NBA Fantasy Forecast: The Top 10 Fantasy Shooting Guards Next Season

Alex Joseph@alex_brosephAnalyst IJuly 7, 2011

NBA Fantasy Forecast: The Top 10 Fantasy Shooting Guards Next Season

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    In 2008, Matthew Berry wrote an article entitled NBA Draft Day Manifesto, which were his supposed keys to succeeding in the fantasy hoops world.

    In his article, he wrote about the necessity of point guards and power forwards or at least players that produce like them. 

    Before reading this article, I had never once tried my hand at fantasy basketball. I thought it would be too tasking. 

    Then I remembered I played fantasy baseball, so everything else should probably be a cake walk. 

    Regardless, I assembled three teams my first season. All three won their respective leagues. 

    The next year, after heeding Berry's advice, I drafted10 teams. Nine of them won, the other placed second.

    This last year, I decided 10 teams wasn't enough. I created a new user name on ESPN with the sole intention of drafting more than ten teams. I ended up drafting 12. Ten won, two placed second. 

    Every year, I am the guy who overanalyzes every draft pick he makes, but I do it using Berry's guidelines. And every year, I succeed. 

    The shooting guard position is tough to draft. It's really hard to find a shooting guard who will produce in multiple categories, instead of just providing a scoring punch. 

    You have to find a shooting guard who will produce like a point guard with assists and like a power forward with rebounds but remain true to his own position and provide points and threes. 

    Without further ado, here are next season's top 10 fantasy shooting guards. 

Honorable Mentions

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    1) Jason Terry (Dallas Mavericks)

    • Let's face it, Terry is normally a top 10 fantasy shooting guard. He is a lock for threes, is rarely injured and actually provides a decent assist tally for shooting guards. Then again, Terry is 33, he is coming off a long season (which happened to result in his only championship),] and his minutes are going to keep decreasing when he's surrounded by young guards. 

    2) Ray Allen (Boston Celtics)

    • Allen, like Terry, is always a lock for threes and is rarely injured. At age 35, he still has the prettiest jump shot in the NBA. He is great for percentages, but he is lacking in every other category. Allen is a great shooting guard, perhaps one of the best the NBA has seen, but is he a top 10 fantasy shooting guard? Not this year.

    3) DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors)

    • DeRozan is super athletic and is a top three scoring option on his team. He has only played two seasons in the league, and has already seen his points per game go up from 8.6 to 17.2 in just one year. The problem is, as athletic as DeRozan is, his all-around game is still underdeveloped. He doesn't rebound, he doesn't dish out assists and he is a horrid three-point shooter. He still has plenty of time to develop, though, and he will surely be a quality shooting guard in the league for years to come. 

    4) Kevin Martin (Houston Rockets)

    • Martin is one of the most underrated scorers in the NBA. Unfortunately, he may be overlooked because scoring is the only thing he does. While he provides a necessity for an NBA squad, his necessity on a fantasy roster is slim. 

    5) Marcus Thornton (Sacramento Kings)

    • Thornton is the wild card of the honorable mentions. He proved to be a capable scorer in New Orleans, and when he was traded to Sacramento, his numbers proved to be starter-worthy: 21.3 points per game, 4.7 rebounds per game, 3.4 assists per game and 1.7 steals per game in 27 games. If Thornton remains a starter, he could be a good fantasy pickup. However, with John Salmons back in town, the newly drafted Jimmer Fredette and the need for combo guard Tyreke Evans to get minutes at shooting guard as well, Thornton could be put in a rough spot this season. 

10. Stephen Jackson (Milwaukee Bucks)

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    The 10th spot could have easily gone to any of the honorable mentions, but I gave the 33-year-old Jackson the upper hand because of the recent trade that sent him to Milwaukee. 

    Jackson's refined offensive game will complement Brandon Jennings in the Bucks' backcourt, and he should be a primary scoring option on a young team trying to get back into the playoffs. 

    Jackson has averaged over 20 points per game in three of his last five seasons. He isn't a slouch when it comes to boards or assists either. 

    If things go well in Milwaukee for Jackson, this could be a career fantasy season for Jackson. 

9. James Harden (Oklahoma City Thunder)

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    This is all just speculation. Harden is the perfect example of a boom or bust for the shooting guard position. 

