The 2023-24 NBA season is right around the corner, and it's time to start prepping for your fantasy basketball drafts! It's never too early to get a jump on your competition. To kick things off, I'm dropping my positional tiers series — starting with the point guards.
Note: only some players will have analysis when listed in the tiers below. Players with multi-position eligibility will only appear in the positional tier story they have the most minutes at.
Tier one: Elite PGs
1) Luka Dončić, Dallas Mavericks
2) Shai-Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder
After delivering the best statistical season of his five-year career, Luka takes the top spot among the elite point guards and will be an MVP candidate once again.
Gilgeous-Alexander deservingly gets a few votes for the best point guard in fantasy. He does literally everything on offense and defense, so I wouldn't fault anyone for drafting him within the first three picks this season. He finished top three in per-game and total value last season and fantasy managers won't be disappointed selecting him within the first five picks.
Haliburton gets the nod over future HOF Stephen Curry because of his outstanding peripherals and has proven to deliver 20 points with 10 assists consistently. He's a threat to lead the league in assists and when you add his defense and efficiency, he's an easy mid-first-round pick.
His resume speaks for itself, but if he plays over 60 games, Curry could be a top-five player.
Ball was on the verge of having his best season as a pro but fell victim to unfortunate injury luck. I'm expecting him to return to All-Star form.
I'm docking Dame slightly because of his unresolved trade request, but he said he'll honor his contract until he's eventually dealt. His situation could drag out til the trade deadline, but until he's in another uniform, fantasy managers can expect Dame to give you 30 a night as a top-15 player in the NBA.
Young is another player with 20 points and 10 assists upside who could rise even higher by raising his FG percentage with fewer turnovers.
Tier 2: Should be drafted within the first three rounds
I'm high on VanVleet this season as he'll facilitate a much more dynamic offense with the Rockets and is poised to put up his best assist numbers to date.
Harden is another player who's been downgraded due to his trade request. Don't be surprised if you see him slipping down my rankings until there's significant movement on his contractual situation. Should the Sixers and Harden find a resolution by the start of the season, then Harden deserves to be drafted within the top two tiers of fantasy basketball.
Cunningham's '22-23 campaign ended after only 12 games, but with a new head coach and a noticeable upgrade in talent surrounding him, Cunningham is looking like a third-year breakout.
Tier 3: All-Star caliber PGs with high floors
4) De'Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings
Murray moved into this group after a memorable championship run that helped the Nuggets hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy in 2023. Murray has yet to crack the top 50 when playing over 50 games, which will change after this season.
Tier 4: Mid-tier guards with emerging roles (mostly)
1) Tyrese Maxey, Philadelphia 76ers
3) Chris Paul, Golden State Warriors
I was early on the Maxey hype train last season, but Harden's trade demands could shift Maxey into a more prominent role as a ball-handler and facilitator, which would be great for his fantasy value. Maxey could reach All-Star level production with Nick Nurse's reliance on starters and increased usage in his fourth NBA season.
The Celtics traded Marcus Smart to the Grizzlies in the offseason, which thrusts Derrick White into the starting point guard duties for one of the best teams in the league. He's one of the best defenders at the guard position, so don't be scared to reach for him like Noah Rubin's been saying all summer.
The steep fall for CP3 is warranted because he's 38 and noticeably declining. However, he's one of the most decorated fantasy basketball players of the modern era and never finished outside the top 40 in his career. He'll be effective even if he doesn't play heavy minutes, and that's probably better for him at this age, anyway.
Tier 5: Underrated value picks relative to ADP
1) Marcus Smart, Memphis Grizzlies
5) Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies
7) D'Angelo Russell, Los Angeles Lakers
Smart will produce a tier-four level at minimum to start the season since Ja Morant will serve a 25-game suspension. However, Morant's return will hamper his long-term value.
Fultz has some financial incentive to ball out because he'll be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2023-2024 season. He shot over 51% from the field and averaged career bests in points, assists, steals, blocks and three-point percentage last season, so he's a player who should be rising up draft boards.
McCollum shot poorly and posted his highest turnover rate in eight seasons, which led to him barely cracking the top 90 in fantasy last year. Still, he's going in the eighth round of early drafts, and that feels low, considering he's capable of averaging 21 points with four rebounds and five-plus assists with a talented Pelicans squad.
