Tag Archives: Trevor Ariza

RotoExperts Draft Kit: Top 25 Small Forwards

Durant edges LeBron as the NBA's top flag football player

From the RotoExperts 2011-12 NBA Draft Kit

These rankings were written on Dec. 16 and published a day later. Derrick Williams is flying up draft boards, while Corey Maggette has been available late. Andrei Kirilenko’s future remains cloudy; rumors persist that he will sign with New Jersey but nothing is official yet. Austin Daye looked strong in the Pistons’ first exhibition game and has more upside than Tayshaun Prince. Watch that situation closely. 

Positional eligibility is important to consider when building your Fantasy basketball team. The top sites usually vary in terms of positional leniency, and the games played at a position is much foggier than in, say, Fantasy Baseball. For the purposes of the RotoExperts Top 25 positional rankings, we limited players to one list only; namely, the position they play most of the time. Under these circumstances, the small forward position is very top-heavy, with stars like LeBron James and Kevin Durant heading the list. The talent drops off significantly, so it is crucial that, depending on your league’s positional rules, you check to see what shooting guards and power forwards could also slot into your SF spot.

In general, drafting based on positional depth is a solid strategy, and true small forwards and true centers are in shorter supply this season than the three other positions. It’s just something to keep in mind while you are drafting; it might be a good idea to get one of the top SFs on this list before it’s too late.

The following rankings are based on a nine-category, head-to-head league format (PTS, REB, AST, STL, BLK, 3FG, FG%, FT%, TO), using Yahoo!’s positional eligibility. We break down players into tiers as well to help you organize them within your overall cheat sheets. These rankings take into account not just stat projections, but injury risk, competition for minutes and other intangibles.

ROTOEXPERTS.COM SMALL FORWARD RANKINGS

TIER 1

1. Kevin Durant, OKC

Projected Stats: 28.6 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 2.7 APG, 2.0 3FG, 1.1 SPG, 1.0 BPG, 2.9 TO, 46.5 FG%, 89.6 FT%

He’s Fantasy Basketball’s 1A to LeBron’s 1B. Who you choose comes down to, perhaps, personal preference (do you dislike rooting for LeBron because of “The Decision”?) or, if you are a cold and calculating Fantasy player, or league format. In rotisserie scoring, Durant is the clear No. 1 overall pick because of his incredible free throw percentage at such a high volume. In H2H formats, it is more of a toss-up. Durant turns it over less than LeBron, has that better free throw percentage, and even bests him in blocks. He’s also easier to root for. There’s your tiebreaker! Continue reading


2011-12 Damn Mock I: Eighth Round

Welcome to Round 8 of the Damn Lies & Statistics Damn Mock I, a silly little exercise that allows the three of us picking to distract us now that the season is over. And don’t even get us started on the lockout. We refuse to believe it will happen, and plan on mocking all preseason as if everything were fine. Everything is fine, right? RIGHT? Enjoy the eighth round. Only two more to go.

The rules: Jeff, Tom and Greg are taking four teams each in this 12-team league, which is a nine-category rotisserie league (FG%, FT%, PTS, REB, AST, STL, BLK, 3FG, TO) that will draft the following: 1 PG, 1 SG, 1 SF, 1 PF, 2 C, 1 F, 1 G, 2 U. We’ll be building each team ourselves based on this format. Hope you enjoy, and feel free to mock us in the Comments.

FIRST ROUND | SECOND ROUNDTHIRD ROUND | FOURTH ROUND | FIFTH ROUND | SIXTH ROUND | SEVENTH ROUND

DAMN MOCK I: EIGHTH ROUND

85. Team 12 (Tom) – Tyson Chandler – This pick may be a reactionary one, after watching Chandler dominate in these NBA Playoffs, but considering he averaged 10.1 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in under 28 minutes this season I think I’m getting a good bargain here. If he shows up and plays as “2010-11 regular season Chandler,” I got good value. If he shows up as “NBA Playoffs Chandler,” I got a steal.  Continue reading


Fox Unbalanced: A Cacophony of Cockamamy Claptrap

Wes Craven's Scream was originally based on a screenplay about Greg Fox checking box scores.

