After coming up with this list of the top 10 shooting guards, I realized how the shooting guard position is probably one of the thinnest in fantasy basketball. Years back, it was all about centers, but an influx of big men and other center-eligible players may have just swung that pendulum.
These rankings are based on the head-to-head format and are filtered based on the standard nine categories of points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, three-point shots made, field goal percentage, free throw percentage, and turnovers committed.
As always, these ratings are based on WARP, or “Wins Above Replacement Player.” The score beside the players’ names is the player’s WARP score.
1. James Harden, HOU (0.95) - The Oklahoma City’s refusal to give him a max deal and instead letting him go via a trade for Kevin Martin, unleashed onto the fantasy basketball Universe the “Bearded Beast” we all know as James Harden. We already loved his game coming off the Thunder’s bench, but when he found himself as the best and go-to player of a rebuilding franchise, there was just no stopping him. He brings scoring via 25.9 PPG, passing thanks to 5.8 APG, and FT% impact through 85.1 FT% at 10.2 attempts per game. But it’s his being close to averaging 2 threes (2.3 3PPG) and 2 steals (1.8 SPG) per game – a unique combination – that takes him over the top. Consider him as a shoe-in as a Top 5 pick in fantasy basketball next season; no ifs, no buts, no beards about it.
2. Kobe Bryant, LAL (0.83) - There’s not much more to add about Bryant’s spectacular season. Through all the adjustments, turmoil, and injuries that Lakers dealt with; Bryant literally had to do it all. Right now, concerns are about how well he recovers from surgery to repair his torn achilles. Hopefully, with any luck we’ll be able to count on something close to his 27.3 PPG; 5.6 RPG; 6.0 APG; 1.4 SPG; and 1.7 3PPG come the 2013-14 season.
3. Paul George, IND (0.72) - He was one of, if not THE breakout player(s) this season that really swung things in favor of his fantasy owners this season. If you can get passed his 41.9 FG%, then you’re in for a real treat as he does everything else excellently. Outside of Harden, George is one of the few guys who hits close to a 2-trey (2.2 3PPG), 2-steal average (1.8 SPG). Aside from that distinction, George also brings impressive rebounding (7.6 RPG) and passing (4.2 APG) to the table as well. If you expect him to land on your lap in the third round of drafts next season, it’s too late and hopeless, go and stick to fantasy football – you might win at that.
4. Dwyane Wade, MIA (0.62) - While he was mostly overshadowed by the impressive season of his teammate LeBron James, Wade still wound up producing some reasonably decent numbers. While his block averages dipped to 0.8 BPG, it was refreshing to see an uptick in his assists (5.1 APG), steals (1.9 SPG), and FG% (52.1%) this season.
5. J.R. Smith, NYK (0.46) - This is where the big drop off in WARP value comes, and it’s a steep one. Smith elevated his game this season via 18.1 PPG; 1.9 3PPG; and 1.3 SPG; but no, sorry, he still ain’t hitting the “Dwyane Wade value range” just yet, nor probably any time soon for that matter.
6. Klay Thompson, GSW (0.42) - Considering this is just Thompson’s sophomore season, there’s a lot more to expect from him come 2013-14. He showed us that he can light up the scoreboard with his 16.1 PPG, but it’s really the damage he can do from long range thanks to 2.6 treys per game that makes him extra valuable.
7. Wesley Matthews, POR (0.38) - Matthews was one of the better mid-round sources of both treys (2.4 3PPG) and steals (1.3 SPG) from this season’s fantasy drafts. He only played 69 games this season due to injuries, but don’t forget that prior to this season’s “setback” that Matthews was one of the more durable players to count on in fantasy.
8. Vince Carter, DAL (0.38) - You know it’s an odd season when you see Tim Duncan’s name in a top 10 list, but when you Vinsanity pop out of nowhere, like a surprise attack from a “walker/biter” from “The Walking Dead,” then you know things are really out of whack. Age and over-the-hill insinuations aside, VC does deserve some credit for making the most of his bench role and being able to provide offense (13.4 PPG) and from the downtown at that (2.4 3 PPG), when Dallas needed it. Unless the planet Earth falls through a black hole or something of that order of quantum magnitude, don’t expect him to make this list at the end of 2013-14. But then again, who knows?
9. O.J. Mayo, DAL (0.34) - He started the season scorching hot, but as with most streaky shooters, Mayo’s production tapered off and even suffered later on. Was it Dirk Nowitzki’s return, or was it that he burned out what he had too quickly? He was a high-upside candidate who ended up with so-so impact season. He ended being a “true shooting guard” via being able to shoot the three (1.7 3PPG) and pass the ball (4.4 APG).
10. Andre Iguodala, DEN (0.34) - Iguodala burned a lot of drafters who thought he would flourish in Denver’s up-tempo offense. Sadly, they (yours truly included) were sorely disappointed. Seeing this former multi-cat stud plummet this low speaks volumes about how poorly he did compared to his days in Philly. He did enough to average 13-5-5 with decent peripheral contributions to warrant a spot in the Top 10.