Hakim Warrick-Phoenix Suns
Hakim Warrick has career averages of 16.9 points per game on .496% shooting from the field. He can hit his free throws, score in the post and he's just four months older than Amar'e Stoudemire. No one is expecting him to duplicate Stoudemire’s production but then again he will be playing with the best pick and roll point guard in the league. Plus, he can catch and finish. He can also shoot from 15 feet off both elbows and has a nice set of post moves. Defensively he won’t have too much of an impact but he might surprise some people with his length and leaping ability. A very fluid athlete who dare I say has an ability to use his length a little bit better than Amar’e does. Again, not saying he will duplicate or be better than Stoudemire but he certainly does qualify as an underrated offseason signing. An Amar’e light if you will. Unfortunately he doesn’t look to be the starter heading into the season for the Suns even though he should be. Remember, nearly 17 a night in per 36 minutes of action, and that’s before he gets to play with Steve Nash.
Ronnie Brewer-Chicago Bulls
Carlos Boozer isn’t going to be guarding Dwyane Wade or LeBron James. Ronnie Brewer will. Ronnie Brewer will be the one actually running with Derrick Rose, catching the alley-oops and finishing the fast breaks. Trailing them will be Boozer’s job. Brewer will be the one cutting back door for easy buckets. He’ll be the one diving for loose balls in the playoffs and tipping them to teammates. He won’t be taking bad shots, he won’t be trying to go one-on-one, he won’t miss steal opportunities and he won’t have to “fit in” with the rest of the team. Every team that plans to win a championship needs a wild card wing player that will make a difference even though the numbers wouldn’t indicate that he does so. Ronnie Brewer is that player. At the end of the season your casual NBA fan friend who is watching the playoffs with you will keep saying “who is that guy?” and you will promptly say “Ronnie Brewer”, the other guy Chicago signed.
Shaun Livingston-Charlotte Bobcats
Shaun Livingston is not expected to start for the Charlotte Bobcats, he is expected to push. They hope his presence makes D.J. Augustin better because it will challenge him, not necessarily overtake him. Even though, he shot a ridiculous .627% from the field in the final month of the season last year, he's still not a guaranteed starter. In a league that has spent literal decades searching for big point guards that weren’t just combo guards or hybrids, one was finally available that had proven he has all the tools general managers had been searching for. Post game, mid-range game, ability to get to the line and a pass first player. Never mind that he would make a bad or even the best defensive team in the league better as a starter because of his height and length alone, disrupting whomever he’s guarding that’s 4-6 inches shorter. Why didn’t any one sign him? I don’t know that’s why he’s on this list. Don’t forget about his athleticism, vision and weakness for only taking good shots. His skills will fit well with Larry Brown and his "play the right way" mind set. General Managers need not fret though because his contract is good for only two years. All those tools will be right back on the market.
Nick Van Exel-Atlanta Hawks
I just found out about this one when I was doing research for this article. No, he's not coming back to play but to coach the young guards on the Atlanta Hawks. Who better to teach Jordan Crawford, Jeff Teague and even Joe Johnson how to fear no one, take and make big shots and have enough confidence to go toe-to-toe with any other guard in the league? This pick might seem as a bit of a reach for underrated signings this year but we can expect to see a difference in the guard play down south. Nick Van Exel always had the perfect balance in his game in terms of scoring and passing. Sure his shooting percentages were never exemplary but in the fourth quarter it didn't matter. With Van Exel on the bench you don't need to worry about Joe Johnson having a playoff series like the one he had against the Magic last year. Why? For the same reason you can expect Jeff Teague to be starting by midseason or sooner because of all the knowledge he'll soak up from the man who branded himself "Hata Proof",
Dorell Wright-Golden State Warriors
Very few of the low key signings this year will actually be starters on their new teams. Dorell Wright will be one of them seeing that he will do what he has always done since he's been in the league; play defense and run. So why would he be on this list since his career numbers are modest at best and he has had some injury problems in the past? Well for one, last year the Miami Heat played at the 28th fastest pace in the league, or slowest depending on how you look at it. The Warriors were the fastest team in the league so naturally Dorell's talents will finally be utilized properly. Now he can reward himself for playing excellent defense by running and finishing on the break, as opposed to just standing in the corner on every possession and waiting to launch from deep. He's also never been a full time starter so with increased playing time increased production should come. His career numbers per 36 minutes; 11.6 points per game, 6.8 rebounds a night 1.1 steals and 1 block. Not bad for a 24 year old just starting to scratch his surface. If Trevor Ariza could do it two years ago for the Lakers, why can't Dorell do it this year for the Warriors?