Just when I thought I had this fantasy basketball thing all figured out, I’m thrown for another Froot Loop on Wednesday night. I hate starting these pieces by whining about my own team, but how can I not as the Unhappy Hairstons continue to get injured like its their job? A lot of this could have been avoided. I’ve had this awkward infatuation with Roy Hibbert since he left Georgetown for the bright lights of Indianapolis.  I so desperately wanted him this year and he was staring me in the face in the sixth round. So what did I do? I took Mo Williams, that’s what! Mo’s 2010-11 campaign has thus far been nothing short of a Wes Craven film. Tonight, he strained his groin, no doubt while lunging to strangle Byron Scott who benched him in the fourth quarter of Tuesday night’s win in New Jersey, and will probably have to wear a truss for the remainder of the season. Meanwhile, Hibbert and his 15.8 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 3.3 blocks are the perfect reward for my jangled nerves.

As Tom and Jeff have said repeatedly, it is still early and ground can be made up. It is in my nature to panic, as my fingernails can attest. It’s in my genes. My father panicked, his father panicked and his father before him was a noted ‘fraidy cat’ in the old country, so what chance did I have, really?

All I can do at this point is help you, my loyal readers, by looking at a few guys to target as well as a few to thank for their contributions before bidding adieu. Continue reading


Damn Lies Fantasy Preview: New Orleans Hornets

The New Orleans Hornets are lean and predictable. Stacked at point guard this offseason, the Hornets shipped 2009-10 Fantasy Waiver Wire MVP Darren Collison to Indiana in a four-team trade that landed them small forward Trevor Ariza. Ariza joins a starting lineup of Chris Paul, Marcus Thornton, David West and Emeka Okafor. None should be challenged by a backup for playing time. We can probably write in 35-40 minutes for each starter and pretty sweet fantasy stats for each to varying degrees. Isn’t this easy?

 

"Dude, you are making me look bad. Flirt with a triple-double again and I'm having you exiled to Indiana or something."

 

LIES
Collison proved to be fantasy basketball’s Olandis Gary last year, a backup who stepped in for a superstar without missing a statistical beat. That superstar is back, and Paul immediately returns to his perch near the top of all cheat sheets. Two years ago, he was essentially the best guy, and there’s no reason to think he won’t challenge for that honor should he remain healthy. What excites us the most is the other Hornet who blew up last year in his absence: Thornton. If Collison was the No. 1 waiver wire pickup in ’09-10, Thornton was 1A, a long-range bomber who immediately became a stud fantasy two-guard. The end of the Mo Peterson era depresses exactly no one. New Orleans finally has a shooting guard.

DAMN LIES
Another aging veteran will be riding off into the sunset this season, as Ariza makes Peja Stojakovic expendable. Unfortunately, Peja is owed about $77 million this year, so he’ll stick around and provide a shooter off the bench. Ariza should thrive playing with Paul. He’ll be more efficient, concentrate on defense, and become the strong everyday fantasy play we couldn’t quite count on in Houston. West is also doing cartwheels that Paul is back to feed him the rock. While West’s perpetual scowl annoys me as a viewer, as a roto player I’m targeting him at the end of the third round in drafts with no hard feelings.

STATISTICS
Okafor had a terrible season even by his mediocre standards, but with no real competition for minutes he just needs to stay healthy to be a serviceable big man. Can he pull down 10 rebounds and block two shots a game? If so, he’s got a place on the outskirts of my roster. Okafor’s backup is Aaron Gray, a decent player who poses no threat in even the deepest of leagues. Only Marco Belinelli is a potential option should injury strike Thornton. He could be the team’s sixth man. Darius Songaila is actually a perfect 12-minute-per-game backup power forward. Like I said, this team is lean and devoid of positional battles. Draft these starters with confidence. The rounds? Paul in the first (no later than the 3rd pick); West in the late third (roto), early fourth (H2H); Thornton and Ariza in the sixth (Ariza is higher in H2H than in roto); Okafor in the ninth or so.

DEPTH CHART
PG – Chris Paul, Mustafa Shakur
SG – Marcus Thornton, Marco Belinelli
SF – Trevor Ariza, Peja Stojakovic
PF – David West, Darius Songaila
C – Emeka Okafor, Aaron Gray

Up Next: Utah Jazz

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Daily Lies & Statistics: The Dwight is all right!

