As the offensive burden has shifted towards points guards, shooting guards have become more specialized.
The position features potent 3-point shooters, defensive specialists and slashers towards the rim, but rarely a combination of all three.
Only five shooting guards scored more than 18 points per game and only two at the position to average 15 or more points a night shot better than 40 percent from 3-point range.
Just three shooting guards averaged over five assists per game and only eight at the position totaled more than four rebounds a night.
The key for fantasy owners is to identify the strengths available at the position and plug in specific needs with their draft selections.
*All projections below are from BasketballReference.com and are based upon 36 minutes of playing time. Projections are not available for first year players.
30. Thabo Sefolosha– Oklahoma City Thunder
The fourth scoring option by default on the team, ahead of center Kendrick Perkins, Sefolosha has fantasy value as a 3-point specialist. In his seventh season, Sefolosha, shot 41.9 percent from beyond the arc and developed into a lethal shooter from the right corner, connecting on 52.4 percent of his 63 attempts during the regular season.
29. Chauncey Billups– Detroit Pistons
A two year stint with the Clippers resulted in just 42 appearances for the 36-year-old guard, but a return to Detroit his him serving a leadership role. Three regular rotation players were under the age of 23, Billups was brought onto the team to help develop Brandon Knight, but since he was traded for Brandon Jennings, Billups is a stop gap in case the team wants to deal Rodney Stuckey and his expiring contract.
28. Jason Richardson– Philadelphia 76ers
The explosion at the rim is no longer a part of his game, as only 21 percent of his shot attempts came at the rim last season. Without a reliable mid range jumper, and the 76ers lacking a true play maker on the roster, Richardson’s impact will likely be similar to the 10.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.2 steals per game he posted a year ago.
27. Tony Allen– Memphis Grizzlies
For the past three seasons, Allen has recorded at least 100 steals, a feat matched by his back court partner Mike Conley. The defensive presence the duo has enabled the Grizzlies to employ one of the most suffocating defenses in the league, but Allen’s impact on offense is almost non-existent, as he shot 12.5 percent from 3-point range.
26. Ben McLemore– Sacramento Kings
In his summer league debut, McLemore was out to prove he wasn’t a passive player, the problem with him launching 23 shots was he made just four. In his final game in Las Vegas, McLemore proved he was a capable scorer, scoring 27 points but finished the tournament shooting 33.3 percent from the field, 19.4 from beyond the arc and failed to tally an assist.
25. Alec Burks– Utah Jazz
The 12th overall pick of the 2011 NBA draft will likely be thrust into Utah’s staring lineup this year after failing to be on the floor a at tip off a single time during his first 123 appearances. He showed some flashes last season, such as his career-high 26 point performance against Sacramento but Burks has only played over 30 minutes just seven times since entering the league.
24. Avery Bradley– Boston Celtics
The steep decline in his shooting percentages, as he shot 40.2 percent from the field and 31.7 percent from 3-point range, has significantly decreased Bradley’s value as a fantasy performer. There is reason for optimism, as he plays alongside one of the best passers in the game with Rajon Rondo and the rebuilding efforts the Celtics have undergone will give him plenty of time on the court.
23. Iman Shumpert– New York Knicks
A torn ACL only kept Shumpert away from the floor for only nine months, but once he returned, the explosiveness in his game was lacking. Unable to slash to the basket, his scoring average dropped by nearly three points from his impressive rookie season, but Shumpert was able to turn into a viable 3-point shooter. Shumpert connected on 40.2 percent of his looks from beyond the arc.
22. Louis Williams– Atlanta Hawks
The debut season for Williams in Atlanta lasted just 39 games before he tore his ACL in late January. Williams had his best outing at home against Indiana, posting 21 points, 12 assists and three rebounds, but the performance was his lone double-double of the season. The 6-foot-2 guard has scored 14 or more points four times in the last five years, but has never averaged any more than 14.9.
21. Evan Fournier– Denver Nuggets
As the best 3-point shooter on the league’s most potent offense, the French guard will have plenty of opportunities to build upon an impressive rookie season. Fournier connected on 49.3 percent of his attempts from the field and made 40.7 percent of his looks from beyond the arc.
20. Danny Green– San Antonio Spurs
For five games in the NBA Finals, Green was the most dangerous shooter on the planet. Green connected 25 times from 3-point range, helping San Antonio take a 3-2 series lead over Miami, but as his accuracy waned in the last two games of the year, the Spurs collapsed. Green ranked seventh in the league in 3-point shooting and provided some value as he averaged 1.5 steals per game.
19. J.J. Redick– Los Angeles Clippers
Redick connected 165 times from 3-point range last season and with Chris Paul setting up easy looks for him, he could surpass his career high during his debut season in Los Angeles. Redick was acquired by the Clippers in a three-team deal involving Phoenix and the Bucks and his long range shooting will be a solid addition to any fantasy team as he totaled 15 games with four or more 3-point field goals.
18. Arron Afflalo– Orlando Magic
Afflao was engulfed in trade rumors throughout the off season, but he remains the top scoring threat in Orlando. During his first season with the Magic, his accuracy from beyond the arc dropped significantly, to 30 percent, 8.3 percent below his career average. Injuries limited him to just 64 games last season, but he was able to score 20 or more points 19 times.
17. Jimmy Butler– Chicago Bulls
As a rookie, Butler logged just four minutes in three post season appearances, a year later, the Bulls couldn’t afford to have him off the floor. Numerous health issues and superior play from the 6-foot-7 guard had him play over 40 minutes a game. His ability to stretch the floor, as he connected on 40.5 percent of his 3-point attempts in the post season will be a necessity in Chicago.
