Since Michael Jordan retired from the NBA, the shooting guard position has been relatively weak from top to bottom. Sure, future Hall of Famers such as Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade have emerged as champions and standout fantasy basketball players, but the depth is just no longer there. As we prepare for the 2013-2014 season, who are the top shooting guards in the NBA? Here’s a look from a fantasy basketball perspective.
Even with Dwight Howard coming to town and possibly stealing some shot attempts, James Harden is the best all-around fantasy basketball option at the shooting guard position. He exploded into the limelight last season after being traded from Oklahoma City to Houston. His efficient scoring should keep him near the top five in overall rankings.
Paul George became a household name in the playoffs, as he almost led the Indiana Pacers to the NBA Finals. His team came up just short against the Miami Heat, but he should be ready for his best season ever in 2013-2014. He is the focal point of the offense, and his size allows him to be an easy scorer. That size also allows him to be a solid rebounder for his position as well.
His prime years might be in the past, but Dwyane Wade should still turn in a pretty respectable fantasy basketball campaign in 2013-2014. The main key for him will be health. If he can stay on the court, he is still top three at his position. His stock will plummet if his knees do not hold up. With that being said, if Wade is healthy, he will provide rebounds, blocks and steals like few at his size can.
The youngster from Washington State might not be this high in actual rankings just yet, but he is perfect for fantasy basketball. He has a quick release from deep with exceptional accuracy, and he also gets to play alongside a team that enjoys putting up points. His defense is still improving, but that won’t hurt you in fantasy.
Even though he will be forced to miss the first five games of the regular season due to a suspension, JR Smith’s fantasy value can’t be overlooked. He is the second most reliable scorer on the Knicks behind Carmelo Anthony, and he has the ability to go off on any given night. Sure, he can be a frustrating player to watch at times, but it is too hard to just ignore what he did last regular season.
It might seem crazy to have Kobe Bryant ranked this load, but with an Achilles heel injury and age working against him, he is just not a reliable fantasy basketball option any longer. You are better off getting someone who can contribute during the entire season. Once he returns, he could be forced to push things a bit too much. He has gone down in efficiency in recent years, and no one would be surprised if he takes another dip in an abbreviated season this year.
On paper, the Washington Wizards might be the most intriguing team heading into the new season. The trio of John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter could grow and make the team a contender. Beal is the purest scorer of them all, and those Ray Allen comparisons continue to follow him around. He may never have that good of a stroke, but he is every bit as good of an athlete. Look for him to be the most likely to have a true breakout season at the shooting guard position.
Mayo parlayed a solid season in Dallas into a 3-year, $24 million deal with the Milwaukee Bucks. He will be asked to replace the production of Monta Ellis, which means Mayo should get plenty of shot attempts. He has had some efficiency issues in the past, but he should be able to settle in with his new squad.
Unless you are a diehard NBA fan, chances are you still do not know a lot about Wesley Matthews. He has been a productive pro for a while after being an undrafted free agent out of Marquette. Portland might still be a year away from truly contending, but Matthews will get looks in the offense.
While Green is good, this just shows how little depth there is at the shooting guard position. Green made a name for himself in the 2012-2013 playoffs, but it is hard to have a ton of value when you might be the fourth or fifth best option on your own team. With Manu Ginobili slowing down, Green’s fantasy value will go up. He is one of the best shooters in the game, so that will keep him in the discussion in the middle rounds.
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