by Will Overton
Shooting Guard is sometimes one of the weaker positions and can often be a bit top heavy, but there are some really solid young wings who have sparked life into the position. The position has gone from top heavy to pretty deep with some exciting young guys to watch. Here is how I have the top 30 shaking out:
1) James Harden – Houston Rockets
2) Jimmy Butler – Chicago Bulls
3) Eric Bledsoe – Phoenix Suns
4) C.J. McCollum – Portland Trail Blazers
5) Klay Thompson – Golden State Warriors
6) Victor Oladipo – Oklahoma City Thunder
7) DeMar DeRozan – Toronto Raptors
8) Andrew Wiggins – Minnesota Timberwolves
9) Nicolas Batum – Charlotte Hornets
10) Bradley Beal – Washington Wizards
11) Dwayne Wade – Chicago Bulls|
12) Zach LaVine – Minnesota Timberwolves
13) Devin Booker – Phoenix Suns
14) Jordan Clarkson – Los Angeles Lakers
15) Monta Ellis – Indiana Pacers
16) Avery Bradley – Boston Celtics
17) Rodney Hood – Utah Jazz
18) J.J. Reddick – Los Angeles Clippers
19) Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – Detroit Pistons
20) Buddy Hield – New Orleans Pelicans
21) Wesley Matthews – Dallas Mavericks
22) Danny Green – San Antonio Spurs
23) Rondae Hollis-Jefferson – Brooklyn Nets
24) Gary Harris – Denver Nuggets
25) Eric Gordon – Houston Rockets
26) Kyle Korver – Atlanta Hawks
27) Will Barton – Denver Nuggets
28) J.R. Smith – Cleveland Cavaliers
29) Mario Hezonja – Orlando Magic
30) Gerald Henderson – Philadelphia 76ers
Sleeper: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson – If you can’t score effectively in the NBA you aren’t going to get much attention from fantasy owners. Points and Threes are just two categories though and Hollis-Jefferson can do other things, some of them better than just about anyone else at this position. Hollis-Jefferson averaged 9.0 RPG and 2.2 SPG per 36 minutes last season as a rookie. This year he should be a starter on a bad Nets team, logging up to 30 MPG. That means Hollis-Jefferson could put up 7.5 RPG and 1.8 SPG easily, throw in close to a block per game and possibly some offensive gains and this is a great sleeper.
Deep Sleeper: Denzel Valentine – I’m not sure how much superstar potential there is in this year’s draft class, but I do think it was loaded with role players who can contribute to NBA teams and Denzel Valentine is one of those guys. I can see Valentine logging 20 – 25 MPG for the Bulls this season backing up the 1 – 3 positions. Valentine is a smart player who can run the offense and be a playmaker, while also being a spot up shooter depending on who he is playing with. The Bulls starting lineup is very short on shooting ability, and so Valentine’s top level three-point shooting off the bench will be very valuable. I can see Valentine with 10 PPG, 4 APG and 1.5 3PG this season which is good for deep leagues.
Bust: Jamal Crawford – There’s nothing wrong with taking stat specialists late in your draft, but Jamal Crawford is just overrated at this point. Crawford only has value as a point scorer and three-point shooter, and he took trends downwards in both areas last year. J.J. Reddick has taken his game up a notch which I think will lead to more time on the court for him and less time on the court for Crawford who is also competing with Austin Rivers for minutes now too. Currently Crawford has a higher ADP on ESPN then Wesley Matthews, Danny Green, Will Barton and Eric Gordon, all of those guys have more value.
More Shooting Guard Notes
- Going by ADP right now Klay Thompson is the third shooting guard off the board, and I won’t put up much of a fight if you want to take him as the third shooting guard. That said, I think he’s in for a drop off this season and I can’t take him as the third overall shooting guard. I think of all the Warriors Thompson’s fantasy value is most hurt by the addition of Kevin Durant. Thompson’s fantasy value is so dependent on shot volume and that is going to take a hit this year.
- The classic “If only he can stay healthy” guy is Bradley Beal right now. The upside is there for Beal to be an 18 – 20 PPG scorer with over two threes per game, solid shooting percentages and a steal and a half per game. The problem with Beal is really just the health, but the guy misses almost 20 games a season and even when he does play he doesn’t ever seem to be at 100%. If you could trust his health Beal might be a top 35 player, but instead you can’t really take him until like round six and then you still feel like you are gambling.
- There is so much upside in Devin Booker that I want to make him a top 10 guy at the position. In the second half of last season he scored 19.2 PPG and had 4.1 APG while hitting 1.5 3PG. Those numbers are incredible. If you look closer though he did that on 17 shots per game, hitting 40% of his shots and only 28% of his threes. He also put those numbers up with Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe out which explains the assists and the shot volume. I think he’s going to be a 20 PPG guy and one of the elite three-point shooters in the league, but I don’t know if he’s there yet.
- If you want a guy with the potential for rookie of the year numbers, look no further than Buddy Hield. The opportunity is there for Hield to come into New Orleans and just blow up right from the start. Jrue Holiday is going to be out for a while and Tyreke Evans is hurt, so Hield is not only the go to guy on the perimeter, but he may also get a lot of chances to run the offense in Holiday’s stead, even though he isn’t the true point guard. I am trying to temper my expectations for Hield, but his ceiling for the year is much higher than he’s ranked here.