It’s a deep, talented pool at the point guard position. Most teams have an experienced starter, several backups are well worth owning and the rookie crop is interesting.
These are one man’s opinions, early in the game. I don’t even attempt to compile “accurate” rankings, only these tiers. After adjusting for each league’s settings (and specific needs in categories or positions) my own cheat sheets will evolve over the next six weeks and no two will end up identical.
Many SG have PG eligibility, so if someone you like isn’t on this list, you’ll find him in the next one on Sunday. Eligibility at multiple positions is an asset, but teams using Jason Terry or Jamal Crawford at PG might find themselves short of assists. There are plenty of “pure” point guards to consider.
While the pecking order is clear, exactly where you select these two is subjective. It’s tempting to build around a big name here, but keep in mind there’s an opportunity to get excellent PG value in the middle and even late rounds of most drafts.
- Chris Paul, LAC: Deserves to go #3 overall in most leagues and gives any fantasy team a great cornerstone. No concern about his sore hand.
- Russell Westbrook, OKC: Turnovers are the only negative. He’s a scoring machine, durable, in his prime and a solid pick in the middle of the first round.
If you want to call these guys the 3-4-5 members of Tier 1, that’s fine with me. Tiers are like imaginary lines; if only the last player in a tier is still available, I give him slight extra consideration in the draft room.
- Deron Williams, BRO: A lot of weapons at his disposal compared to last year; must stay healthy. Might not be the third PG off the board in every league because of the next two young guns.
- Kyrie Irving, CLE: The Rookie of the Year starts with more experience, better teammates and a longer leash from his coach. Expect improvement and draft with confidence.
- Ty Lawson, DEN: Load up on Nuggets wherever possible. They are going to run and Lawson is at the controls. Helps your FG% and does everything else but block shots.
If you haven’t got your starting PG yet, fear not. This is a deep, wide tier, with something for everyone. In snake drafts, if you’re on a “corner” (first or last) it gives you the option of taking two excellent players back-to-back, a move that always shakes up a draft room.
- Brandon Jennings, MIL: Maturing (he isn’t 23 yet) and productive (19.1 PPG) but that 41.8 FG% must improve. It’s a chance worth taking.
- Rajon Rondo, BOS: If your league doesn’t count FT%, he’s a superstar. If it does, punting a category isn’t always a bad thing.
- John Wall, WAS: If your league doesn’t count turnovers, bump him up. Would also like to see better shooting; improvement won’t be a surprise from someone who just turned 22.
- Stephen Curry, GSW: Health concerns for a Tier 2 talent. The more he falls in your draft, the better the risk/reward. I’m not completely excluding him or expecting to own him.
- Mike Conley, MEM: The consistent, safe pick. What he gives away in PTS he makes up for in STL and he seldom turns it over.
- Steve Nash, LAL: In redraft leagues only. One of these years, he’ll hang it up, leaving you with an empty roster spot in a keeper league. This season he’ll be fun to own.
- Derrick Rose, CHI: In keeper formats, still a stud. Even in redraft leagues with extra bench spots, where you can afford to stash him until about March, he could pay off.
- Kyle Lowry, TOR: Dwane Casey loves him. His illness last year is ancient history and he’s motivated to show the Rockets they made a mistake.
Over at Rotoworld, Steve Alexander just published the results of an industry draft, so you can see where experts made their picks. No, I’m not part of the industry (yet) but my backcourt in that league, had I been invited to participate, would definitely include Greivis Vasquez, who went #78 overall and is ranked even lower by most fans.
- Goran Dragic, PHO Takes over as undisputed starter on a team that runs. What’s not to like? Could have a better year than some of my Tier 3 choices.
- Tony Parker, SAS Main downside is the unexpected DNP in 10+ games. Lack of 3PTM isn’t a problem if you make up for it with other players.
- Jeremy Lin, HOU Durability is a question mark. It’s nothing to do with his knee injury, just a concern that if he keeps driving, he might get knocked down, or even out.
