It’s not a secret that 2 guards are not my favorite fantasy basketball commodities. Alas, you still have to start at least 1 or 2 of them each week, and it’s always worth owning a couple reliable bench players at this position as well. So while I don’t generally support drafting a team full of flashy wing players, it is nevertheless important to have a few guys you can rely on day in and day out. I don’t have a problem with taking a great scoring guard early on in the draft (rounds 1-3) but I don’t endorse drafting more than one at this point. When looking for a SG search for one of two things. First, look for guys who provide a horizontal marginal advantage, meaning they contribute across the board and produce regularly in a number of different categories. Monta Elliis is a good example of this, he can be relied on for just about everything. (There’s definitely a bonus for SG’s who have PG eligibility or who can at least drop dimes with some consistency). Second, you can alternatively look for guys who provide a vertical marginal advantage, meaning they dominate in one category to the point that they virtually lock it up single-handedly. Klay Thompson, for example, provides this kind of marginal gain in threes. Personally, I prefer to load my team with a bunch of horizontal type assets and compliment them with a few vertical type guys in the categories I’m weak in, you will see this bias reflected in my rankings below.
Anyway, on to the rankings.
Tier 1: Fear the Beard
1. James Harden (HOU) – 45.6fg%, 86.6ft%, 2.4 3ptm, 25.4pts, 6.1ast, 4.7rbd, 1.6stl, 0.4blk, 3.6to
Harden is a scoring machine who gets to the hole and to the line with ease. It’s almost impossible to get 6.1ast/game out of a SG who also does so much else, and with Lin and Parsons gone (both good ball handlers), it’s realistic to expect this kind of production again. Harden offers by far the largest horizontal advantage at SG in the NBA, he’s simply the best there is, in a class by himself. Fear the beard, take him in the first round, and win championships.
2. Monta Ellis (DAL) – 45.1fg%, 78.8ft%, 0.8 3ptm, 19pts, 5.7ast, 3.6rbd, 1.7stl, 0.3blk, 3.2to
Monta gets the nod at #2 because of his passing ability and because I prefer horizontally beneficial players. He’s hovered around 6 ast/game for the last few season and should remain around there for this season too, despite the fact that Dallas added a number of PG’s and Chandler Parsons in the off season. I believe that these additions will help Monta (by opening up the floor) as much as they hurt him (by the loss of touches), and I’m excited to watch this team gel once the season gets rolling. Monta has been a stud since I was in middle school and he’s finally on a playoff team — watch out, you know he’s hungry.
3. Eric Bledsoe (PHO) – 47.7fg%, 77.2ft%, 1.2 3ptm, 17.7pts, 5.5ast, 4.7rbd, 1.6stl, 0.3blk, 3.3to
Beldsoe is an absolute monster, and may be the best combo guard in the NBA when he’s healthy. Phoenix has a high octane offense with a ‘fun and gun’ backcourt that also includes Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas. Based on his new contract, I seriously doubt a timeshare will hurt his production, or the production of Dragic or Thomas for that matter, all three are guys I would love to own. A horizontal type stud, I’m looking for Bledsoe to post around 18, 5 and 5 with great defense. Stats like this just don’t just stroll past your front lawn every day, so pull the trigger and pray for his health.
4. Demar Derozan (TOR) – 42.9fg%, 8 2.4t%, 0.8 3ptm, 22.7pts, 4.0 ast, 4.3rbd, 1.1stl, 0.4blk, 2.2to
Derozan was a surprise all-star last season as he lead the Raptors to the playoffs, where they lost a great series to the Nets. Demar is a super athletic player who can do it all; he’s another guy who offers horizontal gains and it’s the diversity of his game that causes me to prefer him over vertical type assets such as Beal and Thompson. Additionally, Derozan shot 44.5% from the field two seasons ago, so there’s reason to believe he can shoot a bit better and improve on the one weakness in his game this season. Don’t let that fg% deter me from a player of Derozan’s caliber.
