After opening our Top 50 2013 NBA Free Agents Ranking on Monday, we're careening toward the top of the list. On our way, let's take a break with the players ranked No. 31-40. Warning: these are real players. This is not a re-enactment.
40. TREVOR ARIZA
Ariza actually has an early termination option that he's unlikely to take ... but it's a close enough call that I included him. He's that proper age where one lucrative season might be a worthy concession in exchange for a long-term deal at a lower starting salary. Ariza is primarily a defender (no matter what Daryl Morey tried to tell you) and an athletic finisher. Since Kobe Bryant allegedly taught Ariza how to shoot in the 2008-09 season, the wing is shooting 32.2 percent on threes. That said, he's a quite good defender who should be a part of Washington's resurgence this season. If he and John Wall can connect in transition regularly, he could storm back into our consciousness and, potentially, into free agency.
39. ANTHONY MORROW
We had two three-point specialists -- Kyle Korver and Daequan Cook -- in the 40s. Morrow's different in that he goes off the dribble quite a bit, too: less than half of his career field goal attempts are from deep. Morrow also happens to be a career 42 percent three-point shooter, and for the past three seasons he's taken more than four per game. (Fantasy players know he's one of the more reliable three-point shooters you can grab.) It should be interesting to see what he does in Atlanta as Larry Drew might be looking for players to take shots; it'll also be interesting to see whether Morrow can reverse the trend toward lower shooting percentages he's seen over his career.
38. DORELL WRIGHT
It's a specialist party! Wright isn't quite the shooter that Morrow is, but has proven to be a more well-rounded player. Well, he proved it in one season under Keith Smart at Golden State. Mark Jackson, who replaced Smart, nailed Wright to the bench, and the Warriors traded him to the 76ers over the summer. He'll try to fit into a deep wing rotation with Thaddeus Young, Evan Turner and Jason Richardson. Two years ago, he averaged 16 points, five rebounds and three assists per game. If he shows a solid stroke and the ability to defend and put things on the table while on the court, he's in line for another decent little contract in 2013.
37. REGGIE WILLIAMS
All of these former Warriors are making me a little nervous! Williams had a very rough 2011-12 season in Charlotte, in part due to injury and in part due to ... uh, Charlotte. His shooting efficiency and scoring punch dipped way, way down. He'll be playing behind Michael Kidd-Gilchrist this season for a young coach who will likely want long-term prospects on the team to get lots of opportunities. But Williams is by far the most credible small forward behind Gilly, and might be the most credible scorer on the roster. I think he'll rebound nicely and hit free agency on the upswing.
36. RONNIE BREWER
Brewer has become a shadow of what he once was in Salt Lake ... on paper, at least. Chicago's Rose-centric, slow-down offense has negated the need for Brewer to crash through lanes to cause havoc. Brewer remains an excellent defender, however, having been a consistent wing stopper for Tom Thibodeau's brilliant opposition over the past two seasons. On a one-year flyer in New York, he'll need to continue to play well in transition and score ably. He showed the ability to do so without a credible three-point stroke at Utah. We'll see if he can pump out some more points this season.
35. RODRIGUE BEAUBOIS
There might not be anything left to say about Beaubois, the French guard who just two years ago was marked as untouchable by Dallas. His development was sidetracked by injury and a lack of consistent role. It's not clear how much that will change in 2012-13 because it's not clear what the heck Rick Carlisle is going to do with his rotation. Beaubois' deep shot has fallen apart in the past two seasons; he shot 40 percent on two attempts per game as a rookie and 29 percent on less than three attempts per game last season. But his scoring prowess is real, and with the right conditions he'll make some hearts stop this year.
34. STEPHEN JACKSON
Hello, old friend! True story: Stephen Jackson hasn't been a free agent since 2004. The Pacers gave him some money in a sign-and-trade for Al Harrington that summer, the Warriors gave him an extension in 2008, and he's been living off that ever since. It'll end up as $66 million over nine years. And you know what? That sounds about right. As Jack proved in San Antonio for the stretch run, he's a brilliant man defender who can take any shot in the world. (Making them is a different story.) But as he proved in Milwaukee, he's slightly difficult to work with. That will depress his free agent market. But every team always thinks that it is the one to reform a lost soul, and someone will take a ride with Captain Jack if he has another good time in south Texas.
33. SAMUEL DALEMBERT
Dalembert is absolutely a known quantity: a big man who will rebound at an elite level, block shots at an elite level, goaltend at an elite level, commit turnovers at an elite level and take questionable shots at an elite level. Check out Sam's per-36 numbers over his career; he's been remarkably consistent. That makes it easy for teams to judge how he'll perform on a new deal. Luckily for Dalembert, big men remain at a premium. He'll be 32 when he hits free agency, but he should be coming off another Dalembertian season in Milwaukee, which is worth plenty.
32. ERIC MAYNOR
This is my biggest stretch in the back half of the top 50, bar none. But I think all NBA observers of a certain bent see Maynor as a huge breakout candidate who just won't get the opportunities playing behind Russell Westbrook. He'll get some: a huge tell is that the Thunder haven't brought Derek Fisher back, which to me indicates that either Maynor will be healthy and ready to fill in at the No. 2 point guard spot or that Reggie Jackson is ready to play important minutes. I'll bet on the former, and that Maynor can do enough in his minutes to pluck some GM's heartstrings.
31. DEVIN HARRIS
Harris, a one-time All-Star, bounced back from a nightmare start to the season to be OK for the Jazz. He's now with the Hawks, and will apparently compete with Jeff Teague for the starting point guard spot. He's a scorer who can pass (a lot like Teague, actually) who has seen his points production suffer a bit lately. Atlanta's going to be in a real fix, though, as none of the players traded for Joe Johnson are heavy scorers and Al Horford and Josh Smith will struggle to get to 20 per night apiece. A guard will need to step up. That could be Harris. (We'll see Teague on this list soon enough, by the way.)
Stay tuned on Wednesday, when the aforementioned Teague and a few other intriguing players join us for the 20s.
The Hook is a daily NBA column by Tom Ziller. See the archives.