Top 10 Fantasy Basketball Small Forwards For 2012
The small forward position has quickly become the focal point in fantasy basketball drafts. With big names like Miami Heat’s LeBron James and Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant being drafted one and two in every league this fall.
However, after reviewing the position, it is one of the most definite positions in the sport. When you draft veteran small forwards, you know exactly what you are going to get out of them. There are not many youngsters occupying the starting three-spot around the NBA, which is certainly not a coincidence. It is one of the most important positions in basketball, as it always provides different physical matchups between each team.
The one superstar rookie at the position, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, was critical in the Kentucky Wildcats 2011 NCAA Championship run. MKG also occupies the small forward position, and since he was the first round pick by the Charlotte Bobcats, he will no doubt be starting in the three-spot from day one.
However, looking around the rest of the league, the small forward position is filled with veterans. Stars like Paul Pierce, Carmelo Anthony, and Gerald Wallace are all entering the downside of their careers, leaving thousands of fantasy basketball fans wondering how much their have left in the tank.
The fantasy basketball season will be tipping off on October 30th, so there is only a week left to get your fill of fantasy draft advice. To help you build you cheat sheets this season, here are my top 10 fantasy basketball small forwards for the 2012 season:
10. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte Bobcats
MKG is a very dynamic player, as he combines with explosiveness with strength and has the potential to be on several NBA All-Defensive First Teams in his career. He may not average much over 12 points a game, but he will certainly help fantasy owners by getting around 6 boards, 2 steals and 2 blocks per game.
9. Tyreke Evans, Sacramento Kings
Tyreke Evans, Sacramento Kings - Evans has moved over to small forward from the shooting guard position and has shined since the transition. Evans posted 16.5 points and 4.6 rebounds a game last year, but his history as a former guard helped him distribute the ball. Evans also averaged a respectable 4.5 assists per game from the three-spot. Evans ahs great value as a mid-level pick and is someone who will show up and work every game.
8. Gerald Wallace, Brooklyn Nets
Gerald Wallace, Brooklyn Nets –Wallace only played in 16 games last season with the Nets, as he came over from the Portland Trail Blazers in the a trade in exchange for the Nets’ 2012 first round pick. However, overall Wallace had a very down year last season. His 13.9 points was his lowest total since 2004 and his 6.7 rebounds were his lowest total 2007.
Look for Wallace to improve on his 2011 numbers, as he has the best surrounding cast he has ever had by begin in Brooklyn. He will get back to 15 points and 8 boards a game this year and will finally get some prime time media coverage, courtesy of Jay-Z.
7. Luol Deng, Chicago Bulls
Loul Deng, Chicago Bulls – Deng will now be the focal point of the Bulls’ offense with Derrick Rose still sidelined with a torn ACL. Deng took on average 14 shots and 39.4 minutes per game in 2011, two of Deng’s numbers which will likely go up with the lack of Rose on offense.
Deng has always been a phenomenal shooter from the floor. He averaged 15.3 points and 1.5 3-pointers per contest last year, but he will see an increase in his numbers across the board with his extra offensive responsibility.
However, this will also cause him to post huge fantasy numbers. Look for Deng to post at least 18 points a game with over 2 3-pointers per contest. His field goal percentage may continue to go down, by expect his points, rebounds, and minutes to go up drastically.
6. Danny Granger, Indiana Pacers
Danny Granger, Indiana Pacers - In 2011 Granger averaged 18.7 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 3-pointers per contest last year, which many people considered his performance a disappointment. He averaged 25. 8 points in 2008, 24.1 points in 2009, and 20.5 points in 2010, so the fact that he did not reach the 20-point plateau frustrated more than a handful of fantasy fans. However, Granger is not the only person in the offense, as Paul George has emerged as another scorer. Granger may not be post 25-point season anymore, but he is still a guy that can get you over 19 points a game and add 7-8 rebounds.
5. Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics
Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics - People keep discounting the 35-year “forward”, but he just keeps posting 20-point seasons. Pierce posted a very respectable 19.4 points, 4.5 assists, 5.2 rebounds, 1.1 steals, and shot a very underrated 85% from the charity stripe.
Pierce continues to post huge numbers and will have an even bigger role in the offense with shooting guard Ray Allen now playing for the rival Miami Heat. Pierce will easily average 19-4-4 again this year, so do not let his age scare you away from his consistent play and the team’s desperate need more for him to score.
4. Rudy Gay, Memphis Grizzlies
Rudy Gay, Memphis Grizzlies – Gay may have seen s light increase in his points, as he went from 19.8 points a game in 2010 down to 19.0 points a game last season. However, Gay has averaged a very consistent 19.48 points over his last five NBA seasons and has become one for he most reliable options on a daily basis. Gay may not have many 30-point games, but he wont have many 10-point games either.
3. Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets
Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks - Anthony averaged 22.6 points with 6.3 boards per game last year, as he proved to at least statically get along with superstar teammate Amar’e Stoudemire. Anthony looked great in the Olympics; so expect him to carry over that confidence to Madison Square Garden this season.
Anthony is still 28 years old so he has a lot of basketball left, but the question is how much basketball is left in his $100 million dollar knees. Melo will once again average well over 20 points this season, but he is not longer the elite keeper he once was. Anthony will miss some games and will struggle shooting at times. However, he is one of the only players that can average over 20 points and 9 rebounds that can be found outside of the first round, so do not let him fall too far.
2. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder - Durant scored 28 points and 8.0 rebounds a game last year and has matured into the best pure shooter in the game of basketball. He shot the ball an incredible 19.7 times per game in 2011, but head coach Scott Brooks is certainly not shy about having his superstar throw up shot after shot, especially with his unthinkable 49.6 field goal percentage.
However, Durant only averaged 3.5 assists per game, which is the only reason he comes in at number two on this list. He is easily the number two pick in every fantasy format, just not number one.
1. LeBron James, Miami Heat
LeBron James, Miami Heat – The three-time NBA MVP (2009, 2010, 2012) has dominated fantasy basketball as well, as not many people in the history of the sport can fill a stat sheet like King James. James posted 27.1 points, 6.2 assists, and 7.9 rebounds a game last year, and the combination of all three is simply unthinkable from a fantasy perspective.
No one is close to posting 27-6-8 numbers, making James’ the most valuable player in the entire fantasy world. Draft him first overall and you will not be disappointment in his fourth MVP performance in 2012.
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