    Harden has all the tools to be a legitimate fantasy star—or at least something more than just a fantasy role player—which has been his contribution during his two years in the league.

    After Jeff Green was traded to Boston, Harden's role on the Thunder became more prized, and his play in the playoffs left many wondering why he was not starting in front of Thabo Sefolosha.

    However, unless Scotty Brooks has a mental lapse, Harden will be the starting shooting guard for the Thunder next season. Being able to play quality minutes alongside Russell Westbrook will amount in more scoring opportunities and more assists for Harden. 

    Harden is the third scoring option for the Thunder, but his numbers are sure to escalate when defenders are locked in on stopping Kevin Durant and Westbrook. 

8. Eric Gordon (LA Clippers)

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    Gordon has yet to play a full NBA season, and while his short career has been a bit injury plagued, he has still shown flashes of being an up-and-coming star. 

    In 56 games last season, Gordon averaged 22.3 points per game, 4.4 assists per game and 1.3 steals per game, while shooting a respectable 45 percent from the floor and 36 percent from deep.

    The Clippers are a young, athletic team with a lot of talent. If Gordon can remain healthy for a full season, his stats should blossom.

    When you have Blake Griffin on your team, there's no way your own stats don't go up. 

7. Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers)

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    Iguodala's name has been on the end of a lot of trade rumors in the past month, but for now, and until the lockout is over, Iggy will remain in Philadelphia. 

    He will be a top 10 fantasy shooting guard wherever he ends up, but his position on this list could be changed. Right now, with Philadelphia, he takes the seventh spot.

    Iguodala did see his scoring slide last season, but that could have been due to his injury, as he was forced to miss 15 games. Nevertheless, Iggy has proved to be a shooting guard Matthew Berry would foam at the mouth for.

    Not only can the guy score, but last season he averaged 6.3 assists per game, 5.8 rebounds per game, and 1.5 steals per game. 6.3 assists per game was the highest total of any shooting guard in the league, and the highest for any player who wasn't a point guard or named LeBron James.

    In fact, being ranked No. 18 in the league, Iggy out-dished almost half of the starting point guards in the league. 

    And his 1.5 steals per game last season happened to be the worst of his career so far. He's a great defender. That can't be said about most of the top fantasy shooting guards. 

6. Joe Johnson (Atlanta Hawks)

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    If this were an article for top 10 unreasonable NBA contracts, Johnson would take the cake. However, for top fantasy shooting guards, Johnson ranks at sixth. 

    Even as the sixth-best shooting guard prospect, Johnson's value will remain in the top three rounds due to his ability to shoot. Unfortunately, Johnson saw his stats slip a little last year.

    While he still averaged 18.2 points per game, his three-point percentage dropped from 37 percent to 30 percent, his worst percentage since his rookie season.

    Johnson remains the No. 1 scoring option on the Hawks. With Jeff Teague blossoming, he may finally have a point guard who can help him out in the backcourt. 

    Look for Johnson's stats to go back up this season. 

5. Manu Ginobili (San Antonio Spurs)

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    Even at age 33, Ginobili still provides an instant spark of offense to an otherwise bland offense, which is no surprise when your decade-long superstar's nickname is The Big Fundamental. 

    Ginobili can score in about every way imaginable, and he can also pass and play more than adequate defense. 

    He is always a valuable shooting guard prospect, but I never would have put him before Johnson and Iguodala until the NBA draft took place. 

    During the draft, the Spurs dealt up-and-coming combo guard George Hill for the Indiana's first-round draft pick, Kawhi Leonard, who they hope will be their small forward of the future. 

    Without Hill around to take minutes away from Ginobili, his only competition is Gary Neal, who has proven himself to be a great three-point shooter.

    But let's face it, he's no Ginobili. 

    If the Spurs want to make another run at the title while Ginobili, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan are all still together, Ginobili is going to have to step up and have a career year.

    This is something that bodes well for his fantasy stock. 

4. Tyreke Evans (Sacramento Kings)

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    To be completely fair, Evans could have and probably should have been placed with the point guards instead of the shooting guards. But if that were the case, he would have placed fifth behind Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and Deron Williams.

    I'm giving him the opportunity to at least place one rank higher with the shooting guards. Evans is the definition of a combo guard, though, so it can easily be argued that he's just as much a shooting guard as he is a point guard.

