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 shooting guards.
First Tier Shooting Guards - Fantasy Basketball Rankings
1. James Harden, HOU
2. Klay Thompson, GSW
3. Jimmy Butler, CHI
4. Gordon Hayward, UTA
5. Victor Oladipo, OKC
Truth be told, as a producer of statistics, James Harden really is in a tier of his own. Thompson, Butler, Hayward, and Oladipo are so close together in value that it just makes sense to say that these five make up the top tier of shooting guards. There isn't a statistical category that James Harden doesn't constantly fill up. Klay Thompson finished last season 12th in the NBA in scoring; however by averaging just 0.8 steals, 2.1 assists, and 3.8 rebounds, he is a a pure scorer who is deadly from distance at 42.5%. Anyone drafting should be wary, Kevin Durant's presence in the Bay could have a big negative impact on Thompson's total scoring.
Jimmy Butler is ranked over Gordon Hayward tentatively. Hayward is the main man in Utah while Butler is now sharing the floor with Dwyane Wade. Butler can do everything but shoot well and Hayward is a solid well-rounded player who can shoot a little better.
There is a big question mark with Oladipo. How will he share the floor with Russell Westbrook? The good news is that in his three NBA seasons Oladipo has gone from shooting 32.7% from long range to about 35%, so he may be able to take on a fine role as OKC's wing. Since his big draw comes in his defense, that means we can breathe easy knowing he isn't risking losing assist value.
Second Tier Shooting Guards - Fantasy Basketball Rankings
6. DeMar DeRozan, TOR
7. Monta Ellis, IND
8. Dwyane Wade, CHI
9. Bradley Beal, WSH
10. Andrew Wiggins, MIN
The five shooting guards that make up the second tier are in a very sweet spot in terms of value. The range of DeRozan to Wiggins offers elite value right before you get into the messy 11-14 range where you really have to play with category checks and balances. Ellis is a poor shooter who grabs a monster number of steals with serviceable assists. Dwayne Wade is also a poor shooting yet versatile wing who is incredibly time-tested, but is also in a new city and is sharing the floor with another elite shooting guard.
Bradley Beal has a nice niche carved out next to John Wall in D.C. For the last three seasons he has averaged 16.6 points, 1.05 steals, and 1.8 three pointers per game while shooting 40% from distance. Don't expect him to fill up assists or rebounds though, there are plenty of other Wizards taking them all for themselves.
Wiggins typically just scores a lot. He grabbed a steal per game last year, but you can find that at a much lower ADP. He doesn't even shoot well at just 30% from distance, so his value comes almost solely from his 20 points per game. Good thing the Wolves added another floor general in Kris Dunn.
Third Tier Shooting Guards - Fantasy Basketball Rankings
11. Avery Bradley, BOS
12. J.J. Redick, LAC
13. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, DET
14. Evan Fournier, ORL
If you are ever needing to fill a specific category that has anything to do with scoring, the third tier of shooting guards is a nice place to look. These players may be a little more one dimensional than James Harden and Jimmy Butler, but there is safety in buying their forte.
Bradley can score, shoot, and steal; but can't offer any assists or rebounds. J.J. Redick is very possibly the best shooter in the world not named Curry or Thompson, as he shot 47.5% from 3PT land, but he is useless in every other category. Pope can't shoot, but he scores, plays good defense, and has improved nicely as a rebounder. Fournier has played more minutes per game every year and continues to shoot his way to his points with 40% from distance and 15.4 points per game last season. He was also able to grab 1.2 steals per game last year since he finally eclipsed 30 minutes per contest.
Fourth Tier Shooting Guards - Fantasy Basketball Rankings
15. Will Barton, DEN
16. J.R. Smith, CLE
17. Gary Harris, DEN
Barton, Smith, and Harris are ranked in the fourth tier because their statistical fortes are a little less reliable or just not as important to look for. Barton seems to have found his true home in Denver. He played in all 82 games last season and scored a career high 14.4 points, shot a career high 34.5% from distance, and grabbed 5.8 rebounds per game which adds a lot of value to him as a specialized wing. Also, in the 110 games he's played in Denver, he has averaged a steal per game.
J.R. Smith is purely a "Three and D" player, but he is a safe bet for it since he's done that consistently each season since 2006. Harris still has a lot of upside as a 21-year old. Last season he played 19 more minutes per game and averaged 12.3 points, improved his 3PT% from 20.4% to 35.4%, and nabbed 1.3 steals per game. If he continues to develop more long range accuracy and continues to pester passes, he could take a big leap in value.
Fifth Tier Shooting Guards - Fantasy Basketball Rankings
18. Rodney Hood, UTA
19. Devin Booker, PHO
20. Evan Turner, POR
Hood and Booker are in the fifth tier because they mostly just shoot and score, but they also are young enough that they have the potential to have big breakout seasons, especially in scoring. Evan Turner made it into the top 20 because of what he can outside of his low-volume scoring and poor accuracy from long range.
In 32.2 minutes per game last year Hood averaged 14.5 points, shot 36% from distance, and improved to 2.7 assists per game. Hood's height also allows him to grab some boards and he took 3.4 per game last year. Booker didn't get much floor time to start the year but in the last three months he started all 33 games that he played in and averaged 35.5 minutes, 18.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game. This is all as the notoriously dead-eye shooter was on a cold streak at just 29.8% from long range.
In the 163 games that Evan Turner played for Boston in the last two seasons he averaged 10 points, 1.0 steal, 5.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game. At just 26.2% for 3PT FG, he doesn't offer what most wings offer. Though with a six season track record of above average rebounding and passing, he can offer what a lot of other shooting guards can't.