Fantasy Basketball Rankings: Top 25 NBA Shooting Guards for 2010-11
This is Part Two of NBA Soup’s five-part position-by-position fantasy basketball player breakdown. After touching on the point guard rankings in our first rankings, we’re now set to dive into the shooting guard rankings.
Shooting guard is difficult position to rank because so many players can be classified as shooting guards. For example, point guards such as Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry, and Tyreke Evans, or forwards like Paul Pierce, can be placed in the SG slot in most leagues.
So, for the purpose of this breakdown, we’re sticking with true shooting guards. Be on the look out for guys like Pierce, Andre Iguodala, Mike Miller, Terrence Williams, and Hedo Turkoglu (to name a few) in the small forward rankings.
Starting at the bottom…
Sleeper: Kelenna Azubuike (New York Knicks)
Projected Stats: 48.2 FG%, 78.5 FT%, 14.1 pts, 4.5 rebs, 1.1 asts, 1.3 3pt, 1.0 stls, .8 blks
Azubuike started on fire last season for Golden State, averaging 13.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.1 three-pointers, and 1.0 blocks before suffering a season-ending injury. Considered by some to be a throw-in in the David Lee trade, he’s quietly been very effective for the last two years.
It might take him a few days to get back into game shape, as he's not expected to return by opening night. However, the transition from Golden State’s system to New York’s shouldn't be difficult.
If Azubuike plays, he’ll get numbers and is definitely worth a look in deeper leagues.
25. Brandon Rush (Indiana Pacers)
Projected Stats: 42.7 FG%, 67.7 FT%, 10.1 pts, 4.5 rebs, 1.2 asts, 1.6 3pt, .8 stls, .7 blks
Rush was very up-and-down last year, but ended the season fairly well by finishing with double-figures in points in 11 of Indiana’s last 16 games.
Rush will be playing along side Darren Collison and Danny Granger— two guys who demand a lot of attention from opposing defenses—so he should get his fair share of looks from the perimeter.
The only thing to keep an eye on is how much playing time the Pacers give rookie Paul George, or if they experiment with any lineups that have George at SG.
24. James Harden (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Projected Stats: 42.4 FG%, 83.3 FT%, 11.1 pts, 3.5 rebs, 2.0 asts, 1.4 3pt, 1.4 stls, .3 blks
Last year’s No. 3 pick should see an increase on his 22.9 minutes per game last year, but how much of an increase remains to be seen. Harden was impressive in the Orlando Summer League, getting to the free throw line frequently and playing strong defense, which suggests he’s ready to take a majority of the minutes away from Thabo Sefolosha.
But, because the Thunder have such a deep bench and acquired three-point shooters Morris Peterson and Daequan Cook this off-season, draft Harden with caution.
23. Anthony Morrow (New Jersey Nets)
Projected Stats: 45.9 FG%, 86.9 FT%, 12.2 pts, 3.0 rebs, 1.1 asts, 1.6 3pt, .6 stls, .2 blks
Morrow is an interesting project for the 2011 season as there are several pros and cons surrounding him.
On the one hand, he led the league in three-point percentage in 2009 and joins a team that was one of the worst in that category last season. He also seems like a shoe-in to start since New Jersey shipped out Courtney Lee in the off-season.
However, Morrow is used to playing in Golden State where he didn’t need a conscience to shoot the ball. He probably won’t get a chance to launch 4.4 three’s a game, and since he’s New Jersey’s primary outside option, he’ll likely get a lot of attention from opposing defenses.
If he struggles, the Nets have other options they can use at SG, including: Travis Outlaw, Terrence Williams, and Damion James.
22. Leandro Barbosa (Toronto Raptors)
Projected Stats: 45.1 FG%, 84.2 FT%, 14.7 pts, 2.1 rebs, 2.5 asts, 1.5 3pt, 1.1 stls, .1 blks
Barbosa has tempted fantasy owners for years since his 18.1 points, 4.0 assists, 2.4 three-pointers average in 2007, but injuries and the lack of a defined role in Phoenix have ultimately led to disappointment.