5. Bradley Beal (WAS) – 41.9fg%, 78.8 ft%, 1.9 3ptm, 17.1pts, 3.1ast, 3.7rbd, 1.0stl, 0.2blk, 1.8to
A couple weeks ago I said Washington had the best backcourt in the East, and Beal is a huge reason I feel this way. I’m expecting Beal to explode this season, now that he’s fully healthy and the Wizards are loaded. First and foremost he’s a lights out shooter, and I think the arrival of Pierce especially will help the ball move more freely in DC, and that this will subsequently result in more efficient offense across the board. As a result, I’m looking for Beal to shoot closer to 44% and drop about 5 dimes per game. He’s the real deal and should also provide a vertical advantage in threes.
6. Victor Oladipo (ORL) – 41.9fg%, 78.0ft%, 0.9 3ptm, 13.8pts, 4.1ast, 4.1rbd, 1.6stl, 0.5blk, 3.2to
With Arron Afflalo and Jameer Nelson gone, Oladipo will be the centerpiece of Orlando’s young roster, and he’s also poised for a monster break out season. Victor will likely lead the Magic in scoring this season, so anticipate big gains in scoring and three point production. Furthermore, even as the 3rd back-court option in 2013, he still posted over 4 ast/game and played elite level defense to boot. I’m expecting closer to 5.5 ast/game for Victor this year; this level of production would catapult him ahead of Beal in my mind, but for now I’ll keep him here due to the uncertainty factor.
7. Lance Stephenson (CHA) – 49.1fg%, 71.1ft%, 1.1 3ptm, 13.8pts, 4.6ast, 7.2rbd, 0.7stl, 0.1blk, 2.7to
If you’ve ever read my blog before you know how highly I think of Lance Stephenson. He lead the NBA in triple doubles last season and lead all guards with 7.2 nightly boards. He’s a crafty, scrappy player who – despite his antics – is very smart on the hardwood, a fact demonstrated by his efficient shooting and his gaudy assist totals. I’d really appreciate him to score just a bit more, but as the 3rd scoring option in Charlotte I’m not counting on more than 15ppg. Yet even without more points, I still consider him very valuable due to his horizontal abilities.
8. Klay Thompson (GS) – 44.4fg%, 79.5ft%, 2.8 3ptm, 18.4pts, 2.2ast, 3.1rbd, 0.9stl, 0.5blk, 1.7to
Speaking of lights out shooters, Klay Thompson will make it rain by the Bay all season long once again this year. He was 3rd in the NBA for 3ptm last season, which makes his 44.4 FG% even more impressive. Plus legendary sharpshooter Steve Kerr is running the show in Golden State now, so expect the splash bros. to be jacking up as many threes as humanly possible from the get go. Drafting Klay in the mid-early rounds allows you to focus on categories other than threes for the rest of your draft.
9. Kobe Bryant (LAL) – 2012 – 46.3fg%, 83.9ft%, 1.7 3ptm, 27.3pts, 6.0ast, 5.6rbd, 1.4stl, 0.3blk, 3.7to
Kobe only played 6 games last season so I don’t think it’s fair to use those numbers in consideration of his rankings, but in 2012 Kobe was just phenomenal. I honestly doubt I have tell you how great Kobe is — if you think he’ll stay healthy he’s worth an early round pick. Last year I rolled the dice on Derrick Rose at the end of the first round, I’m not planning on taking on a similar risk this season.
10. Wes Mathews (POR) – 44.1fg%, 83.7ft%, 2.5 3ptm, 16.4pts, 2.4ast, 3.5rbd, 0.9stl, 0.2blk, 1.3to
You can count on Wes for threes and scoring, but sharing the perimeter with the similarly tooled Nic Batum keeps him ranked a tad lower than I think his talent would otherwise suggest.