Nothing can cure a woeful week like a matchup against the Warriors. Just ask Dwight Howard. After scoring 21 points and pulling down eight rebounds over his last two games, Howard went for 28 points, 12 rebounds, two steals and two blocks in 32 minutes on Wednesday night against Golden State. Ah, yes, the Warriors were in town! This needs to happen

I believe I can fly. I believe I can touch the skyyyyyy...

more often as far as fantasy owners are concerned. Jameer Nelson also took advantage of the shorthanded Warriors matchup, going for 13 points, six rebounds, four assists, and two steals in 25 minutes. He’s definitely one of my favorite trade deadline targets.

For the Warriors it was C.J. Watson and his 18 points that led the way. With no Monta Ellis and no Andris Biedrins, the Warriors were looking for production elsewhere. They found 13 points from Ronny Turiaf, but only nine points from rookie phenom Stephen Curry. It just wasn’t one of those “above their heads” performances for the Warriors. Though Reggie Williams had a career-high 13 points in 36 minutes. He’s still not worth owning, but then again with Don Nelson anything is possible.

Jason Kidd got the night off against the T-Wolves in an attempt to get him some rest. No real worries here. Just a day of rest for the veteran point guard.

Mike Conley scored a game-high 26 points on 11-of-18 shooting with seven assists and five steals in 35 minutes. Basically, he had his best game of the season against the Hornets. Remember the second-half Conley had last season? Maybe this is a start of something special. Keep an eye on him if he’s still available in your leagues.

Louis Williams is taking advantage of Allen Iverson’s absence. He dropped a game-high 30 points on the Hawks on Wednesday night. I would rush to make sure that Williams is not available on your wires.

Bill Walker started at the two-guard position for the Knicks on Tuesday — 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting, two rebounds, three assists, and one steal in 36 minutes. It seems like he’s worth taking a flier on. He’s no David Lee— 21 points, 18 rebounds, eight assists and three steal — but he’s the hot hand in the Knicks’ backcourt right now.

J.J. Hicksonstarted again at center for the Cavs. He posted a double-double going for 20 points and 13 rebounds in 26 minutes. Yes, it was against the Nets, but you’ll take what you can get from Hickson. Both he and Anderson Varejao — 12 points and six rebounds — are worth a look for the Cavs.

Terrance Williams had 21 points, two 2-pointers, seven assists and five rebounds against the Cavs. As impressive as he was, I wonder what his value will be once Courtney Lee returns this weekend.

Tyrus Thomas needs to be owned in all leagues. He posted his third double-double since joining the Bobcats on Wednesday night — 15 points on 5-of-12 shooting, 10 rebounds, one steal and two blocks. He’s a must add right now!

Nate Robinson continues to add some bulk scoring, going for 16 points and four 3-pointers in 20 minutes. Even though his minutes are limited he continues to add value.

JaVale McGee had 14 points, seven rebounds and three blocks in 26 minutes against the Bucks. If you;re in the market for blocks, McGee is your man.

Ersan Ilyasova had a great game off the bench for the Bucks — 19 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, one steal and one block in 33 minutes. I wouldn’t get too excited about this performance. It was just his second double-double since the middle of January. Use caution when picking him up.

Holy blocks, Shane Battier! He had seven blocks against the Kings, giving him 10 over his last two games. I’m not sure what his value will be once Trevor Ariza returns this weekend, but he’s worth following in all formats right now.

Darko Milicic started at center for the T-Wolves with Al Jefferson out for the week. Darko posted just six points, two rebounds and zero blocks in 14 minutes. Once again, coming off the bench Kevin Love had a double-double, going for 14 points and 14 rebounds. I think he’s worth buying low on in the trade market. Some guys don’t value a player come off the bench as highly as they should.

The Oklahoma City Thunder got it handed to them on Wednesday night against the Nuggets. Both Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant played fewer than 27 minutes in this one. This allowed Serge Ibaka — 15 points, 13 rebounds, one block — and  James Harden— 19 points, five rebounds, three steal — the opportunity to shine. Tough loss for the Thunder, and a great performance by Carmelo Anthony who had 30 points in 32 minutes.

Danny Granger was the only Pacer to score in double-figures against the Blazers — 30 points on 12-of-22 shooting in 35 minutes. It was an awful showing by the Indiana Pacers — Granger not included.

