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Position Primer: Shooting Guard

Justin Phan
Yahoo Sports

Position Primers: PG | SG | SF | FC

While the shooting guard position finds only three eligible players inside the top-15, it more than makes up for its surprising lack of star power with astounding depth. You’ll find the middle rounds laden with high-upside off-guards with the potential to outperform their ADP’s by a considerable margin. This is a group you should feel comfortable waiting on, especially with the added risk of injury/decline that comes with many of the position’s elite (Kobe, Monta, Gordon). You’re looking for points from this group; in particular, high-efficient scorers who hit their fair share of threes. The later rounds features a nice collection of pickpockets in case you find yourself short on steals.

By way of Basketball Monster, here’s a projection of the value distribution for the top 30 shooting guards this season:

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Position averages, top 25 shooting guards in year-end Yahoo! rank
10-11 - 45% FG, 81% FT, 1.5 3PM, 16.1 PTS, 4.1 REB, 3.5 AST, 1.9 TO, 1.2 STL, 0.4 BLK
09-10 - 45% FG, 80% FT, 1.4 3PM, 17.4 PTS, 4.2 REB, 3.8 AST, 2.1 TO, 1.3 STL, 0.3 BLK

The rankings below are for nine-category roto leagues. “ADP” numbers are as of 12/19 and “10-11” denotes a player’s year-end rank from the 2010-11 season

Tier 1 10-11 ADP NOTES
Dwyane Wade 14 6.1 Could be argued over CP3; was flat out dominant down the stretch
Tier 2 10-11 ADP NOTES
Eric Gordon 82 27.0 No one left in NOLA; efficiency hit counteracted by bump in counting #'s
Monta Ellis 13 16.8 GS recklessly played him 3200+ minutes; how much more can he take?
Paul Pierce 8 31.0 Has only gotten better with age; only Celtic who can create his own shot
Manu Ginobili 12 34.8 Burden shifts to Spurs backcourt to carry load as Duncan declines
Kevin Martin 16 35.7 Insanely efficient scorer; led the league in FTA/FGA, 38% from distance
Kobe Bryant 22 12.9 Dealing with reduction in minutes; now has torn ligament in right wrist
Tier 3 10-11 ADP NOTES
Dorell Wright 15 30.0 Managed 3000+ minutes, more than previous three seasons combined
Andre Iguodala 74 42.3 Point forward transformation complete; needs to attack the basket more
Ray Allen 23 52.2 "Cross the guy left, take him back right, he's fallin' back, J right in his face"
James Harden 55 70.1 Manu Ginobili clone just scratching the surface; stellar all-around game
Arron Afflalo 73 104.6 Ready to make jump from low-usage complementary player to focal point
Tier 4 10-11 ADP NOTES
Tyreke Evans 165 54.4 Plantar fasciitis sapped explosiveness, ability to finish in basket area
Joe Johnson 99 49.0 3PT% will normalize, but Iso Joe in decline and poor fit for motion offense
Jason Richardson 39 62.5 Mostly a catch-and-shoot 3PT shooter now, which is fine given 40% mark
Marcus Thornton 134 72.9 4/33M deal shows Kings are committed; has delivered when given chance
Wesley Matthews 37 71.6 Jack of all trades on offense; Crawford signing poses no imminent threat
Raymond Felton 45 50.5 Cupcake king expected to lead revamped, uptempo Blazers offense
Tier 5 10-11 ADP NOTES
Nicolas Batum 51 98.5 Still waiting on the breakout; won't happen if he remains overly passive
Jeff Teague 234 137.1 Well worth the gamble to see if he can build on impressive playoff run
DeMar DeRozan 84 80.7 His ceiling is lower than you'd think with such a limited all-around game
Rodney Stuckey 92 104.6 Had his easily most efficient year yet; still room for growth at 25
Jason Terry 56 72.5 Too much of everything, not enough of one thing; clear lack of upside
Tier 6 10-11 ADP NOTES
Toney Douglas 75 116.5 Addition of Baron Davis not ideal, but will get plenty of run regardless
Tony Allen 95 81.1 Led the league in steal rate; avg'd 2.9 spg, 0.9 bpg in 29 mpg as a starter
Chase Budinger 136 113.4 Starting gig, bulk of minutes now his; productive after Battier deadline deal
Jarrett Jack 196 98.2 Full-time starter now, but 283rd in per-minute value; could be FG% killer
Tier 7 10-11 ADP NOTES
Paul George 182 119.3 So much untapped potential here; has the ability to fill up a stat sheet
C.J. Miles 98 95.2 Scores at high rate, but needs to cut down threes (32%), long twos (37%)
Stephen Jackson 107 80.7 Spare yourself the headache; unhappy w/ contract, back/hammy injuries
Jared Dudley 72 88.3 Outlook clouded by return of Hill, but still has sneaky multi-cat potential
Carlos Delfino 148 103.8 Combination of threes and steals is hard to beat; willing and able passer
Caron Butler 264 118.3 Lands in a favorable situation, but 31 and coming off a serious knee injury
George Hill 88 135.3 Will have to create his own offense in Indiana now - is he up to the task?
Trevor Ariza 103 118.8 1.6 spg keeps him relevant; shot just 30% on threes, 26% on long twos
Tier 8 10-11 ADP NOTES
Nick Young 133 93.1 Points, threes largely negated by minus-efficiency; too one-dimensional
Anthony Morrow 163 118.2 Three-point specialist will thrive playing alongside Deron Williams
Ben Gordon 145 132.5 Departure of Rip opens up opportunity; has clearly lost a step though
Jodie Meeks 97 125.9 Ability to space floor, pull defenders from paint secure his starting spot
Landry Fields 62 131.7 If he can recapture that first half magic, well worth the investment here
Gerald Henderson, John Salmons, Mike Dunleavy, Wes Johnson, Kemba Walker, Jerryd Bayless, Rodrigue Beaubois, Gordon Hayward, Richard Hamilton, Vince Carter, Daniel Gibson
Matt Barnes, Gary Neal, Jamal Crawford, Louis Williams, Shannon Brown, Omri Casspi, O.J. Mayo, Ramon Sessions, Jimmer Fredette, Jordan Crawford, Tracy McGrady
Players to Target