Poole's arrival briefly put Tyus Jones' plans of becoming a fantasy breakout on hold, but he still boasts an ideal skillset for fantasy. He's fully capable of matching his production as a starter last season — over 16 points with four boards, eight assists, plenty of steals and a low turnover rate.
Tre, Tyus' brother, is in a better position this season now that the Spurs waived Cam Payne and some guy named Victor Wembanyama is in the building. Jones has an exceptional assist-to-turnover ratio and is coming off his best year as a pro. He'll be running the Spurs offense, and they'll be better because of it.
D'Angelo Russell signed a new deal to remain with the Lakers, and he's projected to start at point guard (in name only) for LA. The Lakers also signed Gabe Vincent, and I'm concerned about Russell's assist numbers alongside LeBron James and Austin Reaves.
Tier 6: Draft-worthy late-round picks
2) Scoot Henderson, Portland Trail Blazers
3) De'Anthony Melton, Philadelphia 76ers
Dinwiddie projects as the third option in Brooklyn but has traditionally never been more than a fringe top 120 player in fantasy despite playing close to 30 minutes a night.
Scoot Henderson is one of the few rookies I'm expecting to do work, but it might take some time. Whenever Lillard gets traded, Scott is likely the biggest beneficiary. His brief stint at the 2023 Las Vegas Summer League was enough to see that he's the real deal.
With or without Harden, Melton will be a key fixture of the 76ers rotation and remains a strong three-point shooter and steals specialist for fantasy. An increase in minutes would be ideal for his fantasy appeal.
Russell Westbrook is probably higher than expected, but his time as a Clipper was productive. He was a top 100 player and rarely misses games, so if you're looking for assists, scoring and rebounding late in drafts, Westbrook is an option, assuming you can mask his poor shooting.
Tier 7: Combination of vets and potential sixth-man candidates
2) Malcolm Brogdon, Boston Celtics
4) Immanuel Quickley, New York Knicks
6) Ben Simmons, Brooklyn Nets
8 Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic
9) Kyle Lowry, Miami Heat
10) Gabe Vincent, Los Angeles Lakers
11) Kris Dunn, Utah Jazz
12) Dennis Smith Jr. - Brooklyn Nets
Brogdon is the most efficient of the bunch but comes with some injury risk, along with Sexton, Conley and Lowry. He's also feels slighted by the Celtics so make sure to keep tabs on any potential trade on the horizon.
Last season was Quickley's coming out party, and he's poised to be one of the best guards off the bench in the league and has top-100 potential.
Schroder is on cloud nine after bringing home a gold medal for Germany at the FIBA World Cup a couple of weeks ago. As the presumed starting point guard of a rebuilding Raptors franchise, he should be drafted in all formats.
The Bulls starting PG spot is up for grabs, and Jevon Carter is a candidate to take over the likes of Alex Caruso and Ayo Dosunmu.
Tier 8: Waiver options that could become fantasy-relevant
1) Monte Morris, Detroit Pistons
2) T.J. McConnell, Indiana Pacers
3) Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago Bulls
4) Cameron Payne, FA
5) Jaden Hardy, Dallas Mavericks
6) Bones Hyland, Los Angeles Clippers
7) Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls
8) Delon Wright, Washington Wizards
9) Davion Mitchell, Sacramento Kings
10) Patrick Beverley, Philadelphia 76ers
Morris and McConnell are the savvy vets who could help your roster if the injury bug hits Detroit or Indiana's backcourts.
Hardy should see more minutes off the bench after a decent performance at the 2023 Las Vegas Summer League.
Then there's a host of guards that could be waiver pickups throughout the season – Hyland, Caruso, Wright Mitchell and Beverley.
Tier 9: Lower-tiered waiver options
1) Payton Pritchard, Boston Celtics
2) Devonte' Graham, San Antonio Spurs
3) Jose Alvarado, New Orleans Pelicans
4) Malachi Flynn, Toronto Raptors
5) Reggie Jackson, Denver Nuggets
6) Anthony Black, Orlando Magic
7) Blake Wesley, San Antonio Spurs
8) Theo Maledon, Charlotte Hornets
9) Shake Milton, Minnesota Timberwolves
10) Killian Hayes, Detroit Pistons
I'll actively monitor Magic rookie Anthony Black from this group. His size and versatility could earn him a spot in the rotation, while most of this tier consists of deep bench guys.