Nicolas Batum finally came down to earth, scoring just five points in 19 minutes. Thankfully, Rudy Fernandez had 16 points and five 3-pointers to help lift the Blazers.

Channing Frye got back on track from beyond the arc. He hit seven 3-pointers 25 minutes against the Clippers. That’s why you still own him!


Daily Lies & Statistics: (T-)Mac the Knife

Tracy McGrady played last night for the first time since February 8, 2009. I remember the game like it happened just yesterday. T-Mac played 25 minutes and shot 11.1 percent from the floor. Or wait, was that Nov. 11, 2008, against the Lakers. No, he went 1-for-11 that night. Yeah, last season was pretty sweet for Mr. McGrady. He shot 38.3 percent from the floor, missed 47 games over the span of the year — injured six times. Some things you just refuse to forget.

"It's 'passed' away, not 'past' away"

So, McGrady made his debut playing eight minutes (all in the 1st quarter), spending most of the time hovering around the three-point line. He made just 1-of-3 field-goal attempts (a three-pointer) and looked about as sluggish and lazy as I remember. If you care to know, I have little faith in T-Mac. In fact, don’t own him in any of the dozen leagues I’m in. His name happens to be more valuable than his game, so at the very least you can pick him up and trade him. He’s one of the leaders in All-Star voting and has only played EIGHT MINUTES. Somebody out there loves McGrady. Just know that I’m not one of them.

Trevor Ariza missed last night’s game (suspension, punch), giving Chase Budinger a chance to play to log 40 minutes for the first time in his young career. He posted 14 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. Budinger should revert back to the 15-18 minute range once Ariza returns. You also have to love the fact that Aaron Brooks shot 10-of-20 from the floor. Just two nights after shooting 6-of-20. The one concern you have about Brooks is that he’s only made three of his last 18 three-point attempts. The other thing working against Brooks (and the rest of the Rockets) is the return of Tracy McGrady. I may be crazy, but I think that T-Mac may be the worst thing to happen to this team — especially given how well they’ve played early on. Anyone?

The other story of the night was the 42-point performance by Kobe Braynt. He started hot, scoring 20 points in the first ten minutes. The Bulls, on the other hand, were anything but hot. They were… not? They shot 38.5 percent from the floor — John Salmons (1-of-5), Derrick Rose (9-of-22), and Joakim Noah (4-of-16) were the main culprits. For the third time in four games, the Bulls failed to score 90 points. I wonder when the Vinny Del Negro ‘watch’ will come to an end anytime soon…Lawrence Frank anyone?

Other performances of note:

Tim Duncan: scored a season-high 34 points and pulled down 14 rebounds in a loss to the Suns. Nice to see a 30 and 10, as he’s playing a career-low 32 minutes per game on the season. You may not see another one in quite a while.

Roger Mason: Hit 5 treys last night on his way to scoring 19 points. Remember when we saw this Mason on a regular basis last season. Don’t expect him to return often this season.

Jerryd Bayless: Scored 14 points AND finished the closely contested game while Andre Miller sat glued to the bench. At this point, neither are reliable in standard leagues. Bayless has a nice future, but he’s not ready to contribute on a regular basis.

Rafer Alston: Skip scored 20 points, draining 4 treys in 18 minutes. Both Keyon Dooling and Chris Douglas-Roberts missed this one, opening up more minutes and more touches — also, Courtney Lee couldn’t buy a bucket (8 points on 3-of-14 shooting).

Jared Jeffries: Traaaaaiiiid Baaaaiiiiit! Jeffries had 6 steals, 11 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks. The Knicks are loving his performance, but fantasy owners need not get too excited.

Chris Duhon: …on the other hand, here is a guy worth adding. Duhon continues to raise his dreaded FG%. His play has been pretty stellar — 18 points, 6 assists, 3 treys and a steal. I would add Duhon if he’s available in your league and ride him out. Then I would look to trade him as his value rises. Remember, Duhon burned out last season after the All-Star break. With D’Antoni playing just 7 or 8 guys, I fear that Duhon can’t keep the pace all season long. I also fear that I am iron deficient.

Raymond Felton: Add this dude. Like Duhon, Felton has been playing great ball of late. He added 4 more steals last night. That’s 15 over his last four. He’s also scored 14 or more points in four of his last five and dished 5.3 assists. He’s feelin’ it.