16. Dion Waiters– Cleveland Cavaliers
Instead of taking the summer off, Waiters opted to improve his skills at the Las Vegas Summer League and at times, dominated. Waiters was the second leading scorer among rookies last season, averaging 14.7 points and twice scored 20 or more points in three consecutive contests.
15. Wesley Matthews– Portland Trail Blazers
An undrafted player out of Marquette, Matthews has established himself as one of the most reliable shooting guards in the league. Last season, the 26-year-old tallied 18 games with 20 or more points, but his fantasy value is hindered as he logged just one double-double.
14. Gerald Henderson– Charlotte Bobcats
The steady improvement for Henderson throughout his career netted a three-year $18 million contract extension from Charlotte this summer. The former Duke guard developed into a respectable long range shooter, converting 33.3 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc and he scored 20 or more points on 14 occasions.
13. Kevin Martin– Minnesota Timberwolves
The Timberwolves desperately needed a long range shooter by agreeing to a four-year $30 million deal with Martin. Minnesota will start Martin at shooting guard after he spent the year as sixth man with the Thunder a year ago. Even though he wasn’t a starter, Martin was still an effective scorer, scoring 14 points a game while he knocked down 158 attempts from beyond the arc.
12. O.J. Mayo– Milwaukee Bucks
His one year stint in Dallas didn’t land him the big payday Mayo was expecting, as the Bucks signed him to a three-year $24 million contract, the 25-year-old will be a top offensive option with his new team. Mayo has played every game in four of his five seasons in the league and is a volume scorer, totaling 22 games with 20 or more points last year.
11. DeMar DeRozan– Toronto Raptors
DeRozan became an elite scorer, averaging a career-high 18.2 points per game by finishing at the rim. The 6-foot-7 guard made 68.4 percent of his shots at the basket, a similar figure center Jonas Valanciunas posted. DeRozan has logged just one double-double in 304 career appearances, but his 33 games with 20 or more points was one more than teammate Rudy Gay totaled.
10. Joe Johnson– Brooklyn Nets
The usage percentage for Johnson dipped to 21.7 percent, his lowest since his final year in Phoenix in 2004-05. Without the ball in his hands, his effectiveness dipped and his scoring averaged dropped to 16.9 points per game, his worst output in nine seasons. As the Nets loaded up on talent, fantasy owners will need to monitor how much of a role Johnson plays on the team.
9. Eric Bledsoe– Phoenix Suns
For three seasons, Bledsoe has been an exciting spark off the bench for the Clippers, but following a summer trade, he will be heavily relied on in Phoenix. Bledsoe has played over 30 or more minutes just 38 times in his career, averaging 8.9 points, 4.5 assists and 3.3 rebounds in those games. Phoenix is hoping he can morph into an elite guard alongside Goran Dragic.
8. Bradley Beal– Washington Wizards
In his rookie season, Beal found his spot on the floor. From the left corner, the rookie converted 28-of-49 attempts, a 57.1 percent clip. His excellent long range shooting, as he converted 38.6 percent of his total attempts from 3-point range, earned him one of 25 invites to the Team USA mini camp this summer.
7. Monta Ellis– Dallas Mavericks
By rejecting a deal to remain in Milwaukee, Ellis fore fitted nearly $11 million to sign a three-year $25 million deal with the Mavericks. The six assists per game he averaged last season were the most among any non point guard other than LeBron James. The Mavericks averaged 101.1 points per game, eighth highest in the league and the up-tempo pace Ellis employs will fit right in with the team.
6. Eric Gordon– New Orleans Pelicans
Lingering knee issues kept Gordon on the sidelines for half of the season and when he was on the court, his shooting percentage suffered. Gordon averaged 17.1 points and 3.3 assists per game, but he shot just 40.2 percent overall and 32.4 percent from 3-point range. The 24-year-old expects to be fully healthy at training camp and is a key piece if the Pelicans expect to snap a two-year playoff drought.
5. Klay Thompson– Golden State Warriors
As one half of what was dubbed the greatest shooting back court in league history by coach Mark Jackson, Thompson’s lethal 3-point shooting went somewhat unnoticed as Stephen Curry had a record setting year. Although he didn’t match the 270 made shots from beyond the arc Curry converted, Thompson made 211 attempts while shooting 40.1 percent from 3-point range.
4. Dwyane Wade– Miami Heat
In his 10th season in the league, Wade submitted his most efficient season ever. As he played through lingering knee and foot ailments, Wade was able to shoot a career-high 52 percent from the field as he averaged 21.2 points, 5.1 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game.
3. Paul George– Indiana Pacers
The flexibility of George allows him to play either shooting guard or small forward in fantasy basketball and his value dramatically increases as a back court player. George emerged as an All-Star, averaging 17.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.8 steals per game. Few players offer as much impact in fantasy basketball as the 6-foot-9 star from Fresno State.
2. Kobe Bryant– Los Angeles Lakers
For all of the gaudy statistics Bryant has been able to amass during his 17-year career, one of the most amazing accomplishments could be his presence in the lineup on opening night. Bryant tore his Achilles tendon two weeks before the star of the post season, but he is determined to play when the Lakers host the Clippers on Oct. 29.
1. James Harden– Houston Rockets
Harden instantly answered any questions if he was a franchise caliber player during his first season with the Rockets. After being dealt to Houston just days before the start of the regular season, Harden carried the team to an unexpected playoff berth as he was elected as an All-Star after averaging 25.9 points, 5.8 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game.