Your point guards are the most important players on your fantasy team. There are a number of reasons for this:
1) Assists are among the rarest categories, there just aren’t that many players who you can rely on to drop dimes on a nightly basis, and it’s nearly impossible to add assists off the waiver wire.
2) In a similar vein, there are simply less starting point guards in the NBA. There are 30 starting pg’s in the league and maybe 20 or 25 worth owning, on the other hand every NBA team starts two swingmen and two bigmen. On draft day I focus on PG’s, drafting 5 or 6 in the first 8 or 9 rounds. If you’re in a twelve team league, drafting 6 starting PG’s leaves 15-20 players for 11 teams to share. Corner the PG market and reap the benefits.
3) Point guards are diverse in their skill-sets. Many PG’s will provide threes and steals and ft% at the same rate as top level swingmen, meaning you’re not sacrificing any categories by securing assists.
4) Because PG’s handle the ball more they are going to turn the ball over more, which works fine because you should be punting turnovers in 9-cat ball anyway. You should be punting TOs because if you’re far enough ahead in the PG categories, you can go ahead and bench your floor generals at the end of the week and have a legit shot at winning that category anyway.
Acquiring quality PG’s should be your top priority on draft day, especially in the mid to late rounds. Don’t be afraid to pull the trigger on starting PG’s for bad teams who don’t get a ton of exposure from national media. After the studs are off the draft board, people tend to select players they’re familiar with, usually people are too high on guys ESPN likes to talk about. Guys from LA and NY and Boston get overhyped while guys from small markets are generally ripe for the picking.
Anyway here are your preseason PG rankings, don’t be afraid to pursue these guys aggressively.
1. Chris Paul (LAC) – 46.7fg%, 85.5ft%, 1.3 3ptm, 19.1pts, 10.7ast, 4.3rbd, 2.5stl, 0.1blk, 2.3to
No surprises here, CP3 is the best PG in the game when he’s healthy. He lead the association with a crazy 4.57 ast/to ratio, nearly twice as good as John Wall’s 2.44 ast/to ratio, which was second. There’s no argument over who the NBA’s best floor general is, it’s not even close really.
2. Steph Curry (GS) – 47.1fg%, 88.5ft%, 3.3 3ptm, 24pts, 8.5ast, 4.3rbd, 1.6stl, 0.2blk,3.8to
As long as his ankles are health Steph Curry is a top 5 overall player. This is largely thanks to the diversity of his game. Probably the best pure shooter in the game, despite jacking up more threes than anyone else Steph still manages to make 47% of his shots. Think about that for a minute, he’s the only person on planet Earth who can do that. If 9-cat fantasy didn’t place such a premium on assists, he’d be my #1 guy.
3. John Wall (WAS) – 43.3fg%, 80.5ft%, 1.3 3ptm, 19.3pts, 8.8ast, 4.1rbd, 1.8stl, 0.5blk, 3.6to
Like I just said, Wall was the second most efficient passer in the NBA in 2013. He’s ultra athletic and his team is improved again this season. In one of my favorite back-court combo’s, Wall should thrive again this year, and could realistically approach double digit assists. Another fun fact: two seasons ago,Wall made only 0.2 threes per game; last season he drained 1.3 threes per game. Look for this trend to continue, as his long range shooting bumps Wall into the first tier of fantasy PGs.
4. Russell Westbrook (OKC) – 43.7fg%, 82.6 ft%, 1.5 3ptm, 21.8pts, 6.9 ast, 1.9stl, 0.2blk, 3.8to
I often argue with my coworkers over whether Westbrook is an elite PG. I usually hear that he’s not because he shoots too much, and should be passing it to KD more often. The good news for Russell is that this arguement is wrong. When he’s attacking the basket, and taking “too many shots” he’s actually openning up the floor and taking defensive pressure off of KD. The more aggressive Russell is, the better OKC will fair. He dealt with injuries last year, and I think this effected team chemistry and his assist numbers last year. Westbrook has averaged 8+ assists twice in his career, I’m looking for him to get back to that number this year.
5. Ty Lawson (DEN) – 43.1fg%, 79.8ft%, 1.2 3ptm, 17.6pts, 8.8ast, 3.5rbd, 1.6stl, 0.2blk, 3.2to
Lawson had his best season in 2013, jumping from 6.9 assist two years ago to 8.8 last year. Assuming those assist numbers don’t regress, he’s a top 5 PG as the floor general of that track team that plays in Denver.
