Alex Rikleen, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
Before we get into the 2017-18 shooting guard tiers, here are a few notes to keep in mind:
Overall, the tiers cover players projected to rank roughly among the top 120 overall. Within each tier, players are generally listed in the order in which they should be drafted. Of course, come draft night, team construction and roster constraints must be take into account.
Unless otherwise noted, players are listed only within the positions at which they are currently eligible in Yahoo Fantasy Basketball leagues. Tiers and season rankings are tailored to nine-category league settings.
Most players are ranked within the tiers at more than one position, rather than only their primary position, which is oftentimes arbitrary. Players who do not have multiple-position eligibility are denoted with an asterisk.
Tier I: Possible No. 1 Overall Picks
While Harden is a turnover machine, he’s been top-five in eight-category settings over the past five seasons, including a first overall ranking last season. He also remains within the top 10 in nine-category play.
Curry and Harden should also give managers some comfort due to their durability. Since the start of the 2012-13 season, Curry has missed only an average of 3.2 games per season, while Harden has missed just 3.0.
We covered Antetokounmpo in the small forward and power forward tiers, but the possibility that he adds shooting guard — and possible point guard — eligibility as the season goes on means that he warrants inclusion here, too.
Tier II: Confident Second-Round Values
Butler and Paul are firmly outside of the top tier, and comfortably ahead of the tier below. Both carry major question marks after changing teams this offseason. Tom Thibodeau’s starters often rank among the league leaders in minutes, but Butler is also joining far superior supporting cast to the one he left behind in Chicago.
Paul is an injury risk, and he joins another ball-dominant guard in Harden. On the other hand, Mike D’Antoni’s style has a history of inflating numbers, and Paul has been a top-20 player every season since he entered the league.
Tier III: Three-point Shooters And More
Gordon Hayward, Celtics
Kyrie Irving, Celtics
Klay Thompson, Warriors
C.J. McCollum, Trail Blazers
The two newcomers in Boston are likely to dominate offensive touches for a team that lost three of its top four scorers from last season, and both players could be in position to gain fantasy value in their new uniforms.
Thompson and McCollum return to familiar rotations that saw minimal offseason turnover, but that’s not a problem for two top-30 fantasy producers entering their primes.
The three-point shooting in this tier is worth extra attention. If a manager doesn’t have a three-point specialist by the time this tier is off the board, very few options will be available. Of course, Bradley Beal looms in Tier IV, but after him, managers will be stuck pinning their hopes on guys like Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson, or J.J. Redick.
Tier IV: Core Contributors
Middleton, Harris, Ariza, and Batum are strong foundational players who provide across-the-board help and do essentially no harm. This tier also features a couple of talented point guards — Bledsoe, Dragic — who benefit from shooting guard eligibility. Holiday is currently only eligible at point guard, but the Pelicans’ addition of Rajon Rondo makes it highly probable that shooting guard eligibility will be coming soon.
Beal and DeRozan are less-balanced than the rest of this group, but they are both talented scorers who should be among the league leaders in minutes at the position. They each carry their own drawbacks – Beal is one of few players without eligibility at multiple positions, and DeRozan provides barely replacement-level (or worse) value outside of his scoring and free throws – but their respective strengths are strong enough to buoy their value.
Tier V: Good Fantasy Starters With Potential
While it’s hard to imagine any of these players cracking the top 25, one could make a convincing case for any of them as top-40 candidates, and several things would have to go wrong for them to land outside the top 80.
LaVine is recovering from a major injury, but once healthy he’ll be the primary option on a Bulls squad bereft of talent. Beverley, Oladipo, Russell, and Lin should each benefit from shallow depth charts, while Bradley is only 26-years-old and continues to improve. Booker has not yet finished inside the top 100, but managers will have to pay up for the Suns’ rising star, who will be a popular breakout candidate.
Tier VI: So Much Potential, So Many Doubts
George Hill, Kings
Andrew Wiggins, Timberwolves
Eric Gordon, Rockets*
After switching teams this summer, Hill remains a huge injury risk, and it’s unknown how he and rookie De’Aaron Fox will split playmaking duties. Wiggins’ development has lagged behind his expectations, and the arrival of Jimmy Butler will likely reduce his impact. Gordon, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, is an even bigger injury risk than Hill, and it remains to be seen how he’ll fit in after the addition of Chris Paul.
Tier VII: Great Situations, Questionable Talent
Buddy Hield, Kings*
Evan Fournier, Magic
J.J. Redick, 76ers*
Deserving or not, the Kings will give Hield every chance to develop into the go-to scorer in a new-look offense. Fox should bring some relief, and Hield showed some promise after the DeMarcus Cousins trade, shooting nearly 43 percent from three over the final 25 games of the season.
Fournier is the best offensive option on a surefire lottery team – so does it matter that he probably wouldn’t crack the rotation on many playoff teams? At 33-years-old, Redick is well past his prime, but he’s aged well thus far and is a perfect fit for the talented, young Sixers.
Tier VIII: Low-end Fantasy Starters
Players in this tier might end up as waiver fodder, but they have better-than-even odds of achieving steady fantasy value at some point this season. Wade can still put together quality numbers, but he’s likely to be bought out at some point, which makes him a bit more difficult to project.
Curry and Collison should have plenty of opportunity on weak rosters. On the other hand, Brogdon and Jackson are misfits — players who are better, statistically, in roles other than the ones they are likely to fill.
Tier IX: Low-end Roster Fillers
Wesley Matthews, Mavericks
Joe Ingles, Jazz
Tim Hardaway, Jr., Knicks
Jamal Murray, Nuggets
Kent Bazemore, Hawks
Rodney Hood, Jazz
Jordan Clarkson, Lakers
Many of the most intriguing players in the final two tiers are eligible at multiple positions, so fitting Brandon Ingram or Jaylen Brown onto your roster may not be too much of a burden. For the most part, though, these players either lack multi-dimensional production or are simply too much of an unknown to warrant consideration earlier in drafts.
Of the three rookies listed, Jackson is the most interesting, as he’ll likely start from day one and could offer solid production in the defensive categories. However, his jumpshot and free throw shooting are major concerns.
Tier X: The Rest
Dion Waiters, Heat
Brandon Ingram, Lakers
Will Barton, Nuggets
Jaylen Brown, Celtics
Malik Monk, Hornets*
Lou Williams, Clippers
Donovan Mitchell, Jazz*
Josh Jackson, Suns