Having positional tiers ready is essential when you’re heading into the draft. Maybe you draft the best player available in your first couple of picks but you don’t just draft according to your rankings later on. If you do that then you’re just the same as an auto-draft team. Preparing your positional tiers will cause you less stress and anxiety on draft day. You’ll be able to see which positions are scarce or in abundance in every stage of the draft. This is my cheat sheet that I’m going to use on draft day and maybe it’ll help you out too!
My rankings of the point guards is based on my projections of how they’ll do in this 2016-17 season. However, there are certainly other factors involved instead of just purely based on stats alone. The rankings below are for 9-cat leagues. Many players are eligible in multiple positions but I’ll only include them according to their positions listed on Yahoo!’s depth chart.
Between Curry and Westbrook, I’d prefer the prior. Curry has been heads and shoulders the best fantasy player last year but he’s certainly going to take a dip with Kevin Durant joining the Warriors. Even so, I don’t think his stats will take that big of a hit. Furthermore, I have some doubts of whether Russ can stay healthy the whole season. With his hiked up usage rate and constant drives to the rim, he’s bound to get a lot of knocks by the big men in the paint. I’d prefer a risk-adverse pick in my first round than a risky one. On a side note, James Harden is going to be my number one overall pick, especially now that he’s eligible for the PG spot in Yahoo! leagues. He’s going to be listed in the shooting guard tiers even though Mike D’Antoni came out and said he’s a point guard.
I have Chris Paul alone in this tier. He’s a solid pick in the first-round and there’s nothing you can fault about his game. You’re going to get the same old consistent and efficient CP3. It’s hard to have elite assists with solid percentages and low turnovers in this year’s draft. However, his usage rate is going to be down a bit since Blake Griffin is going to be back healthy. Also, you’re going to need to start considering his age and durability as a factor now that he’s entering into his 12th year in the NBA.
The point guards in this tier are all worthy to be picked in the second round. They all have their strengths and weaknesses and really depends on what kind of strategy you’re going to adopt for your team. Lillard is an elite scorer and he would definitely lead the league in threes if the Splash Brothers don’t exist. He’s going to have a negative impact on your field goal percentage and his lack of steals is a big turn off. Wall is an elite passer and there’s only a handful of players that can reach double digit assists in the league. Not only that, but he can also stuff the stat sheet and give the occasional triple-one. His turnovers are still going to be high and you’re definitely going to punt that category if you have Wall.
After a rather disappointing regular season from Irving, I think he’ll have a bounce-back year. Remember in ’14-’15, Uncle Drew touched on first round value because of his high percentages. He’s a good point guard to have if you already have assists in other positions or if you’re choosing to punt that category. Lowry is probably the most well-rounded point guard in this tier. However, now that he’s 30, Dwane Casey should start to lower his minutes a little bit. He usually starts off hot in the season, then he fades off when it comes to crunch time for your fantasy team. I’d still take him towards the late second-round.
Kemba’s just not there for me to put him in a tier above. He played really well last year but I’d like to see him repeat his production again. He’s a point guard with relatively low turnovers, which is rare to find in the first four tiers. After his breakout year, I look forward to see Walker reach the upper echelons of point guards. Bledsoe’s the guy you would go for in every league if you look purely based on stats. However, he’s been plagued by injuries throughout his career (specifically his knees) and I wouldn’t want to risk having my third or fourth-round pick miss significant amount of games. He’s only had 3 seasons with 75+ in his 6-year career, so it looks like a 50/50 chance of him getting injured again.
Some have doubts over Rubio this year as the Timberwolves drafted Kris Dunn from the No. 5 pick of the NBA draft this summer. However, Coach Thibs isn’t known for playing rookies, especially if they’re not a great defender. Rubio finished with top-40 value last season. Following Thibs’ M.O., Rubio might actually see a hike in minutes this year which makes him even more valuable. The Spanish point guard doesn’t really have good percentages from the field but he doesn’t shoot enough to hurt your team’s field goal in a detrimental way. With his elite assists and steals that can’t be bought in the mid-round, I’m buying stock on Rubio.
With the addition of Al Horford, Thomas wouldn’t have to carry the load so single handedly on offense. Thus, I think Thomas would have a slightly more efficient year than the season before. His scoring will regress to an extent as I picture Boston’s points are going to be more balanced this coming year but he’ll make it up with better efficiency from the floor.
Mike Conley is always a decent pick during the mid-rounds. He’s not going to have massive performances but Conley’s able to give you consistent performances. His defense is not what it used to be resulting in a dip in steals over the past couple of years. However, with the acquisition of Chandler Parson in the Grizzles, Conley might see an increase in assists and have better efficiency on the floor. Meanwhile, Goran Dragic might see a bounce back season and we could possibly see glimpses of Dragic in his Phoenix days. With Dwyane Wade’s departure from the Heat, the Slovenian point guard is in full control and you should expect him to have a solid season running the show. I’m liking myself some Dragic this year and especially with Bosh’s looming departure from the Heat.
The point guards at this tier are relatively young (wow! J-Lin is 28) and most of them are breakout candidates this coming year. One thing in common with these players is that they’re not really known for their efficiency on the floor. They’re players I would target between the 70th-90th pick but some of them might be gone then because of the hype surrounding them.
