Fantasy Shooting Guards Preseason Rankings

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James Harden

The Rockets might have acquired Chris Paul, but I don’t expect this to affect James Harden’s numbers that much. If anything, his turnovers should reduce immediately. In a points league, that can help an owner dramatically. He probably will see a reduction in free throws per game as well, which could reduce his scoring average. All in all, Harden is still the top shooting guard option. As a reference, he averaged 29 points, 6.1 rebounds and 7.5 assists when he wasn’t the primary ball handler in the 2015-2016 season. I’d take that.

DeMar DeRozan

The guy just keeps improving each season. Last season, he was top-five in scoring and usage, which was his second consecutive season doing such. I expect Kyle Lowry to have more maintenance days, resulting in more chances for DeRozan to produce. Coach Dwayne Casey said he may have DeMar DeRozan “handle the ball a bit more as a point guard.” It would be nice if DeRozan added more assists and 3-pointers to his game, which is something else Casey has challenged him to do.

Devin Booker

The young buck will take another leap this season. Entering his third season, he will be 21 years old. Are you kidding me?! The No. 1 option for the Suns will look to increase his 22 points per game from last year and has an excellent chance to do so. In March and April, he averaged 26 points and this was when Eric Bledsoe was shut down. He had nearly five assists and four rebounds during that span. There’s no question that the former Kentucky Wildcat will be off the board early.

C.J. McCollum

As the trend begins now, most of these shooting guards don’t contribute in anything else other than scoring. McCollum increased his scoring output, again, but failed to make strides in any other category. He even attempted fewer 3-pointers. You’re not going wrong by drafting him, but I would make it a point to address assists and rebounds quickly.

Bradley Beal

I almost put Beal ahead of McCollum, but his inability to stay healthy couldn’t drive me to do it. Yes, he only missed five games last year, but it needs to be more consistent. Beal had the most field goal attempts on the team last year and the Wizards didn’t make any significant additions.  He had four duds in the playoffs, but if you throw out those games he still averaged 30 points in the other nine games. With more consistency, Beal should be able to improve on his assists.

Klay Thompson

Like Steph Curry, Thompson’s numbers were supposed to decline this past season when Kevin Durant arrived. Wrong. Thompson still averaged a career high 22.3 points on a career high 17.6 shot attempts. He is an elite 3-point shooter and that will be where he makes his points in fantasy leagues, along with steals.

Khris Middleton

Middleton is one season removed from being an 18 point scorer and he will have some time to do it again without Jabari Parker in the lineup. He was able to play the full month of March and he put up 17.3 points, 3.4 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game in 33 minutes of action. He also contributes to steals and the occasional 3-pointer for your team. Middleton could be in the running for the Comeback Player of the Year Award.

Andrew Wiggins

Not known for much other than scoring, Wiggins could see a slight decline with the arrival of Jimmy Butler and Jeff Teague. Coach Thibs wants Wiggins to focus on rebounding this season, so if he is able to increase his average to five or six per game, his value will increase.

Nicolas Batum

Batum has increased his scoring the past two seasons, but he is limited to Kemba Walker being the No. 1 option. Batum is a good source of rebounds and assists from the shooting guard position, but from a $100M contract, the scoring could be left for more to be desired. He may have Malik Monk vying for some minutes, but the savvy veteran should be able to fend him off.

Victor Oladipo  

Oladipo should be closer to 17 points per game this season, but he will be with his third team in three seasons. The Pacers are in full re-build mode after the Paul George trade and Oladipo will unfortunately suffer because of it. He should be controlling the ball more often, and that should allow him to attack the basket. In OKC last year, he shot 374 shots in the paint or restricted area. The previous season with the Magic, he shot 415 shots in the paint. Granted, that could be the Russell Westbrook effect, but regardless, Oladipo should return top-50 value.

Avery Bradley

In the 2015-2016 season, the Pistons ranked 10th in 3-point attempts and it seems that they want to shoot more this season. They ranked in the bottom half last season. He had a career year in averaging points, rebounds and assists. Bradley is entering a contract year, and the Pistons ownership has stated they will do whatever it takes to keep him for the long term. He has the ability this season to average 20 points.

Rodney Hood

The opportunity to be the No. 1 option is up for grabs in Utah following the departure of Gordon Hayward. Hood has been quoted as saying he wants to be named Most Improved Player. GM Dennis Lindsey believes he can score 18 points per game and had him stay in Utah to train. Clearly, there was a message being sent. Hood should be given all the looks he can handle.

Jamal Murray

It’s not clear whether the trade talk was real or not, but it seemed like Jamal Murray was highly coveted this summer. Murray got a lot of run in April and showed he is capable of running an offense. Michael Malone has said the point guard position is up for grabs in Denver. Murray averaged 15 points, five assist and 3.6 rebounds in April.

Dwyane Wade

Wade’s reunion with LeBron James might be a little overhyped. Wade shot the same amount of 3-pointers last season, as the same amount he made the previous three seasons combined. Yes, the NBA is now an all-or-nothing league, had it not been for a 37% 3-point field goal start to the season, Wade could have had his lowest scoring mark of his career. And that’s a real possibility this upcoming season.

Zach LaVine

It stinks that he went down with an ACL tear last season. He was averaging almost 19 points, three assists and 3.4 rebounds per game before the injury. Now in Chicago and missing at least the first month of the season, LaVine could be on a minute restriction and a random maintenance day here and there. Don’t waste too high of a late round pick on him. The Bulls are going to be bad, so this might be a lost season for LaVine.

Danny Stokes - Senior NBA Writer/Analyst for Legion Report

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