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NBA Roundtable

Roundtable: Point Guard Battles

by Jonas Nader
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Hello and welcome to the NBA Roundtable! This week’s topic will be all about position battles at the point guard spot. With that said, I gathered the Rotoworld hoops crew to get their take on the following battles:


Atlanta: Jeff Teague vs. Dennis Schroder


Utah: Shelvin Mack vs. Raul Neto/ Trey Burke


New York: Jose Calderon vs. Langston Galloway/ Jerian Grant


Orlando: Brandon Jennings vs. Elfrid Payton


Milwaukee: Michael Carter-Williams vs. O.J. Mayo


To sum it up, out of the following groups, what player do you prefer for the rest of the season and who do you see starting down the stretch and why. I’ll start us off…


Also, be sure to follow us all on Twitter (click link next to names) for all the latest NBA news and advice! 


Jonas Nader (@JonasNader)


Atlanta: Schroder has been solid, but this is still Teague’s team. Many people forget that he was an All-Star last season and he has looked really good lately other than the last couple of games due to a wrist issue. The Hawks aren’t going to hand over the keys to Schroder this late in the season, and until they decide to use more two-PG lineups he is better suited to be a handcuff for Teague’s owners or a low-end asset in standard leagues. Teague should have a strong finish to the season.


Utah: This is Mack’s world now and we’re all just living in it. Neto and Burke have been pretty underwhelming all season, and coach Quin Snyder has previous experience with Mack. Snyder made it clear that if he made a change at PG that it would be for the remainder of the season, so Mack will be the starter going forward. He’s worth a speculative add in most leagues and should be even better than he has shown (he looked winded last game and had six turnovers).


New York: Jose Calderon is arguably the worst starting PG in the NBA now that Neto was benched in Utah, and the Knicks have lost nine out of their last 10 games. With Playoffs basically out of sight, it’s time for a youth movement in New York. Galloway had 17 points, six boards, four assists and three treys in his last game and is the PG you will want to own in New York. If the Knicks are smart, they will shift Galloway to the two and give the rookie (Grant) some minutes as well. Calderon could be benched any day now and his owners should be eager to move on.


Orlando: This is very hard. Coach Scott Skiles foolishly benched both Elfrid Payton and Brandon Jennings last game, as he opted to go with C.J. Watson down the stretch. I might be alone here, but Payton is still the guy that I’d rather own down the stretch because I don’t think the Magic are a playoff team and Jennings can walk as a free agent this summer. It makes sense for them to develop Payton, right? To be clear, I wouldn’t trust Payton, Jennings or Watson in fantasy lineups while Skiles is the head coach. I’ve never wanted a coach to lose his job so bad…


Milwaukee: Coach Jason Kidd is still convinced that Mayo can run the point, but I don’t want anything to do with him. Carter-Williams is inefficient, but he’s still the best PG to own in Milwaukee. 


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Steve Alexander (@docktora)


1. I'll take Teague over Schroder all day, every day. I like the way Schroder has played lately and am hopeful that the Hawks will play him more alongside Teague in place of Kyle Korver. But either way, this is still Teague's team. 


2. Mack played well on Tuesday, although the six turnovers and pestering from Patrick Beverley were both tough on him. It looks like the Jazz are sold on letting Mack play and he looks like a nice add right now. I'd rather own Mack than Raul Neto or Trey Burke at this point. 


3. Give me Langston Galloway over Jose Calderon all day. Especially if Galloway gets the starting job soon, which I'm guessing he will. 


4. I'll take Brandon Jennings over Elfrid Payton all day and am not all that scared about Tuesday night's benching of Jennings. To me, he's the PG you want to own in Orlando right now. 


5. MCW vs. Mayo is a very tough call, but I'm going to stick with MCW, at least until Jerryd Bayless is back from his knee injury. 


And thanks for not putting Archie Goodwin vs. Brandon Knight on this list, as I don't want to pretend to know what the Suns are going to do with Knight. But I will say that I'm holding Archie until I actually see Knight play five games in a row. 



Matt Stroup (@MattStroup)


1. Teague vs. Schroder – In the easiest answer on this list, I’ll take Teague. Schroder has been going berserk lately (including 18 points in just 18 minutes Monday against the Warriors), but this isn’t really a position battle as long as Teague is healthy. He did appear to ding his wrist on Monday, but also came back into the game after doing so. Bottom line: I understand holding onto Schroder if you added him before the deadline, especially with his recent production (last four games: 19.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 6.5 apg, 2.5 3s in just 24 minutes per game), but I don’t see that production as sustainable. And assuming Teague’s wrist injury doesn’t become serious, Schroder is likely to be an inconsistent backup going forward.


