While all of America is gearing up for fantasy football, we here at TOK believe that it’s never too early for fantasy basketball draft preparation. Over the next couple weeks we’ll be breaking down each position in to tiers, starting with one of the deepest in today’s game.
The 2013-14 point guard class presents a perfect opportunity to draft mostly point guards and power forwards, one of the most popular fantasy basketball draft strategies. While there are only a handful of true fantasy studs this year, the upside of others could have that number in to double-digits by next. Whether you scoop up Chris Paul in the first round or wait for a young talent like Damian Lillard later on, it will be hard to be disappointed in whoever is leading your backcourt this season.
CHRIS PAUL, Los Angeles Clippers
STEPHEN CURRY, Golden State Warriors
RUSSELL WESTBROOK, Oklahoma City Thunder
These guys represent the cream of the crop as far as point guards go and will probably all be off the board anywhere from 4th to 8th overall. Although Paul is still the safest pick you can make of these three, he’s no longer the clear-cut fantasy king of point guards. Westbrook and Curry’s upside are through the roof, but is it worth taking the guy with the higher ceiling in the first round? That’s your decision to make. I’ll be going with the guarantee.
KYRIE IRVING, Cleveland Cavaliers
DERRICK ROSE, Chicago Bulls
Fear not if you missed out on the first tier of point guards. This second tier gives you the choice of taking a PG1 who may be equally affective despite being drafted slightly after. This means you can pair either Rose or Irving with a better player than the teams taking a floor general from the previous tier. With the necessary pieces around Kyrie to help him succeed and Rose expected to be back with a vengeance, the only way these guys disappoint will be because of injury. Remember, anyone can be hurt on any given NBA play, and while there are certainly guys who get banged up more often than others, that’s no way go about making a big time decision on draft day. Almost everyone is healthy in October, and if you’re that concerned, a few weeks of success equates to tons of sell-high opportunities.
DERON WILLIAMS, Brooklyn Nets
No, D-Will isn’t in the same fantasy class as Irving or Rose, but he produces more all around than the next set of point guards, so he’s stuck in his own tier. All of the new addition in Brooklyn will probably hinder his scoring output, but it can only help his assists per game and perhaps make him a more efficient shooter, something which has been holding his fantasy game back since leaving Utah.
RAJON RONDO, Boston Celtics
JOHN WALL, Washington Wizards
RICKY RUBIO, Minnesota Timberwolves
These guys are one important point guard category away from taking the next leap in the fantasy game. I compare all three to Russell Westbrook, who is only two seasons removed from averaging just 0.4 treys per game. All of the other stats are there, especially in the rebounding department, where these guys give you the biggest edge. Rondo, Wall, and Rubio are triple-double threats every night and are the future of the fantasy game.
MONTA ELLIS, Dallas Mavericks
TY LAWSON, Denver Nuggets
DAMIAN LILLARD, Portland Trail Blazers
JRUE HOLIDAY, New Orleans Pelicans
At this point of the draft, most of the better passers are off the board, but that doesn’t render the point guard position totally useless. Finding players who get you categories that are different for their position are golden in fantasy basketball, so the fact that these guys won’t drop as many dimes as others doesn’t matter when they score better than a shooting guard. All of these guys should have plenty of opportunities with the ball in their hands this year, leading the show for their respective teams.
TONY PARKER, San Antonio Spurs
Another year closer to Tim Duncan’s retirement means another year closer to Parker totally taking over the Spurs fantasy production. If he made more threes and had more of an impact on the defensive end, Parker would shoot up the Top 50, but when he’s healthy, he’s still a rock solid fantasy point guard.
TYREKE EVANS, New Orleans Pelicans
BRANDON JENNINGS, When Will He Just Re-Sign With Milwaukee?
MIKE CONLEY, Memphis Grizzlies
This is the point of the draft when it’s beginning to make a little more sense to go with the upside over the safety. Conley is probably your best bet if you want a guarantee, but I believe a refreshed Tyreke will get back to his rookie form and Jennings without Monta will be jock city, which is bad news for his teammates, but music to the ears of fantasy owners. 55-5-5, anyone?
JEFF TEAGUE, Atlanta Hawks
KYLE LOWRY, Toronto Raptors
KEMBA WALKER, Charlotte Bobcats
This is the lesser version of Tier 5. These guards are more geared for scoring, but don’t have the punch of some of the guys ranked higher. Still, they have tons of upside and should be off the board between the fourth and sixth rounds. Don’t sleep on Lowry. With Calderon out of the way, he should get back to the consistency we saw out of him in Houston.
STEVE NASH, Los Angeles Lakers
GORAN DRAGIC, Phoenix Suns
GRIEVIS VASQUEZ, Sacramento Kings
The guys in this tier can drop dimes, but like the group before them, it’s a lesser rate than the guys listed previously. Something tells me we haven’t seen the last of a fantasy relevant Nash. If nothing else, he’ll make for a great sell high before Kobe comes back and takes the rock out of his hands. Dragic and Vasquez should have all the freedom in the world on their respective losing teams, something that usually equals fantasy success.
ERIC BLEDSOE, Phoenix Suns
Bledsoe has the upside to go way higher on this list, and is somebody I’m salivating over drafting. I’m not sure if he’ll keep his 40 percent rate from downtown of last year, but he should be a lock in the steals department and have dual guard eligibility. With the fans in Phoenix dying for some entertainment, Bledsoe should be given all of the time on the floor he needs to be a fantasy basketball force.
TREY BURKE, Utah Jazz
MICHAEL CARTER-WILLIAMS, Philadelphia 76ers
JEREMY LIN, Houston Rockets
JOSE CALDERON, Dallas Mavericks
Burke was listed as our top fantasy rookie upon being drafted last month, but disappointed a bit in the summer league. Still, both he and Carter-Williams should have the keys to the ignition from day one and remain a lock for lots of playing time. Both Lin and Calderon underachieved last season, and while they shouldn’t be ranked as high as they were last season, they should land somewhere ahead of this low of a spot eventually. They are safer than you would think.
RAYMOND FELTON, New York Knicks
JARRET JACK, Cleveland Cavaliers
BRANDON KNIGHT, Detroit Pistons
GEORGE HILL, Indiana Pacers
JAMEER NELSON, Orlando Magic
Most of these guys have shooting guard eligibility too, but you’re not going to want to be too reliant on them. Every single one of them comes with question marks. Will Felton get more minutes with no Jason Kidd and an aging Pablo Prigioni? Will Jack be as successful playing next to Irving as he was to Curry? Will Brandon Knight take the next step now that Detroit has some expectations? Will George Hill be able to stay out of the trainer’s rooms for two consecutive seasons? Does Jameer Nelson have enough basketball left in him to keep him fantasy relevant?
LOU WILLIAMS, Lou Williams
ISIAH THOMAS, Sacramento Kings
MO WILLIAMS, ???
NATE ROBINSON, Denver Nuggets
Like the guys in Tier 12, you’re not going to want to be too reliant on these players. Some nights they may look like All-Stars, other nights they may look like waiver wire material. They deserve a roster spot, but shouldn’t be taken until the late round of your fantasy basketball draft.