony, and that trick is blocking shots and playing aggressive defense. Since the Milwaukee Bucks already had one of those players in Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Udoh became expendable.
Udoh averaged two blocks per-36, and he has been over two and as high as 3.0 in his career. He’s not much of a scorer, with his highest point per game average at just 5.6 points per game.
Udoh is a liability offensively and often renders the team playing 4-on-5 essentially because teams don’t have to respect Udoh’s presence
Mar 31, 2014; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Greg Monroe (10) shoots the ball between Milwaukee Bucks center John Henson (31) and forward Ekpe Udoh (5) during the first quarter at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
. It’s difficult to imagine how Udoh scored 13.9 points and 9.8 rebounds per game in his final NCAA season at Baylor. Being long and athletic isn’t enough in the NBA without some instinct, coordination and finishing ability.
Jan 28, 2014; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Orlando Magic power forward Jason Maxiell (54) goes to the basket defended by Detroit Pistons power forward Greg Monroe (10) in the first half at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
3) Jason Maxiell (Unrestricted, Waived by Orlando Magic)
Jason Maxiell was waived by the Orlando Magic, because the Magic have enough young talent to develop and Maxiell no longer served a purpose on the roster. That said, he’s still a valuable player who can play spot minutes at the 5-spot, or significant minutes at power forward.
Maxiell appeared in just 34 games for the Magic last season, but in 2012-13, he started 71 games for the Detroit Pistons. Averaging 24.8 minutes per game, Maxiell averaged 6.9 points per game, 5.7 rebounds nearly a steal and 1.3 blocks per game.
There shouldn’t be any reason he’s not capable of doing so at this point, either, as Maxiell is just 30 years of age. His best two seasons came as a Piston, but his ability to defend both the 4 and 5 spots is pretty useful, both for rotations and in the case of an injury.
Note to reader: Shawn Marion is also a good option and has already been featured on Space City Scoop. The same applies for Greg Monroe.