When you're scouting the small forward position in fantasy basketball, you want a guy who can do it all. You may even be willing to sacrifice a few points if it means getting some blocks or steals in return.
James is still King, but there are a few princes going after the SF crown.
Rankings: PG | SG | PF | C
The Top 10
1. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
It's pretty tough to poke holes in James' game from a fantasy perspective, especially after he improved his free-throw percentage to 78.0 last year. The King is still refining his jumper, but it didn't stop him from making 1.6 threes.
When the Cavs bigs were injured in January, James averaged 9.6 rebounds per game, showing his versatility.
Now that Cleveland is better as a team, James may not need to score as much, but you can still expect elite scoring, steals, and blocks numbers, and he could push his assist average above eight per game.
2. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
Entering his third season, Druant is looking to keep his already impressive numbers growing. After making the switch to the three, KD rebounded more and scoring came easier.
Durant's shooting improvement was really impressive. He shot 42.2 percent from three after shooting 28.8 percent the previous year and he is nearly automatic from the stripe.
With good steal numbers and a decent amount of blocks, there is no reason Durant shouldn’t be targeted in the first half of the draft.
3. Danny Granger, Indiana Pacers
The system that Jim O'Brien has in place in Indiana has done wonders for Granger, who avoided a switch to power forward this summer.
With the green light to gun, Granger made 40.4 percent of his 6.7 threes per game and he could still improve on his 25.8 points per game, which is scary.
Granger has the size to rebound, he's an average passer, but his steals (1.0) and blocks (1.5) make up for any lack of assists. Granger did miss time with his first major injury last season but has been strong since coming back.
4. Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets
There are a few things to be worried about with Anthony. He missed 16 games last year (14 due to injury) and his scoring average has been declining for three straight seasons. I expect both trends to end.
Anthony wants to establish himself as one of the NBA's truly elite players. He improved his three-point shooting last year, averaging one per game for the first time, and he rebounds and passes more than expected.
5. Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics
The leader of the Celtics will keep leading with around 20 points per game to go with his five rebounds and a handful of assists. Paul doesn't have a real backup on Boston, and his minutes should remain above 35 per game.
Pierce isn't amongst league leaders in steals anymore but he is still good for one per game, he always converts from the stripe, and his 1.5 threes per game are appreciated.
6. Gerald Wallace, Charlotte Bobcats
*Buyer Beware* The Bobcats want to be better, but they haven't been adding much talent, which means Wallace will still be counted on to produce on both ends of the court in big minutes.
He's a strong scorer who gets to the stripe and he has averaged two steals per game over the past five years.
There are a few things to worry about, though. Wallace's career high in games is 72 and his career average in Charlotte is 66 per year. He also might be traded to a contender, which would most likely drop his scoring numbers down.
7. Caron Butler, Washington Wizards
*Buyer Beware* For three straight seasons, Butler has failed to play 70 or more games, and with his all-out style of play, there is no reason to assume he won't miss some time this year.
The Wiz return Gilbert Arenas and brought in more talent this year, which means Butler may not score as much, and his minutes may fall to below 35 per game.
The talent is there, he isn't a great three-point shooter but will take the shots, Butler rebounds, passes, and steals, but statistically he may have peaked.
8. Shawn Marion, Dallas Mavericks
Looking to resurrect his career in Dallas, Marion could be more valuable than owners think in 2009-10. He can still play above the rim, and should be close to a double-double in average.
Marion has been atrocious from three lately, but he could find a respectable rhythm like back in his Phoenix days.
The Matrix used to be a monster in steals and blocks. Although his numbers have slipped there is no reason to think he won't average more than one per game in each category.
Don’t expect him to play more than 35 minutes per game, but finally his price tag is inline with his value once again.
9. Hedo Turkoglu, Toronto Raptors
The Raptors spent big money on Turkoglu because they believe in him. Last year was a slight decline from his award-winning 2007-08, but the last two years represent a ceiling and floor for his fantasy expectations.
The Turkish baller has always been a good three-point shooter and recently he has hit the glass and passed at more than respectable rate for his position.
His field-goal percentage is questionable, and there isn't much in the way of defensive numbers, but Turkoglu has been flying under the radar this fantasy season.
10. Stephen Jackson, Golden State Warriors
*Buyer Beware* There is a huge risk factor involved with Jackson but he is one of the most versatile players in the NBA when healthy and focused.
There is a strong chance Jackson will be traded this year but until then he is good for points, rebounds, assists, steals, and threes by the bundle.
It's understandable if you pass on him, but he has been slipping in drafts, which means he could be a steal for your squad.
The Next Best
Rudy Gay, Memphis Grizzlies - On the verge of breaking into the NBA's elite, Memphis added Iverson and Randolph. How will Gay respond?
Ron Artest, Los Angles Lakers - Will easily convert on the open threes Ariza saw last season and should post a career high in assists.
Wilson Chandler, New York Knicks - Made great improvement in second year, should continue to do it all in several positions for NY.
Trevor Ariza, Houston Rockets - There will be a ton of opportunities for Ariza to register a mid-teens average with good threes, rebounds, and steals.
John Salmons, Chicago Bulls – This G/F logs good minutes, which leads to points and threes.
Richard Jefferson, San Antonio Spurs - Doesn't do much aside from score, but back-to-back years of 82 games make him a great value pick.
Corey Maggette, Golden State Warriors - *Buyer Beware* Off the bench he is a matchup nightmare, but his injury history is an owner's worst nightmare.
Thaddeus Young, Philadelphia 76ers - Will continue developing perimeter game but needs to be more willing to go down low.
Al Thornton, Los Angles Clippers - Strong rebounder and scores easily, will block shots too.
Mike Miller, Washington Wizards - *Buyer Beware* Poised for a bounce-back season, rebounds and passes better than expected.
Loul Deng, Chicago Bulls - Numbers have declined each of the past three seasons, can he stop the bleeding?
Andrei Kirilenko, Utah Jazz - Still good for blocks and steals.
Tayshaun Prince, Detroit Pistons - Won't wow in any category, but you know what you get.
Don't Sleep On
Danilo Gallinari, New York Knicks - Hasn't found stroke yet, but he will get his chances all year long.
Matt Barnes, Orlando Magic - Always finds a way to play for teams that let him gun; Orlando is no different.
Shane Battier, Houston Rockets - Could post career scoring numbers on thin Houston squad.
Joe Alexander, Milwaukee Bucks - Bucks spent a hefty pick on him; once healthy, he will get his shots.
Julian Wright, New Orleans Hornets - As a starter will get hustle stats, but points may not come easily.
Grant Hill, Phoenix Suns - Played 82 games last year and can still get the job done.
Terrence Williams, New Jersey Nets - Won't crush any category but will post full stat lines.
Rankings: PG | SG | PF | C
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