We aren't sure, exactly, how things will play out between the Lakers and Kobe but our best guess is he pulls on the purple and gold and goes out there like a professional. As the only legit scoring option for the Lakers, Kobe posted insane numbers last year, 31.6 points, 1.8 3's, 5.7 boards, 5.4 assists and 1.4 steals. Oh and he shot 46.3 percent from the field and 86.9 percent from the line. The big fantasy attraction to Bryant isn't his ability to score at will; it's his free throw shooting. With 10 attempts per game and connecting at an 87 percent clip, there is no one who boosts your percentage more than Kobe. Other than bringing back Derek Fisher, who will help spread the court, the Lakers haven't changed their personnel much and will continue to rely heavily on all facets of Bryant's game, much to our delight and his disappointment.
Bottom Line: Kobe is a sure fire top-3 pick and should put up another tremendous season under Phil Jackson. If Kobe does leave the team, his stats could shift a bit but we don't see him ceasing to be the most dominant scorer in the league.
Injury issues knock Wade down our list a bit. Wade underwent surgeries on his left shoulder and left knee May 15 and the expected recovery time was listed at six months. He will not be ready for the start of the season so his owners should count on missing the first two weeks of Wade at a minimum. Then there is the season that follows. If Wade can stay healthy -- or at least not injured enough to sit -- he will again be one the best players on the planet. He is a fantasy revelation, contributing in points (27.4), assists (7.5), steals (2.1), blocks (1.2), rebounds (4.7), and the percentages. The latter are truly amazing. Wade shot nearly 50 percent on 18.9 attempts last year and 80.8 on a nutty 10.5 attempts. This means even in limited playing time, Wade has an incredibly positive impact on these categories.
Bottom Line: Wade will always be something of a risk because of his willingness to take hits in the lane. However, when healthy, no shooting guard helps your field goal percentage more. He is a pure stud and worth the risk.
And they said he couldn't share the ball. Iverson certainly did after his trade to Denver last season. His shot attempts dropped from 24.2 to 18.9 and his scoring from 31.2 to 24.8 points per game. Iverson will play shooting guard this season but don't expect a decrease in assists. Chucky Atkins is a shoot-first point guard and will leave most of the fancy passing to AI. A born thief, Iverson uses his quickness, anticipation, and tough on-ball defensive pressure to create about two steals per game. Don't forget the free throw shooting. Over the last three seasons, Iverson has shot 79.5 percent or better from the line while attempting over ten shots per game from the stripe. The biggest knock on Iverson is the turnovers; his 268 turnovers were fourth-worst last season. In non-turnover leagues, his value spikes even higher.
Bottom Line: Iverson's numbers declined through last season after joining the Nuggets. Some of this is due to his sharing the ball but his decline in scoring really began in earnest after he sprained his right ankle. Provided it is fully healed, we should see scoring in the high 20s again.
Joe Johnson will again be the offensive engine that drives the Hawks. He missed 21 games with a deep calf bruise this past season but hadn't missed a game in the previous four. There is no reason to worry about his health, or his numbers for that matter. As the "man" in Atlanta, JJ should put up 23-25 points, two 3's, four rebounds, five assists, and better than a steal per game. He shoots a great percentage despite the high volume of 3's and is a 76.4 percent shooter from the line for his career. Joe Johnson has elevated his game to push him into the top ranks at his position, and this season will serve as confirmation of that elite status.
Bottom Line: Johnson will again put up huge numbers for the Hawks. He is very driven, having demanded that the Hawks' players to arrive early for training camp, and is poised to have his best season yet.
It's amazing that a player as good as Vince Carter can be considered underrated but given his draft position over the past few years that is exactly what he is. His production screams early second round but he lasts until the third in many drafts. The numbers don't support this valuation. He put up 25.2 points, 1.9 3's, 6.0 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.0 steals last year and his percentages are always solid. These numbers compare well with Kobe's. Carter is not a health risk, having missed just eight games in the past three seasons. So long as he is playing along Jason Kidd, Carter is going to be the No. 1 option in New Jersey and will put up great numbers. He is as well-rounded as they come and is less of a turnover risk than any of the guys listed above him on this list.
Bottom Line: Carter is a good value in the second round and a steal if he slips to the third. He provides great numbers everywhere and is always one the top rebounding two guards in the league.
T-Mac should enjoy an improvement on last season's numbers with offensive guru Rick Adelman now in control and improvement in personnel on the Rockets' roster. While McGrady is not as explosive as he was earlier in his career, he is smarter and is still capable of huge offensive nights; he had three 40-plus scoring games and several near misses last year. In the counting stats McGrady is a near clone of Vince Carter. He will average in the mid-20s in scoring with almost two 3's, plus five rebounds, between five and six assists, and a little more than a steal per. So why is he ranked below Vince? It's the percentages. T-Mac is good for 43 percent from the field and 75 from the line. Decent but not at Carter or Kobe's levels.
Bottom Line: McGrady still has juice left in the tank and under Rick Adelman could improve his overall numbers. We'd like to see him get more efficient from the field and the line but will enjoy his counting stats even if he doesn't.
Allen makes the game look easy with his flawless jumpshot and great instincts on the court. You need 3's? Allen has hit at least 2.5 3-pointers a game in each of his last eight seasons. If anything, his 3.0 treys per game could go up as he is the logical recipient of Rondo and Pierce's passes as they drive and dish; and, oh yeah, KG is pretty good at passing out of the double team as well. However, other aspects of Ray's game will step back a bit on his new team. He will not equal his career-high in scoring from last year (26.4). Allen won't be asked to drive as much, reducing his free throw attempts, and he will almost certainly play fewer minutes. He remains elite and has fully recovered from his dual ankle surgeries last spring.
Bottom Line: A solid second-round pick, Allen will put up big time 3's for the Celtics. The scoring will regress to the mean for Allen -- 21.5 career average -- but he still offers great value. Don't worry about his health; most players recover fine from bone spur surgery.
