If you are like me, you have already participated in drafts or auctions, and also waiting for those that have yet to take place. Three important thresholds determine how fantasy basketball leagues are won and lost. First and foremost is the draft/auction where the baseline of your team is created. Early on in the season, free agency moves are nearly as important as you weed out those underachieving and claim those that are ahead of projected pace. Lastly, trades at any point during the season, but most importantly at the deadline. If you have yet to field your team, we present shooting guards that may be available yet, or for those with existing teams, a potential free agent list.
Shooting Guard- (all owned in less than 50% of Flea Flicker leagues)
O.J. Mayo Grizzlies-
Mayo was nearly dealt to Indiana..... twice. For now, he remains the third guard in Memphis. Through two games, Mayo is averaging 22 minutes, with 11 points and 7 rebounds combined. Mike Conley is entrenched at the point, finally delivering on considerable promise a season ago. Tony Allen starts at the two, as a dominant perimiter defender. While Mayo can contribute at the point in spurts, its at the two where he will see considerable time. If Rudy Gay struggles in his return from injury, Memphis may need to go with Mayo at the two to help carry the scoring load.
Richard Hamilton Bulls-
Chicago is similar to Memphis on the perimeter with an entrenched point and a blue collar defender at the two. The Bulls weakness was exploited in the Eastern Conference finals, with no perimiter alternative to Derek Rose and no reliable medium range threat. Long rumored, Chicago finally picked up Richard Hamilton who they hope will provide exactly what was missing in the post season. Hamilton is getting 24 minutes per game thus far, with a combined 16 points. "Rip" isn't a three point threat and won't contribute in major, traditional roto categories, so keep a close eye on his points per game.
Jerryd Bayless Raptors-
Bayless is a valuable combo guard with considerable upside. Jerryd is off to a productive start with 23 points in 35 minutes covering two games. Bayless added three assists in the season opening win at Cleveland. Shooting guard DeMar DeRozan is becoming the face of the franchise, so potential upside for Bayless will come from the point. Jose Calderon remains the starter and exploded in the opener for 15 points and 11 assists. Keep an eye on developments with Calderon as Toronto may move him to a contender, which would open up a starting role for Bayless at the point.
J.R. Smith Nuggets-
We talked about "stashing" Eric Bledsoe as a point, much of the same can be said of shooting guard J.R. Smith, most recently with Denver. Smith and teammates Wilson Chandler and Kenyon Martin were uneasy about early economic talks between the league and players, so all three inked deals to play in China. Unlike their Europeans counterparts, the Chinese Basketball Association passed a rule during the NBA lockout preventing players from returning to the NBA during the CBA season. Orlando signed free agent forward Earl Clark who was in a similar predicament, so it's not iron clad. For now, if you can, stash Smith (and others) who are stuck in China.
Wesley Johnson T'Wolves-
How value is a shooting guard that doesn't score? So far, that fits the descripton of Johnson, who has managed only 13 points in 55 minutes. Johnson was a beast in his final season at Syracuse which vaulted to him to the #4 overall pick in the NBA lottery. Veterans Luke Ridnour and J.J. Barea remain in the mix for the Timberwolves backcourt minutes, but the future is Johnson and point Ricky Rubio. While Johnson figures to remain a shooting guard in the Assocation, some argue that he is better suited for the three. With Michael Beasley and not Derrick Williams, solid combo forwards, Johnson may have to better learn the backcourt to ensure minutes.
Evan Turner Sixers-
Much like Minnesota, Philadelphia has a "dream" backcourt that remains a work in progress. Jrue Holiday is a sensational point and figures to be mentioned in All-Star circles in the not too distant future. Doug Collins "toyed" with the idea of starting Turner in the back court, but eventually opted for Jodie Weeks. Collins likes Turner's all around play and is hoping he can create as part of the second unit. Turner handles the ball well enough to spell Holiday at the point, but long term figures at the two, with time at the three if necessary. Turner struggled in the mid-range game as a rookie, but reportedly hired a shooting "guru" over the summer and has improved tremedously. Turner had double figure points in both games opening week.
Paul George Pacers-
George is arguably the most underrated player in the Association, as there is no other explanation how he could be owned in less that 50% of Flea Flicker leagues. George has combined for 30 points, playing heavy minutes in Indiana's two wins to start the season. A pair of notes to keep in mind about George, he has grown to 6'10" and has seven 3-pointers in the two games.George seems more of a fit playing the three, but with all-star Danny Granger manning the position, minutes can only be had by remaining at shooting guard. George has great hands and is an effective defender, but ball handling will be a detriment, especially in fantasy categories.
Up next, a cheat sheet for Small Forwards available in your leagues
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Tom Blaz is a writer for Fantasy Alarm and co-owner of The Recruiting Eagle a website focusing on Auburn University Athletics.
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