2. Mack vs. Burke/Neto – I prefer Mack, who has history with Quin Snyder from when both were in ATL, and already looks like he’s in excellent standing with the Jazz coach. The only issue here is that Mack doesn’t have a lot of upside. Yes, he has averaged 16.5 ppg in his first two games with Utah, but in his limited experience as a starter he hasn’t put up high-volume numbers in steals or assists. I still like him as a pickup; I just think expectations need to be reasonable. Something in the 12 and 5 range with 1.5 3s seems pretty realistic going forward.


3. Calderon vs. Galloway/Grant – None of the above. Calderon has been quietly helpful for stretches this year, but at the moment he’s doing very little with his minutes (February: 6.4 ppg, 3.4 apg in 26 minutes per game). The same is true for Galloway, who is averaging just 7.1 ppg and 2.4 apg in 28 minutes per game this month. If forced to add anyone here in a deeper league, I’d go with Grant, simply because he’s a first-round rookie with some upside. Overall though, this is a situation I’m avoiding.


4. Jennings vs. Payton – I’ll take Option C: smash computer and never play fantasy hoops again. Scott Skiles plans to torment all of us with this PG situation. At the moment I lean toward Jennings despite his dud on Tuesday (six points in just 11 minutes), simply because he’s been the preferred option down the stretch in two of his three games for Orlando. I expect a lot of headaches here, though.


5. MCW vs. Mayo – Mayo has had a couple notable lines lately (including 9-7-6 with five steals and two treys against the Hawks last weekend), but I definitely prefer Carter-Williams, who is maddeningly prone to random duds, but still overall posting solid stats (last 10 games: 11.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 4.1 apg, 1.2 spg and 0.8 bpg on 48.9 percent from the field).



Jared Johnson (@JaredJ831)


1. Jeff Teague > Dennis Schroder. Atlanta is a playoff team, and Jeff Teague is their starting point guard. This is not a competition.


2. Shelvin Mack > The Other Scrubs. Utah had a major hole at the point guard position prior to the deadline, so they went out and got Mack to rectify the situation. As Matt said, he's not a very high upside guy due to his limited contributions on the defensive end, but he has a clear path to minutes as Utah's starting point guard and I think he's fully capable of producing late-round value in standard leagues in his current situation. Things could get tricky once Alec Burks (ankle surgery) returns to action, but if you've got someone to cut and are seeking a low-end point guard, there's nothing wrong with swooping up Mack and seeing what happens.


3. Langston Galloway > Jerian Grant > Jose Calderon. I don't really like any of these guys, but this is how I would rank them. The Knicks have secured a measly two wins over their previous 15 games with Calderon operating as the starting point guard (and offering very little), and you just have to figure Kurt Rambis will eventually shake things up. Galloway should get first dibs at the starting gig while New York is still in the playoff hunt, but things could also get interesting once New York's post-season odds go from improbable to impossible as player development should become a priority for the organization. That would likely translate to more minutes for Grant, and perhaps random rest days for guys like Carmelo Anthony and Calderon. However, I think turnovers, poor shooting and a lack of a 3-point shot will make Grant an unattractive guy to own in standard leagues. As previously stated, I'm not very high on any of these guys.


4. (Brandon Jennings / Elfrid Payton) + Scott Skiles = No thanks. If I'm forced to choose between the two, I'm going with Jennings, but I'm never in favor of owning point guards playing for Skiles.  


5. Michael Carter-Williams or O.J. Mayo? No thanks. MCW is technically the better player, but these are both pretty low-end guys to own, and I'm not a fan of either.



Ethan Norof (@Ethan_Norof)


1) Teague vs. Schroder: I've been driving Schroder's bandwagon all season, but both guys are limited from their true fantasy potential while splitting time in Atlanta. Teague has been much better recently than he was prior, but JT's lingering wrist & ankle injuries leave Schroder with real value in formats with at least 10 teams.


2) Mack vs. Burke/Neto: Let's not overthink this: Pushing aside Neto in the process, it took Mack one game to assert himself as the starter. Meanwhile, Burke has really not been worth deploying at any point—in any format—this season. Mack is the guy. 


3) Calderon vs. Galloway/Grant: Galloway's made an impression, and his role will grow down the stretch at Calderon's expense. Grant hasn't been a factor during his inaugural campaign, and there's nothing to suggest that is about to change. 


4) Jennings vs. Payton: Unless you're desperate for assists (Payton) or believe in magic (Jennings), you should be able to do better. 


5) MCW vs. Mayo: This is like asking of what tastes better between brussels sprouts and asparagus. You've gotta be really hungry to go for either option, and neither has more than just low-end appeal. 