Like Ray Allen, Michael Redd has one of the game's smoothest shots. Most valuable for his ability to score at will and drill the three, Redd posted career highs in points (26.7), 3's (2.2), and steals (1.2). His percentages were again excellent with 46.5 from the field and 82.9 from the line. His volume of shots and free throws is high, so Redd is a good foundation to build on in these categories. With his all-around game coming into shape, Redd can no longer be dismissed as a scoring, three-point specialist. He is an elite contributor in thee categories (points, 3's, and free throws) and is above average in field goal percentage and steals. His role will be unchanged on the Bucks. He is the go-to guy on offense. Draft him accordingly.
Bottom Line: Redd's lingering reputation as a long distance specialist might drop him in some leagues fantasy leagues. He's a third-round value, especially with his contributions in points, 3's, and the percentages.
Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge will be the Blazers' one-two punch this season. Roy showed great promise en route to his 2006-07 Rookie of the Year Award. Look for significant improvement in his sophomore campaign. The offense will run through Roy. The three-headed point guard tandem will bring the ball up but it will be Roy who initiates the action. Roy is cut of the same cloth as T-Mac and Vince; that is he will be a superlative multi-cat contributor. His numbers should end up in the neighborhood of 20 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 1.5 3-pointers, and 1.3 steals. That's a nice neighborhood and keeper league owners will be glad they invested last season. The rest of us will need to pay to get him.
Bottom Line: He is the main man on the perimeter for the Blazers this season. His all-around funky production will remind owners of the elite shooting guards. It's nice that he'll be around after they are gone, but don't wait too long. The fourth round is right for Roy.
Scratching your head? A backup cracked the top 10 at shooting guard? Yes, and does he ever deserve it. Barbosa was gold to anyone who grabbed at the ends of their drafts last season -- you did draft him didn't you? -- putting up sick numbers all season long. He isn't a true back-up in that he averages nearly 33 minutes a game. He is a true combo guard, ably playing either the point or off guard. He will play most of his minutes sharing the court with Steve Nash and that is a good thing for any player's fantasy value. Last year he averaged 18.1 points, 2.4 3-pointers, 4.0 assists, 1.2 steals with a 47.6 field-goal percentage and 84.5 from the line. He also kept his turnovers low (1.8) for those of you in turnover leagues. We foresee more minutes at both the point and at off guard for Barbosa and you should enjoy even greater production -- think 20 points per -- from the fastest man in the NBA.
Bottom Line: Speed kills and you want it killing for you. Barbosa is an explosive scorer who can blow past any defender and is an excellent jump shooter to boot. Draft him for the scoring, 3's, sick percentages, and steals. His value will only go up this season.
Martin was a fantasy inspiration last year. Finding players like he and Barbosa at the ends of drafts is why we love this game. Martin will be more accurately assessed this season. Last year the numbers were near elite: 20.2 points, 1.6 3-pointers, 4.3 boards, 2.2 assists, 1.2 steals and a stellar 47.3 percent shooting on that crooked jumper. His free throw shooting was top-notch as he got to the line often (7.1 attempts per game) and hit 84.4 percent. Adding to his value in turnovers leagues, Martin creates offense by moving so well without the ball, keeping his turnovers quite low (1.7). We like Martin to expand on his numbers this season, increasing his minutes, 3's and scoring in particular. Don't be afraid of Martin. He is very much for real.
Bottom Line: Martin is an excellent choice if you are looking for a scorer with excellent percentages. He should improve all his numbers slightly with more minutes this season.
With Don Nelson's effusive praise of Marco Belinelli, it is unclear if Ellis will remain the starter at shooting guard. However, he will, at worst, play starter's minutes. After his frightening training camp collision with teammate Brandan Wright, which left Ellis with a sprained neck -- which was very good news by all accounts among those who witnessed it -- Ellis and the Warriors are happy he won't miss significant time. His speed makes him impossible to face up and his strength enables him to finish with authority in traffic. He also possesses a reliable mid-range pull-up jumper. He did not shoot much from deep (just 39 3-pointers), but playing within himself led to a sterling 47.5 shooting percentage and 16.5 points per game. Look for more of the same this season. Monta may have a quality backup (or rival), but he is the primary backup to the oft-injured Baron Davis. His minutes appear safe.
Bottom Line: The speed and shooting will be there. So will the minutes. Monta is a nice player on defense as well, averaging 1.7 steals last season. Look for continued improvement from the young man as plays both guard spots for the Warriors.
Jason Terry is moving to the starting shooting guard position full time this season. This should not affect Terry's value all that much. He wasn't much of a player for assists to begin with, averaging just 5.2 dimes as the Dallas point guard last season. This season look for similar stats to those he has put up the past two seasons: 17 points, 2.0 3-pointers, 4.5 assists, and 1.0 steals to go with field goal shooting in the high 40s and a free throw percentage better than 80.0. This makes Terry a solid value in the middle rounds, especially if you are looking for help in three-point shooting without incurring any risk to your overall shooting percentage.
Bottom Line: Assists or not, Terry is still a valuable fantasy commodity. He'll contribute heavily in points, 3's and steals while providing good value with percentages and low turnovers (just 1.9 last season).
After two very solid years as a bench-based scorer, Gordon took his game to the next level with increased playing time in 52 starts. Showing the ability to score in waves and nail the three ball, Gordon thrived in the Bulls, er, "offense," scoring 21.4 points with 1.9 3-pointers and 0.8 steals in a career-high 33 minutes per game. Gordon's size makes him a liability on defense, so it is unlikely that he will see another increase in minutes. Still, he's a great option for points and 3's and he brought up his percentages from the field and the line from the previous season. He boosted his assists to 3.6 per game and further improvement seems likely as he gains experience. Gordon makes a nice selection in the middle rounds.
Bottom Line: Gordon should maintain last year's numbers or even build on them a bit, so expect around 22 points, three boards, three assists, 1.2 steals and more than two 3-pointers per game.