Jarrett Jack: What a dick. Six points, one assist and 5 turnovers in 32 minutes. Wasn’t he supposed to treat us well while we waited for Jose Calderon to return? I’m still starting him. He can’t get rid of me that easily.

Carlos Arroyo: He started in place of Mario Chalmers and scored 12 points and dished 3 dimes in 20 minutes. The news here is that Chalmers has been sent to the bench. He still has more value than Arroyo, but things aren’t looking good for the second-year point.

Richard Hamilton: He’s back for sure. 21 points last night (without Gordon and Bynum in the lineup). You can safely get him back in your lineup. Hey that’s great news.

*12 games on Wednesday night.

Sit: Ryan Gomes, Calderon, Douglas-Roberts, and T-Mac.

Check the status of Ben Gordon and Will Bynum.

Watch: Elton Brand, Allen Iverson and Jrue Holiday in Philly. Who gets what minutes?


Daily Lies & Statistics: Jack in the Box Score

Could this really be it? Something good happening to my fantasy team?

In the weekly league I’m in with Tom and Greg (Let’s call it the “Damn League”), I’ve been stashing Jarrett Jack, who I drafted with my final pick in the 20th round. With Jose Calderon out for at least two more games and probably much longer, I’m looking around nervously while inserting Jack into my lineup. When I hit ‘submit’ will the fantasy police storm into my office and tap me in the head with a billy club? I’m definitely getting away with something here.

Jeff has found a new team logo for his squad

To wit: I drafted Lou Williams, Greg Oden, Michael Redd, Andris Biedrins, Tyrus Thomas, Yi Jianlian, Mike Miller and even Rashard Lewis, who missed the first 10 games. Every week is a new disaster. On every dribble, shot or screen I cover my eyes.

But the funny part? I’m in 2nd place (tied with Tom as of this writing; Greg is in… never mind). I have no idea how this is possible, but adding Jack to the mix has to help, right? Here is when I start chuckling under my breath at my own gumption. No good news goes unpunished. While Jack could indeed average a 19-7-7 this week, someone else will then get hurt, Calderon will come back quickly, followed by Jack becoming depressed and joining a remote cult in Bolivia or something. So the answer to my first question in this post is: Yes. To the second: I wish.

Okay, taking my doomsday prophet hat off for a minute and dissecting Sunday’s games:

Trevor Ariza was booted after throwing a punch at DeMar DeRozan. Ariza could be suspended, although he didn’t land the blow. He was 0-for-9 from the field at the time, so I might have taken a swing at someone too.

Jack is a great add in all leagues after his 17-8-8 performance in Calderon’s place Sunday. Jose will miss the next two games and probably more, and Toronto plays four times this week.

Carl Landry had another phenomenal game, scoring 25 points on 10-for-13 shooting. He’s now scored 20 or more in seven of his last 11 games. During the Damn League draft, late, I sent Tom an IM asking him to please just let me pick Landry when our picks were up later in the round (Tom was picking one before me). Before it could even get to Tom, someone else took Landry, and my sleeper pick was ruined. Of course he’s unbelievable.

The Hawks are blowing people out reguarly, including a 130-107 win over the Nets Sunday. Atlanta is deep and talented, and certainly doesn’t need Maurice Evans to be shooting 4-for-4 from three and scoring a game-high 22 points. Evans is 11-for-15 from deep in the last three games.

Zach Randolph and Mike Conley cooled off a bit for Memphis, but they weren’t needed as Rudy Gay went all Dwyane Wade on Dwyane Wade and the Heat in Miami. Gay poured in 41, none of which were needed by Greg, who is leading the Damn League in points by a wide margin.

Two more lopsided road wins I don’t feel like writing about: Spurs 115, Clippers 90 and Cavaliers 102, Thunder 89.

My sleeper for the week is Dorell Wright, who had 16 points off the bench for the Heat in 27 minutes on Sunday. Quentin Richardson is nursing a sore hamstring and could miss a few games. Wright has seen his minutes spike recently and could be a nice deep-league addition.


Daily Lies & Statistics: 0-17 and still going..

Hey New Jersey, this hurts me more than it hurts you.

