We hit you with the top five tiers of fantasy basketball players yesterday, ranking 1-21. Today, the second tier of players rolls out and this is where things can get a little trickier since this player pool has some questions and aren’t as rock solid as the higher tiers. In any case, check the rankings and digest.
NOTE: The number in parentheses is an actual rank number, but is used loosely to help you decide within the tier. However, all players within tiers basically have the same value. All stats are from last season, unless otherwise specified.
Tier Six — Pau Gasol (22), Carmelo Anthony (23), Rajon Rondo (24), Brandon Jennings (25)
In this tier, we have players that have been consistent performers the past few seasons and/or have some high potential to get better. For the two guards, there’s some upside despite some flaws.
There may be some worry that Gasol’s production — 17.4 points, 10.4 rebounds, 1.4 blocks — may dip because of Dwight Howard calling Hollywood home, but remember Gasol achieved the aforementioned numbers during Andrew Bynum’s breakout season. And since D12 will still need to get 100 percent healthy and learn to play with Kobe Bryant, Gasol should be able to average a double-double still for most of the season and possibly even up his assists (3.7) and field goal shooting (50.1 percent) production.
The blocks and field goal percentage is why I have Gasol over Anthony, who definitely scores (22.6), but did see an almost four-point decrease from the previous season (26.3) when he played 27 games after being traded to the New York Knicks. In fact, his shooting was significantly lower after the honeymoon period of 2011 in FG% (46.1 down to 43.0), 3PT% (42.4 to 33.5) and FT% (87.2 to 80.4). There are too many issues going on with the team in regards to chemistry, so going with Gasol before Melo makes the most sense.
Both Rondo and Jennings are high-producing point guards, but with obvious flaws. Rondo doesn’t score like the top lead guards (11.9 points) and his shooting from the charity stripe leaves something to be desired (59.7 percent). Jennings has to deal with still acclimating to playing with Monta Ellis in the backcourt, as well as shooting the rock a lot better (41.8 percent).
However, the positives are that Rondo should once again lead the league in assists (11.7) and be right there at the top of the steals category (1.8), potentially leading the NBA in both categories. Also, the Boston Celtics are a team transitioning to having Rondo as “the man,” so we very well may see more Euro steps that lead to more points. For Jennings, he’s seen his field goal percentage trend up since his rookie season from 37.1 percent to 39.0 to 41.8. He can also hit the three (2.0 treys per game), steal the ball (1.6) and isn’t too shabby with dimes (5.5) while still scoring pretty well (19.1). Also, if the Bucks don’t extend him, a contract year adds some extra motivation for Jennings to produce.