- Ricky Rubio, MIN Would be in Tier 3 if 100% healthy. The latest word is that he’ll be back in December and presumably at full speed by January. Might be worth waiting for.
- Jrue Holiday, PHI Improvement in sophomore season stalled a bit last year. However, might handle the ball more now that Andre Iguodala is elsewhere.
- Damian Lillard, POR: The only rookie expected to start all season. I don’t know how to project his stats because it’s a huge transition from #1 option in college to pro playmaker. Just yesterday, Bruce Wrigley argued eloquently that it may not be entirely smooth.
- Greivis Vasquez, NOH First full season as the #1 guy — averaged 12 PTS and 7 AST as a starter last year — and should be a draft-day bargain in all formats.
The whole idea of using tiers is to group players you think have similar values. Fine-tuning often happens in the draft room, at the last minute. If you have Tony Parker as your #1 PG and are ready to pick another, give strong consideration to the best 3-point shooter in your tier.
- Jeff Teague, ATL Could take another step forward in his development and have a great year. There’s also a chance he’ll lose minutes to Devin Harris.
- Mo Williams, UTA Ignore his low assist totals as a Clipper, he’s back to playmaking in between shots. A pretty good target as a second fantasy PG and a monster as your third.
- Darren Collison, DAL Lands in a sweet spot. The undisputed starter on a team with a lot of talent, he should make everyone forget that he lost his job a year ago.
- Raymond Felton, NYK Conditioning and FG% have been issues for a while now but he’s at the controls of an exciting team.
- Jameer Nelson, ORL Might become more of a scorer this season. The big dog no longer has to be fed and the Magic don’t have a lot of other options.
- Brandon Knight, DET Improvement expected as a sophomore but the recent news of a sore foot dampens my enthusiasm just a little.
- George Hill, IND The man who took over from Collison gets a full season at the helm of a very good team. He is expected to play the most minutes of his career.
- Isaiah Thomas, SAC Averaged 31 minutes post all-star break but who knows what the Kings will do? Tyreke Evans wants the ball and Aaron Brooks is in the mix.
The rest of these players may be useful or not, depending on the number of teams and PG spots in your league. You should have a #1 by now and maybe even a #2, so you can cherry-pick from this tier to add depth, tweak a category or speculate on a rookie with upside.
- Mario Chalmers, MIA Hit 101 3-pointers last year and will play the same role. If you get AST from your other point guard(s) he’s a nice addition later in the draft.
- Kirk Hinrich, CHI Figures to be the starter until Rose is 100% and while he won’t play at a fast tempo, he won’t hurt your numbers.
- Kemba Walker, CHA Nominal starter for a terrible team. I can make the case either way: things can only get better, or it’s gonna be another long, miserable year.
- Jarrett Jack, GSW Nice insurance policy if you own Curry and a good speculative pick at this stage.
- Jose Calderon, TOR Brilliant FT% and A/T but has lost starting role and could use a change of scenery. Might play alongside Lowry enough to maintain some value.
- Kendall Marshall, PHO Averaged 9.8 AST and only 2.8 TO as a UNC sophomore. Will be coveted in keeper leagues; short-term value is uncertain.
- Luke Ridnour, MIN The #1 PG until Rubio returns, then a decent backup or possible trade bait.
- Andre Miller, DEN Leads a strong second unit on a running team. No keeper potential left, but he remains one of the better fantasy assets among backups this season.
- Austin Rivers, NOH Should also be worth more in the future than 2012-13, which figures to be a learning experience.
- Marquis Teague, CHI The probable backup until Derrick Rose returns, rookie has a big opportunity. Arguably the “best” player left off our Depth Chart.
Obviously, the list is thinning out. Everybody remaining has a significant degree of risk. If you’re in a 30-team league that happens to require two PG, you might need to take a good look at some of those SG with eligibility in both positions.