Arron Afflalo - With four of the Nuggets’ six leaders in usage from last season no longer with the team, the onus will now be on Afflalo to prove that he can move beyond the part of a high-efficiency, low-usage complementary player and take on a more expansive role within Denver’s offense. We’ll see soon enough whether he’s up to the task, but the fact that he’s added piece after piece to his offensive game over the years – the ability to attack as well as convert around the basket, work off the dribble, and come off screens – is plenty reason to bank on it happening.

James Harden - The comparisons to Manu Ginobili are spot on – both left-handed pick-and-roll savants who see the court exceptionally well and can beat you in just about every way imaginable. There’s a tendency to overvalue the starter designation, and with it comes a misguided implication that a player is somehow less valuable to a team because he comes off the bench. Nonsense, I say. As the proverbial glue that holds the Thunder offense together, Harden will continue to see close to 30 minutes a night (as he should). Keep in mind he posted top-50 value over his final 26 games after Jeff Green was traded.

DeMar DeRozan - At 22, DeRozan is already one of the league’s more prolific scorers, averaging a point every two minutes – a scoring rate that puts him on par with the likes of Rudy Gay and J.R. Smith. He does the majority of his damage from 15 feet in, where he converts 54 percent of his looks and draws fouls in bunches. With those clearly defined strengths also come major shortcomings, like a complete lack of range (5-of-52 on threes) and tunnel vision (68th of 77 SG’s in assist rate) when he gets a full head of steam. These deficiencies are all reflected in what is a largely imbalanced stat line better suited for head-to-head formats.

