Top 10 Fantasy Basketball Shooting Guards For 2012
The shooting guard position has always been synonymous with scoring. Every year it seems that the top 10 scorers in the NBA all occupy the two-spot. However, recently the position as been just as much about rebounds and steals, as it has about draining shots.
There are also a dozen solid shooting guards in the league that can put up serviceable fantasy numbers on a nightly basis. It is easily the deepest position in fantasy basketball nowadays and it is no longer the position to reach for in the first round.
The position is still anchored with veterans like Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant, Miami Heat's Dwayne Wade, and Brooklyn Nets' new addition, Joe Johnson. All three will easily score 20 points a game and will likely all be taken before the end of the second round. It is always nice to be able to pencil in a true veteran into your lineup, especially one that will finish in the top-20 in scoring.
There are also a handful of diamonds in the rough outside of the big names, and the new generation is much more versatile. The Denver Nuggets received Andre Iguodala in the Dwight Howard trade, and A.I. can always fill a stat sheet. Oklahoma City Thunder shooting guard James Harden burst on to the fantasy scene last year, and he offers a strong compliment to a team anchored by superstars, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
The fantasy basketball season will be here quicker than you think, so it is never too early to start building a cheat sheet. To help you in your upcoming draft, here are my top 10 fantasy basketball shooting guards for the 2012 season:
No. 9 Paul George, Indiana Pacers
Paul George, Indiana Pacers – George has one of the most beautiful shots in the league and it is a shame that he is constantly looked over for teammate Danny Granger.
George averaged almost 6 rebounds (5.6) and 2 steals (1.6) per contest, while maturing into one of best defensive-minded shooting guards in the sport. There is never enough defense played in the NBA, so stars like George that can add steals and boards from the two-spot are a hot fantasy commodity. He only averaged 12.1 points last year, but expect him to get much more involved in his third season in the pros.
No. 8 Eric Gordon, New Orleans Hornets
Eric Gordon, New Orleans Hornets – Gordon matured a lot with New Orleans last year, as he averaged a gaudy 20.6 points a game last year. Unfortunately, he was only able to play in nine games before a knee injury cost him the rest of his season. Gordon showed amazing ability to knock down outside shots and was fearless with his shot selection. Gordon may be a risky pick considering his lack of time last year, but his ceiling is simply too high to ignore.
No. 7 Marcus Thorton, Sacramento Kings
Marcus Thorton, Sacramento Kings – Thorton is one of the best kept secrets in the NBA, which is mostly because the Kings’ are not exactly in the west coast media with all the attention on the LA Lakers, LA Clippers, and Golden State Warriors.
Thorton posted 18.7 points a game in 2011, but more relevant to his fantasy production was the fact that he also hit 2.1 3-pointers a game and added 1.4 steals. Thorton will get plenty of playing time, especially with Tyreke Evans now occupying the three spot so expect the youngster to shine this year.
No. 6 Joe Johnson, Brooklyn Nets
Joe Johnson, Brooklyn Nets – Johnson has to be one of the most underrated playesr each season. He averaged 18.8 points, 3.9 assist, and 3.7 rebounds a game and yet people till did not notice. Johnson has averaged 17.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 4.4 assists a game over his respectable 11-year career. All he does is show up and fill the box score, and in fantasy hoops that is all you need from a shooting guard.
Johnson is so consistent from the two-guard position it is scary. Do not let his age or the change of scenery scare you away, because he will certainly average 19 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists a game.
No. 5 James Harden, Oklahoma City Thunder
James Harden, Oklahoma City Thunder - The NBA’s version of Buffalo Bills' quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, Harden has become one of the faces of the OKC squad. He has emerged as an amazing compliment in the middle of the team’s two superstars, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
Harden averaged 16.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 4.1 dimes in an offense that previously appeared too crowded. He has become a great mid-level option at the shooting guard position and will come much cheaper than Kobe Bryant.
No. 4 Andre Iguodala, Denver Nuggets
Andre Iguodala, Denver Nuggets – Iguodala will be the new secret weapon of the Denver Nuggets. The former Arizona Wildcat can score, but he can also rebound and steal the ball, as he was named to the 2011 All-Defensive Second Team.
Iguodala is the ideal shooting guard in roto-leagues, because he does a little bit of everything, and redefines the phrase “filling s stat sheet”. He averaged 12.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.2 3-pointers per game last season.
No. 3 Monta Ellis, Milwaukee Bucks
Monta Ellis, Milwaukee Bucks - Ellis averaged 20.4 points a game between Milwaukee and his former team, the Golden State Warriors. Over the last several seasons Ellis has become one of the most electrifying players in the game.
In 2011 Ellis finished 11th in scoring (20.4 points), 8th in 2010 (24.1), and 6th in 2009 (25.5). The 26-year old is an absolute scoring machine and in fantasy basketball the more points you can get, the better. Bucks head coach, Scotty Skiles, will harp on Ellis’ shot selection all year, so expect the guard to have a much stronger field goal percentage in 2012.
No. 2 Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers - It is not often that Kobe Bryant will fall out of the first round of a fantasy basketball draft, but that is exactly what is happening this season. Millions of people are underestimating the Black Mamba, and you know what happens when you mess with a snake; you get bit.
He is 34 years old and did have wrist/shin injuries that cost him 25 games last year, but how can you argue with his numbers? Bryant, in a supposed down year, still averaged 27.9 points, 4.6 assists, and a respectable 5.4 boards per game and anyone can live with a 28-5-5 season from their starting two-guard.
Bryant still went over 35 points, ten times including five games with 40 points or more. No one in the game can score like Bryant and he is the only player that can drop 60 points on any given night.
No. 1 Dwayne Wade, Miami Heat
Dwayne Wade, Miami Heat – It seems every year Wade has the same aching knee problems, but no one at the position can contribute in bunches like Wade can, including the aforementioned Black Mamba. Before last season, Wade played in at least 76 games in three consecutive seasons and he still played in 49 games in last year’s injury plagued season.
He had eight games in which he scored over 30 points last year, which is quite incredible considering the surrounding talent he has down in South Beach. He is still the dominant player at his position and will be an early first round pick as long as he is still wearing basketball shorts.
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