We’ve all seen what Reggie Jackson can provide last year and there’s no reason to suspect any changes. Between Lin, Russell and Schroder, I like Lin the most. He may not have the highest upside but he’ll be less turnover prone than Schroder and Russell. After being drafted by the Lakers with the second overall pick last year, Russell will have the keys to the team, especially with Kobe’s departure. He has the highest upside in this tier but he’ll have learning curves. If you’re down to punt turnovers this year you’ll have to take a look at all four of these point guards and bump them up in your rankings. Schroder probably has the best surrounding cast between Lin and Russell. He has bigs who can run the pick-and-rolls with and he’s also got shooters surrounding him. He’s pretty much in an ideal situation for his first year as a starter in the league. I just have him at the bottom of this tier because of his inefficiency and lack of experience as a starter.
Update: Reggie Jackson is out 6-8 weeks. With this piece of news, Jackson just dropped a couple of tiers lower and joined Collison and Holiday at tier 9.
Jeff Teague got traded to the Pacers and hopefully a new change in environment can help him bounce back this year. He’s going to have to learn how to play alongside ball dominant players such as Monta Ellis and Paul George. His usage rate is going to take a hit and I’m not really liking Teague this year, not as high as the fourth round. Hopefully he’ll prove me wrong since he’s in a contract year but I’m going to stay away from him.
Rajon Rondo had himself a solid season with the Kings last year. This year, he’s going to be playing with two ball dominant players in Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler. The Bulls’ spacing is going to be an issue and it’ll be hard to see where Rondo will find his dimes to repeat last year’s performance. His fantasy stock is probably going to take a hit but if you need some solid assists and steals towards the mid-late rounds, you should look elsewhere as he’s probably gone by then (his ADP is 49).
Collison’s journey to becoming a starter has been pretty much on and off. After sitting a year on the bench behind Rondo, he finally regained his opportunity to becoming a starter in the NBA. Two seasons ago when Collison was a starter for the Kings, he was a solid mid-round point guard. He likely won’t repeat that performance again, especially with Ty Lawson behind him on the rotation fighting for minutes. His value dropped a fair bit with this whole domestic violence case going on and it’s likely he’ll be suspended a fair amount of games. Target him in late-rounds for top-50 upside.
It’s unfortunate news for the Holiday family. Jrue is probably going to miss the first few months of the season and who knows when he’ll be back. Let’s just say the chances of him playing in 2016 is nearly impossible. His value plummeted down since the start of the offseason (I projected him to have a breakout campaign this year) and now I would stay clear away from him, unless you want to stash him for majority of the year.
Patrick Beverley is listed as the point guard for the Rockets but we all know he’s not going to handle the ball on Mike D’Antoni’s offense. With Eric Gordon’s arrival, I can see him eating into Beverley’s minutes. Also, D’Antoni would probably run the Harden-Eric Gordon-Trevor Ariza-Ryan Anderson lineup. He’ll still likely have minutes on the floor purely because of his toughness and hustle on the defensive end. One thing for sure is that he’ll have a lot of three point opportunities under D’Antoni’s system.
Marcus Smart is going to find it hard to find a starting spot. His minutes will likely increase from last year since Evan Turner is out of the picture. He’ll probably be the first guard off the bench for the Celtics. It’s clear that Stevens really likes Smart’s toughness and defensive ability and he’ll get all the run he can get. All he needs is a reliable and consistent jump shot this year to boost his value up. Last season he’s been pretty far off from being consistent, 25.3 percent from range on 4.0 attempts per game.
George Hill is another point guard who is not going to have ball handling duty on their team. With ball dominant wing players like Gordon Hayward, Rodney Hood and along with Dante Exum in the fold, Hill fits perfectly in this Jazz system as he doesn’t need the ball to be effective. However, Jazz really likes Exum at the point guard spot and I can imagine them fight for minutes throughout the season. It’s going to be hard to see Hill play more than 28 minutes per game and he doesn’t really have upside.
What you can expect from Payton is a little Rondo-lite on your team. Hopefully he developed a decent jump shot over the summer because right now he’s a 2-cat player. He’s still young and definitely has a little upside in him. I’d stay away from him in if you’re in roto leagues but you can put him in your radar if you’re playing in a H2H format. Having seven assists and nearly two steals near the end of the draft might be a good find since assists are hard to come by nowadays.
There’s no doubt that Mudiay has upside and potential to be a star in this league. I just don’t think that will translate into fantasy production this year. He’s definitely going to have a few big games here and there but his inefficiency really negatively impacts your team. Mudiay tweaked his shot a little bit after the All-Star break and nearly reached 40% from the field. Hopefully he keeps this up but I’m staying away from him.
Deron Williams is just too injury prone for me to have him on my team. He’s a cheap source of assists and threes but he hasn’t played more than 70 games in the last three years. With Seth Curry joining the already crowded backcourt in Dallas, Williams’ minutes are probably going to be dialed down as well.
With Khris Middleton out for six months, you’d expect Carter-Williams to gain some minutes. He’s not going to be inserted into the starting line up but he’ll get some run. He was still fantasy relevant last season, ranking in the top-120 in 30.5 minutes per game. If he gets the same amount of minutes even with Matthew Dellavedova joining the team, he’s worth a late-round pick for some steals and assists. One specific thing that I don’t like about Carter-Williams is that he’s one of those players who negatively impacts both your field goal and free throw percentages.
The former MVP, Derrick Rose, joined the Knicks to form his own version of a “super team”. He’s been busy this offseason and not the good kind of busy. Fantasy wise, he should be off your radar. He had a resurgence last year and played in 66 games, which was the most he played since five seasons ago. His only positive contribution are points and assists, which is not enough to crack the top-200 mark. Feel free to give him a shot with your last pick but don’t expect any good coming out of it.
I hoped this was useful for you all and remember to follow me @BFantasyHoops on Twitter. Stay tuned for the shooting guard tiers coming soon!