Richardson is looking like a definite bargain this season. After burning owners who spent a fourth-round pick on him last season, Richardson is lasting into the sixth round according to average draft positions. Injuries and struggling in Nellie's schemes hampered Richardson all season. Now moving to Charlotte, he will be the team's No. 1 option. Specifically, he fills a need as a three-point shooter. Richardson has fallen in love with the deep ball. Fully 41 percent of his shots were 3's last year. This is up from his previous career-high of 33.1 percent in 2005-6. We would like to see it return to those levels and improve his field goal percentage. We see 22 points, 2.3 3's, 5.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.2 and steals for Richardson. We just hope he gets back to attacking the basket more and settling for 3's less.
Bottom Line: Don't worry if you can't land one of the elite shooting guards, Richardson is a great option after all the big names are off the board and quite the value, lasting until the sixth round.
Ginobili would be higher on our list if only he played more minutes. However, with the success of the Spurs' system, why would they change a thing? Manu will again tantalize with huge games, such as his 40-point burst against the Hawks February 21. In the end, however, his numbers will end up quite similar to last year. Expect 16 points, 1.5 3-pointers, 4.0 boards, 3.5 dimes, and 1.5 steals in just less than 30 minutes per game. His free-throw shooting is excellent (80.3 percent for his career) and his shooting from the field is quite good for a perimeter player (45.2 career percentage). You are looking at Manu's ceiling -- even if it is being lowered by Popovich's time management -- so don't draft him expecting more.
Bottom Line: Don't select Manu with visions of playoff heroics in your head. Look at the regular season numbers from the past few seasons and you will know when to grab him
As any Wolves fan will tell you, it's a bit of mess up in Minnesota right now. There are a ton of young, talented players and only so many places to play them. We are a bit conflicted on Ricky Buckets, but this team does need some veteran leadership, and Ricky is the, ahem, best candidate. Ricky is another shooting guard in the do-everything model of T-Mac and Vince Carter but without their ceiling. Last year he averaged 17.0 points, 1.5 3-pointers, 3.9 rebounds, 4.8 assists with 1.0 steals and 46.5 percent shooting from the field and 83.9 from the line. These are quality numbers and getting them in the middle rounds is a good value, especially as Ricky could dial it up this season with Al Jefferson the only other proven scorer on the team.
Bottom Line: Ricky should see a slight increase in his value this season as he helps break in the young guns on the Wolves. He is an excellent option for assists and scoring and will provide steals and some 3's as well.
Gay is an excellent breakout candidate coming into his second season. He is one of the premier athletes in the league and, as fantasy owners swoon to hear, can do a bit of everything on the court. This season, he will be in the mix at small forward and shooting guard. Given his size and inside scoring ability, it is more likely that he will see minutes at the three with Mike Miller sliding to the two. Either way, Gay is going to see minutes and production in Marc Iavaroni's Phoenix-lite offense. Look for scoring in the mid-to-upper teens, six boards, a bit more than one steal and block, and at least one mind-blowing facial per game.
Bottom Line: Rudy should thrive under new coach Iavaroni and play starter's minutes all season. He will contribute most in scoring and in the defensive categories, but with his talent it would not surprise us to see Gay add a few new categories to his fantasy arsenal.
Always a good option at shooting guard for points, assists, and the percentages, Richard Hamilton showed he was a steady draft day acquisition last year. He averaged 19.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 0.8 steals and his always solid percentages. It's true; he's more valuable in real life than in the fantasy game, but he's also a little underrated in fantasy leagues. His percentages set him apart from the players drafted alongside him in the middle rounds, especially considering the high volume of shots he takes from the floor every night. Rip is a solid playmaker as well and he should be good for about four dimes per game again.
Bottom Line: There's not much risk here, Hamilton can be counted on as a solid fantasy producer. You'll never have to worry about him taking a night off, as he's one of the hardest working, most determined players in the game.
Athletically blessed with great speed and quickness, Jamal Crawford is still a raw talent as a basketball player. Playing out of control at times, Crawford is as streaky as they come. He can light it up for 30-plus points on any given night (or for 52 as he did January 26 against the Heat) but he'll also struggle at times, scoring in the single digits. There is more than just points here. Crawford averaged 4.4 assists, 1.8 3-pointers and is a killer from the line (83.0 percent for his career). We worry about consistent opportunities as we can't see Zach Randolph or Eddy Curry passing it back out once the ball has been dropped inside. Still, with his talent and penchant for the big night, he is a great upside pick later in your draft.
Bottom Line: One has to worry if there are enough balls to go around in New York, making Crawford a bit of a risk. He does have plenty of potential, so he's worth a late-round gamble.
Raja Bell, Phoenix Suns
Age: 31 Ht: 6'5" Wt: 210 School: Florida International Years in League: 7 Role: Starting SG
This past season, Bell pretty much equaled his breakout season in 2005-06. He was again the beneficiary of Steve Nash's uncanny ability to find the open shooter. In Phoenix, Bell has became one of Nash's favorite targets and matched or approached his career highs in nearly every fantasy relevant category. With 14.7 points and 2.6 3-pointers per game on 43.2 percent shooting from the floor, Bell turned in a highly efficient season. Though he won't create his own shot, Bell has turned into a great spot-up shooter and because the ball isn't in his hands very often, he doesn't cause many turnovers (1.1 per game). Grant Hill does pose a threat to his minutes but we don't expect Raja to fall off too much. Look for slightly lower stats this season.
Bottom Line: With only 1.1 turnovers per game, Bell gets extra points in leagues that count turnovers. He won't hurt you anywhere and will contribute favorably in points and 3-pointers.
Can you say bounce back? All together now. After suffering through his worst season in three years, Mo was liberated from Toronto and will join a New Orleans team which should be a much better fit. He will be asked to be a spot-up shooter from long range on the Hornets and should be the recipient of many Chris Paul drives and kicks. The other thing working in his favor is playing alongside Peja Stojakovic. This is true if he is healthy or not. A healthy Peja will draw attention from Mo Pete on the perimeter. An ailing Peja means more attempts and more scoring. Either way we like Mo to vastly outperform last year's numbers. Increased minutes (just 21 per game last year) have a way of helping with that.
