2012-13 RotoRob NBA Draft Kit: Shooting Guard Rankings
Paul George could build on last season’s breakout.
The 2012-13 RotoRob NBA Draft Kit continues today with another cheat sheet. So while you wonder whether Charles Barkley is on crack for saying that LeBron James can be better than Michael Jordan, let’s review the top 40 shooting guards for Fantasy basketball purposes.
Unlike the point guard position, the two guard slot isn’t deep. You can make an argument for taking Kobe Bryant over Dwyane Wade at this position, but really the top five or so could easily be mixed and matched to an extent. After just a couple more slots, the position really thins out, and while there are high upside players here like Marcus Thornton, Paul George and Eric Gordon (assuming he can ever stay healthy), you’ve got plenty of vets like Andre Iguodala, Joe Johnson and Manu Ginobili to choose from. Or take a flier on a rook like Bradley Beal and Dion Waiters, both of whom will get to share the backcourt with a stud young PG.
Last year’s rankings are in parentheses.
1. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat (1): The addition of outside gunners Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis could open up lanes for Wade, however, Flash will first have to bounce back from offseason knee surgery. He’s expected to miss some preseason games and it’s not a guarantee that he’ll be ready for the season opener on October 30. The Heat could really use a fully healthy Wade, as last season his numbers declined for the third straight season, and the drop was rather steep in 2011-12. He didn’t sink as many field goals and his rebounding numbers dropped substantially. Coach Erik Spoelstra has indicated the Wade’s PT this season will be about the same as last season (around 33 MPG), but that he could also be subject to periodic games off to try to keep him healthy all season. Wade’s uncertainty makes an already thin SG position even weaker.
2. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers (2): Kobe hopes all the huge moves the Lakers made this offseason will be enough to help him earn a sixth ring. Last season, Bryant reversed a trend of five straight seasons of declining play. He saw way more PT and put up his most shots per game since 2005-06 although he had his worst shooting season since he was a soph. Kobe made up for that with great work from the line, although the extra minutes translated into more turnovers. He heads a remade lineup that is brimming with stars and should burst out of the gates as one of the top teams in the NBA.
3. James Harden, Oklahoma City Thunder (13): A member of Team USA in the London Olympics this summer, Harden sunk more of his shots last season and he did his best work from downtown yet. His improvements extended to the glass and other than a slight dip in steals, the man with the crazy ass beard showed massive improvements across the board. Small wonder he’s become one of the Thunder’s most popular players.
4. Monta Ellis, Milwaukee Bucks (3): As we discussed in our Point Guard Rankings, the backcourt combination of Ellis and Brandon Jennings is electric, but the jury is still out on whether they can co-exist productively on a nightly basis. Ellis wasn’t having a stellar season in Golden State, taking fewer shots, before getting dealt to Milwaukee. Once in Sausage City, Ellis’ played remained relatively tepid as he didn’t see quite as much PT. Still, if Ellis can stay within himself and not go too crazy with the volume shooting numbers, he can team with Ersan Ilyasova, Jennings, Beno Udrih, Ekpe Udoh, Drew Gooden et al. to form a Buck squad that could be much better this season.
5. Andre Iguodala, Denver Nuggets (7 at SF): The Nuggets made one of the biggest splashes of the offseason when they landed Iguodala after he spent his first eight seasons in Philly. Iggy seems to be taking the move well, so let’s hope that he can put the breaks on four straight seasons of declining numbers. Last season, his assist and block numbers dipped, but he continued to do a good job of staying out of foul trouble. Let’s hope that freed from Philly’s stifling defensive system, Igoudala can rediscover his offensive game in George Karl’s up-tempo scheme in Denver.
6. Marcus Thornton, Sacramento Kings (15): Thornton’s fine play last season was just another reason rookie Jimmer Fredette failed to impress in his debut. Thornton’s work from downtown wasn’t as good last season, but he never shot better from the line. His rebounding – especially under his own glass – slipped, but overall it was his finest season yet. Thornton is the best pure scorer the Kings currently have, but his defensive shortcomings may ultimately doom him to a sixth man role. Even off the bench, however, Thornton can light it up and remain a fine Fantasy option.