6. Kyle Lowry (TOR) – 42.3fg%, 81.3ft%, 2.4 3ptm, 17.9pts, 7.4ast, 4.7rbd, 1.5stl, 0.2blk, 2.5to
Kyle Lowry is officially listed as 6 ‘0”, which is probably even a little generous, nevertheless, Lowry averages nearly 5 rebounds a game. That stat epitomizes Lowry’s game, he’s absolutely tenacious. Toronto is legit, and Lowry’s their best player; if you haven’t had the chance to watch him play, I suggest you make time this season.
7. Goran Dragic (PHO) – 50.5fg%, 76ft%, 1.6 3ptm, 20.3pts, 5.9ast, 1.4stl, 0.3blk, 2.8to
Goran Dragic has a unique game and is another player I just love to watch play. He’s so damn smooth and makes the game look easy: slicing to the hole and draining jumpers with regularity, he sees the floor as good as anyone. Case in point, he was the most accurate shooting PG in the NBA last season, and Jeff Hornacek’s system is only going to encourage that again this season. Two years ago I traded Dragic away for Eric Gordon, and that maybe the worst move I ever made in fantasy basketball. Believe in Goran Dragic, he’s the next Tony Parker.
8. Mike Conley (MEM) – 45fg%, 81.5ft%, 1.4 3ptm, 17.2pts, 6.0 ast, 1.5stl, 0.2blk, 2.1to
Conley is a model of consistency, his numbers last season nearly mirror all of his career averages. He might not be the most exciting pick, but doesn’t miss games and you know what you’re going to get from him every night. This is the kind of player who wins fantasy championships.
9. Derrick Rose (CHI) – 35.4fg%, 84.4ft%, 1.6 3ptm, 15.9pts, 4.3ast, 0.5stll, 0.1blk, 3.4to
I was temped to put Rose in the first tier of PGs, and if he’s healthy there’s no doubt that’s the type of player he is. But alas, Rose burned me last season as I took him in the end of the first round. Two things I learned from that, it’s going to take Rose time to get back to elite level production even when he is healthy, so drafting him means waiting a month or so before you get wait you’ll have to pay for him. And secondly, he could just as easily get hurt again this season, God forbid. Rose is a fantastic player, but so was Brandon Roy.
10. Damian Lillard (POR) – 42.4fg%, 87.1ft%, 2.7 3ptm, 20.7pts, 5.6ast, 0.8stl, 0.3blk, 2.4 to
Lillard has been producing at all-pro levels since his first day in the NBA and there’s no reason to think that this is a trend that’s suddenly going to stop. That said, Lillard needs to improve his production in the defensive categories and in assists if he wants to break into the first tier of PGs. It’s also a little bit concerning that he’s lost nearly a whole assist per game from his first to his second season while also shooting more inefficiently. That said, I’m really just nitpicking here, Lillard is a guy you want on your team.
11. Jrue Holiday (NO) — 44.7fg%, 81ft%, 0.9 3ptm, 14.3pts, 7.9ast, 4.2rbd, 1.6stl, 0.4blk, 3.1to
Jrue is the floor general for maybe my favorite Western Conference team this year, the New Orleans Pelicans. There’s so much upside, and so much talent, and not enough depth on this team that I expect the big easy to be a fantasy gold mine all season long. Remember that Jrue missed half the season last year, and this probably explains the decrease in his scoring last season, but the season prior he posted nearly 18 points per game and I’d expect him to produce closer to that this season. If he can get his scoring and threes back to his Philly levels, and maintain his assisting proficiency he could crack the first tier by the end of the season.
12. Rajon Rondo (BOS) – 40.3fg%, 62.7ft%, 0.9 3ptm, 11.7pts, 9.8ast, 5.5rbd, 1.3stl, 0.1blk, 3.3to
If he could only stay healthy Rondo would be in the top tier of these rankings, but it just seems like that won’t happen. He’s already scheduled to miss the first 6-8 weeks of the season with a broken hand that didn’t occur during basketball activities. Initially it was said he slipped in the shower, but now the talk is that he was jumping on trampolines at a birthday party. Either way, ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME! Come on Rajon, I want you on my team, you’re assist numbers are so damn gaudy, please stay on the floor!
13. Jeff Teague (ATL) – 43.8fg%, 84.6ft%, 0.9 3ptm, 16.5pts, 6.7ast, 2.6rbd, 1.1stl, 0.2blk, 2.9to
Better defense would elevate Jeff to the next level.