Bottom Line: Mo Pete should get you scoring in the mid-teens and about two 3's per game. He shoots well from the line and with more minutes will be good for a little over a steal per game.
After coming over from Europe Anthony Parker proved that his shooting eye was as accurate on this side of the pond as it was on the other. He ended the season with three straight months of 50 percent or better shooting (though he did miss some games in March). This added up to a year in which he averaged 12.4 points, 1.6 3-pointers, 3.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.0 steals with a scant 1.0 turnovers per game. His final field goal percentage was a lofty 47.7 and he hit at a 83.5 clip from the line. Parker should see the same minutes and put up similar number this season. Add him in the late-middle rounds when you are looking for some 3-pointers and scoring without the added burdens of turnovers and a poor shooting percentage.
Bottom Line: Parker is still being slept on in a lot of leagues. There is no reason to suspect he cannot put up the same or better numbers this season.
Mobley is no longer the gunner from long range that he was earlier in his career but he is still a fine option at shooting guard for his ability to help in 3-pointers, points, and steals while shooting around 83 percent from the free throw line. His rebounding is decent for a guard and he will pull in around four a game. With Brand out, the Clips are in need of more scoring. It would not be shocking to see them look to perimeter for some of those points and have Cat reverse his two year slide in scoring.
Bottom Line: There's little risk attached to Mobley as he is rarely injured and consistently puts up the numbers that we expect of him. If you're looking to find a shooting guard who will contribute in points, 3's and steals, Mobley is a fine choice later in your draft.
Hughes has not been able to build on his career year in 2004-05 since he took his game to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Part of the issue is injury. He's reached 70-plus games just twice in his nine-year career, including last year when he played exactly 70. Nonetheless, despite 37 minutes per game, the numbers did not justify his draft position. Hughes averaged 14.9 points, 1.1 3-pointers, 3.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and just 1.3 steals. It appears unlikely that he will "figure it out" in Cleveland. It just isn't the best fit for this slashing guard. He will put up numbers this season much like last year's. Don't live in the past and adjust your expectations.
Bottom Line: Hughes is always an injury risk but more than this, he does not seem capable of maximizing his potential in Cleveland. He is still draft worthy just be sure you are taking him based on his numbers from the past two seasons and not his breakout three years ago.
Korver has made his mark on the league and in fantasy as a deadeye from long distance. Last season, he hit 1.8 3-pointers per game (down from 2.2 the previous season, which was down from 2.8). Interestingly, he averaged a career high in points per game (14.4), yet did not see a great increase in points or attempts after Iverson and Webber left the Sixers. Korver is also good for the occasional steal (0.8 per game last year) despite being a poor defender. The upside here is entirely dependent on the 3-ball. Korver's percentage from deep has improved each year of his career. If the 76ers see fit to get him more attempts, there is no reason he couldn't rise near the top in made 3-pointers as he did in 2004-05 and 2005-06.
Bottom Line: Don't expect a lot in other categories, but because Korver is so useful in 3's you can look to him as a solid value in the eighth round or so of your draft.
Juan Carlos Navarro, Memphis Grizzlies
Age: 27 Ht: 6'3" Wt: 170 School: None Years in League: R Role: Backup SG
Navarro, aka "La Bomba," was a phenom in the Spanish league. He is an able ball-handler who can score from the 3-point line all the way to the rim. His specialty is a teardrop runner that earned him his nickname. So make no mistake, Navarro isn't just here to cheer up best friend Pau Gasol. He can play. He led the Spanish league in scoring with 17.3 per game and is especially skilled at running off screens to free himself for quick-release jumpers. He was a star in Europe and will find a way to get on the court here. The biggest knock against him is his size; he will struggle guarding bigger shooting guards.
Bottom Line: Navarro will play backup shooting guard but is a good enough ball-handler to play some point as well, though the Grizzlies are pretty well stocked there. Look for Navarro to surprise bigger defenders with his savvy, speed, and quick release.
Steve Francis, Houston Rockets
Age: 29 Ht: 6'3" Wt: 200 School: Maryland Years in League: 7 Role: Backup SG/PG
The prodigal son returns to the place of his greatest success. There hasn't been much of that for Steve Francis lately. Francis suffered from knee tendinitis last season in what was a very crowded Knicks backcourt. Well, the latter isn't changing but Francis came in fully aware of the situation. It looks like he is ready to play a supporting role. With the Knicks, he played more shooting guard than point, and in Houston he will back up both Mike James and Tracy McGrady. Francis will put up similar numbers to last season, averaging 11.0 points, 3.5 boards, 3.0 assists, and just less than a steal per game.
Bottom Line: Where will he fit back in Houston? As a backup at first. If he is healthy, he will be a dose of instant offense for the Rockets and for fantasy owners. If the knee doesn't hold up, there is always the waiver wire.
Marco Belinelli, Golden State Warriors
Age: 25 Ht: 6'7" Wt: 190 School: None Years in League: R Role: Backup SG
Belinelli lit up the Las Vegas Summer League upon his arrival and immediately the basketball wags set about wagging, suggesting that Belinelli could take Monta Ellis's job at shooting guard. Don Nelson isn't exactly quieting them at this point. Belinelli will see minutes regardless of whether he starts. He is a phenomenal shooter. His release is hot potato quick and he manages to have great follow through even when he is off balance. He is quite athletic -- look for the 360 dunk on YouTube if you need convincing -- and finishes strongly on drives. With 25-plus minutes Belinelli should put up 12 points, 1.5 3-pointers, 2.5 dimes, and a steal per game. With more?
Bottom Line: This guy is a great late-round acquisition. With these picks you want high-upside guys who will produce if they get big minutes, and Belinelli has the offensive repertoire to deliver.