This year, however, Barbosa gets a fresh start in Toronto as a part of a very crowded back court that includes Jose Calderon, Jarrett Jack, DeMar DeRozan, and Sonny Weems.
But, if Barbosa can stay healthy and can get consistent minutes, he’ll have a solid season.
21. DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors)
Projected Stats: 48.7 FG%, 78.2 FT%, 14.2 pts, 4.7 rebs, 1.2 asts, .3 3pt, 1.0 stls, .3 blks
Someone will need to fill the scoring gap left by Chris Bosh, and the Raps should look to DeRozan to help build for the future. The No. 9 pick in 2009, shot well last year and was one of Toronto’s most impressive players in the Vegas Summer League.
He only averaged 21.6 minutes per game last season, but if you look at his per 36 minutes averages, DeRozan's numbers should compare favorably to his projected stats in 2011.
20. Evan Turner (Philadelphia 76ers)
Projected Stats: 44.4 FG%, 78.8 FT%, 12.8 pts, 4.2 rebs, 4.2 asts, .3 3pt, 1.1 stls, .4 blks
Turner filled up the stat sheet at Ohio State leading the Buckeyes in points, assists, rebounds, steals, and field goal percentage.
While he probably won’t lead the Sixers in all categories, he can run the point, and comes off screens better than anyone in the ‘10 draft class. He and Andre Iguodala will be a tough 2/3 match-up for most teams.
19. Richard Hamilton (Detroit Pistons)
Projected Stats: 44.0 FG%, 85.5 FT%, 17.7 pts, 3.0 rebs, 4.2 asts, 1.0 3pt, .7 stls, .1 blks
Hamilton looks to get back in the swing of things in Detroit, where he missed a career-high 36 games last season, and shot a career-low 40.9 percent from the field. The acquisition of Ben Gordon appeared to have a negative effect on his value, and with the Pistons picking up Tracy McGrady for this year probably won’t help either.
He’ll get his points, but if he’s not shooting the ball well it will be an even greater drawback on his already weak steals and three-point numbers.
18. Vince Carter (Orlando Magic)
Projected Stats: 42.2 FG%, 83.1 FT%, 16.0 pts, 3.4 rebs, 3.5 asts, 1.4 3pt, .9 stls, .2 blks
Like Hamilton, Vince Carter had his worst statistical season in 2009-10, scoring a career-low 16.6 points per game and playing just 30.8 minutes. He turns 34 in January and it’s hard to see him having a huge bounce-back year when playing on a team with so many weapons.
Maybe the biggest detriment to his fantasy success (besides age) is J.J. Redick, who played well in the post season and will look to steal more minutes from Carter at SG this year.
17. Ben Gordon (Detroit Pistons)
Projected Stats: 43.0 FG%, 86.6 FT%, 15.2 pts, 2.5 rebs, 2.9 asts, 1.5 3pt, 1.0 stls, .1 blks
After a career year with the Bulls in 2009, the Ben Gordon experiment didn’t go over well in Detroit as Gordon put up career-low numbers in just 62 games. As such, he didn’t do anything to deem himself worthy of his $58 million contract.
Gordon came off the bench nearly 75 percent of the time last year and that will likely be the trend in 2011. While still an explosive scorer, he’ll have to prove himself and earn playing time with shooting guards Rip Hamilton and Tracy McGrady on the roster.
16. J.R. Smith (Denver Nuggets)
Projected Stats: 41.9 FG%, 75.0 FT%, 16.1 pts, 3.3 rebs, 2.2 asts, 2.4 3pt, 1.2 stls, .2 blks
As is the case with almost everyone on Denver’s roster, Smith’s fantasy value could hinge on the potential trade of Carmelo Anthony.
Smith has locked himself into a role on this current Nugget team: a sixth man who is erratic with his jumper, but has range from almost anywhere in the half-court.
However, if Anthony is dealt, it could open up some more playing time for Smith. Maybe he sneaks into the starting five over Arron Afflalo, or he could take over the small forward spot. Anthony would leave behind 28+ points per game and Smith is a prime candidate to nab a few of those extra points and shots.