14. Kemba Walker (CHA) – 39fg%, 84ft%, 1.5 3ptm, 17.7pts, 6.1ast, 4.2rbd, 1.2stl, 0.4blk, 2.3to
Don’t let that shooting percentage deter you.
15. Kyrie Irving (CLE) – 43.0fg%, 86.1ft%, 1.7 3ptm, 20.8pts, 6.1ast, 3.6rbd, 1.5stl, 0.3blk, 2.7to
LeBron James is the best player in the world because he makes the players around him better, simple as that. But while LeBron’s presence will help Kyrie maximize his talent and turn him into a winner, it may have the opposite effect on Kyrie’s fantasy value. LeBron will take the ball out of Kyrie’s hands and will likely hurt his assist and potentially his scoring numbers as well. On the other hand, Irving will likely shoot more efficiently this season; Dwayne Wade for example, was the most efficient guard (54fg%) in the league last season. Kyrie may help Cleveland win their first title, but you may want to look elsewhere for an early round PG.
16. Michael Carter-Williams (PHI) – 40.5fg%, 70.3ft%, 0.8 3ptm, 16.7pts, 6.3ast, 6.2rbd, 1.9pts, 0.6blk, 3.5to
Much like Damian Lillard, MCW began producing very early on in his career. In addition to his impressive scoring and passing rookie numbers, he also played good D and rebounded well last season. It’s difficult to not love such a well rounded young player. I’m expecting him to shoot with greater efficiency this year, and hopefully he spent all summer practicing free throws because 70% is frankly not good enough for a NBA PG. Furthermore the Sixers will be terrible again this year, meaning they will be forced to lean heavily on MCW; while simultaneously getting little to no coverage from mainstream sports media outlets. Lazy owners will probably be sleeping on MCW on draft day, feel good about pulling the trigger on him.
17. Ricky Rubio (MIN) – 38.1fg%, 80.2ft%, 0.5 3ptm, 9.5pts, 8.6ast, 4.2rbd, 2.3stl, 0.1blk, 2.7to
Okay, so Ricky Rubio couldn’t sink an anvil in the Bay of Biscay, but 8.6ast/game just doesn’t come along everyday. With the scarcity of quality fantasy play-makers it’s worth sacrificing a few points for a floor general like Rubio. He may be the best pure passer in the league (not named Chris Paul) and he plays elite level defense to boot. Keep in mind that you can almost always find scoring on the waiver wire, which makes the aforementioned sacrifice much more palatable.
18. Brandon Jennings (DET) – 37.3fg%, 75.1ft%, 1.9 3ptm, 15.5pts. 7.6ast, 3.1rbd, 1.3stl, 0.1blk, 2.7to
Much like Rubio and Kemba Walker, many owners will be disenchanted with Jenning’s shooting percentage. And much like Rubio and Kemba, I recommend ignoring that because Brando can contribute just about everywhere else. This just means you need to focus on ft% and punt fg% (it feels like I say this every week). Rotoworld calls Jennings an 8th round pick, and if you can pick up 7.6ast/game that late in the draft I implore you to exploit that.
19. Deron Williams (BRK) – 45.0 fg%, 80.1ft%, 1.5 3ptm, 14.3pts, 6.1ast, 2.6rbd, 1.5stl, 0.2blk, 2.2to
I’ll probably catch some flack for having D-Will so low here, especially behind someone like Jennings. But I just don’t feel comfortable drafting a guy who always on the verge of injury and in the 11th season of his career. If you think he’s the same player he once was, go ahead and take him, but I’ll be passing on him again this year.
20. Brandon Knight (MLW) – 42.2fg%, 80.2ft%, 1.5 3ptm, 17.9pts, 4.9ast, 3.5ast, 1.0stl, 0.2blk, 2.6to
Knight is a solid player on a bad team, and like most solid players on bad teams he will get plenty of opportunities to produce and build on his success from last year. A few more assists per game would take him to the next level in my mind.
21. Tony Parker (SA) – 49.5fg%, 81.1ft%, 0.4 3ptm, 16.7pts, 5.7ast, 2.3rbd, 0.5stl, 0.1blk, 2.2to
I’m not going to call him old because anytime I say the Spurs are old they make me look stupid. Everyone knows what Tony Parker can do, just don’t overpay for him. Notice that he won’t help you defensively.
