Fantasy Basketball season is quickly approaching, and there are plenty of guards you need to gravitate toward on Draft Day. Do not simply trust the rankings on your favorite Fantasy Basketball provider and/or go strictly by the book on ADP (average draft position) numbers on a given site. If you have a need, go for a player, especially if you feel they’re not going to come around.
In addition, use your head. Don’t just go with a player because of a big-name or what he has done in the past. There are plenty of big-name guards at the tail end of their careers still being selected high because of their past exploits. Mine those gems with a bright future, and don’t live in the past.
Los Angeles Lakers SG Kobe Bryant continues to go off the board around the fifth or sixth round in most Fantasy Basketball formats. While ESPN’s Skip Bayless was a little crazy in his assessment of Kobe’s skills, the truth of the matter is that Kobe cannot be trusted to be Kobe any longer. He is 37 years old, and he has been limited to just 41 games over the past two seasons. He is broken down, he cannot be trusted to log big minutes and when he was playing those 41 games, his field goal percentage was way down. It’s best to let him be someone else’s problem.
Minnesota Timberwolves veteran SG Kevin Martin has been a valuable cog in the lineup for Fantasy owners over the years, but that ship has sailed. On a middling team like the T-Wolves, one would think a veteran like Martin would be a big-time player. But with PG Ricky Rubio and SG Zach LaVine, there simply is no room for Martin. He won’t be in the starting lineup unless injuries occur, and he simply won’t live up to his ADP, which has him going around the ninth round in leagues of 12 or more teams.
A few guards traded zip codes during the offseason, and they find themselves in untenable situations, at least in terms of Fantasy. Houston Rockets PG Ty Lawson has been battling PG Patrick Beverley for the starting job in training camp and the preseason. Expect this battle for minutes and supremacy at the point to rage on into the regular season, with both players looking over their shoulder. A bad shooting night for one, and the other is hitting their mark, and it’s a rough Fantasy situation for their owners. Why give yourself a headache you can easily avoid?
Milwaukee Bucks swingman Khris Middleton has plenty of company in the Milwaukee backcourt. NBA veterans O.J. Mayo and Jerryd Bayless will push him at the two. Middleton can also fill in at small forward, but Giannis Antetokounmpo is an energetic player who is on the rise. Middleton was playing a ton of minutes last season due to a number of injuries, and plenty of Fantasy owners will draft him based on his statistics from a year ago, not his current situation in Cream City where there are plenty of mouths to feed.
New Orleans Pelicans PG Jrue Holiday is expected to have a minutes restriction during the early part of the regular season after a stress reaction in his right leg hampered him last season. Anytime you hear minutes restriction and Fantasy player, avoid.
Lastly, San Antonio Spurs PG Patty Mills is a player who needs to be rostered. Tony Parker will be rested frequently, as that has been the M.O. of Gregg Popovich to keep his veterans fresh for the long run. Mills will see plenty of starts, and he is a nice addition in the later rounds with Parker on the decline. Soon, the full-time job will be all for Mills.
Cleveland Cavaliers PG Mo Williams is back for a second tour with the team, and he has put his past differences with LeBron James aside in a quest for a ring. Williams was expected to have a valuable role in the Cleveland offense with Kyrie Irving slow to make his way back from a fractured left kneecap. Williams could start through the holidays in C-Town, and he can be had in the final rounds on Draft Day. Despite his heroics in the postseason, Matthew Dellavedova is not a big threat to Williams’ minutes, but it’s the other way around.
The Blazers are a team in transition, and there is a lot of opportunity for everyone. While swingman Gerald Henderson is expected to handle the duties at the two, C.J. McCollum should roll up plenty of minutes in the Portland backcourt. He should be off the board by the end of the ninth round ahead of the likes of Martin, and even veterans like Parker and Sacramento Kings PG Rajon Rondo.
Denver Nuggets PG Emmanuel Mudiay turned plenty of heads with a stellar Summer League performance, and he has risen in the rankings as high as the Top 50. That’s a little ridiculous, but he could be gone by Round 9 in most 12-team standard Fantasy formats. Mudiay is an exciting player who will take the keys of the Denver offense from the departed Lawson. Jameer Nelson is on the roster to provide depth in case Mudiay falters. He won’t.
Veteran Marco Belinelli comes aboard with the Sacramento Kings to back up Ben McLemore at the two. He should see plenty of minutes off the bench, and even though he doesn’t have a starting job he is a great addition for depth with plenty of upside. He’ll likely play 20-25 minutes in an up-tempo offensive system, so once all of the starters are gone keep Belinelli in mind.
Boston Celtics PG Isaiah Thomas is expected to come off the bench, as second-year player Marcus Smart is ahead of him on the depth chart. However, do not let that dissuade you from selecting Thomas in the middle rounds. He can roll up plenty of points in a small amount of minutes, and he is a tremendous boon to Fantasy owners in rotisserie formats for his shooting percentage and ability to contribute from behind the arc.