NBA Fantasy Rankings 2008-2009: Small Forwards
1. LeBron James - Cleveland
2007-2008 Stats: 30.0 ppg, 7.2 apg, 7.9 rpg, 1.8 spg, 1.1 bpg
Only two players in history have put up a season as good as Lebron 07-08 go round, Michael Jordan and Oscar Robertson. He has only scratched the surface of his potential at 23 years old. I would honestly take him #1 above Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant just due to the off the charts numbers he gives you in all areas.
2. Caron Butler - Washington
2007-2008 Stats: 20.3 ppg, 4.9 apg, 6.7 rpg, 2.2 spg
He’s a slasher and a premier defender which leads to a ton of easy buckets in transition. He is a tremendous free throw shooter and gets to the line a lot because of his Dwayne Wade like attacks to the basket. His 2.2 steals per game were among the best in the league and he will continue to be the go to guy with Agent 0 out for at least half the season and Jamison being banged up as well. Look for a big year from Caron.
3. Carmelo Anthony - Denver
2007-2008 Stats: 25.7 ppg, 3.4 apg, 7.4 rpg, 1.3 spg
Prolific scorer that is a top-notch player, but hasn’t taken the dramatic step forward like some of the other lottery picks of 2003.
He won’t give you the same production as Lebron due to low assist numbers but he’s close in the other areas.
4. Shawn Marion - Miami
2007-2008 Stats: 15.4 ppg, 2.3 apg, 10.2 rpg, 2.0 spg, 1.3 bpg
Marion is classified as a SF or PF in most leagues but I’ll rank him with the SF’s. He is likely to play most of the time at the 4 though with Beasley in the fold now.
He can score, board and play good D. He’s still a bit underrated due to questions about how the Heat will use him or if his touches will go down with Wade back and Beasley coming in. Grab him if you can. He’s a very good fantasy player.
5. Richard Jefferson - Milwaukee
2007-2008 Stats: 22.6 ppg, 3.1 apg, 4.1 rpg, 0.9 spg
Since his career season in 04-05, his numbers have slowly decreased. This was partly due to injury and partly due to his team getting progressively worse. He gets a fresh start in Milwaukee with a Coach that stresses effort and hustle in Scott Skiles.
I expect Jefferson to get back to the player he was a few years ago and post all-star worthy numbers this season. He’d be a great value pick if you can snag him after the 5thround.
6. Ron Artest - Houston
2007-2008 Stats: 20.5 ppg, 3.5 apg, 5.8 rpg, 2.3 spg
Artest is a perennial contender for Defensive Player of the Year. He is so rough and rugged with his game, that he can create a lot of turnovers on the defensive end of the court. He is also a formidable offensive threat sporting a career scoring average of 16 ppg. Look for him to be a key piece down in Houston, possibly catapulting Yao and Tracy into the Western Conference finals.
7. Rudy Gay - Memphis
2007-2008 Stats: 20.1 ppg, 2.0 apg, 6.1 rpg, 1.4 spg, 1.0 bpg
Gay flourished in his first season as a full-time starter and his development in year three should produce great results. . He’s has a rare combination of size and athleticism that he tends to rely on too much. He really needs to show improvement on defense and his passing. He scores a lot, but doesn’t get good enough assist numbers. While he should get better in that department with other scorers in Memphis for him to pass to, I would protect myself with high assist guards if I draft Rudy.
8. Paul Pierce - Boston
2007-2008 Stats: 19.6 ppg, 4.5 apg, 5.2 rpg, 1.3 spg
As expected Pierce took a lot less shots with Ray and KG in town, but he still put up good numbers across the board. Pierce is a savvy veteran that knows how to score and understands team defense but doesn’t hit the boards particularly hard and counts on his perimeter game more and more as he gets older. I’d feel more comfortable with Pierce as my F/C swing player than my everyday SF but he won’t hurt you too bad as a starter.
9. Danny Granger - Indiana
2007-2008 Stats: 19.6 ppg, 2.1 apg, 6. rpg, 1.2 spg, 1.1 bpg
No player has shown as vast an improvement from year one to year three in the NBA as Danny Granger. He is a young, talented SF that can utilize his height advantage to score over most other wings in the league. He has to get better at his passing and court awareness, but judging by his improvement thus far, he’ll have that cleaned up in no time. He should benefit from the fast paced offensive system with a lightning bolt running the point in TJ Ford.
10. Hedo Turkuglu – Orlando
2007-2008 Stats: 19.5 ppg, 5.0 apg, 5.7 rpg, 0.9 spg
Hedo was the NBA Most Improved Player last season but it was no fluke. The combination of consistent minutes, a post presence in Dwight Howard, and the freedom to play a point-forward brand of ball, all fed into his lighting up the NBA. Nothing should change there as Hedo’s per minute production were always very good, he just never had enough minutes on the floor to show it.
Others to watch:
Lamar Odom – LA Lakers
Odom is the biggest example of a ton of hype leading to pedestrian results. The rumor now is that Radmanovic may start over Odom because Phil doesn’t like the way Odom performs when he’s not the focal point, so Phil wants to run him with the 2nd group. He is a very talented player though and an accomplished passer for a big man. Be cautious with this drafting him, but it could end up working out for you.
Peja Stojakovic - New Orleans
Posey could cut into his time, but when healthy, Peja is one of the most lethal 3pt shooters in the league.
Gerald Wallace - Charlotte
Wallace almost made my top 10 on potential alone. When healthy, which isn’t that often, he is a stat filler in a bunch of categories and an asset to any fantasy roster. You should be able to get him late.
Travis Outlaw, Portland
Young guy coming off a break out year. A 6th man of the year candidate last year and will be again this season. He could surprise if he notches more starts this season.
Corey Maggette - Golden State
Maggette will score a ton and is an outside All-Star possibility. He’s a good add to your team for sure.
Quentin Richardson – New York
Will a return to D’Antonio’s system help him out? It’s possible that he could perform well but watch out for up and coming Wilson Chandler.
Jamario Moon -Toronto
Moon came out of nowhere last season to catch some peoples attention. His minutes will go up this year and he could improve on last years numbers, but he’s not much of a scorer so look elsewhere unless you want the Defensive numbers.
Luol Deng - Chicago
Deng is tremendous but needs to stay healthy. It will be interesting to see if he can take on even more of the scoring load and approach the 20 ppg mark.
Linas Kleiza – Denver
Athletic SF who averaged double figures last year and shoots a high percentage, but is handcuffed by the presence of Carmelo, J.R. Smith and Renaldo Balkman. Watch out for him if he gets traded.
Marvin Williams - Atlanta
Williams has been slow to come around given his draft position but started to show some signs last year. With Josh Childress gone, his minutes should jump even higher and he could become an 17-18 ppg guy with a possible 7-8 boards. Not a good 3pt shooter but is deadly from mid-range.
Ryan Gomes - Minnesota
Skilled player that can see time at both the 3 and 4. With Kevin Love in town, he’ll likely be the starting SF and should post good numbers in that role. He’s looked strong in preseason and may get over 30 minutes per game this year. Watch out for him.
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