Ryan Knaus (@Knaus_RW)


Dennis Schroder has been red hot over the past four games, averaging 19.3 points, 2.5 threes, 4.0 boards, 6.5 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.5 blocks, while shooting 58.8% from the field. He played the final four minutes of Monday's game vs. the Warriors, but it's important to note that he's played more than 21 minutes just once in that four-game span. Schroder is worth deploying until he cools off, at least, but the Hawks' starting PG job belonged to Teague the moment the trade deadline passed.


There was no real doubt that Shelvin Mack would earn the starting PG job for the Jazz, who were openly on the hunt for an upgrade. In his first two games he's averaging 16.5 points, 1.0 threes, 2.0 boards and 4.0 assists. He spent more than 15 minutes in a two-guard lineup alongside Raul Neto or Trey Burke on Tuesday, which is another good sign for his fantasy prospects, and Mack has warranted a speculative add in standard leagues. As for whether Mack will keep the starting job, coach Quin Snyder was pretty clear, telling the Salt Lake Tribune's Aaron Falk, "I think there will be some consistency going forward. We are not at a point now where we need to be making changes all the time and trying to find combinations and things like that."


Jose Calderon's starting job has looked tenuous all season, but he's started 55 games and has yet to come off the bench. Kurt Rambis hinted this week that he might tweak his starting lineup but it didn't happen on Wednesday, when Calderon went off for 20 points, four 3-pointers, four boards and four assists. Langston Galloway is the most likely candidate to replace Calderon (Jerian Grant was a DNP-CD on Wednesday), but if he doesn't ascend to the starting lineup he'll remain a borderline 12-team option.


Elfrid Payton is likely to keep Orlando's starting job for the rest of the season, but his value has taken a big hit with Brandon Jennings in town. Payton logged just 20.5 minutes on Tuesday, Brandon Jennings played 10.6 minutes and sat out the entire second half, while veteran C.J. Watson played the final 18:38. At this point, neither Payton nor Jennings are worth owning in standard leagues, particularly roto formats.


The Bucks have won four of their past five games so it's unlikely that Jason Kidd will imminently alter his starting lineup, which features O.J. Mayo and Miles Plumlee ahead of Michael Carter-Williams and Greg Monroe. Mayo is a steady source of 3-pointers with a handful of steals and assists, but he's best viewed as a specialist and left unowned in 12-team leagues. The good news for MCW's owners is that he's averaging 36.5 minutes in his past two games, contributing in every category except 3-pointers and percentages.



Mike Gallagher (@MikeSGallagher)


1. Teague vs. Schroder - Yeah, Schroder has a few nice four-game runs here and there, but it's Jeff Teague's job and he's not going to lose it. I know Schroder's net rating is better with the other four starters than Teague's, but Schroder is unbelievably mistake-prone on offense and he can't play off the ball in coach Mike Budenholzer's system. Teague should be a top-50 player going forward and Schroder has a chance to be a top-150 guy. How soon we forget Teague was posting top-25 value the month prior to his wrist injury.


2. Mack vs. Burke/Neto - This one has to be Mack for better value and chances to start. We've already seen the ceilings out of Burke and Neto. They're not good. Like Schroder, Burke can go on his mini runs, but his body of work leaves a lot to be desired. At least with Mack we have a sense of mystery. Based on his last two games, his upside is higher than Burke and Neto by a lot. He is Shelvin Mack, but we've seen players thrive on new teams. 


3. Calderon vs. Galloway/Grant - This one is easily Langston Galloway for best value and also he has the best chance to start most games going forward. Jose Calderon is running out of gas and his minutes are coming down. Meanwhile, Galloway's minutes are usage rate are on the rise. Calderon could also be shut down as the Knicks give some of their new guys a shot. There's a decent chance the Knicks are out of the playoff race with a month to go. Jerian Grant has been awful since his nice week-long run in November.


4. Jennings vs. Payton - I do think Elfrid Payton keeps his job because several players like BJ off the bench. For value, this is a lot like the Mack talk. There is still a sense of mystery with Skiles, who was a Jennings fan not too long ago. Elf Payton has been horrible for about 75 percent of the season and even worse since Victor Oladipo was moved back into the starting lineup -- why did VO getting bumped happen again? Both players will be at the mercy of Scott Skiles, but Jennings should have better per-minute output than Payton. Neither are 12-team players, but I'll take Jennings in deep leagues.


5. MCW vs. Mayo - While MCW does come off the bench and that should continue, he is a much better player to own over Mayo. MCW can do a little bit of everything besides posting output in percentages and treys while Mayo is really just good in the scoring side of things. Plus, Giannis Antetokounmpo is running the O more in the first unit.