15. John Salmons (Milwaukee Bucks)
Projected Stats: 45.9 FG%, 83.1 FT%, 16.8 pts, 3.2 rebs, 3.0 asts, 1.6 3pt, 1.1 stls, .2 blks
Salmons was a beast in his 30 games with Milwaukee, averaging 19.9 points (46.7 field goal percentage, 86.7 free throw percentage), 3.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.5 three-pointers.
He was the ideal shooting guard for the Bucks, a physical player that can operate with his back to the basket but still knock down three-pointers regularly (38.5 percent).
Don’t expect him to slow down much this year. Milwaukee has a surplus of talent coming in, including Corey Maggette, another physical player who gets his points at the free throw line and in isolation sets.
Salmons probably won’t average the 19+ points he did from February to April, but he’s still a must-own in most formats.
14. Marcus Thornton (New Orleans Hornets)
Projected Stats: 46.3 FG%, 81.9 FT%, 16.4 pts, 3.1 rebs, 1.2 asts, 1.9 3pt, 1.0 stls, .2 blks
Thornton had the most impact of any second-round player in the 2009 draft and the Hornets have made it clear that he’s a part of their future. They shipped out starting SG Morris Peterson to move him into the starting lineup, where he’ll get a chance to play an entire season with Chris Paul as his starting PG.
With Paul running the point and David West cleaning up inside, it will leave Thornton with plenty of room to operate. We saw last year that he’s an adept player who can score in multiple ways. And you can’t stress enough how beneficial it is for him to play with Paul.
13. Jason Terry (Dallas Mavericks)
Projected Stats: 44.9 FG%, 86.0 FT%, 16.0 pts, 1.7 rebs, 3.6 asts, 2.0 3pt, 1.1 stls, .1 blks
Already preparing for his bench role, Terry has proclaimed that he once again wants to be the NBA Sixth Man of the Year for 2011. He has a legitimate case as he’s averaged over 15.5 points and 1.7 three-pointers per game since settling into his role for Dallas in 2007.
A model of consistency, Terry is assured to get you double-digit points, high three-point totals, and solid percentages. Don’t be fooled by last year’s 43.8 percent from the field, it was the first time since 2004 when he played for Atlanta that he didn’t shoot better than 46 percent.
12. Caron Butler (Dallas Mavericks)
Projected Stats: 44.5 FG%, 84.9 FT%, 16.5 pts, 6.3 rebs, 2.5 asts, .5 3pt, 1.8 stls, .3 blks
The man Jason Terry backs up had his lowest points per game total in five years in 2010 and looks to resume more of an authoratitive role in Dallas’ offense.
Butler averaged just 16.3 points last season, but his numbers weren’t brought down because he shot the ball less in Dallas. He did average 1.6 more shots per game in Washington, but was only at 16.9 points on 42.2 percent shooting when he was moved to the Mavericks.
After struggling to find his niche during the regular season and playoffs, Butler might have to take on more responsibility with Jason Kidd being a year older and Dallas needing someone to take pressure off of Dirk Nowitzki.
But even if Butler’s not scoring a lot, he still chips in solid rebounds and steals for a guard.
11. Ray Allen (Boston Celtics)
Projected Stats: 48.3 FG%, 91.8 FT%, 15.9 pts, 3.0 rebs, 2.5 asts, 2.1 3pt, 1.0 stls, .2 blks
As the years pass by, the same question seems to pop up around Ray Allen: Is this the year where he finally stops producing at a high level?
The numbers don’t lie. His rebounds peaked in 2007 at 4.5 and have been declining since he arrived in Boston (3.7-3.5-3.2). Same with assists (4.1 in Seattle, 3.1-2.8-2.6 in Boston), steals (1.5 in Seattle, .9-.9-.8 in Boston), and three-point makes (3.0 in Seattle, 2.5-2.5-1.8 in Boston).
