Shuffle Up: Talking Kawhi Leonard and all other guard rankings

Dalton Del Don
San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) is pressured by Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Dec. 18, 2015, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Scott Pianowski has always been your guy for shuffling up football and baseball, and I’ll steal his rules (re-ranking players for rest of season value) here for hoops. Let’s start by talking about Kawhi Leonard, who’s been the No. 3 most valuable fantasy player on a per-game basis this season, and since he’s played five more contests than Kevin Durant, only Stephen Curry has held more overall value. Despite a recent shooting slump (he’s shot 37.5 percent from the field over the past week), Leonard has the fifth-highest PER (25.77) in the NBA.

After never hitting 38.0 percent of his shots from downtown, he’s made 48.1 this season while attempting by far the most triples of his career. It’s not easy to be one of the three most valuable fantasy assets in the NBA while seeing just 33:09 mpg, although it’s helped he’s seen his Usage Rate climb during every season he’s been in the league. Leonard is still just 24 years old, and we haven’t even begun to talk about how he’s also the league’s best defender and is the main reason the Spurs lead the NBA in point differential. He’s going to carry fantasy owners down the stretch.

Note: Players in each tier appear how I rank them in order of value.

TIER ONE

Stephen Curry

James Harden

Kawhi Leonard

Russell Westbrook

Chris Paul

Paul George

Kyle Lowry

Jimmy Butler

Kyrie Irving

John Wall

Damian Lillard

Klay Thompson

Kemba Walker

Victor Oladipo

Jrue Holiday

George is shooting just 36.9 percent from the floor over the past month, but he’s clearly proven he’s fully recovered from his gruesome leg injury and should be treated as an elite option...After ranking outside the top-50 each of the past two seasons, Walker has been a top-15 player this year...Oladipo has struggled when on the floor and is now dealing with an injury, but there’s still plenty of upside.

TIER TWO

C.J. McCollum

Isaiah Thomas

DeMar DeRozan

Ricky Rubio

Nicolas Batum

Khris Middleton

Reggie Jackson

Mike Conley

Gordon Hayward

Brandon Knight

Rajon Rondo

Bradley Beal

Jeff Teague

Tyreke Evans

George Hill

McCollum has arguably been the league’s biggest breakout in 2015/16, while Thomas barely had a top-75 ADP and has been the No. 28 ranked player so far...Middleton continues to be underrated, while Rondo has totally revitalized his career in Sacramento, leading the NBA in apg by 2.0. Rondo’s current fantasy rank (No. 52) is actually the highest of his 10-year career. He’s No. 22 in 8-cat formats...Teague has been a major disappointment, and there’s a strong argument he’s the second best point guard on his own team.

TIER THREE

Goran Dragic

Will Barton

J.J. Redick

Michael Carter-Williams

Kent Bazemore

Eric Gordon

Deron Williams

Trevor Ariza

Monta Ellis

Dwyane Wade

Kantavious Caldwell-Pope

Avery Bradley

Ish Smith

Dragic has been one of the bigger busts this season, and the Heat’s offense that ranks second to last in Pace hasn’t exactly helped Wade’s value either...Barton and Bazemore have been revelations, as they are both top-50 players after going undrafted in most leagues...Since rejoining Philadelphia, Smith has averaged 16.9-7.5-1.5.

TIER FOUR

Elfrid Payton

Tony Parker

Wesley Matthews

Andrew Wiggins

Derrick Rose

Evan Fournier

Devin Booker

Robert Covington

J.R. Smith

Lou Williams

Marcus Smart

Matt Barnes

C.J. Miles

Andre Iguodala

I wouldn’t give up on Payton, but he’s shooting 41.8 percent from the field on the year and 31.3 percent from the line over the past month, when he’s been truly worthless to his owners...Despite getting a career low 27:13 mpg and just 12.8 ppg, Parker’s held by far his most fantasy value since 2012/13...Wiggins has the big name, but he hasn’t been a top-150 player this season. He hasn’t been top-250 on a per-36 minute basis either...It’s one thing for Rose to shoot just 40.5 percent from the floor, but it’s another to add just 0.6 spg and 0.6 3pt. His ADP was No. 76, and his current rank is No. 252, and health obviously remains a concern...Only 20 players have helped more than Williams in the FT% category this season. His 6.1 FTA rank No. 16 despite seeing only 29:0 mpg. No one else in the top-25 is seeing less than 32.6.

TIER FIVE

Jose Calderon

Rodney Hood

Kyle Korver

Danny Green

Arron Afflalo

Jordan Clarkson

Darren Collison

Manu Ginobili

Jeremy Lin

Mario Chalmers

Dennis Schroder

De’Angelo Russell

Trey Burke

Thabo Sefolosha

Jeremy Lamb

Jerryd Bayless

Patrick Beverley

Gary Harris

Korver shot 49.2 percent from beyond the arc last season, while Green hit 41.8 percent of his attempts from downtown. They are at 36.2% and 32.6% this year, respectively. Both were top-35 players last season and neither is top-125 in 2015/16...If Teague were to get injured, bump Schroder up about 50 spots.

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