The life of a fantasy owner is similar to that of a parent full of roller coaster ups and downs. Our players makes us laugh, cry, show excitement over their accomplishments, and genuine concern for their well being when they are hurt. Well maybe it is more of a misguided concern for our team’s well being but you get my drift. We will ask our friends for advice, consult message boards and forums, stay up late at night worrying, and we might even pray on it a little throughout the season. Fantasy Basketball is funny that way and as we embark on another turbulent season I will begin my weekly article with my top ten list of fantasy point guards for the 2010-2011 NBA season.
1. Chris Paul: After an injury plagued season in which he only played 45 games, Paul is looking to bounce back to his elite form. Much was made about his alleged request to be traded this summer and instead of getting a ticket out of town, it was back-up point guard Darren Collison who was UPS’d to another location. When healthy there is not a better statistical point guard in the league. Draft him with confidence if you have a top 3 pick.
2. Deron Williams: Williams is entering his first year without his pick and roll running mate Carlos Boozer. He and Boozer were pretty much options 1 and 1A in Utah for the last 4 years. Williams will be hard pressed to find the same chemistry with the newly acquired and slower footed Al Jefferson that he had with Boozer. That said Williams is a natural leader and should be in store for a monster season. His numbers across the board should stay about the same with a minor increase in points possible.
3. Rajon Rondo: The knock on Rondo has always been his inability to knock down the mid-range jumper or 3point shot with consistency. Ironically he has shot over 50% from the field the last two seasons, largely off driving layups and floaters but that should matter little to his owners. With averages of 13.7pts, 9.8 apg, 4.4 rpg, and 2.4 spg Rondo was quite the return on investment for his owners last year. His minutes and rebounding might be down a little this year with the Celtics incredible depth and new bigs. However he is the unquestioned leader of the Celtic offense and really is a joy to own. Grabbing him in the 2nd round of your draft will be well worth your while.
4. Steve Nash: Nash will be 37 this February and while many think he is past his prime, without Amare Stoudamire , Nash becomes the first option for Alvin Gentry’s up tempo offense. He will have Hedo Turkgolu to help him with the passing duties and Jason Richardson should shoulder some of the scoring burden left by Stoudamire’s departure, but make no mistake Nash is in store for nice increase across the board offensively.
5. Russell Westbrook: Westbrook is intriguing because although he is not a sleeper, there are just bigger names that other owners are going to be looking for before him. (Kidd, Billups, and Rose come to mind) Russell is primed for even bigger breakout year than that of last year. His team is arguably the favorite to win their division and he and perennial MVP candidate, Kevin Durant, have a natural Batman and Robin rapport. Westbrook himself is an explosive finisher with improving passing skills and improving jumper. The fact that he averaged 8apg last year and is still learning the position is amazing (Durant also helps a lot too). Honestly if it weren’t for the low fg % Westbrook could easily be in the top 5, his averages are actually comparable to Rondo. Depending on the aptitude of the owners in your league you might be able to pluck Westbrook in rounds 3 or 4 but he will provide 2nd round value this year.
6. Stephen Curry: Curry proved himself to be every bit worthy of the #7 overall pick in NBA draft last year. After a slow start Curry finished the season averaging 17.5pts, 5.9 apg, 4.5rpg, percentages of 88% from the line and 44% from the 3point line. Yikes! With more stability from the bench now that Don Nelson has taken the money and ran it would appear Curry is ready to step into the fantasy elite in only year two. Averages of 20pts, 7apg, and 3rpg with similar percentages would be realistic expectations from the sharpshooter out of Davidson.
7. Derrick Rose: D Rose is ready! He is fresh off the World Championships this summer where he was the starting point guard for Team USA. His NBA team is reloaded with a viable low post threat in Carlos Boozer (out until late November) for the first time in his career. In addition to Boozer guys like Kyle Korver and Keith Bogans will be spotting up helping Rose to improve on his 6 apg this year. Rose really learned that he needed to assert himself last year in the playoffs for his team to be successful. He opened training camp already talking about being a MVP which lends to thinking he is embracing a leadership role knowing he will need to be even more assertive this season for his team to be successful. That includes your fantasy team too.
8. Darren Collison: Is Collison really as good as the lofty numbers he posted in the absence of Chris Paul last year? The Indiana Pacers sure think so and you should too. With turnovers as the only negative to his overall stat stuffing game, dude is looking like a not so poor’s man Chris Paul. You are going to have that proud dad look I referred to earlier with Collison especially if you get him anywhere after round 3 (currently going in the mid 40’s-50’s overall in drafts I have surveyed). Try not to ground him by leaving him out of your lineup with the lofty turnover numbers he is also going to produce.
9. Jason Kidd: At some point you have to wonder when the credits will begin to scroll on Jason Kidd’s hall of fame career. With each passing year the points, and even shot attempts dwindle and sometimes fade to black completely. For now the music still plays and Kidd is an integral part of the Dallas Maverick attack averaging over 9.1 apg and 5.6 rpb. The lightning quick Rodrigue Beaubois is waiting in the wings and coach Carlisle wants to limit Kidd’s minutes to keep him “fresh” for the playoffs. However Kidd is still the undisputed starter in Big D. He is being overlooked in drafts due to his lack of points (which was at a respectable 10.3 last year) but is still a great asset to your fantasy roster as long as you understand what you are getting when you invest in Kidd.
10. Chauncey Billups: Quite simply the situation in Denver is a disaster. There is a new GM, volume shooter Al Harrington has been added to the mix as well as Shelden Williams who they are quite serious about playing (and maybe even starting due to all their injuries). Franchise player Carmelo Anthony wants out and they are going into the season with Kenyon Martin and Chris Anderson injured. Coach George Karl is returning to the bench after a bout with throat cancer. That is actually good news and in the middle of the storm is the Denver native Chauncey Billups. While not very exciting to own as a fantasy player, Mr. Big Shot is also Mr. Reliable. In the event Carmelo Anthony does finally get traded Billups would be in store for a significant increase in production. Even if Anthony somehow finishes the year with the Nuggets, Billups will still provide the same stability he always has. No matter how unexciting!
About the Author
Written by Warren Shaw
I am an avid Basketball fan who has worked for the New York Knicks, Alonzo Mourning Charities and various other sports organizations. Having covered many NBA and various professional sporting events has given me the opportunity to provide insight with an unbiased but flavor driven view. I look forward to providing NBA content and interacting with knowledgeable fans and readers. Follow me on Twitter @shawsports or Email your questions to me at Warrenshaw@prosportsblogging.com