With the NBA season just around the corner it’s time to take a look at the best fantasy players for this season. With most fantasy drafts set to take place this week it’s important to dissect the players and break down the pre-season rankings for each position.
Here we’re going to explore the top shooting guards in the league. In the past this has been the position that is generally the most coveted. But, this season the talent pool is not as deep as it has been over the past decade. Still, there are plenty of talented shooting guards that can provide strong additions to your fantasy roster.
One thing to keep in mind while drafting your fantasy roster this season is that due to the top-heavy nature of the shooting guard position, if you’re able to snag one of the top two or three players early it may be worth your time. The drop off between the first and second tiers of shooting guards is indeed stark.
15. James Harden: SG, Oklahoma City Thunder
2011-12 Projections: 13.9 PPG, 2.5 APG, 3.8 RPG, 1.3 SPG, 0.4 BPG
James Harden is one of the core players of the up-and-coming Oklahoma City Thunder. This year they won’t be sneaking up on anyone, but Harden should become a fairly viable fantasy threat. Since he plays with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant he won’t see a ton of shots. But, because those two players are on the roster the defense will be forced to focus much of their attention on them. That leaves Harden to crash the boards and benefit from the open looks that come his way when his teammates draw a double team. Harden should be a mid-round pick in your draft and could be perfect for spot starts and favorable matchups.
14. Manu Ginobili: SG, San Antonio Spurs
2011-12 Projections: 17.1 PPG, 4.8 APG, 3.8 RPG, 1.5 SPG, 0.3 BPG
Last season was a bit of a perfect storm for Manu Ginobili and his fantasy owners. Ginobili managed to stay healthy for the entire season, something he had been unable to do for the previous seasons. However, in order to have him play in more games he saw his minutes reduced to help keep his body fresh. Naturally this results in reduced statistical game averages, but over the course of the season he makes up for it by playing in more games. Ginobili should have a strong season again in 2011-12, but the Spurs may suffer a bit of a setback. Much of the roster is aging rapidly, and that could impact Ginobili’s overall performance if the defense is forced to focus more on his offensive attack.
13. Ray Allen: SG, Boston Celtics
2011-12 Projections: 16.6 PPG, 2.6 APG, 3.3 RPG, 0.9 SPG, 0.2 BPG
Allen has managed to remain a productive scorer despite the fact that he’s entering his 16th season in the league. In fact, Allen and Kobe Bryant are the only two remaining players from the famed 1996 draft class still making a consistent impact in the league. While Allen’s numbers may continue to decline as he gets older, there’s no question that he is still one of the purest 3-point shooters in the game. Allen won’t provide you with a lot of rebounds, assists or other statistics, but he’s a lights out free throw shooter that has a chance to put up 20 points on any given night.
12. Wesley Matthews: SG, SF, Portland Trail Blazers
2011-12 Projections: 14.3 PPG, 1.9 APG, 3.0 RPG, 1.1 SPG, 0.1 BPG
Heading into the season I was really high on Wesley Matthews as a fantasy prospect. With the retirement of Brandon Roy his stock raised even higher. But after the Blazers signed Jamal Crawford it seems that Matthews might not be quite as productive as we initially thought. Regardless, Matthews should still put up decent numbers on a Portland team that could make a splash in the Western Conference. While Matthews isn’t going to rack up a lot of assists or rebounds, he should still get plenty of open looks with the defense focused on players like LaMarcus Aldridge and Gerald Wallace.
11. Stephen Jackson: SG, SF, Milwaukee Bucks
2011-12 Projections: 18.4 PPG, 3.8 APG, 5.1 RPG, 1.4 SPG, 0.3 BPG
Stephen Jackson is a bit on an anomaly in the NBA. He has played for six different NBA teams and will be joining his seventh when he takes the court for the Bucks this season. However, despite bouncing around the league Jackson has still been a valuable fantasy player for nearly a decade. He’s a fantasy owner’s dream because he contributes in nearly every category on the board. As one of the top scoring options on the team Jackson should be able to put up another solid season for fantasy owners.