Last week I released my point guard positional tiers.
For those asking, these rankings are based around standard 8 category head-to-head formats, however, where a player significantly increases or decreases in value for Rotisserie leagues I will mention it.
The purpose of positional tiers are less about ranking individuals and more about grouping players together based on value. For instance, in my point guard tiers I listed Isaiah Thomas and Ricky Rubio together in the same group. They have opposing skill sets and offer different stats to your fantasy team depending on your team build, strategy and need. Their overall value though, will be fairly similar, therefore placing them in the same tier.
To prevent confusion, the players in my tiers are listed in the position which they appear in Rotowire's depth charts. Underneath each tier you will find a paragraph with my thoughts and comments on those particular players.
If you have any fantasy basketball questions or comments follow me on twitter at SmanSports.
Here are this season’s crop of fantasy shooting guards.
- James HardenHouston Rockets
James Harden challenged Stephen Curry as the number one player in fantasy basketball last season. I am not in the slightest bit concerned about the addition of Ty Lawson and believe Lawson will come off the bench leading the second unit.
Harden should still be drafted inside the top three (or maybe top four if we continue to hear positive news about Kevin Durant) in all formats and should be the only shooting guard drafted inside the first round of standard redraft leagues. Owners can expect Harden to be cooking again this season.
- Jimmy ButlerChicago Bulls
- Klay ThompsonGolden State Warriors
Jimmy Butler and Klay Thompson are coming off career seasons and rightly deserve their place in the second tier. Bulls coach, Fred Hoiberg, is looking to increase the offensive pace which can only be a good thing for Butler's value. He contributes in every category and a full healthy season is the only thing holding him back from being a first round pick.
Thompson delivers elite three-point shooting, very good efficiency and solid steals and blocks for a shooting guard. The only issue I have around owning him is his low rebounds and assists numbers. Drafting Klay means you will need a concerted effort to make up these categories during your draft. For that reason I cannot recommend drafting him at the turn between the first two rounds. The middle to end of round two is the sweet spot where you can pair him with a top 5 player.
- Victor OladipoOrlando Magic
In theory, Victor Oladipo should be in line for his 'third year breakout.' Two concerns I have though, are playing time and the impact of new coach, Scott Skiles.
Oladipo averaged 38.5 minutes after the All-star break last season and 35.7 minutes for the season. I cannot see how he possibly plays anymore minutes this season so 'Dipo will need more shot attempts or greater efficiency to increase his points per game. During Skiles four full seasons in Milwaukee, his teams’ averaged 91.2 possessions per 48 minutes.
Last season in Orlando the Magic averaged 93.8 possessions per 48 minutes. Therefore, it doesn't bode well for Skiles increasing the pace of this Orlando team. This doesn't necessarily mean that player values will drop, it means it limits the number of touches, capping Oladipo's counting stats (points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks and threes). Regardless, if his production remains similar to last season he should sit comfortably inside the top 30 players for the entirety of the season.
- Bradley BealWashington Wizards
- Nicolas BatumCharlotte Hornets
- Danny GreenSan Antonio Spurs
- Brandon KnightPhoenix Suns
- Monta EllisIndiana Pacers
- Kris MiddletonMilwaukee Bucks
- DeMar DeRozanToronto Raptors
Bradley Beal has had a terrible run with injury, but he is one healthy season away from being a top 40 player and showed his upside during last season's playoffs. If he falls out of the top 50 on draft day, do not hesitate to draft him.
Nicolas Batum will benefit from a trade to the Bobcats, which should see him take on more scoring and ball handling responsibilities. Additionally, he will also provide weak-side help defence next to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Owners should anticipate statistics somewhere in the region of 15 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists with close to a three, steal and block per game.
Speaking of a three, steal and block per game, Danny Green was one of only two players to average that landmark last season (Draymond Green being the other). With Marco Belinelli now in Sacramento and Manu Ginobili less than two years away from turning 40, Green could see 30 minutes of playing time per night this season, meaning another career season for the 28 year old out of North Carolina.
Brandon Knight's value took a hit thanks to last season's mid-season trade which sent him from the Bucks to the Suns. Knight retains some value in Phoenix, but will be limited next to a ball dominant guard in Eric Bledsoe. In Knight's favour, the Suns will need his scoring and floor spacing as the Markieff Morris mess continues and Gerald Green now plays for Miami.
Monta Ellis signed via free agency in Indiana and should take on a large chunk of the ball handling responsibilities. I expect a slight bump in his production and if Paul George misses time, which I anticipate he will, Ellis's usage will increase even further. Ellis and Brandon Knight both offer good assist numbers from the shooting guard position and should come off the board around the 5th round.
A big increase in field goal percentage and steals last season saw Kris Middleton return top 60 value. His floor spacing will be crucial for the Bucks again this season in amongst Greg Monroe, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Michael Carter-Williams who all need to operate inside the arc. Keep in mind that Jabari Parker will return from injury, albeit slowly and cautiously to start the season, so Middleton is a solid wing option, just don't overpay for a career season.
DeMar DeRozan is one of these guys who you think will be fun to own, but when you do he is largely underwhelming. His points and free throw percentage are undoubtedly his strong suit, while his ability to give you four rebounds and four assists look nice on the surface. Once you dig a little deeper though, he is coming off a career low field goal percentage, which he can't even blame on throwing up bricks from long range, no threes and mediocre steals. He can be a solid contributor with the right team around him, you just need to manage his deficiencies.
