With the NBA play-in tournament underway and the actual playoffs starting in a matter of days, it is time to take one last look back at how each position stacked up against each other from a fantasy perspective across the 2022-2023 regular season.
This year featured an array of talented shooting guards making their mark in the league, with seven players in the top 20 for per-game value.
Many of the names you’ll see here may have also landed in last week’s point guards exit interview column, so I’ll hone in on the players who weren’t featured or those who played most of their minutes at SG this season.
Let’s dive in!
Tier 1: The Elite
A jersey swap may have been just what Spida needed, as he posted the best fantasy season of his career, finishing 11th in per-game value. Oh, and he dropped 70 points in a game while showing he could thrive alongside three other fantasy ballers in Darius Garland, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen.
With most of his minutes coming from the SF position, I’ll cover Kawhi in the SF exit interview still to come.
Tier 2: On the cusp of elite
He played in 56 games this season after only 31 last year, so the injury risk is rising into 2023-2024. Still, he was a top-24 player in 9-cat leagues, and his floor is 23/6/5 with 3 triples and over a steal per contest.
Kevin Durant‘s arrival didn’t disrupt Booker’s production in the limited floor time they shared in the regular season (8 games). In fact, he put up what would’ve been career-high-esque numbers with 28.5 points, 6.9 assists, 4.3 rebounds, 2.1 threes and 1.4 steals with 49/32/86 shooting splits. Booker is a sure-fire early-to-mid second-round pick who should improve upon his 27th-ranked finish.
With most of his minutes coming from the SF position, I’ll cover Bridges in the SF exit interview still to come.
He was abysmal to start the year, but he really turned it up once Karl-Anthony Towns went down, finishing the season 40th overall. There will still be some growing pains with Rudy Gobert and Towns clogging up the frontcourt, but it’s clear that Ant-man is Minnesota’s best player, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him morph into one of the best two-way guards by next season. That boost in defensive stats and his ability to score and facilitate the offense give Edwards a ton of upside going into next season’s campaign.
Tier 3: Stars in the making
24/4/4 is a safe expectation for the All-Star guard going forward. With his strides in scoring efficiency and threes, he’s a top 50 player in fantasy.
With most of his minutes coming from the SF position, I’ll cover Brown in the SF exit interview.
The soon-to-be 25-year-old finished 32nd in per-game value after playing 59 games and posting career-highs in points, rebounds and assists per game. Bane also shot a career-best 48% from the field, which included 54% on 2-pt field goals. I’ll be eyeing him to make his first All-Star team next season.
Tier 4: Underrated assets
Regression was due after being the focal point of the Spurs’ offense. Still, Murray showed he was more than capable of playing off-ball with Trae Young. Murray saw a downtick in rebounds and assists, but the points, steals and efficiency numbers were on par with last year’s breakout.
With most of his minutes coming from the SF position, I’ll cover Hield in the SF exit interview still to come.
With most of his minutes coming from the SF position, I’ll cover Anunoby in the SF exit interview still to come.
Tier 4: Risers that will exceed their ADP
Maxey finished in the top 30 for the final two months of the 22-23 season. He had a brief stint coming off the bench when he returned from a foot injury, but if the third-year pro can improve his playmaking and defense, he’ll surely outpace his ADP next season.
With most of his minutes coming from the SF position, I’ll cover Ingram in the SF exit interview.
He was one of the best rookies this season in fantasy and gradually improved each month to finish inside the top 75. The Thunder are loaded with talent, but if Williams can sustain his efficiency and high steals rate, he’ll likely perform better than his ADP suggests.
I need more than a 38-game sample size, so I’ll be looking to buy low on Vassell heading into next season. We’ll see what the Spurs do in the NBA draft, but Vassell flashed his potential, averaging close to 19/4/4 with 3 triples and a steal in his second year in the league. That was good enough for a top-80 fantasy finish, and he’ll exceed that number with more games under his belt.
I’m not sure where the market will place Stone Cold Austin Reaves after a phenomenal end-of-season run for the Lakers, but I think he’s at least worthy of a mid-round pick based on what we’ve seen in his growth as an efficient scorer who can rack up assists as well. The Lakers seem interested in retaining him on a new deal, so we’ll see if that holds. His playoff performance can certainly force their hand.
The Blazers shut down Simons a little early, but he averaged over 21 points with 4 assists and three triples per contest. He’s the second option to Damian Lillard, so volume shouldn’t be an issue.
With most of his minutes coming from the SF position, I’ll cover Jones in the SF exit interview still to come.
Tier 5: Solid mid-round veterans
Klay Thompson’s resurgence was real, closing out the season 61st overall. He appears to be back to his sharpshooting ways, but I wouldn’t expect much on the defensive end at this stage in his career. Tyler Herro finished 77th this season, but with Kyle Lowry’s steep decline, Herro will likely step into a more prominent role as a ball-handler next year. He’ll miss the next 4-6 weeks with an ankle injury, but there’s no reason to assume he won’t be ready by the start of the 23-24 season.
The Lakers must decide whether to retain D’Angelo Russell or enter the Kyrie Irving sweepstakes. But either way, Russell should be a good source of points, assists and threes no matter where he lands. Gary Trent Jr. is in a similar situation as Russell, where the Raptors could keep him, but I wouldn’t bank on it. Trent had a good but not great season, finishing 9th in total steals and averaging 17 ppg. His FG% is undesirable, and his lack of rebounds or assists hamper his appeal in 9-cat leagues.
You’re probably wondering why it’s taken so long to mention Bradley Beal, and frankly, it’s because I can’t trust him. He’s a perennial All-Star type of talent who burns you year-over-year with injuries and absences. While he’s one of the top shooting guards in the league, he’s on my don’t-draft list. CJ McCollum had a down year, finishing just inside the top 90. Despite his struggles with efficiency, I expect him to bounce back once he is fully healthy. I’d also lump Terry Rozier into the bounce-back candidate territory after he finished an 8th-round value this season when he’s been a 3rd or 4th-round value in the previous two. Injuries doomed the Hornets season from the start, so I’ll give them some grace heading into next year.
Kevin Huerter had his best season as a full-time starter for an ascending Kings team. He played nearly 30 minutes a night and hit almost 3 triples a game while also shooting 48% from the field and averaging a career-best 15 points per game. His role will likely stay the same heading into next season; he should be a mid-round selection.
Tier 6: Late-round starters
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kelly Oubre, Josh Hart, Spencer Dinwiddie, Quentin Grimes, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Norman Powell
Tier 7: Veteran backups, Utility and Bench Depth
There’s a mixed bag of veteran backups with PG/SG eligibility who would be late-round selections heading into the 23-24 season. I’d prioritize Derrick White, Malcolm Brogdon, Bruce Brown and Jordan Poole, given their teams’ respective situations, but surprisingly, Russell Westbrook could see a glimmer of life in a Clippers uniform.
I can’t believe I said that, but weirder things have happened in fantasy basketball.
While Immanuel Quickley is a candidate for Sixth Man of the Year, I could see a scenario where the Knicks trade him, Obi Toppin, Grimes and draft compensation for a certain player in Portland or another potential superstar — potentially capping Quickley’s potential breakout heading into next season.
Let’s wait and see if Delon Wright, Kris Dunn, Dennis Smith Jr. and other backups can be serviceable yet again in 23-24.
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