22. Elfrid Payton (ORL) – 50.9fg%, 61.1ft%, 0.4 3ptm, 19.2pts, 5.9ast, 6.0rbd, 2.3stl, 0.6blk, 3.6to (La Lafayet)
Payton posted impressive numbers in his junior season, and will be Orlando’s starting PG this year. There will be growing pains for sure, but he’s an exciting talent who will get plenty of chances to produce next to Victor Oladipo. He could be really fun to own, especially if you can get him later in the draft.
23. Jose Calderon (NYK) – 45.6fg%, 82.5ft%, 2.4 3ptm, 11.4pts, 4.7ast, 2.4rbd, 0.9stl, 0.1blk, 1.3to
His assist numbers were down last year but I’d expect them to bounce back as the stater in the Big Apple. In his previous 4 seasons Calderon posted 8.9, 8.8, 6.6, and 7.4 assists, so pick him up if he’s available and you need some dimes.
24. Darren Collison (SAC) – 46.7fg%, 85.7ft%, 0.9 3ptm, 11.4pts, 3.7ast, 2.4rbd, 1.2stl, 0.2blk, 1.7to
People may have forgotten about Collison because he’s been buried behind CP3 for the last few seasons. But he’s still a very talented player, who’s stepping into the same role that Isaiah Thomas excelled in last season. Look for him to have a (re)breakout season.
25. Isaiah Thomas (PHO) – 45.3fg%, 85.0ft%, 1.8 3ptm, 20.3pts, 6.3ast, 2.9rbd, 1.3stl, 0.1blk, 3.0to
Those numbers indicate that IT2 should be ranked much higher than 25th, and in my mind he’s probably closer to a top 15 talent. But he’ll be the sixth man in Phoenix and I’m not convinced there are enough touches for him, Dragic, and Bledsoe to all maximize their abilities. I think Dragic is the leader here, while Bledsoe and IT2 will probably eat into each other’s productivity.
26. Trey Burke (UTA) – 38.0fg%, 90.3ft%, 1.6 3ptm, 12.8pts, 5.7ast, 3.0Irbd, 0.6stl, 0.1blk, 1.9to
The bad news is that he needs to shoot better and play better defense. The good news is that many players improve in these areas during their second season in the NBA. Timeshare with Dante Exum could hurt his value.
27. Mario Chalmers (MIA) – 45.4fg%, 74.2ft%, 1.2 3ptm, 9.8pts, 4.9ast, 2.9rbd, 1.6stl, 0.2blk, 2.2to
It’ll be interesting to see what Chalmers does in the post LeBron era. Part of me thinks he could see a major breakout, but part of me knows better than that.
28. Reggie Jackson (OKC) – 44.0fg%, 89.3ft%, 1.0 3ptm, 13.1pts, 4.1ast, 3.9rbd, 1.1stl, 0.1blk, 2.1to
If Russell Westbrook goes down, Jackson becomes a must start player.
29. Patrick Beverly (HOU) – 41.4fg%, 81.4ft%, 1.6 3ptm, 10.2pts, 2.7ast, 3.5rbd, 1.4stl, 0.4blk, 1.2.to
Plays good D but needs to drop more dimes if he wants me to take him seriously.
30. George Hill (IND) – 44.2fg%, 80.7ft%, 1.3 3ptm, 10.3pts, 3.5ast, 3.7rbd, 1.0stl, 0.3blk, 1.2to
I’ve been burned by Hill in the past, I’m not drafting him and giving him a chance to do that to me again.
31. Jeremy Lin (LAL) – 44.6fg%, 82.3ft%, 1.2 3ptm, 12.5pts, 4.1ast, 2.6rbd, 1.0stl, 0.4blk, 2.5to
Not a supreme talent in my mind,and likely stuck in a timeshare with Steve Nash.
32(t). Jameer Nelson (DAL) – 39.4fg%, 85.7ft%, 2.0 3ptm, 12.1pts, 7.0ast, 3.4rbd, 0.8stl, 0.1blk, 2.4to
32(t). Ray Felton (DAL) – 39.5fg%, 72.1ft%, 1.0 3ptm, 9.7pts, 5.6ast, 3.0ast, 1.2stl, 0.4blk, 2.0to
Can anyone say timeshare?
34. Marcus Smart
35. Dante Exum
36. Ray Mccallum
37. Steve Nash
38. Randy Foye
39. Mo Williams
40. DJ Augustin