Francisco Garcia, Sacramento Kings
Age: 25 Ht: 6'7" Wt: 195 School: Louisville Years in League: 2 Role: Backup SG
Able to contribute in multiple categories, Garcia could be a nice pick late in drafts. He has a couple of things going for him. First, he closed the season strong last spring, averaging 26 minutes, 13.1 points, a 3-pointer, 2.8 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.9 blocks with excellent percentages in 11 games. Second, Reggie Theus worked with and loved Cisco when he was at Louisville, even suggesting in July that Garcia could share some ball-handling duties with the point guards. Like many players around this ranking, it will come down to minutes. Will Garcia play more than John Salmons, for example? We think his ties with Theus and his energy give him the edge.
Bottom Line: Garcia would be a nice option for points, 3's, steals and even blocks if he got the playing time. He will battle with Salmons for backup minutes. Still, his upside warrants a late-round selection.
Corey Brewer, Minnesota Timberwolves
Age: 21 Ht: 6'9" Wt: 185 School: Florida Years in League: R Role: Backup SF
Brewer is going to be a good wing player in this league. He has the speed, length and instincts to be a force on both ends of the floor. It just isn't likely to come together for him this season. There are a couple of reasons. One, there is a clot of good players vying for time at small forward and shooting guard for the Timberwolves. Brewer will see time, but not the lion's share. Two, his jump shot is shaky. Until he gets a reliable jumper, teams will sag off him and prevent him from driving. Take a late-round flier on Brewer, but keep your expectations low for this season.
Bottom Line: The future is bright for Brewer, but you can keep your shades in your front pocket. He is not likely to be a quality fantasy asset until next season when his role is better defined. He will help in steals but not much else.
This-r is not your typical shooting guard. Brewer is more of a slashing guard. At 6-foot-7 he likes to take the ball to the hoop rather than relying on his outside shot. His main competition at the two is Gordan Giricek. Giricek is the better shooter but he lacks the size, defense, and overall spark to his game that Brewer brings. C.J. Miles and rookie Morris Almond are also vying for time, but Brewer's ability to slide to small forward gives him an advantage. We like Brewer to win the starting job and contribute meaningfully in steals. His field goal percentage should remain high but he won't get a ton of looks except on occasional fast breaks.
Bottom Line: He has the athleticism to be a valuable player. He just needs to win starter's minutes if not the starting job. Consider Brewer in the later rounds for help in points and steals.
Sasha Pavlovic, Cleveland Cavaliers
Age: 23 Ht: 6'7" Wt: 210 School: None Years in League: 4 Role: Backup/Starting SG
Pavlovic remains unsigned as of this writing, but we expect he will return to the Cavaliers. Obviously, pay close attention to his status in Cleveland before drafting him. There is a small chance that he follows through on his threat to play in Europe this season. As a player, Pavlovic is a scorer first, defender third. We aren't sure what comes second. Truth be told, Pavlovic improved his defense last season and this led to increased minutes. Last season, in 25 games starting at shooting guard Pavlovic averaged 12.4 points, 1.4 3's, and 1.3 steals. He is good shooter (48.1 percent as a starter) and scores many of his buckets driving to the rim. Consider him late if you want a little scoring and some 3's.
Bottom Line: Pavlovic has late-round value if you are in need of 3's and some steals. He isn't great in either category but he won't hurt you with turnovers or poor percentages.
The Wizards re-signed Stevenson in the offseason to hold the starting shooting guard spot for the guy they would like to inherit it in a few years: Nick Young. Stevenson started all 82 games last season, but didn't demonstrate much fantasy upside, posting just 11.2 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 0.8 steals per game. In Washington, with Antonio Daniels and Young also vying for time, Stevenson will be hard-pressed to see more than 30 minutes per game. Stevenson is a solid player, especially on defense, but his efforts rarely show up in the box score, where his owners need them.
Bottom Line: Even though he may be the starter, the Wizards have too much offensive firepower for Stevenson to have much value. As a defensive specialist, Stevenson would need to do more in steals and rebounds in order to be considered in drafts of medium- or smaller-sized leagues.
Despite a new-look roster for the Sonics, look for more of the same from Wilkins. He will again back up the shooting guard and small forward spots and occasionally break out for some valuable weeks of service. Last season, he averaged 11.7 points, 1.0 3-pointers and 1.5 steals in 25 games as a starter. Head-to-head players should be ready to pounce on Wilkins when and if an injury to Kevin Durant, Jeff Green or Wally Szczerbiak is announced.
Bottom Line: His overall numbers will be mediocre, but he should have a few hot stretches in him where he contributes in points, 3-pointers and steals.
Luther Head, Houston Rockets
Age: 24 Ht: 6'3" Wt: 185 School: Illinois Years in League: 2 Role: Backup SG
How many Houston Rockets can we add to this list? Four as it turns out. There is a lot of talent in that backcourt. Head has proven he is fantasy worthy, improving in his second season despite playing fewer minutes. Last season he was a good source of points (10.9), 3's (2.2), and steals (1.0). Head-to-head owners looking for a player to sub in on your starters' off days could do much worse than Head. The Rockets picked up their option for Head and say they intend to get him minutes. Let's hope so. He's a great source of inexpensive 3's.
Bottom Line: It will be interesting to see how Luther Head gets his minutes but when he does, expect a lot of 3's from the fourth-most accurate long range shooter in the league (44.1 percent).
Wally Szczerbiak, Seattle SuperSonics
Age: 30 Ht: 6'7" Wt: 245 School: Miami (OH) Years in League: 8 Role: Backup/Starting SF
Wally is a more skilled offensive player than Damien Wilkins, but will share time with him to keep the minutes from piling up. He has not fared well health-wise the past few seasons and underwent surgery on his left ankle. If, as promised, it keeps the recurring sprains at bay, we could have a great value pick here. With minutes and his health, Wally is capable of scoring in the mid-teens and hitting 50 percent of his shots from the field, plus high-80s from the line.
Bottom Line: A healthy Szczerbiak equals great percentages, scoring in the teens, plus some assists and, of course, 3-pointers.