7. Joe Johnson, Brooklyn Nets (11): The Hawks have lost their most identifiable player after Johnson was dealt to Brooklyn. He’s still capable of providing third round value and now that he’ll get to play with a stud point guard in Deron Williams, JJ may light it up like he hasn’t in a while. Johnson actually bounced back somewhat last season, staying a bit healthier despite the truncated schedule that was particularly difficult on veterans. He hasn’t seen the heavy minutes the past couple of seasons that he used to, and he didn’t sink quite as many baskets as his touches dropped last season. Johnson also had his worst A/TO ratio since 2006-07, but he improved his percentages across the board (including a career best 84.9 per cent from the line), while upping his blocks, steals and scoring. So was landing Johnson a consolation prize after the Nets lost out in the Dwight Howard sweepstakes? Maybe. But by giving the Nets another strong option in the backcourt, Johnson will ensure D-Will doesn’t have to jack up ill-advised shots.
8. Paul George, Indiana Pacers (21): We ranked George 21st a year ago, but after a sweet breakout sophomore effort, he soars into the top 10. He became a full-time starter and played in every single game, and while he didn’t shoot quite as well, he employed his outside game much more and with much greater success. George also showed improvements in his A/TO ratio. He’s become the key to the success of the Pacers, and his ability to take another big step forward this season will dictate whether Indy can morph into a legitimate contender in the Eastern Conference.
9. Eric Gordon, New Orleans Hornets (5): Gordon’s injury status just kept getting worse last season but when healthy he’s a top 40 player with the potential to flirt with second round value. In the brief action he saw last season, he wasn’t as good as during his final season in LA. His shooting remained solid, although he did struggle from downtown. And as good as Gordon can be in time, you simply cannot draft him thinking he’ll remain fully healthy this season.
10. Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs (6): After mostly staying healthy in 2010-11, Ginobili dealt with his share of injury issues last season and it resulted in his worst overall season since he was a sophomore back in 2003-04. He got to the charity stripe his fewest times per game since he was rookie and his rebounding slipped for the fourth straight season. While we expect Manu to bounce back, here’s some food for thought: the NBA will crack down on flopping this season, and Ginobili is considered one of the most talented floppers in the game. That could translate into more foul trouble for the veteran Argentinean.
11. Arron Afflalo, Orlando Magic (18): Afflalo was just inside the top 20 last year, but he’s risen to low-end No. 1 SG status now as he just continues to improve season by season. Last season, he did a much better job of getting to the line, although his work on the defensive glass suffered. The rise in turnovers was also a drag, but Afflalo enjoyed his top scoring season, and that’s propelled him up our ranks. No, he’s not a star, but he’ll combine with J.J. Redick to give the Magic a pretty nice one-two punch at the two-guard. Of course, considering that Afflalo was the key return from Dwight Howard, there’s a bit of pressure on him to take a big step forward this season.
12. Jason Terry, Boston Celtics (10): The Celtics lost Ray Allen this summer, but quickly replaced him with Terry. With Avery Bradley out for the first couple of months, look for Terry to see time handling the ball behind Rajon Rondo, which should translate into better assist numbers in the early going. Having just turned 35 last month, there’s no doubt that Jet is in decline. Last season was his worst shooting effort since he was in Atlanta, and his turnovers have been up the past couple of seasons – something that will probably worsen as he sees more time at the point in Boston. Still, the team believes that Terry can have success at the PG spot as long as it doesn’t take away from his score-first mentality.
13. Wesley Matthews, Portland Trail Blazers (8): After Matthews took a big step forward offensively in 2010-11, we ranked him inside the top 10 last year, but he’s dropped this season after regressing. He’s proved incredibly durable and managed to sink more treys and improve his FT shooting last season. Matthews did up his steal numbers, but a decline in scoring and FG percentage really hurt his overall value. On the plus side, he’ll get plenty of PT with not much depth behind him after Elliot Williams tore his Achilles tendon and is possibly out for the season.