There comes a point where you actually start rooting for history, which means that as much as you’d like to see a smile on the face of Brook Lopez or Chris Douglas-Roberts, who wouldn’t want to see the Nets go 0-20. Really. Last night the Nets continue their impressive losing streak, getting their behinds handed to them in Los Angeles. It was funny, with six minutes to go in the third quarter the Nets were defeating Kobe Bryant 39-30. Yup, things are that bad in New Jersey. Thankfully for Lawrence Frank, he won’t have to witness any more defeats. I’m sure he doesn’t get the YES Network where he’s going.

Marc Gasol is a beast! Is he perhaps the better of the Gasol brothers. Whoa! Slow down.. Time will tell, but can you believe how well he’s playing? Last night he scored 26 pts on 13-of-18 shooting, 5 rebs, 6 ast, 3stls and 3 blks. He’s sitting pretty in the top 10 right now. Why I nevah! As for his teammate, Mike Conley, it’s a completely different story. Who would have thought that heading into this season you would have been better off drafting Jamaal Tinsley over Conley. Tinsley has officially trumped Conley, as he played 30 minutes to Jrs.’ 19 minutes.

Danilo Gallinari is baaaaack! He hit 4-of-5 trey attempts. (Be cool, Tom. Be cool.) It was Dwight Howard, however, who stole the show dropping in his fifth straight double-double. It’s about time. He’s been a bit disappointing this season. But seems to be coming along with eight blocks in his last three. Can you imagine? If you drafted Marc Gasol over Dwight Howard you’d be in a better position right now. Such is life. Of course things will start to even out. It just makes for a nice topic of discussion.

A few injuries worth talking about: Ben Gordon missed Sunday’s game (ankle or as they say, a “bloody bad ankle.”). He’s questionable this week… Richard Hamilton remains out. I think it’ll be a while before we see him on the court… In face related news, Charlie Villanueva broke his nose. He ‘should’ be ready for Wednesday’s game, but nobody ‘nose’ for sure. What that does mean is — two guys, two face masks, one team… Manu Ginobili returned to action on Sunday. The Spurs play just twice this week, meaning that he’s of little value this week… Lenadro Barbosa sprained his ankle and left Sunday’s game early. He did score 17 points in 15 minutes, and I DO think that guys are jumping the gun a little by dropping him. If he’s on your wires, I would add him as soon as he’s on the verge of returning to action.

Jrue Holiday got his third start of the season last night. Nothing going, however. He played just 19 minutes and scored 6 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals and an assist. Jason Kapono got most of the minutes, though he wasn’t much better popping 8 points in 25 minutes. I like going with the upside, so in this case I might stick with Holiday. Doesn’t mean I’ll start him. But I have little use for J-Kap either.

Trevor Ariza shot 7-of-23 from the floor last night. He’s now trending toward 35-percent shooting from the floor. He still has managed to pick 12 steals in his last six and has dropped at least one three-pointer in each game this season. We’re starting to see flashes of Stephen Jackson here. Tough guy to own as he kills you in two categories, yet he helps elsewhere across the board. It could bring an owner to tears.

"Remember when you used to play on our team?"

I’m sure our good friend Eno Sarris is pretty happy about the line Ryan Gomes put up last night — 27 points on 13-of-18 shooting, 2 threes, 2 steals and a block. He’s definitely worth a look, though he can be a bit streaky. And not in the ‘oh snap, this dude is naked’ kinda way.

Sergio Rodriguez might have just slammed the door on Donte’ Greene’s coming out party. Serge is the word! He went for 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting, 5 assists and 2 steals in 25 minutes. I wouldn’t go ga-ga over Rod-Rod, but I think this doesn push Greene back to the waiver wires.

Monday night there are four games on the schedule. Andrei Kirilenko and Paul Millsap are questionable, though I would say that there is a better chance that Millsap plays. The good news on Monday is that the Nets WILL NOT lose. Phew.