But for whatever reason, it doesn’t seem appropriate to write him off just yet. Maybe it’s all of the excitement surrounding Boston or his eye-popping eight three-point makes in one Finals game vs. L.A. (then again, he did go 0-of-13 in the next game). But he can still score 15+, knock down a couple three’s, and shoot lights-out from the field and free throw line.
Like you would with Nash and Kidd, don’t bet against Jesus Shuttlesworth until he stops putting up numbers.
10. O.J. Mayo (Memphis Grizzlies)
Projected Stats: 46.2 FG%, 82.2 FT%, 18.3 pts, 3.9 rebs, 3.3 asts, 1.8 3pt, 1.2 stls, .2 blks
Mayo was middle-of-the-road in 2010. He didn’t wow anyone ,but he wasn’t a disappointment either. Check out his numbers for his first two seasons:
2008-09: 43.8 FG%, 87.9 FT%, 18.5 pts, 3.8 rebs, 3.2 asts, 1.8 3pt, 1.1 stls, .2 blks
2009-10: 45.8 FG%, 80.9 FT%, 17.5 pts, 3.8 rebs, 3.0 asts, 1.7 3pt, 1.2 stls, .2 blks
Surprisingly consistent for such a young player. Then again, many people were expecting a breakout season in ‘10 that would build off his impressive rookie performance…it just didn’t come.
Part of that should be credited to the emergence of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol as viable low-post options for Memphis. Mayo simply wasn’t needed as much offensively.
Maybe he has a special season in store, but it looks like you’ll know what to expect from Mayo heading into this season.
9. Kevin Martin (Houston Rockets)
Projected Stats: 43.3 FG%, 87.0 FT%, 20.2 pts, 3.9 rebs, 2.3 asts, 1.5 3pt, 1.1 stls, .1 blks
For some reason Martin doesn’t seem to be looked at as a legitimate option at shooting guard. It’s not like his numbers in Houston took a dip. He averaged more points and shot better from the field and the free throw line once he was acquired by the Rockets.
The emergence of Aaron Brooks last year coupled with Yao Ming coming back this year might scare off potential suitors a bit, but Martin is still a dynamic scorer who will find a way to get points.
He might not wow you in other categories but can still get the job done.
8. Eric Gordon (Los Angeles Clippers)
Projected Stats: 45.3 FG%, 80.0 FT%, 17.5 pts, 2.7 rebs, 3.0 asts, 2.1 3pt, 1.1 stls, .3 blks
Gordon did a nice job for Team USA in the FIBA Championships coming off the bench and giving good minutes as one of the few true shooting guards on the team. He’ll have a bigger role on this year’s Clippers as the main offensive weapon on the perimeter.
While he wasn’t really an afterthought in the Clippers’ offense the last two years, he didn’t have very many plays run for him either. Vinny Del Negro shouldn’t be considered a genius when it comes to getting shots for his guards, but he did get solid production from Ben Gordon and Kirk Hinrich in Chicago.
With a lot of attention from defenses inside on Blake Griffin and Chris Kaman, it will open up jumpers and driving lines for a player who looks more comfortable and confident with his game.
7. Manu Ginobili (San Antonio Spurs)
Projected Stats: 45.8 FG%, 87.2 FT%, 17.8 pts, 4.4 rebs, 5.0 asts, 1.8 3pt, 1.6 stls, .3 blks
You know what to expect from Ginobili, who has slipped a little in rebounding the past couple of years but made up for it with increased assists and fewer turnovers. He should bounce back in terms of field goal percentage (lowest since ‘04 at 44.1 percent last year).
If he cracks 30 minutes per game, those stats could go up, but with Gregg Poppovich looking to keep his players healthy come playoff time, don’t bank on his minutes will increasing.
6. Jason Richardson (Phoenix Suns)
Projected Stats: 47.5 FG%, 77.5 FT%, 18.1 pts, 5.5 rebs, 1.9 asts, 2.2 3pt, 1.0 stls, .4 blks
With Amar’e Stoudemire out in Phoenix, the Suns probably will use more small ball with a combination of Richardson, Steve Nash, Hedo Turkoglu, Josh Childress, Jared Dudley, and Grant HIll surrounding either Robin Lopez or Channing Frye inside.