11. Dwayne Wade (MIA) – 54.5fg%, 73.3ft%, 0.2 3ptm, 19.0pts, 4.7ast, 4.5rbd, 1.5stl, 0.5blk, 3.0to
Wade is a superstar when his knees are healthy. Or, perhaps it’s more accurate to say that Wade was a superstar when his knees were healthy. LeBron is gone this year, so Wade won’t be able to sit out half the season to rest his creaking old legs for the playoffs. What’s even more concerning is that even with all that rest, Wade still looked old and slow in the playoffs. I’m not drafting him this year, let someone else overpay for him.
12. Kyle Korver (ATL) – 47.5fg%, 92.6ft%, 2.6 3ptm, 12.0pts, 2.9ast, 4.0rbd, 1.0stl, 0.4blk, 1.4to
The best shooter in the game not named Steph Curry, Korver offers a huge vertical marginal advantage in threes and his 47.5 fg% is ridiculous considering how many shots he takes from deep. That said, the fact that he only scores 12ppg limits the utility of his shooting percentage and he doesn’t do all that much other than stand at the line and launch bombs. But he does have the ability to lock up threes for you any given week, and that’s where his value lies.
13. Arron Afflalo (DEN) – 45.9fg%, 81.5ft%, 1.8 3ptm, 18.2pts, 3.4ast, 3.6rbd, 0.5stl, 0.0blk, 2.0to
I watched a lot of Afflalo last year while he was with the Magic and I couldn’t help but be impressed. He was a leader on and off the court and set the tone for an otherwise very young team. Above all Afflalo displayed a complete skill-set and a deep understanding of the game. He may not be the most athletic or talented player on the floor, but he get’s the job done on both ends of the court and make both NBA teams and fantasy teams better.
14. Eric Gordon (NO) – 43.6fg%, 78.5ft%, 1.6 3ptm, 15.4pts, 3.3ast, 2.6rbd, 1.2stl, 0.2blk, 2.1to
Gordon is a supreme talent, but nearly always has issues with health and/or effort, the latter of which is incredibly sad. He spent a good amount of last season in the doghouse because he basically refused to even try to grab rebounds. That said, the Pelicans actually might be good this year, and maybe some competitiveness will light fire under Gordon. He’s simply too good to ignore, but he’s certainly a high risk high reward guy.
15. Andrew Wiggins (MIN) – (college) 44.8fg%, 77.5ft%, 1.2 3ptm, 17.1pts, 1.5ast, 5.9rbd, 1.2stl, 0.9blk, 2.3to
A rookie with gobs of talent on a team with room for more talent can equate to fantasy gold. I haven’t watched a ton of this guy play yet, but I can promise you he’ll be something to watch. I say roll the dice and roster him – let the games begin!
16. JR Smith (NYC) – 41.5fg%, 65.2ft%, 2.6 3ptm, 14.5pts, 3.0ast, 4.0rbd, 0.9stl, 0.3blk, 1.5to
JR had an awful start to last season, but returned to form near the end of the season, hopefully he can carry that momentum into this season. He’s a boom or bust kind of player, who can heat up just as quickly as he can get ice cold, and he sometimes struggles to focus (see: Shawn Marion’s shoes). Like a few other guys in this range, he is nevertheless supremely talented and Phil the zen master may be exactly what Smith needs to get back on track.
17. Jamal Crawford (LAC) – 41.6%, 86.6ft%, 2.3 3pt, 18.6pts, 3.2ast, 2.3rbd, 0.9stl, 0.2blk, 2.0
Jamal Crawford is the ultimate 6th man, he can come into the game and ignite at any moment. In the fantasy universe, he’s a guy you can grab later on in the draft and acquire a nice vertical advantage in threes, and that gives him solid value. But he’s getting older now and he’s bound to slow down eventually, as shown in his complimentary stats — they just aren’t what they used to be.