The Small Forward Position: Top 25 & Analysis

By Tom Lorenzo and Jeff Andriesse

The small forward position is home to some of the brightest fantasy stars in the game, but also some of the most frustrating. There are lots of injury risks on this list, plus a guy (Rashard Lewis) who is facing a 10-game suspension for using a banned substance. Equally intriguing are the players who switched teams on this list, from the always-entertaining Ron Artest in L.A., to Trevor Ariza in Houston, to Richard Jefferson in San Antonio, to Hedo Turkoglu in Toronto. We left off some potential starting SFs because we’re saving them for the power forward rankings, where they are better suited. Many of these players are hybrids and it always bears noting that you should check your league’s positional eligibility format and rules before drafting. For this exercise, format is based on standard eight-category rotisserie style (FG%, FT%, PTS, REB, AST, STL, BLK, 3FG).

2009-10 Small Forward Rankings

Tom’s Top 25 Jeff’s Top 25
1. LeBron James 1. LeBron James
2. Kevin Durant 2. Kevin Durant
3. Danny Granger 3. Danny Granger
4. Carmelo Anthony 4. Carmelo Anthony
5. Caron Butler 5. Caron Butler
6. Paul Pierce 6. Gerald Wallace
7. Gerald Wallace 7. Paul Pierce
8. Rudy Gay 8. Rashard Lewis
9. Hedo Turkoglu 9. Rudy Gay
10. Luol Deng 10. Hedo Turkoglu
11. Al Harrington 11. Al Harrington
12. Marvin Williams 12. Francisco Garcia
13. Rashard Lewis 13. Luol Deng
14. Trevor Ariza 14. Richard Jefferson
15. Richard Jefferson 15. Ron Artest
16. Ron Artest 16. Trevor Ariza
17. Andre Kirilenko 17. Thaddeus Young
18. Thaddeus Young 18. Marvin Williams
19. Danilo Gallinari 19. Andre Kirilenko
20. Corey Maggette 20. Al Thornton
21. Al Thornton 21. Kelenna Azubuike
22. Francisco Garcia 22. Peja Stojakovic
23. Peja Stojakovic 23. Corey Maggette
24. Shane Battier 24. Tayshaun Prince
25. Tayshaun Prince 25. Grant Hill

BREAKING DOWN THE SHOOTING GUARD POSITION

Three Questions for Tom

Jeff: I have Rashard Lewis nine spots ahead of Marvin Williams, yet you drop Lewis to 13th, two behind Williams. Do you love Williams this year, or dislike Lewis, or both? Talk to me.

Tom: I like Williams this year. He shot the ball well last year, especially from beyond the arc. He’s right about in the middle of the pack, as far as I’m concerned and that’s why I put him at No. 12. Rashard Lewis, on the other hand, is a guy I’m only going to take as a bargain. I love the fact that he could lead the league in three-point shooting, but there are too many things working against him. The first knock on Lewis is his 10-game suspension. That’s the first two-plus weeks of the season. You could live with that in the 7th or 8th round, right, but if you’re taking him as one of your first four or five picks, that’s a foundation guy you aren’t going to have to start off the season. I also think that Lewis is going to get lost in this Orlando offense. He is already coming off a season where he averaged his lowest number of field goal attempts (13.6) since 2001-02. Orlando has added Vince Carter, who will get his touches, plus they return a point guard in Jameer Nelson who isn’t afraid to create his own shot. Coming into the season I would have put Lewis as a fourth-round selection. I think when you take 10 games away from Lewis, add in Carter, a full-Nelson, newcomers like Matt Barnes and Brandon Bass, and the fact that Lewis is already coming of his most ‘passive’ season — it’s already making me sweat just thinking about owning Lewis at a premium price!

Jeff: You rank Danilo Gallinari 19th, so you’re ready to declare him an impactful fantasy player?

Tom: First, the reports on Gallinari are that he is a just about 100% pain free! (editor’s note: what is this, an infomercial?) The second thing that gets me excited about Gallinari is that he is the one and only key to bringing LeBron James to New York next summer and you can be sure that Donnie Walsh and Mike D’Antoni will be sure to see him develop this season. The Knicks are banking on him fulfilling the Dirk Nowitzki comparisons in order to flash him in front of LBJ as a future star and the guy who is going to help him win a ring in New York. Gallinari showed last season that he can shoot: 44.8 FG%, 96.3 FT%, 44.4 3PT%. It was a small sample size (28 games, 412 minutes) but even while he was injured for most of the season he still averaged 16.5 PTS/40 and 5.3 R/EB40. The opportunities are there for Gallinari this season. D’Antoni is going to make sure that the minutes are going to be there and the offensive touches will be plentiful. Maybe I’m jumping on the bandwagon for too soon, but I just want to make sure I’m in the driver’s seat when he turns it on this season.