14. Gordon Hayward, Utah Jazz (30 at SF): In mid-March, we recommended Hayward as a waiver wire pickup and it was a great call as he continued to play well in March and then really took off in April. The second-year man broke out last season, playing in every game and transitioning into a full-time starter. He sunk double the number of baskets he had as a rook and did a way better job of finding his way to the line. Hayward improved his rebounding numbers (although there’s still plenty of room for more there) and came through with a much better A/TO ratio. The Jazz has undergone major changes this summer and swingman Hayward could be ready to become a leader on this squad, and one day, perhaps, an All-Star.
15. Kevin Martin, Houston Rockets (4): The drafting of rookie Jeremy Lamb gives the Rockets plenty of reasons to rid themselves of Martin, should they find a taker. One of the few vets on a very young team, Martin missed the final 24 games of the season with a shoulder injury. After staying healthy in his first full season in Houston, K-Mart was back to his usual fragile ways, a situation his owners have rued for years. When he was active, he struggled through his worst season since he was a sophomore in Sacramento. Martin’s field goals were way down and his treys slipped as well. Trips to freebie line dropped off dramatically as well. He’s been waiting for Houston to ship him out as part of its rebuilding program and now that he’s entering the final year of his contract, it would be shocking if he remained a Rocket for much longer.
16. Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors (NR): As we discussed in our Golden State Warriors Season Preview, seeing how Thompson adjusts to playing with Stephen Curry will be fascinating. Thompson has a chance to be a very special player in time, and his rookie season suggested as much. He played in every game, earning a starting role for nearly half the campaign. We’d like to see better rebounding numbers from a 6’7” guard, but he pitched in with some dimes and scoring. The Warriors are very bullish on Thompson, so consider him a big-time sleeper for the coming season.
17. Lou Williams, Atlanta Hawks (NR): Acquiring Williams – who provides instant offense off the bench – somewhat mitigates the loss of Johnson for Atlanta. Philly had to let Sweet Lou walk because of financial reasons, and the Hawks were only too happy to swoop in. Williams enjoyed a nice bounce back in his final season with the 76ers, again spending the entire season as a reserve. He sunk more field goals, did a better job on the glass and upped his assist numbers slightly. Williams also enjoyed his finest scoring season yet, perfectly timed with free agency beckoning. It’s likely he’ll remain the sixth man in Atlanta, but he’s proven over the years that he can parlay that role into very serviceable Fantasy numbers, so don’t get hung up on labels come draft day.
18. Rodney Stuckey, Detroit Pistons (20): Stuckey dealt with some injuries last season and wound up with his least productive season since his rookie effort. He’s only 26, but last season’s results were quite disappointing after Stuckey had set a level of expectation with his play the previous two seasons. If Detroit’s playoff drought of three seasons will end this season, it will need Stuckey to bounce back and perhaps even exceed what he’s done in the past. The fact that he’s risen slightly in our rankings this year only speaks to the lack of depth at the position.
19. O.J. Mayo, Dallas Mavericks (30): The signing of Mayo to a multi-year deal was one of the key moves for Dallas as it rebuilt its roster this summer. As the key scoring option off the Grizzlie bench, Mayo had a nice bounce back season in 2011-12. He stayed healthy after dealing with injury issues in 2010-11 and upped his FG numbers. Mayo’s treys also bounced back and he managed to sink more freebies. His rebounding work also recovered after such a down season in 2010-11. The fiery guard will get a chance to start in Big D, so now’s his chance to become a star.
20. Ray Allen, Miami Heat (7): Allen left the Celtics this summer after much drama, which included losing his starting job and a rumoured rift with backcourt mate Rondo. Adding Allen (and Kevin Garnett, of course) a few years ago helped propel the Celtics to their 17th championship, but now Jesus will try to help Miami defend its title. Last season, injuries really limited Allen’s effectiveness, and he would up having his worst season since he was rookie in Milwaukee way back in 1996-97. His PT was down, and while he shot brilliantly from the line, he had the same number of turnovers in fewer minutes and most of his other numbers dipped, including the worst A/TO ratio he had since joining Boston. Seeing Allen replaced as a starter was a shock, but given his age (37), a bench role is likely his future as an NBA player.
21. Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards (NR): We’re excited to see how rookie Beal will do with backcourt mate John Wall, as soon as Wall recovers, that is. In his final year at Florida, Beal averaged nearly 15 points and seven boards per game, and now that he’ll get to play with Wall and Nene, he’ll get his chances. Considered the top guard available in this year’s draft, Beal could develop into an Eric Gordon type. Beal won’t have a ton of pressure on him to succeed from day one, and that could actually help him establish himself.
22. Dion Waiters, Cleveland Cavaliers (NR): Waiters is another rookie two who will get to share a backcourt with a young stud PG. He showed up out of shape at Summer League because of injuries before the draft, but he’s since shed about 10 pounds. The fourth overall pick of the draft is part of an extremely young Cav team, including four key players aged 22 or younger (Waiters, Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller). Waiters has been compared to Stuckey and in time he has a chance to turn into an above-average NBA starter.
23. Tony Allen, Memphis Grizzlies (19): Allen dealt with a hip injury that cost him several games last season, but he played well otherwise. He got to the charity stripe more often and set a carer high in percentage while there. Allen’s rebounding work was better than ever and – as usual – he was superb source of steals. Of course, if Twitter proclivity were a category, he would shoot up these rankings.
24. Chauncey Billups, Los Angeles Clippers (20 at PG): When we ranked Billups as the 20th-best PG last year, we talked about the fact that he’d have to deal with a stacked Clipper backcourt. As expected, Mr. Big Shot’s production dipped, but it was an injury that really killed his season. He’s still dealing with an Achilles’ tendon injury that knocked him out early last season and will keep him out until December. Before he got hurt, Billups’ FT shooting had dipped a bit and his rebounding, assists and steals had also dropped. The Clips obviously still believe in him, re-signing Billups this summer, but we can only recommend him as a stash for deeper leagues now. In standard formats, monitor his progress over the next few weeks and be ready to pounce.
25. Nick Young, Philadelphia 76ers (16): Part of a remade Sixer roster, Young will try to help Philly make a push for the Eastern Conference Finals this season. He regressed last season, sinking fewer field goals for the Wizards and then mostly came off the bench after a trade to the Clippers, for whom he didn’t see enough PT to produce Fantasy worthy numbers. Young has talent; let’s hope escape from the dysfunction that was the Wizards will help him build on what he showed us in 2010-11.
Others to Consider
26. Brandon Rush, Golden State Warriors (NR)
27. Jordan Crawford, Washington Wizards (28)
28. Jeremy Lamb, Houston Rockets (NR)
29. Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers (32 at PG)
30. J.R. Smith, New York Knicks (NR): The Knicks re-signed Smith this summer with the expectation that he’ll move into the starting lineup after spending his first season as a Knick providing offense off the bench. Because he didn’t have an opt-out clause of his Chinese Basketball Association deal, Smith wasn’t able to join the Knicks until mid-February, but his first season in New York was a success. He wasn’t shy about hoisting up shots from downtown and he improved his steals and scoring. Unfortunately, he also set a career high with 2.5 PF per game, but this extra foul trouble did not manifest itself in any DQs.
31. Gerald Henderson, Charlotte Bobcats (24)
32. J.J. Redick, Orlando Magic (29)
33. Danny Green, San Antonio Spurs (NR)
34. Jason Richardson, Philadelphia 76ers (9)
35. MarShon Brooks, Brooklyn Nets (NR)
36. Carlos Delfino, Houston Rockets (18 at SF)
37. Anthony Morrow, Atlanta Hawks (23)
38. Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics (NR)
39. Stephen Jackson, San Antonio Spurs (12)
40. Randy Foye, Utah Jazz (NR)