Martell Webster, Portland Trail Blazers
Age: 20 Ht: 6'7" Wt: 235 School: Seattle Prep (HS) Years in League: 2 Role: Backup SG
Martell has some ability but has yet to fully deliver on it. He's got good size at shooting guard and can hit from long range. The problem is his inability to create his own shot and move well without the ball. For him to become truly effective he must develop one or both of these skills. Webster's playing time situation is somewhat shaky this season. He will serve as the back up Brandon Roy and Travis Outlaw but will compete with James Jones for minutes. Still, he should see enough time to be considered due to his potential in points and 3's.
Bottom Line: Webster needs to build on his offensive skills to attain real fantasy value but he is enough of a threat from long range that he should remain on owner's radar, especially in deep leagues.
Despite a broken right hand, Redick is the frontrunner to win the starting shooting guard spot for the Magic. Last year was a lost one for Redick, who missed time with a back injury and never got in the flow with his teammates. This summer he was dominant in the Orlando Summer League, averaging 19.8 points and 3.8 assists. Yes, it was summer league, but Redick showed significant improvement in his ball-handling and passing. This is crucial for his value because if defenders have to respect his dribble, they will have to give him a little space on the outside. And we know what happens if you give even a little space to Redick's quick release and follow-through. Redick will struggle on defense but his range is sorely needed on a team that was 27th in 3-pointers made.
Bottom Line: Provided he earns starter's minutes, Redick should be able to post solid numbers in points, steals, and 3's this season.
Jerry Stackhouse, Dallas Mavericks
Age: 32 Ht: 6'6" Wt: 220 School: North Carolina Years in League: 12 Role: Backup SF/SG
Once a stud, now a sixth man, Stackhouse can put up points in limited minutes and has a knack for getting to the free-throw line where he shoots a stellar 81.9 percent for his career. He averaged 12.0 points, 2.2 boards, 0.8 steals and 0.9 3-pointers. He will continue to provide scoring from the bench for the Mavs, but with the improvement of Josh Howard and the arrival of Eddie Jones could trim his production slightly.
Bottom Line: Stackhouse can be a decent fantasy commodity for points, steals, 3-pointers and free-throw percentage, but his limited minutes make him no better than a late-round selection.
Juan Dixon, Toronto Raptors
Age: 28 Ht: 6'3" Wt: 164 School: Maryland Years in League: 5 Role: Backup PG/SG
A high-energy player who's best-suited to come off the bench, Juan Dixon joined the Raptors mid-season last year and improved his numbers, averaging 11.1 points, 1.0 3's, and 1.0 steals in 26 minutes per game. Dixon has great quickness and anticipation skills and can generate a high number of steals if he's on the court. He will probably see fewer minutes this season with Carlos Delfino sharing time as the backup shooting guard but will, as always, maximize his value when he is on the court.
Bottom Line: Dixon will be used as a sparkplug off the bench, but could have some value if he earns consistent playing time.
Rush is a solid bench scorer. He is a fearless shooter who can put up points quickly when he is given the green light. With the Pacers needing scoring (24th in the league), he could see the green light often. He will get his minutes backing up Mike Dunleavy and Danny Granger. He is a better scorer than either Shawne Williams or Marquis Daniels and will get more minutes off the bench than either. And if Mike Dunleavy struggles, it would not be a shocker to see Rush get some starts at the 2.
Bottom Line: If you are in need of 3's and points, keep an eye on the rotation in Indiana. Rush could make a nice waiver add at some point during the season.
J.R. Smith, Denver Nuggets
Age: 20 Ht: 6'6" Wt: 220 School: St. Benedict's Prep, NJ (HS) Years in League: 2 Role: Starting SG
This kid is one-half pure talent and the other half pure knucklehead. Smith has clashed with every head coach he has had in the NBA but his hops and smooth jumper keep him in the game. After a tragic car accident this summer, causing the death of his best friend, there is a chance we will see a more focused J.R. Smith. Coming into the season, Iverson is going to start at shooting guard with Chucky Atkins at the point. There will still be minutes for Smith, especially when A.I. moves to the point. Even in limited time, Smith can put up numbers in hurry. Last year he averaged just 23 minutes but averaged 13.0 points and 2.3 3-pointers with good percentages.
Bottom Line: Despite limited playing time Smith helps in 3's and points. If anything were to happen to Atkins, causing Iverson to play more point guard, Smith's minutes and value could explode.
Morris Almond, Utah Jazz
Age: 22 Ht: 6'6" Wt: 215 School: Rice Years in League: R Role: Backup SG
Morris Almond is one of four players vying for shooting guard minutes for the Jazz. While Jerry Sloan is very unlikely to hand over the starting job to a rookie, Almond could earn minutes as the season progresses. He is by far the best shooter of the four candidates and, at 6 foot 6, has the size to shoot over the top of NBA defenders. He averaged 26.4 points at Rice despite being the only real threat on the Owls' offense and thus the focus of the opposition. If he gets a shot, we like him as the long-range shooter the Jazz have been looking for.
Bottom Line: Almond is not the same all-around talent as Rodney Stuckey, the other player we considered here, but he has a better opportunity. Shooting guard is thin in Utah and Almond has the size and skills to hit a lot of NBA 3's.
Bonzi Wells, Houston Rockets
Age: 31 Ht: 6'5" Wt: 210 School: Ball State Years in League: 9 Role: Backup SG/SF
Bonzi is something of a mystery. He is still in Houston after a lost season, but is part of a very crowded backcourt. On the plus side he played some of his best ball under new coach Rick Adelman in Sacramento, posting 13.6 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game in 2005-06. He's always been an able scorer, using his size to back you down in the low post or taking you outside and hitting a jumper. He's also a very good rebounder for a guard and is adept at creating steals on the defensive end. He is the opposite of most twos in that he is very good from the field (career 46.2) but shaky at the line (career 70.4). He is a good end-of-the-draft gamble in medium-sized leagues.
