2012 Fantasy Shooting Guard Rankings

Four of the top five shooting guards in the league have either changed teams or enter the regular season after undergoing recent surgery.

There is plenty of uncertainty at the position, especially with two of the top shooting guards in the league still coming off the bench but with emerging first and second year players, there will be plenty of point production for fantasy owners.

Only two shooting guards finished in the top-15 in scoring and just one averaged over five assists per game last season.

In order to find success in fantasy play next season, owners must determine a specific need and find the most suitable shooting guard to fill any void on their roster.

30. Wesley Johnson– Pheonix Suns

The recipe for success for Johnson is simple, he needs to attack the basket. As a rookie, 89 percent of his field goal attempts came outside of the paint and last season, the figure was still astonishingly high at 78 percent. By settling for jump shots, the No. 4 overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft has shot less than 40 percent for his career, while averaging just 7.7 points per game.

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29. Terrence Ross– Toronto Raptors

During his two year collegiate career in Washington, Ross showed flashes of dominance, but also a tendency to hesitate taking over the game. There were times when Ross felt too comfortable standing at the 3-point line, waiting for a pass. With a similar skill set to DeMar DeRozan, the Raptors may have the most athletic wing combinations in the league.

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28. Richard Hamilton– Chicago Bulls

It’s been five seasons since Hamilton was able to play 75 games in a year. Limited to just 28 games during his first year with the Bulls, Hamilton wasn’t able to provide the deep threat Chicago had hoped for, connecting on just 37 percent of his attempts from 3-point range.

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27. J.R. Smith– New York Knicks

Injuries have forced Smith into a starting role, likely splitting time with the newly signed Jason Kidd. Fantasy owners know exactly what to expect from Smith, a high quantity of shots, nearly 12 per game in 27 minutes. Smith ranked second on the team in 3-point shooting percentage, connecting on 34.7 percent of his attempts.

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26. Jason Richardson– Philadelphia 76ers

Fresh off the worst season of his career, Richardson is hoping for a fresh start in Philadelphia. Last season, he averaged career lows in minutes, points, rebounds, shooting percentage from the field and foul line. Although Richardson slumped last season, he provides the 76ers with some much needed size in the back court.

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25. Dion Waiters– Cleveland Cavaliers

The first surprise selection of the 2012 NBA Draft didn’t make a great first impression. By admitting he was out of shape during Summer League play, Waiters has to prove Cleveland made the right decision in selecting him over more highly touted prospects with the fourth overall pick. If not, Daniel Gibson will take away a majority of his minutes.

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24. Bradley Beal– Washington Wizards

As the top shooting guard in the 2012 NBA Draft class, Beal wasted no time in proving his value, averaging 17.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game while earning first-team honors at the Las Vegas Summer League.  Beal is looking to become Washington’s first Rookie of the Year since Wes Unseld in 1969.

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23. Anthony Morrow– Atlanta Hawks

The Nets made Morrow the most prominent player heading to Atlanta in exchange for Joe Johnson. Morrow also serves as the player replacing the five-time All-Star. In each of his four seasons, Morrow’s 3-point shooting percentage has dipped. Morrow’s 37.1 percent from 3-point range was tied for 59th best in the league, a figure that must improve if he is going to provide and impact with the Hawks.

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22. Ben Gordon– Charlotte Bobcats

At times, Gordon has proven to be unstoppable. In a game against Denver last season, he connected on all nine of his 3-point attempts, 10-of-11 free throws to finish with 45 points and eight assists. But much like his stint with the Pacers, it ended with a loss. Gordon now joins a Charlotte team that averaged 87 points per game and shot just 41.4 percent from the field, both league lows.

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21. Paul George– Indiana Pacers

The tallest shooting guard in the NBA, standing at 6-foot-10 was able to round out his game last season. George connected on 38.5 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc, averaged 12.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.6 steals per game. The Pacers ascent in the Eastern Conference relies heavily on the maturation of George.

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20. Avery Bradley– Boston Celtics

If Bradley can become a reliable 3-point option, especially from the corner, he could provide a major fantasy impact. Bradley connected on just 11 percent of his 3-point attempts from the corner, a shot he could have at any time in Boston’s offensive attack. A shoulder injury in the post season prevented him from playing in the Eastern Conference finals, but he showed enough prior to that to make Ray Allen expendable.

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19. Tony Allen– Memphis Grizzlies

Memphis adapted Allen’s grit and grind philosophy but it wasn’t enough to advance in the post season. The Grizzlies remain a dark horse contender in the Western Conference, in a large part because of Allen’s defensive presence, as he ranked fifth in steals, averaging 1.8 per game. Allen recorded five or more steals in a game on five occasions, including a season-high eight during a win over Cleveland.

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18. Gordon Hayward– Utah Jazz

Utah has plenty of young talent on its team but no player may provide a larger impact to its success than Hayward. The Jazz went 8-2 in games he scored 20 or more points but with just one double-double, he needs to round out his game. If he can continue to develop his 3-point shooting, as Utah ranked 27th in the league last season, he may be poised for a breakout season.

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17. Arron Afflalo– Orlando Magic

As the most potent score on Orlando’s roster, Afflalo should see his scoring average of 15.2 points per game increase. The Magic isn’t expected to provide many wins next season, as it rebuilds after dealing away its superstar but Afflalo’s output may be the one bright spot for the team.

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16. Rodney Stuckey– Detroit Pistons

Nothing is guaranteed in Detroit, even starting positions. Stuckey led the team with four 30-point efforts last season, one of the few scoring threats on the third worst offense in the league last year. Various injuries to his foot, groin and hamstring limited him to 55 games, 14.8 points per game, but he is fully healthy and ready to contribute.

