By Tom Lorenzo and Jeff Andriesse
It’s time to rank and analyze the top shooting guards in fantasy drafts. We chose these SGs based on their projected roles with their respective teams, keeping in mind that several shooting guards and small forwards will have hybrid positional eligibility. Rankings are very subjective and should always be fluid for the person drafting. Always tier out your cheat sheets before the draft as well. For our purposes, these rankings represent less of a statistical formula analysis and more of a comfort level with each player, taking into account factors such as injury history, upside potential and age. Format is based on standard eight-category rotisserie style (FG%, FT%, PTS, REB, AST, STL, BLK, 3FG).
2009-10 Shooting Guard Rankings
|Tom’s Top 25||Jeff’s Top 25|
|1. Dwyane Wade||1. Dwyane Wade|
|2. Kobe Bryant||2. Kobe Bryant|
|3. Brandon Roy||3. Brandon Roy|
|4. Kevin Martin||4. Joe Johnson|
|5. Joe Johnson||5. Kevin Martin|
|6. Andre Iguodala||6. Andre Iguodala|
|7. Vince Carter||7. Vince Carter|
|8. Ben Gordon||8. Ray Allen|
|9. O.J. Mayo||9. John Salmons|
|10. Ray Allen||10. Jason Richardson|
|11. Jason Richardson||11. Stephen Jackson|
|12. Manu Ginobili||12. O.J. Mayo|
|13. Jason Terry||13. Ben Gordon|
|14. Leandro Barbosa||14. Eric Gordon|
|15. J.R. Smith||15. J.R. Smith|
|16. John Salmons||16. Jason Terry|
|17. Randy Foye||17. Michael Redd|
|18. Stephen Jackson||18. Josh Howard|
|19. Eric Gordon||19. Manu Ginobili|
|20. Michael Redd||20. Leandro Barbosa|
|21. Courtney Lee||21. Randy Foye|
|22. Wilson Chandler||22. Richard Hamilton|
|23. Josh Howard||23. Wilson Chandler|
|24. Richard Hamilton||24. Courtney Lee|
|25. Brandon Rush||25. Ronnie Brewer|
BREAKING DOWN THE SHOOTING GUARD POSITION
Three Questions for Tom
Jeff: We both place J.R. Smith at 15th, as if he was a sensible, safe selection in the middle rounds. Is this the year the volatile Smith has a true breakout? What’s the highest he could rise on this list if everything comes together?
Tom: I suppose what I love about Smith is that he is a high-risk/high-reward kind of guy. It almost seems dangerous to own him! He’s an extremely talented ballplayer who could possibly lead the league in three-pointers made, add a steal-plus per game, and average 20 points. That’s not bad from a guy sitting in the middle of the pack. Of course he is going to miss the first seven games of the season and he does have a questionable attitude, which together could result in a disastrous season. I wrote about Smith earlier in the summer and my main point for him having a breakout season was this: he has been handed the starting ‘two’ guard position. There is no one standing in Smith’s way, except for Smith himself. Do I trust him? No. But if he’s the third shooting guard on my roster I’ll be pretty happy knowing that the upside this guy has could vault him into top 10 value by the end of the season.
Jeff: We differ significantly on several players, one of them being John Salmons. What’s your worry there? Shouldn’t he play a large role in the Chicago offense with Ben Gordon out of town?
Tom: I guess the problem I have with Salmons is that he’s never proven to be anything but a talent in the 50-75 range. Look at last season, for example. Even when Salmons was on a Kevin Martin-less Sacramento team he went about his business averaging 18/4/3 with a steal and 1.5 three-pointers. Nice stat-line, but I’m not buying that he is anything more than that. The Bulls are now in the hands of Derrick Rose and, for better or worse, Luol Deng. Salmons to me is who he is. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I’m more inclined to look at a guy like O.J. Mayo who has a tremendous upside or a Ray Allen who excels in certain categories, while Salmons is just good in a handful of them.
Jeff: I know you’re dying to pump up Leandro Barbosa, so go ahead and tell me why you have him 14th. But I’ll make this a two-parter: If your Barbosa love is based on Phoenix’s up-tempo style and lack of depth, shouldn’t Jason Richardson have an even better year now that’s he’s used to playing with Steve Nash? How do you see Richardson doing this year?