- Devin Harris, ATL Hoping to play his way into more minutes but Teague should remain the starter. A decent contributor even off the bench.
- Ramon Sessions, CHA Could emerge if Walker disappoints. May also tire soon of a limited role on a last-place team.
- C.J. Watson, BRO Nice pickup for the Nets, as he’ll fill in capable for D-Will as needed and spark a strong second unit.
- Will Bynum, DET The likely backup, assuming Rodney Stuckey stays at the 2, Bynum can penetrate and score if he gets the minutes.
- Toney Douglas, HOU Above, I expressed concern about Jeremy Lin staying healthy. Douglas and/or Shaun Livingston could be thrust into a starting role at some point.
- D.J. Augustin, IND It’s possible that DJA will get more run than most backups; excellent insurance if you own George Hill, or a speculative longshot pick.
- Aaron Brooks, SAC Brooks was a monster three years ago, draining over 200 3-pointers. He had an off-year as a backup for two teams before playing last season in China. Could be a pleasant surprise.
- Jerryd Bayless, MEM Provides depth for the Grizzlies and will score when he’s on the floor. Solid pick in the end-game of deeper drafts.
- Eric Bledsoe, LAC Take a look at his game log from last year. Brought back very slowly in February, still limited in March, he had some huge playoff games in May.
As we get closer to the season, you’ll hear more about ADP — Average Draft Position. It helps you decide when to pounce on a sleeper, or wait another round. ADP will be slightly different depending on the source, and more meaningful after a greater number of drafts are complete. It’s too early to be relevant; in Yahoo one guy drafted Nando De Colo very high, as he’s got a 114.8 ADP and is owned in 2% of leagues yet doesn’t come close to my top 60.
- Steve Blake, LAL It only takes a Steve Nash injury for Blake to get big minutes and knock down a few threes.
- Jason Kidd, NYK If you can live with 36% shooting, a source of 3PTM, AST, STL and even REB who could steal minutes from Felton.
- Delonte West, DAL Will be Collison’s backup; you could do worse in deep leagues.
- Nolan Smith, POR If Lillard isn’t the answer, where else will they turn?
- Nate Robinson, CHI In the mix at least until Rose returns, if only as an offensive sparkplug. Has big games when he gets hot.
- Beno Udrih, MIL Averaged just 18 minutes last year but usually puts up fantasy-friendly numbers. I’d like him more on another team.
- Gary Neal, SAS One of the compromises on our Depth Chart, he’s really more of a SG and may have to battle for minutes at the 2 with some great players.
- Patrick Mills, SAS It’s quite possible that Patty will be the backup PG and the starter whenever Tony Parker gets a night off. Potential value pick in deep leagues.
- Eric Maynor, OKC Tore his ACL early last year; reportedly healthy now but playing behind Westbrook limits anyone’s minutes.
- J.J Barea, MIN T-Wolves have a lot of guards. If Brandon Roy stays healthy and Rubio returns, what’s his role?
- John Lucas, TOR The expiring contract of Jose Calderon is a trade asset in real life. Lucas could become the backup and might be available in 30-team leagues.
- Pablo Prigioni, NYK Who? 35-year-old rookie has been a playmaker for the Argentine team and once led the Euroleague in STL and AST. Third-stringer for now.
- Kim English, DET 2nd-rounder is more of a SG but might be needed at the point if Knight isn’t 100%.
These articles aren’t intended to be followed like a road map or GPS. There are countless paths to fantasy success. The idea is to get you thinking about your own draft prep. I’m always “wrong” on various players, especially this early in the preseason. If you like the tiers approach, don’t miss the rest of this series: SG on Sunday, SF on Monday, PF on Tuesday and C on Wednesday.
Welcome to our 150+ new Twitter followers in the last three days. @SheridanFantasy will be more active during the season, when Bruce, Jeff and I will keep you up-to-date on things like last-minute lineup changes.