Bottom Line: If Bonzi can secure playing time, he'll be a great option for points, rebounds and steals from the shooting guard spot.
Rashad McCants, Minnesota Timberwolves
Age: 23 Ht: 6'4" Wt: 225 School: North Carolina Years in League: 2 Role: Backup SG
This guy can score. He can take defenders to the rim; he can post up with his strength; he has a nice mid-range shot; and can stroke it from deep. In terms of ability, McCants has a lot going for him. What he doesn't have is a lock on playing time. If the Wolves need offense from their second unit, McCants is the logical choice. If he can find minutes and if his right knee (microfracture surgery) holds up, he could be a sleeper.
Bottom Line: If you are looking for scoring and 3's, McCants is a promising talent. Watch the preseason to see how the position battles work out in Minny.
Thabo Sefolosha, Chicago Bulls
Age: 23 Ht: 6'7" Wt: 215 School: None Years in League: 1 Role: Backup SG/SF
The Swiss Mister is a tantalizing fantasy prospect. He brings size and athleticism to the backcourt that neither Kirk Hinrich nor Ben Gordon can. He was a leader on the Swiss national team that reached the semifinals in the B Division of the European Championships this summer and has worked on his offense. We know he can defend and this should get him more minutes this season. We need to see the athletic promise turn into regular production before moving him up.
Bottom Line: He has talent and seemingly the maturity to take the next step. Given the lack of size in the Bulls' backcourt, he could do it this season.
John Salmons, Sacramento Kings
Age: 27 Ht: 6'6" Wt: 205 School: Miami Years in League: 5 Role: Backup SG
Salmons can do a bit of everything: score, rebound, defend and pass. He will be backing up Kevin Martin, so he won't see a ton of minutes at shooting guard but with the, ahem, "unpredictable" Ron Artest at the three, we can see Salmons getting some run there as well. In starting 18 games at small forward in 2006-07, Salmons averaged 12.2 points, 4.3 boards, 4.2 assists, and 1.2 steals. The dimes are especially nice.
Bottom Line: Salmons makes a nice waiver add for his assists, especially for the first seven games of the season when Ron Artest will be serving a suspension.
Willie Green, Philadelphia 76ers
Age: 26 Ht: 6'4" Wt: 200 School: Detroit Years in League: 4 Role: Starting/Backup SG
Willie is a big tease. He lies under the radar for long stretches of the season then will have a burst of activity that causes you to do a double-take at his game log. Take, say, the final three games of the season in 2006-07: he put up 26, 24, and 37 points respectively. When Willie starts, Willie scores. In 36 starts, he averaged 15.4 points, 1.0 3's, and 0.8 steals. The problem is Willie doesn't do much of anything besides score. His percentages (41.1 field goal and 66.7 from the line) are quite poor and he doesn't help much on defense. Still, if you need points in a hurry, Willie will be there ... sometimes.
Bottom Line: If Green gets the starting job full-time, he is worth a late-round grab. He is essentially a one-category contributor (points) though he can get hot from deep enough times to help a bit there as well.
Mardy Collins, New York Knicks
Age: 23 Ht: 6'6" Wt: 220 School: Temple Years in League: 1 Role: Backup PG/SG
Best remembered for his role in the slapfest at the Garden last season, Collins can actually play a little ball. He is a combo guard who will back up both Marbury and Crawford. Last year we caught a glimpse of what Collins can do when he started nine games in April. He averaged 44 minutes, 14.8 points, 0.9 3's, 6.7 rebounds, 5.8 assists and a woeful 4.0 turnovers. He shoots poorly as well: hitting 38.2 percent from the field and 58.5 percent from the line.
Bottom Line: Collins could win some playing time, but his poor shooting and high turnover rate make him somewhat risky.
Antonio Daniels, Washington Wizards
Age: 32 Ht: 6'4" Wt: 205 School: Bowling Green Years in League: 10 Role: Backup PG/SG
At this point in his 10-year career, Daniels is really only valuable in fantasy when he is starting. With Gilbert Arenas around -- and playing for a contract -- that will not be often. Be aware of his per-game averages when he did start last season, in case Arenas gets hurt: 38 minutes, 12.1 points, 4.1 boards, and 9.4 assists. These are more than adequate for a fill-in available on the waiver wire.
Bottom Line: While Daniels isn't a handcuff to Agent Zero because of the huge minutes Arenas logs, owners must be ready to add Daniels if anything happens to their first-round pick.
Eddie Jones, Dallas Mavericks
Age: 36 Ht: 6'6" Wt: 200 School: Temple Years in League: 14 Role: Backup SG
Eddie was brought into Dallas to shore up the defense on a weak second unit. That he can still hit the trifectas is another bonus. Jones should play slightly fewer minutes than last season (think around 20-23 per game) when he averaged 29 minutes, 9.5 points, 1.6 3-pointers, and 1.3 steals. Jones should again be good for better than a steal and a 3-pointer per game and that is worth something to those of you in deep leagues.
Bottom Line: Jones can still contribute in 3's and steals. These are valuable commodities at the end of deep drafts.
Ronald Murray, Detroit Pistons
Age: 28 Ht: 6'3" Wt: 197 School: Shaw Years in League: 5 Role: Backup SG
Murray has carved out a nice niche for himself in the NBA. He is instant offense off the bench, who throws shots up like Charles Bukowski threw them down; that is to say, often and without concern. This year "Flip" will face competition as the backup guard. Rodney Stuckey is a promising rookie and Murray's numbers were down last year, averaging just 21 minutes, 6.7 points, 2.7 assists and 0.7 steals. See how things play out in camp but don't be shocked if Murray loses more minutes this year.
Bottom Line: Flip will need more playing time to be anything other than a bench player for your fantasy squad.