- Kyle KorverAtlanta Hawks
- Wes MatthewsDallas Mavericks
- Dwyane WadeMiami Heat
Kyle Korver is coming off ankle and elbow surgery this offseason and whilst he will take on extra perimeter shooting responsibilities, this could be the season we see a slight decline in production for the 34 year old.
Wes Matthews moves to the Mavericks and is confident he'll be ready for opening night after tearing his Achilles late last season. The injury brings some risk to owners when drafting him, but should he remain healthy, he will play a similar role and should put up comparable numbers to what he did in Portland.
Once a top 10 player, Dwyane Wade is still hanging onto a shred of fantasy relevance. His per game value is still pretty good and he can produce across the board stats. Unfortunately DNP’s are becoming the norm rather than the exception meaning his seasonal value drops.
- J.J. RedickLos Angeles Clippers
- Jordan ClarksonLos Angeles Lakers
- CJ McCollumPortland Trail Blazers
- Kevin MartinMinnesota Timberwolves
- Ben McLemoreSacramento Kings
- Eric GordonNew Orleans Pelicans
J.J. Redick set career highs in points, threes and field goal percentage last season (and blocks if you want to be pedantic). He is a unique player who can score and hit threes whilst not hurting you in the percentage categories, which many other of these late round guys do.
Jordan Clarkson should join D'Angelo Russell in the Lakers' backcourt, which will cap their value as they both ideally need the ball in their hands. Clarkson was a revelation after the All-star break last season returning 16.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1 steal, 0.9 threes and superb efficiency. Expect a watered down version with Kobe Bryant back and Russell in the back court.
CJ McCollum is one of this season's hottest breakout players. He had some huge games at the end of last season highlighted by 33 points and 7 three-pointers in Game 5 of the playoff series against the Grizzlies. With increased opportunity, McCollum will see ample time this season playing with, and behind, Damian Lillard in the back court. It's a small sample size, but in 10 career games where McCollum has played a minimum of 26 minutes he averages 18 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.8 steals, 1.9 threes on 53 percent from the field and 79 percent from the free throw line. The hype is about to get real. Draft him between pick 80-100.
Ben McLemore made some solid improvement in his sophomore year and looks set to improve again in his 'third year breakout' campaign. He should benefit from playing with a pass first point guard in Rajon Rondo and will roam the perimeter while defences focus on DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay. Target McLemore in the 9th-10th round.
Kevin Martin and Eric Gordon offer points, threes, a steal per game and reliable free throw percentage. They are also two of the most injury prone players in the league and it is more of a case of when, not if, they miss games. If I had to pick one, I would take the younger Gordon and the upside he holds in Alvin Gentry’s up-tempo offence.
- Alec BurksUtah Jazz
- Wilson ChandlerDenver Nuggets
- Rodney HoodUtah Jazz
- Kentavious Caldwell-PopeDetroit Pistons
Two seasons ago, prior to having surgery on his injured shoulder, Alec Burks averaged 14 points, three rebounds, three assists and a steal per game in 28 minutes. With Dante Exum out for the season with a torn ACL, Burks will have extra responsibilities in the Jazz backcourt and will be a really nice late round pick for any fantasy team.
Wilson Chandler doesn't really get the fantasy plaudits that some other lesser guys do. He has been a consistent 13 point, five rebound and one steal - and low turnovers for those who count them – guy over the past three seasons. His percentages are not spectacular, but we are talking about a guy available after pick 100, and his volume is low enough to not cause too many issues anyway. If you are looking for a wing option who is reliable and doesn't carry too much baggage then Chandler could be for you.
Rodney Hood put up some pretty fantasy friendly lines late last season and showed us a glimpse of his ability to hit threes and collect steals. He should backup Burks at shooting guard, and Gordon Hayward at small forward, and if he can crack 25-28 minutes in the Jazz rotation, he will be worth owning in most 12 team leagues.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope made some big strides last season in his sophomore year. He has areas of weakness, namely efficiency, but has a monopoly on the shooting guard role should improve again with another offseason under Stan Van Gundy.
- Dion Waiters Oklahoma City Thunder
- O.J. Mayo Milwaukee Bucks
- Nick StauskasPhiladelphia 76ers
- Bojan BogdanovicBrooklyn Nets
- Zach LaVineMinnesota Timberwolves
- Iman Shumpert Cleveland Cavaliers
- Andre Iguodala Golden State Warriors
- Arron Afflalo New York Knicks
- Randy Foye Denver Nuggets
- JR Smith Cleveland Cavaliers
- Gerald HendersonPortland Trail Blazers
- Evan FournierOrlando Magic
- Jodie MeeksDetroit Pistons
- Marco BellinelliSacramento Kings
- Corey BrewerHouston Rockets
- Manu GinobiliSan Antonio Spurs
- Courtney LeeMemphis Grizzlies
- Avery BradleyBoston Celtics
- Anthony MorrowOklahoma City Thunder
- Nick YoungLos Angeles Lakers
To start the season, these players will be streaming options at best in 10-12 team leagues and draft-able options in 14+ team leagues or once your player pool reaches 180-200 deep. There will be times during the season where they will be worth owning due to form or injuries, but will find themselves passed around more than Luke Ridnour did this offseason.
Sleeper Alert: Nik Stauskas. Philadelphia badly need some scoring and perimeter shooting. Stauskas can offer both those things, and given a solid training camp, he should be a starter from opening night. He is currently having a superb tournament for Canada and at the time of writing is averaging 13 points, four rebounds and three assists whilst shooting 18-34 from three point range and a perfect 25-25 from the free throw line. Now that is some hot sauce!