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15. Marcus Thornton– Sacramento Kings

In his first full season with Sacramento, Thornton proved to be the team’s most reliable scorer, averaging 18.7 points per game, fourth most among all shooting guards in the league. The only problem for fantasy owners is the rest of his game doesn’t pack much punch, as he averaged 3.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game.

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14. Kevin Martin– Houston Rockets

A shoulder injury forced Martin to sit 22 games last season, prematurely ending a disappointing season for one of the most effective scorers in the league. Martin averaged 17.1 points per game, the lowest since his second year and with a $12.9 million expiring contract and the Rockets in desperate need to improve their roster, look for him to be moved at the trade deadline.

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13. Brandon Roy– Minnesota Timberwolves

Ten months ago, Roy was forced to retire as his knees, which both lack any cartilage, prevented him from beginning his sixth season. After sitting out for all of 2011-12, Roy is back, this time in Minnesota and he is ready to help the franchise snap an eight year playoff drought, the longest active streak in the NBA. Roy announced he hasn’t held back and has yet to experience a setback during this summer.

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12. Wesley Matthews– Portland Trail Blazers

Three years ago, Matthews was the player no one wanted, undrafted out of Marquette and made the most out of his opportunity. The 25-year-old guard hasn’t missed a game since being invited for a tryout, streak of 230 contests while becoming one of the most potent scorers for the Trail Blazers, topping the 20-point plateau on seven occasions last year.

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11. Chauncey Billups– Los Angeles Clippers

A torn Achilles tendon suffered in February not only ended Billups’ season, but the title hopes for the Clippers. After successfully transitioning to shooting guard, the first time he’s played the position in his 15-year career, Billups thrived off the ball, averaging 15 points along with four assists as Los Angeles went 14-6 with the 35-year-old in the lineup.

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10. O.J. Mayo– Dallas Mavericks

Essentially forgotten in Memphis, Mayo signed with the Mavericks hoping to revive his career. A potent scorer, Mayo was forced to serve as the sixth man for the Grizzlies, a role that didn’t suit him. In Dallas, he is expected to become the second scoring option and is hoping to prove his worth as he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer.

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9. Klay Thompson– Golden State Warriors

Named to the All-Rookie Team last season, Thompson has continued to impress. Thompson closed out the season by averaging 18.1 points per game over his final 30 contests and led the Warriors with 111 made 3-point field goals In two summer league games, he set a record by connecting on 72 percent of his 3-point attempts, knocking down 10 shots from beyond the arc in the process.

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8. Andre Iguodala– Denver Nuggets

Iguodala spent each of his first season in Philadelphia, establishing himself as a defensive presence. Dealt to the Nuggets, he joins the highest scoring team in the league and will be able to exploit his athleticism as he adjusts to the shooting guard position.  Denver plays at a frantic pace, often creating fast breaks and Iguodala is sure to make plenty of highlight reels as he is one of the most exciting playersin league in the open court.

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7. Monta Ellis– Milwaukee Bucks

Once Ellis joined the Bucks, the team had the most explosive offense in the Eastern Conference. Only LeBron James, Deron Williams and Ellis averaged over 20 points and six assists per game last season, but he managed just one double-double during his 21 game stint with Milwaukee.

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6. Manu Ginobili– San Antonio Spurs

Limited to just 34 regular season games because of a broken foot Ginobili was forced to alter his game. Throughout his 10-year career, Ginobili has been the go-to scorer in crunch time for San Antonio, but last season, he became more of a distributor, averaging 8.3 assists in the final five minutes of close games. Even though he averaged 12.9 points, his lowest output since his sophomore campaign, Ginobili shot 52.6 percent from the field, easily the best percentage of his career.

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5. Eric Gordon– New Orleans Hornets

Gordon’s debut season in New Orleans lasted nine games thanks to a knee injury.  As the most significant piece acquired in the Chris Paul trade, his departure sent the Hornets tumbling down the Western Conference standings, ultimately a blessing as the franchise landed the top overall pick in 2012. Gordon averaged 20.6 points and will remain the focal point of the Hornets offensive attack.

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4. Joe Johnson– Brooklyn Nets

For the past seven seasons in Atlanta, Johnson became known as “Iso Joe” as the Hawks would just give him the ball and let him create. Following his trade to Brooklyn, where he completes perhaps the most formidable back court tandem in the league, Johnson has one of the best passers in the game running the point.

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3. James Harden– Oklahoma City Thunder

Oklahoma City has agreed to long-term contracts with three of its four young stars. Harden has until Oct. 31 to sign a new deal, or become a restricted free agent at the end of the season, but much to prove in between. Harden all but disappeared in the Finals, averaging 12.4 points and shot 37.5 percent from the field. If Harden builds upon his Sixth Man of the Year campaign, he may earn himself a maximum contract in free agency.

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2. Dwyane Wade– Miami Heat

Wade celebrated the second title of his career by undergoing surgery a month later. Wade was hobbled throughout the post season and following knee surgery in mid-July, he has yet to practice. Even though he wasn’t fully healthy, Wade still averaged 22.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game for Miami in the Finals.

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1. Kobe Bryant– Los Angeles Lakers

For the first time in his 16-year career, Bryant will play alongside a true point guard that can create shots for him. In need of 1,935 points to tie Wilt Chamberlain for fourth on the all-time scoring list, a point total Bryant has achieved nine times during his career.

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About Brendan Galella

Brendan Galella founded Shatter the Glass to make the NBA even more accessible to basketball fans. Composing player rankings, team evaluations and intriguing observations, he hopes to turn every reader into a dedicated and educated basketball follower.

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