18. Kevin Martin (MIN) – 43.0fg%, 89.1ft%, 1.7 3ptm, 19.1pts, 1.8ast, 3.0rbd, 1.0stl, 0.1blk, 1.8to
Martin is a pure scorer and will always be able to pour it in, yet it’s hard to predict how the arrival of Andrew Wiggins will effect Martin’s playing time and opportunities. My guess is that he’ll still get plenty of touches and chances to score, but if those opportunities go by the wayside, Kev doesn’t really do anything else worthy of fantasy ownership.
19. Joe Johnson – 45.4fg%, 81.5ft%, 2.1 3ptm, 15.8pts, 2.7ast, 3.4rbd, 0.6stl, 0.1blk, 1.5to
Iso Joe used to be a staple on my fantasy rosters because he could absolutely do it all, especially dish out assists and grab boards. As he’s aged he’s become more of a spot up shooter, but showed in the playoffs that he’s still got what it takes to dominate. He’s going to line up next to D-Will this year and should be productive from deep with respectable efficiency too. Johnson is, perhaps, the most maligned max contract player in NBA history, but he still deserves some respect from fantasy owners – with “some” being the operative word here.
20. J.J. Reddick (LAC) – 45.5fg%, 91.5ft%, 2.1 3ptm, 15.2pts, 2.2ast, 2.1rbd, 0.8stl, 0.1blk, 1.2to
I absolutely love watching J.J. Reddick play. He’s a brilliant guy who’s put in the blood, sweat, and tears which have transformed him from a benchwarmer to a legit NBA role player. Obviously he can still shoot the long ball and for a good percentage too, but he’s on an ultra-deep team with players who limit his production in secondary categories. Like the previous few guys on this list, he gives you a vertical advantage in threes and not much else. You want a few of these guys on your team, but not a roster full of them.
21. Jimmy Butler (CHI) – 39.7fg%, 76.9ft%, 1.0 3ptm, 13.1pts, 2.6ast, 4.9rbd, 1.9stl, 0.5blk, 1.5to
Lot’s of people are pretty high on Jimmy Butler again this year, they must know something I don’t. He did shoot 46.7% from the field a couple years ago but he only averaged 8.6 points that year, and you have to score more than that for your fg% to be meaningful. If he’s ever going to break out, it’ll have to be this year, but I wouldn’t put all my eggs in this basket.
22. Rodney Stuckey (IND) – 43.6fg%, 83.6ft%, 0.3 3ptm, 13.9pts, 2.1ast, 2.3rbd, 0.7stl, 0.1blk, 2.1to
With Paul George’s leg shattered (R.I.P) and Born Ready Stephenson in Carolina, Stuckey could emerge as a major component to the Pacers offense. Nevertheless he’s never been able to shoot the three, and I’ve always felt he should posts more assists than he ever has. I wouldn’t mind having him on my bench, but don’t be shocked if he turns out to be a huge disappointment either.
23. Alec Burks (UTA) – 45.7fg%, 74.8ft%, 0.6 3ptm, 14.0 pts, 2.7ast, 3.3rbd, 0.9stl, 0.2blk, 1.9to
His numbers last year were nice, but I’d really like to see him make more threes before I’d view him as a must-own guy. However, he could end up starting this year, and this could mean he’s poised for a breakout too. Burks has the potential to become a late round lotto ticket, and those are integral to success in fantasy basketball.
24. Avery Bradley (BOS) – 43.8fg%, 80.4ft%, 1.3 3ptm, 14.9pts, 1.4ast, 3.8rbd, 1.1stl, 0.2blk, 1.6to
I think Avery Bradley is quite talented, and the return of Rondo may help him improve as a 2 guard, but he’s got to stay on the floor to add value to a fantasy team, and no one’s really sure if he can manage that. Note, however, that his late season splits were impressive last season, meaning he’s definitely a guy to take a flyer on.
