It’s time once again for all of us hoop-loving fiends that like to play pretend. Yes, fantasy basketball is alive and well and it’s time to get ready for the upcoming season. This week, I’ll be projecting the top 10 players at each position, as well as making some miscellaneous notes of other players that could do some good things on the hardwood. We start at the beginning of it all — point guards — so grab the rock and read on!
1. Chris Paul, PG, Los Angeles Clippers
2009-10: 45 G; 18.7 PPG; 10.7 APG; 4.2 RPG; 1.2 3PTM; 49.3 FG%; 84.7 FT%; 2.1 SPG; 0.2 BPG; 2.6 TO
2010-11: 80 G; 15.9 PPG; 9.8 APG; 4.1 RPG; 0.9 3PTM; 46.3 FG%; 87.8 FT%; 2.4 SPG; 0.1 BPG; 2.5 TO
Until the end of his career, Paul will always carry the “if healthy” tag because of his knee problems. However, we’ll consider/pray that he’s a paragon of health and rank him at the top because of his ability to score and dish at a high level. Add CP3’s predilection for ripping rocks — able enough to lead the league — and his solid shooting percentages, it’s hard to find any fault with Paul, other than that whole health thing. He did play 80 games last season and if he picks up his personal pace, he’ll do a ton of damage with his new squad, notably with both Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan on the receiving end of CP3 alleys. (Lob City, baby!) Last season saw a decline across the board in statistics, but we’ll project a new young team and knowing where he’ll be for the foreseeable future as a good thing. Of course, a compacted season may be a bad thing, but we’re going to keep it positive!
2. Derrick Rose, PG, Chicago Bulls
2009-10: 78 G; 20.8 PPG; 6.0 APG; 3.8 RPG; 0.2 3PTM; 48.9 FG%; 76.6 FT%; 0.7 SPG; 0.4 BPG; 2.8 TO
2010-11: 81 G; 25.0 PPG; 7.7 APG; 4.1 RPG; 1.6 3PTM; 44.5 FG%; 85.8 FT%; 1.1 SPG; 0.6 BPG; 3.4 TO
Last season was a coming out party for Rose, who upped his statistics all over the place, particularly in his one deficient statistic: three-pointers made. Well consider that a strength now, on top of his exceptional scoring and rebounding from the point guard position. D-Rose’s assists and shooting percentages are nothing to cry about either. The talent around him pretty much stays the same, other than a healthy Carlos Boozer if that’s actually possible, so last year’s production is a fair projection for this season. Rose seems to be more comfortable in his role as “the man” in the Windy City, so it’s possible that Rose gets a bit better.
3. Stephen Curry, PG, Golden State Warriors
2009-10: 80 G; 17.5 PPG; 5.9 APG; 4.5 RPG; 2.1 3PTM; 46.2 FG%; 88.5 FT%; 1.9 SPG; 0.2 BPG; 3.1 TO
2010-11: 74 G; 18.6 PPG; 5.8 APG; 3.9 RPG; 2.0 3PTM; 48.8 FG%; 93.4 FT%; 1.5 SPG; 0.3 BPG; 3.1 TO
Curry can do a little bit of everything fairly well. He isn’t the typical point guard, but because of the presence of Monta Ellis (for now), as well as his size, it’s the lead guard position for him. Curry’s almost six dimes a game is solid and when added to 20-point potential, very good board numbers for a one, a couple of Trey Kerbys and excellent shooting percentages, we’ll take the less-than-ideal assists numbers from a star point guard. Curry was included in Chris Paul rumors, but the organization wasn’t hearing that from anyone, instead wanting to keep Curry as the (baby) face of the Warriors. There’s no reason to do the same for your fantasy basketball squad should he be available in the latter end of the first round and on.
4. Russell Westbrook, PG, Oklahoma City Thunder
2009-10: 82 G; 16.1 PPG; 8.0 APG; 4.9 RPG; 0.3 3PTM; 41.8 FG%; 78.0 FT%; 1.3 SPG; 0.4 BPG; 3.3 TO
2010-11: 82 G; 21.9 PPG; 8.2 APG; 4.6 RPG; 0.4 3PTM; 44.2 FG%; 84.2 FT%; 1.9 SPG; 0.4 BPG; 3.9 TO
Westbrook is a dynamo and the flack he takes for hogging the ball from Kevin Durant speaks more about people wanting to see Durantula do his thing, as opposed to Westbrook not also being able to do good things with the rock. He projects to get better as he’s done so from season-to-season in his short NBA career. Derrick Rose-type numbers from last year is possible because Westbrook definitely has the ability and the solid teammates around him to get things done. However, will people start grumbling again? From a fantasy hoops point of view, it doesn’t matter if people complain, so feel free to draft a tier one point guard that does a lot of good things.
5. Deron Williams, PG, New Jersey Nets
2009-10: 76 G; 18.7 PPG; 10.5 APG; 4.0 RPG; 1.3 3PTM; 46.9 FG%; 80.1 FT%; 1.3 SPG; 0.2 BPG; 3.3 TO
2010-11: 65 G; 20.1 PPG; 10.3 APG; 4.0 RPG; 1.6 3PTM; 43.9 FG%; 84.5 FT%; 1.2 SPG; 0.2 BPG; 3.5 TO
Williams achieved the benchmark 20-10 statistics in points and assists last season, and despite playing for a less than stellar Nets team on the verge of moving to Brooklyn, D-Will is playing for a new contact. Having shooters on the outside (Anthony Morrow and Shawne Williams) as well as a big man in the middle (Brook Lopez) should keep the assists numbers going for Williams. He’ll also be the first option on offense, so the points will still be there as well. D-Will does everything that you want a point guard to do well and there really isn’t any downside to drafting him, except for any possible lingering effects from last season’s wrist injury. Still, a possible 20-10 along with solid boards, treys, steals, and shooting percentages will be hard to pass up.