Jeff: Can fantasy owners count on Luol Deng this year? What is the best case scenario for him statistically?

Tom: This is one of those scenarios where you say ‘it’s now or never.’ If we can’t get 75+ productive games out of Deng this season then there’s little hope that he’ll turn into the player that the Bulls were hoping he would when they refused to trade him for Kevin Garnett or Pau Gasol.

I’d like to think that the best case scenario for Deng is 19/7/2 with 1.5 steals, plus-50% from the floor and 77-78% from the line. While that may seem like a reach, that is exactly what he averaged in 2006-07 (82 games!). Can I assure you that he’ll post a healthy 82 games this season? Of course not! But I like the fact that he is coming into a season with a rising star at the point and that he can approach 17-19 points and eight rebounds per game, while shooting over 50% from the floor.

Three Questions for Jeff

Tom: Let’s talk Francisco Garcia for a minute. Last year I was pretty high on Garcia going into the season and I imagine that your line of thinking might echo my thoughts in the summer of 2008: now is Garcia’s time to step it up; he has a clear path to playing time. Injuries aside, Garcia had a near identical season to his 2007-08 season in 2008-09: 12.7 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.4 threes, 1.2 steals, 1.0 block, 82.0 free throw percentage, and 44.4 percent from the field. A nice season, but across the board just a tick up/down from his previous season. With Andres Nocioni in Sacramento for a full season, a healthy Kevin Martin, three promising young players in Tyreke Evans, Spencer Hawes, and Jason Thompson: what makes this the season that Garcia sniffs the Top 10 small forwards in the NBA?

Jeff: I’m not sure I really like the guys below him that much. Is that enough of a cop out for you? Hey, listen, Garcia is one of those sneaky fantasy guys who does a little bit of everything and can help you fill out your roster nicely at either guard or forward. I think his numbers will rise a little this year as he’s the only true ‘3’ man in the Kings’ rotation, and the health of Martin and Nocioni has never been anything to count on. There may be some ups and downs for Garcia, but I think he has a real shot to approach 14-15 points per game with his customary solid stats in threes, steals, and yes, blocks for a swingman.

Tom: I’ll be short on this one: Why should I believe that Kelenna Azubuike is going to play a more significant role in Golden State than Corey Maggette is?

Jeff: If you’ve owned Maggette in recent years, you know what I mean. The guy can’t get settled in Golden State, and nagging injuries have left him a shaky play, even when you think he’s healthy. Azubuike, on the other hand, became more of a Don Nelson favorite last year and filled up the box score when the minutes were there. The two players’ stat lines are deceptive, as Maggette appeared in just 51 games. If you told me Maggette was going to play in 75 games this year, I’d shoot him up the list. As of now, however, Azubuike seems like more of a sure thing on a team with virtually no sure things. He’s probably going to start at small forward, and when injuries pile up (and they will) he’ll be one of the last men standing and providing decent fantasy value. I’d draft both guys as backups this year, nothing more, until we see the mess that is the Warriors’ rotation play itself out.

Tom: Why Ron Artest over Trevor Ariza? Didn’t Ariza have a breakout season last year and isn’t he seemingly one of the two or three best players on his team? And isn’t Artest the fourth best player on his own team and on the downside of his career?

Jeff: Yes, to both of those questions. But there are some caveats. Ariza is one of the two or three best players on the Rockets, but A) that isn’t saying much and B) that doesn’t mean he can do enough offensively. Ariza won’t benefit from open looks he saw in Los Angeles as there won’t be much of a need to double-team any Rockets this year. He’s never had to create his own shot before, either, and will primarily act as an energy guy and defensive specialist because let’s face it: that’s what he is. Artest is in the same boat in L.A. and I see them both putting up similar numbers. I’d like to think on a better offensive team Artest can improve his albatross, FG%, but Ariza gets the edge there. Neither are great at the line, but Artest is better (74.8% to 71.0%). They will both get their steals and boards but Artest has an edge in three-point shooting. It’s a toss-up, but I’m not sure Ariza is going to find things easier for him in Houston.

Tom Lorenzo and Jeff Andriesse will break down the Power 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.


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