25. Dion Waiters (CLE) – 43.4fg%, 68.5ft%, 1.3 3ptm 15.9pts, 3.0ast, 2.8rbd, 0.9stl 0.2blk, 2.2to
The arrival of Lebron will help Waiters develop as player and will render him more useful to the Cavs in their quest to win a championship. But while I think he’ll be a nice role player on the best team in the East, his overall numbers and therefore fantasy value should decline as he loses touches, and passes the rock to more talented teammates.
26. Manu Ginobili (SA) – 46.9fg%, 85.1ft%, 1.3 3ptm, 12.3pts, 4.3ast, 3.0rbd, 1.0stl, 0.3blk, 2.0to
Manu is a great player, a hall of famer even, but he’s more of a role player now and Pop is going to be resting him thoroughly all season until the playoffs start. Kahwi is the guy in San Antone now, Manu’s just there to help.
27. Danny Green (SA) – 43.2fg%, 79.4ft%, 1.9 3ptm, 9.1pts, 1.5ast, 3.4rbd, 1.0stl, 0.9blk, 1.1to
Danny Green is a great shooter and is worth owning exclusively because of the volume of threes he shoots. But Pop’s rotation is certifiably whack and you just can’t count on him to play or produce on a regular basis. Try snagging someone like J.J. Reddick first if you’re looking for a 3 point specialist.
28. Jodie Meeks (LAL) – 40.1fg%, 85.7ft%, 2.9 3ptm, 15.7pts, 1.8ast, 2.5rbd, 1.4stl, 0.1blk, 1.4to
Another great shooter, and a surprisingly good defender, I expect Meeks to start in Detroit this year and he can absolutely help your team if you’re hurting for some threes. I’m also glad he’s not playing with Nick Young anymore, because there aren’t enough shots in the world for them to share.
29(t). Giannis Antetokounmpo (MLK) – 41.4fg%, 68.3ft%, 0.5 3ptm, 6.8pts, 1.9ast, 4.4rbd, 0.8stl, 0.8blk, 1.6to
29(t). OJ Mayo (MLK) – 40.7fg%, 86.4ft% 1.6 3ptm, 11.7pts, 2.2ast, 2.4rbd, 0.5stl, 0.3blk, 1.8to
It’s not clear who’s going to start at the 2 guard spot in Milwaukee, and I’m not going to pretend to have some kind of inside beat on J-Kidd’s thought process here. Whoever ends up starting is the guy worth owning. It’s also possible that Giannis will end up starting at the 3 position, and if he does, just tread lightly when it comes to owning Mr. Mayo.
31. Jarrett Jack (BKN) – 41.0fg%, 83.9ft%, 0.8 3ptm, 9.5pts, 4.1ast, 2.8rbd, 0.7stl, 0.3blk, 1.7to
I’ve always thought Jack was a quality player and it’s a shame he’s not in line for more minutes in Brooklyn. He’s only worth owning if and when Deron Williams goes down, which is entirely possible. If things do happen to shake out this way, expect Jack to be a more than capable and productive replacement.
32. Ben Gordon (ORL) – 34.3fg%, 81.0ft%, 0.4 3ptm, 5.2pts, 1.1ast, 1.4rbd, 0.5stl, 0.1blk, 1.4to
Ok so those numbers are awful, just God awful, but he’ll have a larger role in Orlando and maybe that can revive his otherwise floundering career. If you’re desperate, you’re desperate…
33. Tim Hardaway Jr (NYC) – 42.8fg%, 82,8ft%, 1.6 3ptm, 10.2pts, 0.8ast, 1.5rbd, 0.5stl, 0.1blk, 0.6to
Just like his dad he can drain the three, if his playing time increases he’s probably worth an add as a 3pt specialist.
34. Nic Stauskas (SAC)
35. C.J. Miles (IND)
36. Kentavious Caldwell Pope (DET)
37. Tony Wroten (PHI)
38. K.J. McDaniels (PHI)
39. C.J. McCollum (POR)
40. Ben Mclemore (SAC)