The question is: Who emerges as the primary scorer? Richardson or Turkoglu?
Richardson was great in the post-season for the Suns, averaging 19.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.1 steals while shooting over 50 percent from the field and a staggering 47.5 percent from the three-point line. Nash, Turkoglu, and Goran Dragic can all attack the rim well, which means the Suns will stick to their drive-and-kick game and Richardson could be the primary beneficiary.
5. Stephen Jackson (Charlotte Bobcats)
Projected Stats: 41.6 FG%, 80.1 FT%, 21.2 pts, 5.1 rebs, 4.3 asts, 1.7 3pt, 1.5 stls, .4 blks
Jackson gets the nod at shooting guard over small forward since he eased into the 2-spot for the Bobcats last season. He was quite impressive with his new team, averaging 21.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.6 three-pointers, 1.6 steals, and .5 blocks in 72 games with Charlotte.
The loss of Raymond Felton means Jackson may have to handle more point guard responsibilities since it’s unlikely that Larry Brown will want to turn everything over to D.J. Augustin. That means Jackson could see a bump in assist numbers as well as being Charlotte’s primary scoring option.
4. Joe Johnson (Atlanta Hawks)
Projected Stats: 45.1 FG%, 82.2 FT%, 21.0 pts, 4.5 rebs, 5.0 asts, 1.7 3pt, 1.0 stls, .2 blks
Don’t let last year’s pathetic showing in the Eastern Conference semifinals against Orlando stop you from taking Johnson this year—all that showed was a team built around Joe Johnson can’t advance in the playoffs.
But in the regular season? That’s a different story.
Johnson has averaged 20+ points for five consecutive seasons and has remained relatively consistent during that time, shooting between 36 and 38 percent from the three-point line, grabbing 4.1-4.6 rebounds, and hitting 1.7-2.1 three’s.
Johnson might have a lot of pressure because of his new contract (higher paid than LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, and Paul Pierce this season), but he still remains a top-five shooting guard.
3. Brandon Roy (Portland Trail Blazers)
Projected Stats: 48.3 FG%, 79.5 FT%, 21.5 pts, 4.4 rebs, 4.9 asts, 1.0 3pt, 1.1 stls, .2 blks
Only one thing should worry Brandon Roy owners this year: health.
There were questions about his knees coming out of college, and he missed 17 games last season. Hopefully rushing back from his injury for the playoffs didn’t do any long-term damage and he can return to form this year.
2. Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers)
Projected Stats: 46.6 FG%, 83.1 FT%, 25.9 pts, 5.5 rebs, 5.2 asts, 1.3 3pt, 1.6 stls, .3 blks
Tough to imagine someone like Kobe not being No. 1. He scores, grabs 5+ assists and rebounds, gets steals, and doesn’t have glaring weaknesses in any categories.
But he says his knee is only around “60 percent” and that should worry you a little. He’s 32 and has logged 1,219 games in his career. While he prides himself on never missing games, the Lakers have enough depth to afford him a few nights off throughout the regular season to rest his knee, finger, or any other ailment.
Kobe will still be effective, but be aware that he can’t keep up his current pace forever.
1. Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat)
Projected Stats: 51.4 FG%, 78.2 FT%, 24.2 pts, 5.3 rebs, 6.0 asts, 1.0 3pt, 2.0 stls, 1.2 blks
It’s tough to project Wade’s stats because, with the exception of 2006, he’s never really played with legitimate All-Stars around him.
Offensively, the Heat will dominate the teams they’re supposed to beat up on in the regular season. Opponents just won’t have the firepower to keep up, meaning Wade should shoot a career-best from the field, dish out some assists to his new teammates, roam the floor on defense, and grab some steals, and oh yeah, block over a shot per game.
The points might drop a little, but owners should see improvement in almost every other category. And that’s enough to put him at No. 1.
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