Klay Thompson creates tons of space with his outside shooting.
The 2013-14 RotoRob NBA Draft Kit continues today with another cheat sheet. So while questions already begin about Dwyane Wade’s health, let’s review the top 35 shooting guards in Fantasy basketball.
Lots of star power has occupied the two-guard slot over the years, but the position is not currently in a golden age. After the top three, there’s a pretty significant drop and in short order, the position becomes fairly barren. If you don’t get one of the big guns here, don’t wait too long to grab someone or else you’re going to be in dire straits.
It doesn’t help that some of the big scorers (Kobe Bryant, J.R. Smith and Eric Gordon) are dealing with health concerns heading into the season.
There are tougher positions to fill, but overall it’s slim pickings at shooting guard for 2013-14.
Last year’s rankings are in parentheses.
1. James Harden, Houston Rockets (3): Harden went through a mini slump at the end of March and beginning of April before shaking that off with a strong finish and then he nearly led the Rockets all the way back in their series against OKC (see the video below). He’s improved every year, but last season he went through the stratosphere. Harden sunk 50 percent more buckets per game and even pitched in with half a block per game. It’s going to be fun watching him playing with Dwight Howard.
2. Paul George, SG/SF, Indiana Pacers (8): When we ranked George eighth in our Shooting Guard Rankings last year, we said that his ability to take his game to the next level would dictate Indy’s chances of becoming a contender. Well, he did his part, but the Pacers were unable to build on their massive 2011-12 regular season, but they did take the next step in the playoffs, coming within a win of going to the NBA Finals. George has gradually taken over from Danny Granger as the leader of the Pacers, becoming a much better player every season. Last season, George did a better job of getting to the line and he really improved his rebounding numbers – especially on the defensive end. A two-guard that pulls down that many boards is gold. He’s a matchup nightmare because of his ability to do virtually anything on the offensive end.
3. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat (1): Wade got hot at the end of January as the Heat started streaking and he continued his roll into February. He’s battled knee issues for many years, but it hasn’t stopped him from making nine All-Star teams. Still, it’s that injury risk and all the games Flash misses that prohibit him from being any higher on this list. Over the past few seasons, he has thrown up fewer and fewer treys and it’s not very integral part of his game anymore. Last season, Wade averaged his fewest free throws made per game since he was a rookie. It’ll be interesting to see what Miami does to keep the Big Three together with all of them entering their walk year.
4. Klay Thompson, SG/SF, Golden State Warriors (16): With Andre Iguodala now in town, there are concerns that Thompson may have to come off the bench, but we see him being a very valuable player regardless of his role. The durable Thompson took a big step forward in his second season, even chipping in with more blocks. With him teaming with Stephen Curry in the backcourt, you can bet that these kids will create plenty of space with their outside shooting prowess.
5. Monta Ellis, PG/SG, Dallas Mavericks (4): Ellis turned down more money to stay in Milwaukee, opting instead to move to Dallas this summer for three years and $25.08 million. He’s been in regression for a few years, so let’s see if he can turn things around in Big D. The former Warrior great sure brings a ‘tude to the table, at the very least.
6. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers (2): The future Hall of Famer and career Laker is entering his 18th NBA season. Shockingly, Bryant has reversed his career regression over the past couple of years and he was enjoying a huge season before tearing his Achilles’ tendon in April. He’s still rehabbing that injury, plus is having work done on his knee, but has always been driven to heal his body quicker than expected, so don’t be shocked if he returns to action earlier than anticipated.
7. Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards (21): Beal enjoyed an impressive rookie season, albeit hampered by injuries, but he looks poised to take a major step forward as a sophomore. Last season, he showed a nice scoring touch, and we love the fact that he shot so much better down the stretch. Washington really got itself a keeper with the third overall pick in last year’s draft.
8. J.R. Smith, New York Knicks (30): Everyone knows Smith is a piece of work – a very talented, but extremely moody player. He’s dealing with a knee injury this offseason, but remains a possibility to be the Knicks’ starting two guard. However, Smith has proved he can be a major Fantasy asset even when coming off the bench. Last season, for instance, he was used exclusively off the bench and he stayed healthy while playing more minutes than ever en route to the best season of his career and the Sixth Man of the Year award. Offensively, there are few better in the game than Smith.
9. O.J. Mayo, Milwaukee Bucks (19): A great three-point shooter, Mayo has been very durable the past couple of seasons and in his only season in Dallas, he returned to being a full-time starter. After resurrecting his career, he parlayed that into a multi-year deal with Milwaukee as he and Ellis essentially traded jobs.
10. Tyreke Evans, SG/SF, New Orleans Pelicans (9 at SF): Evans landed in the Big Easy in a sign-and-trade deal, but news that he’s going to be a bench player for the Pelicans hurts his value somewhat. The injury prone swingman has played fewer and fewer minutes every season, and another reduction seems inevitable as a backup. Still, escaping the pressure of being The Man in Sacramento could do wonders for Evans, so don’t be shocked if he finally turns things around after his career has been sliding since that huge rookie effort.
11. Ben McLemore, Sacramento Kings (NR): The seventh overall pick in this year’s draft is considered a favourite for NBA Rookie of the Year honours. So he struggled in the Vegas Summer League. Big deal. This kid can play, so don’t sleep on him.
12. Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic (NR): Part of a very strong Hoosier team last season, Oladipo went second overall to Orlando in this year’s draft. The new face of the Magic, he is a superb athlete capable of making a seamless transition to the NBA game.
13. Joe Johnson, Brooklyn Nets (7): Johnson was brought in as part of a major overhaul for the Nets as this team set its sights on a title. Last season, he matched his career high in three-point attempts per game, but didn’t sink them as often as he did in his last season in Atlanta. This season, Johnson will be reunited with Paul Pierce, whom he spent half a season playing with when JJ was a rook on the Celtics back in the day.
14. Eric Gordon, New Orleans Pelicans (9): Gordon has been in New Orleans for two seasons now, but has only played 51 games total thanks to incessant knee woes. He’s been ramping up his activity at camp as he tries to get back into proper game shape. We’re betting Gordon can play enough this season to start turning his career around and get back to earning more points at the line. This kid has yet to make it through a full NBA season, so we all know the risks, but the potential rewards are huge.
15. DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors (16 at SF): DeRozan shined at the Drew Summer League after enjoying his finest season with the Raptors. The durable former Trojan became a bigger part of the Toronto offense last season and he’s looking very impressive in training camp this fall.
16. Kevin Martin, Minnesota Timberwolves (15): Martin used to be one of the best in the business in terms of getting to the charity stripe, but that skill has been decline the past couple of years. Last season, he was exclusively a bench player for the first time since he was a rookie, and he sunk fewer field goals as a result. The Wolves signed him this summer to help fix what was a weak spot for them last season.
17. Gerald Henderson, Charlotte Bobcats (31): Despite the team’s ongoing struggles, Henderson opted to re-sign in Charlotte this summer with the hope of being part of the turnaround. He’s gotten progressively better each season, and last season showed signs of developing an outside game.
18. Daniel Green, SG/SF, San Antonio Spurs (33): The durable Green saw more PT last season and continued his steady improvement. He really enjoyed a coming out party in the playoffs, putting on a clinic from downtown.
19. Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers (29): The Clippers occasionally used Crawford at the three when they played small ball and it was a good way to keep him on the floor as he enjoyed a very nice season off the bench. He was an excellent source of treys and even at the age of 33, he obviously has plenty left in the tank.
20. Jarrett Jack, Cleveland Cavaliers (28 at PG): In his only season in Golden State, Jack wasn’t able to build on his career year from the season before in New Orleans. Now, he’s in a different uniform yet again, moving Northeast to Cleveland. We’d like to see Jack get to the line more often as he’s an excellent FT shooter, but we like the fact that he’s reduced his turnovers the past couple of seasons. Nearly 30 now, he brings some much-needed veteran presence to a very young Cavalier squad.
21. Dion Waiters, Cleveland Cavaliers (22): Speaking of those young Cavs, Waiters enjoyed a solid rookie campaign, albeit shortened by injuries. He can sink buckets and is capable of helping you in three-pointers as well. Waiters has reportedly trimmed down this season, so consider him a bit of a sleeper – one that could easily surpass Jack’s value, but for now rates a touch below the vet.
22. Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls (NR): A solid defender, Butler enjoyed a nice breakout in his second season, staying healthy and even getting a chance to start for about a quarter of the season. He really had a coming out party in the playoffs, flashing some serious perimeter skills. This is the type of dude that really flies under the radar, so keep an eye on him.
23. Arron Afflalo, Orlando Magic (11): Another strong defender, Afflalo had to deal with a hamstring tear towards the end of last season, but is reportedly good to go now. He’s gotten better and better every year, last season seeing a nice bump in minutes, but struggling from downtown. Afflalo was involved in plenty of trade rumours this summer, but he’s still in Mickey Mouse Land, where it’s sure to be a long, hard season filled with lots of losing.
24. J.J. Redick, Los Angeles Clippers (32): Dealt to LA as part of a busy offseason by the Clippers, Redick was traded near the end of last season as well, going from Orlando to Milwaukee. He was seeing more PT with the Magic, but sunk fewer FTs per game once he became a Buck. The veteran brings some toughness to a Clipper squad that has grand goals this season.
25. Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs (10): The injury-prone Ginobili returned to the bench exclusively last season, but he still got more touches. He struggled somewhat in the playoffs and can no longer be counted on as a No. 1 SG, but rather one best employed when he has a favourable matchup.
26. Iman Shumpert, New York Knicks (NR): Fewer two point guard lineups for the Knicks could mean more minutes for Shumpert this season, although the team has lots of depth at the two as well. A bum shoulder has limited him at training camp, which is just what this injury-prone youngster needs. He’ll need to get to the line more this season to get back to the level of play he flashed as a rookie.
Others to Consider
27. Vince Carter, Dallas Mavericks (NR)
28. Alonzo Gee, SG/SF, Cleveland Cavaliers (34 at SF)
29. Jared Dudley, SG/SF, Los Angeles Clippers (25 at SF)
30. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Detroit Pistons (NR)
31. Jeremy Lamb, Oklahoma City Thunder (28)
32. Jordan Crawford, Boston Celtics (27)
33. Mike Dunleavy, SG/SF, Chicago Bulls (24 at SF)
34. Tony Allen, Memphis Grizzlies (23)
35. Ray Allen, Miami Heat (20)
It’s your turn. In the comments below, let us know who we missed or who is too high or low.