By Nick Whalen and Alex Barutha, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
As the 2022-23 NBA season quickly approaches, it’s time for fantasy managers to begin digging in on preparation. Part of that process is breaking down the player pool by position and identifying targets, fades and late-round values who could end up paying major dividends over the course of an 82-game schedule.
Below, we’ve identified the top-21 targets at shooting guard in eight-category, roto leagues for the 2022-23 fantasy basketball season. Keep in mind that these rankings are subject to change before we get to Opening Night, but they’re based on RotoWire’s 2022-23 roto league projections. To avoid confusion, we’ve opted to include each player in only one position group, even if they’re eligible at multiple spots in Yahoo leagues.
Shooting guard is one of the deeper positions in the NBA, so you don’t have to worry about reaching. There are plenty of safe options with secure roles. Of course, it’s hard to go wrong with guys like Paul George, Devin Booker and Anthony Edwards.
Still, if you want to wait, you can. Deep down the list there are still guys like Tyler Herro, Klay Thompson and Marcus Smart who are at no risk of losing their roles. There are even some upside plays like Jalen Green and Devin Vassell who you can get in the 70s or later. This is where you can turn if you need points and threes.
Paul George, Clippers
Persistent injury issues lately — 133 games played over the past three seasons — have hurt fantasy managers who have drafted George. But he’s still excellent — when playing. He ranked 27th in his first season with the Clippers in per-game value, 19th two seasons ago and ninth last year. LA is deep, so George may trend closer to the back end of those ranks, but he’s still worthy of a second-round selection.
Devin Booker, Suns
Booker has been one of the most consistent shooting guards in the NBA over the past five seasons, ranking between 17-25 in per-game value in four of those years. Last year was no exception, and he averaged 26.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.1 steals while making his third consecutive All-Star game.
Anthony Edwards, Timberwolves
Edwards appears to be on the verge of stardom. He ranked 36th in per-game fantasy value last year as a 20-year-old, and his level of play was maintained in the first-round playoff series against Memphis, where he averaged 25.2 points on 46/40/82 shooting, 4.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.4 combined steals-plus-blocks. He has to share touches with D’Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns, but Edwards definitively emerging as the go-to option would not be surprising.
Bradley Beal, Wizards
After two seasons averaging 30.9 points on 47.1 percent shooting, Beal crashed down to 23.2 points on 45.1 percent shooting last season. He also played in just 40 games, as a left wrist injury forced him to sit out the back half of the campaign. Beal still played well enough to rank 46th in per-game value, but it was a far cry from the ranks of 11 and 12 he enjoyed in the prior two years. It seems like a bounce back could be in store.
Dejounte Murray, Hawks
After leading the rebuilding Spurs last year and averaging an impressive 21.1 points, 9.2 assists, 8.3 rebounds and 2.0 steals, Murray finds himself in a much different situation. He’s been paired up next to one of the most high-usage players in the NBA in Trae Young. Given that both players are point guards and Murray isn’t a floor spacer, the fit is confounding. Fantasy managers should expect a meaningful drop in production.
Jaylen Brown, Celtics
Brown is cemented as the Celtics’ No. 2 option behind Jayson Tatum, but that’s not preventing him from putting up great numbers. Though he missed out on the All-Star game last year after making it in 2020-21, he still averaged 23.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.1 steals.
Donovan Mitchell, Cavaliers
After five seasons in Utah — three of which resulted in All-Star nods — Mitchell joins the Cavaliers. Darius Garland will likely still take control of playmaking responsibilities, however, so Mitchell could see a marginal reduction in usage. He should still be worth a selection in the late second-to-third rounds of most fantasy drafts.
Zach LaVine, Bulls
The addition of DeMar DeRozan cut into LaVine’s usage, and the guard dealt with a persistent knee injury as well, though he still managed to play 67 games. The result was a rank of 41st in per-game fantasy production — quite the drop from LaVine’s 2020-21 rank of 16. The roster makeup is essentially the same this season, so LaVine probably should be drafted in the third or fourth round for most leagues.
Desmond Bane, Grizzlies
Bane had a breakout sophomore campaign, ranking 47th in per-game fantasy production behind 18.2 points on 46/44/90 shooting, 4.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.2 steals. Dillon Brooks missed much of last season, which opened up extra usage for Bane, but with Jaren Jackson now expected to miss nearly half the season, Bane should have no issues producing numbers like he did last year.
