The 2015-2016 NBA season ended on June 19th and the start of the 2016-2017 NBA regular season is a decent ways away on October 25th. Since the end of the NBA season rookies have been drafted, newcomers squared off and competed for roster spots in the NBA Summer League, and there was a mad dash to sign valuable free agents by every single team in the league.
So here we stand, looking at the beginning of a new Fantasy Basketball season on the distant horizon, wondering what to make of all the roster changes and power shifts.
To make sure that none of us are caught off guard and unprepared because of distractions in the sports world like the NFL and the World Series, let's rank the top 20 players for Fantasy Basketball by all five positions and break down the top 20 by tiers of value.
Today, we focus on our 2016-17 tiered fantasy basketball rankings for NBA point guards.
First Tier Point Guards - Fantasy Basketball Rankings
1. Russell Westbrook, OKC
2. Stephen Curry, GSW
Westbrook is a lot safer as the top guard knowing that he is going to be a monster triple-double threat on a nightly basis. Curry still will be a dead-eye scoring machine, but with Kevin Durant a new Warrior, there are one too many questions about what that will do to Steph's production. Both are still a full tier above any other point guard.
Second Tier Point Guards - Fantasy Basketball Rankings
3. John Wall, WSH
4. Chris Paul, LAC
5. Damian Lillard, POR
6. Kyle Lowry, TOR
The upper echelon of NBA point guards is so tight that the players ranked 3-6 were apart by just a hair. When it comes to these guys, you as a Fantasy Basketball Manager just have to pick your poison. Do you want to rely on the double digit assists and constant multi-steal games that Wall and Paul conjure up, or do you feel better with less traditional style point guards like Lowry and Lillard who offer a little bit of everything but a lot less of a few things that Wall and Paul can offer. I prefer taking the assists early.
Third Tier Point Guards - Fantasy Basketball Rankings
7. Eric Bledsoe, PHO
8. Isaiah Thomas, BOS
9. Kemba Walker, CHA
10. Brandon Knight, PHO
11. Rajon Rondo, CHI
12. Jeff Teague, IND
The difference in this third tier of point guards is that you have to measure player value in terms of what a player offers, and whether you could find it somewhere else for less cost. Guys like Bledsoe and Rondo offer some more well rounded statistics while Isaiah Thomas and Brandon Knight are scoring guards. Despite Jeff Teague's All-Star track record, he is now sharing the floor with a superstar wing in Paul George, so it is unclear how that will affect his involvement in the box score.
Fourth Tier Point Guards - Fantasy Basketball Rankings
13. Kyrie Irving, CLE
14. Reggie Jackson, DET
15. Elfrid Payton, ORL
16. Mike Conley, MEM
Big statistical gaps kept these four point guards out of the top ten. You can be an elite asset in Fantasy Basketball and have gaps, you just have to make up for them with elite production in other areas; and Irving, Jackson, Payton, and Conley come up just short. Irving scores and shoots well, but LeBron is the true floor general in Cleveland so Irving lacks the assists to push him over a guy like Rondo or Teague.
Jackson gets solid points and assists, but he doesn't get boards and 0.7 steals per game is too low for Jackson to be regarded higher. Elfrid Payton has shown a wide range of skills in his first two seasons and has produced plenty of steals, rebounds, and assists. The negative side is that he has never been a scorer and shoots just 30.6% from beyond the arc. If there was any group of people that were very surprised about Mike Conley's record-breaking contract, it is Fantasy Basketball Managers.
Last season he averaged 15.3 points, 1.2 steals, 6.1 assists, 2.9 rebounds, and shot 36.3% for 3PT FG. By comparison, that line shows far less production than Jeremy Lin's first season with the Houston Rockets. At least with Conley you get serviceable points, steals, and assists. Though with new additions like Wade Baldwin and Chandler Parsons, Conley could see a change in production in either a good or bad way this year.
Fifth Tier Point Guards - Fantasy Basketball Rankings
17. Ricky Rubio, MIN
18. Goran Dragic, MIA
19. Jordan Clarkson, LAL
20. George Hill, UTA
There are some big questions that haunt the players in the fifth tier. Will Rubio see a lot less playing time since the Timberwolves drafted Kris Dunn? Will the Miami offense work significantly differently with Dwyane Wade in Chicago? Is Jordan Clarkson actually a solid scoring point guard or was he just taking advantage of the worst era in Laker history?
Strangely it is George Hill, who sneaks in at #20 for the Jazz, that has the least questions surrounding his season. He may be with a different team this year thanks to the Jeff Teague three way deal, but in an eight year NBA career George Hill has pretty much always done the same thing. Guys like this are meant to be either a versatile backup, or to augment certain categories on a team punting his weaker categories.