Tom: The Barbosa seed was planted when the great Tommy Landry of RotoExperts fame touted Barbosa as a “near-elite” fantasy player in an email exchange we had. I disputed that claim to a certain extent, but I’m not sure he’s far from being a fantasy stud this season (ed. note: Barbosa, not Landry). If you want to talk about Richardson getting “used to” Nash, we have to mention the many years that Barbosa spent as Nash’s understudy and running the break alongside him for stretches throughout his career. I like Richardson this year too, but much like J.R. Smith has been given an opportunity this season to shine, so too has Barbosa. Matt Barnes is long gone, the up-tempo style of play is back with Shaq now in Cleveland, and there is still no viable back-up for Nash at the point. It’s not far-fetched to think that Barbosa could steal 1.5 balls and drain 1.5 threes per game this season. Add into the equation the fact that he shot 88.1 percent from the line, scored nearly 15 points per game on the season, and poured in 20.1 points per in the 11 games that he started. There’s my Barbosa hype, but when it comes to Richardson I think he’s in for a great season as well. I’m not sure he’ll be the 2007-08 Richardson that averaged 21.8 points and 3.0 treys per game, but he’ll approach 20 points and he should come close to 2.0 three-pointers. Alvin Gentry and Nash have been known to elevate players, so he may exceed those expectations. I’d also keep an eye on which position he plays. Grant Hill revitalized his career in Phoenix, but he can longer play 30 minutes per game over an 82 game span. So you might see a Nash-Barbosa-Richardson lineup that will be extremely fun (and fast) to watch.
Three Questions for Jeff
Tom: You have Ben Gordon as your 13th-rated shooting guard. Weren’t we all supposed to get excited once he was out of Chicago and the spotlight was put on him? How come you aren’t excited about Gordon in Detroit?
Jeff: Probably because Richard Hamilton is still there, and so is Tayshaun Prince, and the situation is kind of a mess in my mind. Gordon has always struck me as an undersized defensive liability who is streaky offensively. He has a point guard in Rodney Stuckey who is actually a shooting guard. He’s got his contract. I’m wary. That said, don’t look too much into the number 13. There’s not much difference between Nos. 8 and, say, 17 on my list.
Tom: There is a triumvirate of former fantasy studs sitting in the 17-19 range on your list (Michael Redd, Josh Howard, Manu Ginobili). All three players have been susceptible to injury in the past, but have also shown top-flight talent when healthy. If I could grant you that all three would be healthy this season, which one would you rather own and why?
Jeff: I suppose Ginobili, but my concern with him is more the addition of Richard Jefferson taking some shots away and the Spurs probably being so good that they can do their usual resting of Manu for the playoffs. A healthy Redd on a terrible Milwaukee team could get his scoring back up to levels we’re used to, but the Bucks are going to get blown out pretty regularly. I don’t know if Howard has ever been a fantasy stud, he’s more of a solid mid-round option who will do just enough in most categories not to hurt you. Unfortunately, I think we’re at the point where its a mistake to count on more than 70 games from any of them, and thus they aren’t worth reaching for in drafts.
Tom: Let’s get into the Allen Iverson debate. Two part question here, Jeff: Is Allen Iverson worth a roster spot on fantasy teams this year AND what effect will he have (if any) on O.J. Mayo?
Jeff: Sure, Iverson’s worth a roster spot in leagues with a deep bench. I wouldn’t start him unless either Mayo or Mike Conley got hurt. That brings us to Mayo. You best believe I’m concerned about Iverson’s role here. I’m also fascinated. How is A.I. going to fit in on this team? Is he willing to come off the bench? If not, then what? They are willing to stunt the growth of their promising backcourt to sell a few more seats? I know God played a big role in the negotiations, but so did Chris Wallace, so things evened out. This is a horrible trade from a basketball AND fantasy standpoint, and that’s depressing in several ways. Mayo slid several spots on my list after this signing was announced, and won’t rise back up until I see Iverson becoming a good teammate and mentor before my eyes. Color me cynical.
Tom Lorenzo and Jeff Andriesse will break down the Small Forward position in the next few days. If you have comments, questions or suggestions, drop ’em in the Comments Section. Also, be sure to follow Tom and Jeff on Twitter and check out RotoExperts.com for the most comprehensive fantasy sports coverage on the web.