Terry Rozier, Hornets
Quietly, Rozier has ranked a solid 48th and 44th in per-game production across the past two seasons, averaging 19.9 points on 45/38/85 shooting, 4.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.3 steals. He should have no problem re-creating those numbers this year, especially with Miles Bridges’ status unclear.
CJ McCollum, Pelicans
After spending his entire career in Portland, McCollum was dealt to the Pelicans at least year’s trade deadline. He joins a potent offense with Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson, Jonas Valanciunas and Herbert Jones. The veteran guard has ranked between 29th and 64th over the past seven years in per-game production, and given the other weapons on the team, it makes sense to draft him near the back end of that range this year.
Josh Giddey, Thunder
Giddey started the year slowly, but in his final 24 games, he averaged 14.5 points on 45/28/78 shooting, 8.6 rebounds and 6.8 assists in 33.4 minutes. Giddey exhibited tremendous upside as a passer at 19-years-old, though his 47.8 true shooting percentage on the year was awful and tracked with the pre-draft concerns that he may never be a great scorer. Still, he managed to rank 95th in per-game production as a rookie, so he needs to be drafted higher this year.
Devin Vassell, Spurs
With Dejounte Murray being traded to Atlanta and San Antonio entering a deep rebuild, it seems as if Vassell could end up as the second scoring option on the team behind Keldon Johnson. Vassell saw 27.3 minutes per game last year and ranked 121st in per-game fantasy production. He should see both increased minutes and usage this year, making him someone to draft inside the top 100 with confidence.
Jalen Green, Rockets
Green went through rookie ups and downs but was a changed man after the All-Star break, averaging 22.1 points on 48/39/76 shooting, 3.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 34.8 minutes. He ranked just 152nd in per-game production on the season, but he clearly has upside for more as a sophomore.
Tyrese Maxey, 76ers
Maxey broke out as a sophomore last season with Ben Simmons sitting out, and he maintained his production once James Harden arrived. That, plus his strong playoff performances, is encouraging ahead of this season. He ranked 81st in per-game production, and he can probably be drafted a bit higher than that this time around if we’re assuming improvement.
Marcus Smart, Celtics
Smart officially shifted over to point guard last season with positive results. He reached a career-high 5.9 assists per game, and he also contributed 1.7 steals per game while winning Defensive Player of the Year. The addition of Malcolm Brogdon — a superior offensive player — could take some touches away from Smart. However, Brogdon is injury prone and expected to come off the bench in a sixth-man role.
Buddy Hield, Pacers
Seemingly a candidate to get traded away from the Pacers’ rebuild, Hield’s value is relatively fluid. Regardless of where he plays, he’s one of the best volume three-point shooters in the league, so he’ll be a secure source of longballs.
Jordan Poole, Warriors
Poole’s upside is capped playing in an established Warriors offense, but he’ll get plenty of opportunities to thrive as a sixth man like he did last year. He ranked 57th in per-game fantasy production in 30 minutes per game, but it may be difficult for him to consistently reach that workload if Golden State is healthier next season.
Klay Thompson, Warriors
Thompson made his return in January after not playing since the 2019 playoffs. Understandably, he had to shake off rust and had his lowest effective field-goal percentage (52.9%) since his second year in the NBA. However, that didn’t stop him from averaging 20.4 points in 29.4 minutes in the regular season, and he played well in the playoffs as the Warriors won the NBA title. He could be prone to rest days this year again, but it’s possible his efficiency gets back to normal — which for Thompson is elite.
Tyler Herro, Heat
The reigning Sixth Man of the Year, Herro had a breakout campaign — 20.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 32.6 minutes — and ranked 66th in per-game fantasy production. Miami made no major moves in the offseason and arguably got thinner. With Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry also prone to injury and rest, there will be no shortage of opportunities for Herro to lead the offense.
Collin Sexton, Jazz
Last year was lost for Sexton after he tore his meniscus early in the year. Two seasons ago, he ranked 74th in per-game production behind 24.3 points, 4.4 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 1.0 steals. Given the tanking situation Utah is in, fantasy managers should expect Sexton to have career-high usage.