A dusty free-agency crop

A weak class of free agents could create some different strategies for improvement

Updated: June 27, 2011, 4:59 PM ET
By Kevin Pelton | Basketball Prospectus
Tyson Chandler & NeneChris Graythen/Getty ImagesJack Nicholson once offered, "What if this is as good as it gets?" With this free-agent class, he's right.

While there certainly will be decisions, there will be no "Decision" when this year's NBA free agency opens for business. As compared to last summer's star-studded crop of free agents, this group is decidedly more middle class. Last week, Insider colleague Chris Palmer ranked Tyson Chandler as the best of the group. Chandler is a valuable player who anchored a championship defense for the Dallas Mavericks, but he also has never been to an All-Star Game. There will, in fact, be 13 former All-Stars on the market, but virtually all of them are far past their prime and none of them made last year's game in Los Angeles.

Basketball Prospectus' wins above replacement player (WARP) metric is ideal for evaluating something as complex as an entire free-agent class. In terms of WARP, Chandler (7.5 wins better than a replacement-level player) was the second-most valuable player last season of the likely free agents. Denver's Nenê, who holds an early termination option to end his contract and become a free agent, produced 8.8 WARP to rank first.