2023-24 Fantasy Basketball Drafts: Shooting guard preview

Desmond Bane #22 of the Memphis Grizzlies has fantasy value
With Ja Morant out a few weeks, Desmond Bane gains immense fantasy value. (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images) (Justin Ford via Getty Images)

Special to Yahoo Sports

We are previewing every position ahead of the 2023-24 fantasy basketball season. Next up, here are the shooting guards.

Draft Strategy

There are a lot of big names eligible at shooting guard. They include Devin Booker, Donovan Mitchell and Anthony Edwards. While those three are all great scorers, what makes them so valuable in fantasy is their contributions in other areas. In addition to his 27.8 points per game last season, Booker averaged 4.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists while shooting 49.4% from the field and 85.5% from the free-throw line. Mitchell was right there with him, averaging 4.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists while shooting 48.4% from the field and 86.7% from the free-throw line. While not as efficient as those two, Edwards provided 5.8 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.6 steals per game.

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There is also quality depth at the position. Beyond the three stars already mentioned, other options include Jaylen Brown, Zach LaVine and Brandon Ingram. That means there’s no need to panic if you miss out on Booker, Mitchell or Edwards. Even going past the second tier of players, quality options can be had in the mid-to-late rounds of drafts.

Whether fantasy managers want to draft a shooting guard early or wait, both are viable strategies based on the bevy of options.

Draft Targets

Desmond Bane, Grizzlies (ADP: 22.0)

Bane was limited to just 58 games last season because of injury. However, he still had a breakout campaign, averaging 21.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.0 steals and 2.9 three-pointers. He was also an asset with his percentages, shooting 47.9% from the field and 88.3% from the free-throw line.

[2023-24 Draft Tiers: PGs | SGs | SFs | PFs | Cs]

Heading into this season, the Grizzlies will play their first 25 games without Ja Morant (suspension). That should force Bane to take even more shot attempts in the early going. Even when Morant is eventually back in the fold, Bane is primed to be one of the focal points of their offense, setting him up for another monster fantasy campaign.

Mikal Bridges, Nets (ADP: 19.5)

Bridges took his performance to another level after being acquired by the Nets. Over 27 games with the team, he put up 26.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.0 steals and 2.5 three-pointers. Despite his usage rage surging to 30.3%, he still shot 47.5% from the field.

Heading into this season, Bridges is the undisputed lead scoring option for the Nets. He has some capable shooters around him in Cameron Johnson, Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith, so defenses can’t afford to throw the kitchen sink at him, either. A full season with the Nets leaves him with the potential to be one of the top shooting guards in fantasy.

Josh Giddey, Thunder (ADP: 60.2)

Giddey doesn’t have the same scoring upside that Bane and Bridges do. He averaged 16.6 points and 1.0 three-pointers per game last season, posting a modest 24.6% usage rate. The Thunder continue to improve the talent around him, which includes Chet Holmgren coming back from injury. That means Giddey isn’t likely to see a significant increase in his usage rate this season, either.

What makes Giddey so valuable is his contributions outside of the scoring column. While playing in 76 games last season, he put up 7.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game. He also shot 48.2% from the field, a huge improvement over his 41.9% mark from his rookie campaign.

For those looking for a well-rounded option at shooting guard, Giddey is a prime target.

Jordan Poole, Wizards (ADP: 51.5)

Statistically, Poole did not have a bad campaign for the Warriors. He played in all 82 games, averaging 20.4 points, 4.5 assists and 2.6 three-pointers. However, he also averaged a career-high 3.1 turnovers per game and didn’t seem to gel as well with Stephen Curry and company. The Warriors eventually decided it was time to make a move, dealing him to the Wizards during the offseason.

Poole now steps out from the shadows of Curry and Klay Thompson to take on a leading role with the Wizards. They still have Kyle Kuzma in the fold, but Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis are no longer with the team. They combined to provide 46.4 points per game last season. Poole should get all of the shot attempts he can handle, putting him on pace for the most productive season of his career.

Draft Fades

Paul George, Clippers (ADP: 30.4)

Talent is not the problem with George. He’s still among the best players in the league, averaging 23.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.5 steals and 2.8 three-pointers per game last season. However, he played in just 56 games. That marked the fourth straight season in which he played fewer than 57 games. Drafting him comes with too much injury risk, especially given how cautious the Clippers have proven to be with their star players.

Kyrie Irving, Mavericks (ADP: 14.2)

Like George, Irving still puts up stellar numbers when he is on the floor. However, he has played for four teams over the last seven seasons. Between injuries and off-court issues, the guard hasn’t appeared in more than 60 games since the 2018-19 season. For a player who will likely be taken in the second round of most fantasy drafts, there is bust potential if he plays a limited number of games again.

Jalen Green, Rockets (ADP: 77.9)

The good news with Green is that he averaged 22.1 points and 2.5 three-pointers per game last season. However, he shot just 41.7% from the field, which comes on the heels of his 42.6% shooting during his rookie campaign. His 3.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game were also nothing to write home about. The potential for a reduced usage rate with Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks now in the fold could deal a significant blow to Green’s fantasy value.

Can they do it again?

Terry Rozier, Hornets (ADP: 83.4)

Things couldn’t have unfolded much better for Rozier to have a production season. Miles Bridges missed the entire campaign, and injuries limited LaMelo Ball to 36 games. Rozier cashed in, setting career bests in points (21.1) and assists (5.1) per game. However, things should be more crowded for him this season. Ball is healthy again, Bridges is back and the Hornets took Brandon Miller with the second overall pick in the draft. With fewer shot attempts likely coming his way and the ball potentially in his hands less often, look for Rozier to see a decline in both points and assists.

Jordan Clarkson, Jazz (ADP: 122.3)

After years of being a top-scoring option off the bench, the Jazz started Clarkson in all 61 games that he played last season. He didn’t disappoint, providing 20.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.5 three-pointers per game. Even though his usage rate was 27.8%, he shot 44.4% from the field. The Jazz brought in John Collins during the offseason, but they are still thin at guard behind Clarkson and Collin Sexton. That could put Clarkson in a position to approach similar production this season.

Austin Reaves, Lakers (ADP: 85.9)

Reaves eventually became a key player for the Lakers last season. Across 22 games as a starter, Reaves averaged 15.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.6 three-pointers. The Lakers locked him into a long-term contract during the summer, and he’s primed to not only be their starting shooting guard but one of their top guards, in general. Playing alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis likely will limit his scoring upside, but Reaves can contribute enough across the board to be a valuable fantasy asset.

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