Arron Afflalo has become, improbably, a bit of a cause célèbre among NBA die-hards. In his four years in the league, Afflalo has averaged double figures in scoring just once (last season in Denver) and never put up a league-average Player Efficiency Rating. Even so, fans of every team with a need on the wing — and especially fans in Chicago — are clamoring for their club to make a run at Afflalo, who will be a restricted free agent once the league resumes business. A lot of Bulls fans preferred him when presented with a theoretical choice between signing him and trading for Golden State’s Monta Ellis, and I ranked Afflalo as the best wing free agent considering all factors — age, cost, potential and value.
Afflalo has already established himself as an elite three-and-D guy, and he showed signs last season that he might be ready to take on a bigger role as a secondary scorer and creator. He talked at length to SI.com about free agency, the Carmelo Anthony trade and his game.
SI.com: Are you aware how much die-hard NBA fans love your game? You didn’t play all that much in Detroit during your first two seasons, but after last season, a lot of fans want you to sign with their team.
Afflalo: [Laughing] Everyone has their path to success, man. Mine is just a little different. It’s just an expectation of mine to rise in the league, and to do it through hard work. I’m going to be a much better player — a complete player.
SI.com: The Nuggets have had a crazy offseason, with Nene about to be an unrestricted free agent and three different free agents (J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin and Wilson Chandler) all in China. Do you want to stay in Denver?