Tarence Kinsey, Memphis Grizzlies
Age: 25 Ht: 6'6" Wt: 200 School: South Carolina Years in League: 3 Role: Backup SG/SF
Most owners were in the dark about this undrafted Grizzly until he blew up during the last month of the season. Starting in each of the last 12 games of the season Kinsey averaged 18.8 points, 0.6 3-pointers, 4.4 boards and 2.4 steals. Great production, yes, but it is unlikely to be duplicated this season. Last season, he was filling in for an injured Mike Miller as the season wound down. That is what it will take this year as well.
Bottom Line: He can score and rip steals but without regular minutes he won't do either.
Rodney Stuckey, Detroit Pistons
Age: 21 Ht: 6'5" Wt: 205 School: Eastern Washington Years in League: R Role: Backup SG/PG
Meet the guy who should make Flip Murray an afterthought in Detroit. Stuckey will battle to be the first guard off the bench and has the skills to do it. He can score and is a good passer as well. He has the chance to become something special in a few years so keeper league owners should consider him at the ends of their drafts even though he may not deliver much this season.
Bottom Line: He oozes talent. He is big, strong and very capable with the ball in his hands. We love him long-term, though don't expect too much this season.
Tony Allen, Boston Celtics
Age: 25 Ht: 6'4" Wt: 213 School: Oklahoma State Years in League: 3 Role: Backup SG/SF
Allen is coming back from major knee surgery after tearing his ACL in January on a much-publicized after-the-whistle dunk. Why did he dunk after the whistle? Perhaps because he was so juiced by his level of play the previous month. For that span of 18 starts, Allen was one of the best players on the Celtics, averaging 16.4 points, 5.5 boards, 2.6 assists, 2.3 steals, and 0.6 blocks, shooting 51.6 percent from the field and 79.4 percent from the line. Now the question is how well he can play coming back from ACL surgery backing up Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. The Celtics bench is wafer thin. If he can play, he will get big minutes.
Bottom Line: Given his upside, Allen is a nice gamble in the late rounds in fantasy leagues. If his knee is up for it -- initial reports are very positive -- he could be huge for points, steals and percentages.
Matt Carroll, Charlotte Bobcats
Age: 27 Ht: 6'6" Wt: 210 School: Notre Dame Years in League: 4 Role: Backup SF/SG
Free throws and 3-pointers, that's what Carroll is good for. He will again play the role of long-range gunner for the Bobcats and woe betide the defender who fouls him in the act of shooting. Carroll hit his free throws at a 90.4 percent clip last season. His minutes may slip a bit with Jason Richardson on board, but we still like him to hit better than a 3-pointer per game.
Bottom Line: Deep leaguers in need of a dead-eye should look no further than Carroll at the end of their drafts.
Maurice Evans, Los Angeles Lakers
Age: 28 Ht: 6'5" Wt: 220 School: Texas Years in League: 4 Role: Backup SG/SF
Evans will serve as Kobe Bryant's backup this season and will not see as many minutes at small forward as he did last season. Backing up Kobe is hardly a recipe for fantasy success so Evans can be safely bypassed even in the deepest leagues. If Kobe gets hurt, he would see time and can score, though his contributions elsewhere would be limited.
Bottom Line: Move along, nothing to see here. Unless Kobe gets injured, Evans is barely an afterthought in fantasy.
Nick Young, Washington Wizards
Age: 22 Ht: 6'6" Wt: 200 School: USC Years in League: R Role: Backup SG
We know he can score. Young is an explosive athlete with good range on his jumper. In his final season at USC, Young put up 17.5 points on 44 percent shooting from 3-point range. The problem is his defense. If he can't be useful on defense, he will lose a lot of playing time to DeShawn Stevenson, who certainly is.
Bottom Line: Wait and see. He could be a good scorer even this season, but needs to show he can deliver on both ends of the floor to get that chance.
Brent Barry, San Antonio Spurs
Age: 35 Ht: 6'7" Wt: 210 School: Oregon State Years in League: 12 Role: Backup SG
Well, Brent has his ring. Too bad he won't help you win you yours. Once a fantasy stud, Brent Barry is now a one category specialist in 3-pointers. He will again set them up and knock them down from deep (1.7 per game last season) but will not help out much anywhere else.
Bottom Line: Even as a starter in 28 games, Barry didn't improve much on his season averages. If you are desperate for 3's, he is useful. Otherwise, move on.
Keyon Dooling, Orlando Magic
Age: 28 Ht: 6'3" Wt: 195 School: Missouri Years in League: 7 Role: Backup PG
Dooling is one of three guards competing for the starting point guard gig in Orlando, but is the least likely to win the job. He just isn't the passer that the team needs as the first-team point guard (just 1.9 per game for his career). He is a good defender and will get steals. We don't see a ton of upside for Dooling as he scores more on slashing moves than from the long ball and with his limited opportunities, he needs 3-pointers to maximize fantasy value.
Bottom Line: Dooling will serve up some points and steals and could also see some time at shooting guard. Outside of that, his ceiling is limited.
Carlos Delfino, Toronto Raptors
Age: 25 Ht: 6'6" Wt: 230 School: None Years in League: 3 Role: Backup SG/SF
Finally out of Detroit, Delfino should explode on the fantasy scene just like ex-teammate Darko Milicic. Oh wait. Um. Well, Carlos should be a better fit in the Eurostyle offense deployed in Toronto. He will back with Anthony Parker and with his creativity, could have some solid performances. At this point, Delfino has yet to display his playmaking ability. This year he will get the chance.
Bottom Line: He could get minutes at the 2 and the 3, but there is a lot of competition in Toronto.
Quinton Ross, Los Angeles Clippers
Age: 26 Ht: 6'6" Wt: 195 School: SMU Years in League: 3 Role: Backup SG/SF
Ross is a great one-on-one defender, typically assigned the best wingman on the opposing team. He is generally considered one of the best on-the-ball defenders in the NBA. Unfortunately, this means exactly nothing to fantasy owners. Ross won't score, doesn't rebound well, and even his steals are less than one per game (0.8).
Bottom Line: Quinton Ross is the Bruce Bowen of shooting guards except he doesn't even shoot 3's.