Players to Avoid

Kobe Bryant His per-minute averages and efficiency ratios were right in line with his previous numbers and even better in some cases, but last season marked Kobe’s lowest scoring average (25.3) since the ’04 season. The reason for that and a slight drop-off across the board was simple: a sizable reduction in minutes. Kobe played just 34 minutes a game (down from 39 the year before) in an effort to manage his workload and keep him fresh, as he deals with the effects of a right knee injury and the total mileage (48,000+ minutes, playoffs included) he’s amassed over his career. On top of all that, he's now dealing with a torn lunotriquetral ligament in his right wrist. His ADP (12.9) suggests he’s still a first-rounder, which simply isn't the case anymore. He won't fall off by any means, but the late-second is a much more reasonable spot to draft him now.

Monta Ellis The recklessness of the Warriors coaching staff in playing Ellis close to 3,300 minutes (40.3 per game) cannot be stated enough. There was no excuse for it to happen – not for a player with an extensive injury history who played 89 total games over the last two seasons, and not for a team who was obviously not making the playoffs. The concern is that a smaller guard with a bruising and more physical style of play will eventually wear down, and all that mileage will start to catch up to him at some point. Case in point: Allen Iverson. That Golden State took shooting guard Klay Thompson in the first round of the draft suggests they recognize this, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Ellis’ minutes were scaled down to around 36 per game this season.

Joe Johnson – His decline didn’t come as much of a shocker, considering his isolation-heavy style didn’t exactly mesh with Larry Drew’s newly installed motion offense. Johnson saw his three-point percentage dip by more than seven percent, a statistical anomaly that should normalize and add an extra point per 40 minutes to his scoring average. With that said, his best days are behind him, and he's already shown signs of decline as he enters his 30s. Johnson struggles to consistently get by defenders nowadays, and when his jump shot is no longer falling, there isn’t a whole lot for him to fall back on.

Upside Picks

Paul George Though the numbers might not reflect it just yet, there were plenty of indicators in his rookie season that hinted at George’s breakout potential. The biggest area he’ll have to improve upon is his three-point shooting (29.7 percent), which shouldn’t be a problem given his fluid shot mechanics and the fact he hit an impressive 43 percent of his long twos. George already does a number of things well – he’s a proficient finisher around the rim (66 percent), rebounds quite well for his position (7.1 rebounds per 40 minutes), and ranked third in steal rate last year among small forwards. He may be another year away from a true breakout, but you can still expect some substantial growth across the board in his second season.

George Hill Indiana George faces a stiffer test this season that will prove whether he can succeed outside of the confines of San Antonio’s system. Things were far from complicated for Hill last season, being able to play off the ball while Ginobili, Tim Duncan, and Tony Parker drew most of the defensive attention. Hill will need to be more assertive this time around without those three to fall back on, and will be tasked with creating more of his own offense. He’ll get plenty of minutes backing up both guard positions, and the opportunity for an expanded offensive role is there for the taking.

C.J. Miles – The Jazz will likely lose free agent Andrei Kirilenko to the Nets, which frees up the path for Miles to stake his claim on the starting small forward job. The lack of range is still a problem, as he shot just 34 percent from beyond 16 feet. Miles still managed the eighth-best scoring rate at his position despite that, mainly because he can blow by defenders with ease and consistently finish in the basket area (67 percent).There’s certainly room for growth, and even marginal improvement on his jump shot would go a long way.

Deep-League Flyer

Jerryd Bayless Although he managed a career-high assist rate of 26.6 percent last season, Bayless still remains of a predominantly score-first mindset. Since he lacks any real range on his jump shot – a part of his game he’ll need to develop – Bayless attacks the basket relentlessly and draws a ton of fouls in the process. His slashing ability was on full display in April, when he went on a eight-game tear that saw him average 23-6-3. Those hoping that he’d parlay that into a starting job were sorely disappointed when the Raptors declined to use their amnesty clause on Jose Calderon. Still, Calderon has a history of injuries, and new head coach Dwane Casey’s emphasis on defense certainly won’t help his cause.


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