    Regardless, he's still a great piece to have on your fantasy roster. 

    Two years ago, he was named Rookie of the Year after averaging 20 points, five rebounds and six assists per game. His production slipped just a tad in his sophomore season, but he was plagued with injuries that only allowed him to play in 57 games. 

    Still, he averaged over 17 points per game, five boards and six assists. Without Beno Udrih running most of the point guard position this year, Evans will have a lot more responsibility and should see all his stats benefit from it. 

    He's got a plethora of shooters to pass to in Thornton, Salmons and Fredette, and he's got budding post players in DeMarcus Cousins and newly acquired J.J. Hickson, who will be able to take some pressure off of Evans in the offense. 

    This should be a tremendous year for Evans, and the Kings, if he can stay healthy. 

3. Monta Ellis (Golden State Warriors)

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    Like Andre Iguodala, Ellis' name has been circling through the trade rumors for quite some time, and Golden State's first-round draft pick of Klay Thompson is just another reason many believe Ellis is going be out of town. 

    But like Iguodala, Ellis' rank on this list could change depending on where he ends up. I think he's capable of being a top two shooting guard in the league, especially with Kobe Bryant aging, but as he remains in Golden State, his value will sit at No. 3. 

    There's no sugar coating it, Ellis can score with the best of them. He is likely a top five scorer in the league, and what makes it even sweeter that he also is a great passer and a great defender—statistically speaking, at least.

    Last season, he averaged 2.1 steals per game, which ranked third in the league, behind only Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo. For a guy who gets scrutinized for being undersized and thus unable to defend shooting guards as well as he should, his stats put up a pretty good argument. 

    Since coming into the league, Ellis has really grown into an all-around good player, not just a good scorer. He will continue to develop and get better.

    But as for now, with his situation becoming more and more confusing in Golden State, Ellis' fantasy future will remain undetermined. 

    ...Kinda. I mean, you still know he's going to be a top three shooting guard and a great fantasy player.

    So, yeah...draft him. 

2. Kobe Bryant (LA Lakers)

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    While Bryant remains an unquestioned top 3 fantasy shooting guard, his time as the best shooting guard in the league—and as best player in the league—may be coming to an end.

    There's no questioning Bryant's fierce competitiveness and determination, and his stats are still great. Last year, he averaged 25.3 points per game, 5.1 rebounds per game and 4.7 assists per game.

    And even though his steals were a bit down, at 1.2 per game, he remains one of the best defenders in the league.

    The one stat that did noticeably drop, though, were his minutes played per game (33.9), down five per game from the previous season.

    Bryant is aging. He's put in 15 excellent seasons in the league, and his knees are wearing thin. But there's no way he's going to let any of that stop him from contributing and making his team better.

    He remains the closest player to Michael Jordan that any of us will see for quite awhile. If I know Bryant, he's going to do everything he can to help the Lakers get back to playing championship-level basketball.

    He will remain an asset in the fantasy world for as long as he's in the league. 

1. Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat)

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    There has been argument in seasons past as to if Dwyane Wade was the best shooting guard in the league, but it was almost always consensus to take Bryant over Wade every season.

    Well, the time has come. Move over Bryant, Wade is the best shooting guard in both the NBA and in the fantasy world.

    While I still think LeBron James is the better overall player, there's no doubt Miami's best player in the NBA Finals was Wade. The guy was absolutely ridiculous.

    I was one who thought Wade and James' production would slide when they came together, but boy, was I wrong. Neither missed a beat.

    Last season Wade averaged 25.5 points per game, 6.4 rebounds per game, 4.6 assists per game, 1.5 steals per game, and an unheard of for shooting guards: 1.1 blocks per game. 

    He did all this while shooting 50 percent from the floor! Sure, his three-point percentage could be better, but he's got other guys on his team to shoot threes. Wade is more of a slashing shooting guard than a shooter, we all know that.

    He is a great player who will continue to put up crazy statistics for both the Miami Heat and your fantasy squad.

    That is, if you get so lucky to draft him. 



    Alex Joseph is currently working on a Fantasy Forecast for every position in fantasy basketball. To read his first forecast, "NBA Fantasy Forecast: Chris Paul and the Top 10 Fantasy Point Guards Next Season," click here