6. John Wall, PG, Washington Wizards
2010-11: 69 G; 16.4 PPG; 8.3 APG; 4.6 RPG; 0.5 3PTM; 41.0 FG%; 76.6 FT%; 1.8 SPG; 0.5 BPG; 3.8 TO
Did I say that Westbrook is a dynamo? Well, then Wall is an ultra-dynamo. He’s only played one season of college basketball and one season of NBA ball, so he’s never really had an opportunity to adjust to competition, but he’ll be doing that this season and he should improve a big way because of his talent and speed. He’ll need to improve his shooting from the floor, and if he does, Wall should be another point guard with 20-point potential. Wall’s teammates have proven solid when finishing off his passes and that will continue this season. We can ignore the just-OK triples production because of the high amount of steals, but overall, I fully expect a big season and a prolific amount of Dougie-ing in his second season in the L.
7. Steve Nash, PG, Phoenix Suns
2009-10: 81 G; 16.5 PPG; 11.0 APG; 3.3 RPG; 1.5 3PTM; 50.7 FG%; 93.8 FT%; 0.5 SPG; 0.2 BPG; 3.3 TO
2010-11: 75 G; 14.8 PPG; 11.4 APG; 3.5 RPG; 1.1 3PTM; 49.2 FG%; 91.2 FT%; 0.6 SPG; 0.1 BPG; 3.5 TO
Nash is getting older, but he doesn’t seem to be declining too much. There was a bit of a drop in points and trey production, but everything else rocked steady. Nash’s assists are the main number of infatuation for potential fantasy hoops managers. The cast of characters for the Suns basically remains the same — and Nash keeps himself in shape no matter what — so unless a major injury happens, expect the same type of numbers he’s been putting up the past few seasons..
8. Raymond Felton, PG, Portland Trail Blazers
2009-10: 80 G; 12.1 PPG; 5.6 APG; 3.6 RPG; 0.8 3PTM; 45.9 FG%; 76.3 FT%; 1.5 SPG; 0.3 BPG; 2.1 TO
2010-11: 75 G; 15.5 PPG; 8.3 APG; 3.6 RPG; 1.5 3PTM; 42.5 FG%; 80.5 FT%; 1.7 SPG; 0.1 BPG; 2.9 TO
Last season Felton seemed to get the shaft, didn’t he? After being on pace for a career season with the New York Knicks, Felton was traded to the Denver Nuggets as part of the blockbuster Carmelo Anthony trade. In the Mile High City, he had to split time with fellow North Carolina alumnus Ty Lawson, which effectively cut into Felton’s time and numbers. However, Felton was traded to the Trail Blazers during the offseason and is primed to get back to putting up career numbers as he will have shooters and finishers around him, without any real competition at the lead guard spot. Everything seems to be in place for better things for Felton.
9. Rajon Rondo, PG, Boston Celtics
2009-10: 81 G; 13.7 PPG; 9.8 APG; 4.4 RPG; 0.2 3PTM; 50.8 FG%; 62.1 FT%; 2.3 SPG; 0.1 BPG; 3.0 TO
2010-11: 68 G; 10.6 PPG; 11.2 APG; 4.4 RPG; 0.2 3PTM; 47.5 FG%; 56.8 FT%; 2.3 SPG; 0.2 BPG; 3.4 TO
Rondo is one of the worst free-throw shooters in the league, so thankfully he only goes to the line sparingly (1.9 attempts per game last season). However, while his charity percentage stripe totally stinks, the assists and steals numbers do not. Rondo should only be considered to fortify those statistics because he really won’t do too much elsewhere, other than rebounds and a solid shooting percentage from the field. It’ll be interesting to see how much of the trade talk this past offseason (another victim of the “we like you, but like Chris Paul better” rumors) will affect his play. He’s situated very well with the talent in Boston, so if he actually gets traded, there could be some concern for his fantasy production.
10. Jrue Holiday, PG, Philadelphia 76ers
2009-10: 73 G; 8.0 PPG; 3.8 APG; 2.6 RPG; 0.9 3PTM; 44.2 FG%; 75.6 FT%; 1.1 SPG; 0.3 BPG; 2.1 TO
2010-11: 82 G; 14.0 PPG; 6.5 APG; 4.1 RPG; 1.0 3PTM; 44.6 FG%; 82.3 FT%; 1.5 SPG; 0.4 BPG; 2.7 TO
Holiday was a pleasant surprise for most fantasy owners last season, as he produced excellent numbers for a second-year point guard without any glaring weaknesses in any statistical category. He could improve with a year of starter minutes under his belt, but don’t expect any significant spike. However, Holiday is a very safe pick and won’t hurt a fantasy hoops manager anywhere along the nine standard categories.
Best Rookie Point Guard This Season: Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
Best Rookie Point Guard In A Dynasty League: Brandon Knight, Detroit Pistons
Breaking Out: Jarret Jack, New Orleans Hornets
Breaking Down: Jason Kidd, Dallas Mavericks
Will Please: George Hill, Indiana Pacers
Will Disappoint: Darren Collison, Indiana Pacers
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