The shooting guard position is among the most deceptive in all of fantasy basketball.
Although it often looks like a loaded class with a plethora of talent for the picking, the decisions start to get real tough—real quick—once the top names are off the board. Nothing illustrates that point more than those owners who kicked themselves all season for drafting Lance Stephenson ahead of Jimmy Butler, and that’s just the first example from our list.
With a breakout star, a budding specialist and two promising young guns rounding out the fearsome foursome below, the shooting guard class promises to once again be a difference-maker in separating second place from eventual champion.
Here are links to all of the positional risers:
Jimmy Butler, SG/SF Chicago Bulls
2014 ADP: 68.6 overall, Round 6.7
2014 Key Stats: 20.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.8 steals, 1.1 triples, 83.4% FT shooting, 46.2% shooting.
Jimmy Butler was being routinely selected after Lance Stephenson in fantasy drafts prior to the 2014-15 season. That’s going to be the last time Butler and Born Ready find themselves in the same sentence for a while. The distance between the two is now greater than the cross-country drive from Los Angeles to New York City, and Butler is now poised to climb several rounds after establishing himself as a clear-cut, top-15 player heading into next season.
After elevating his game to an unforeseen level this season ahead of his restricted free agency (how’s that for timing?), Butler has put himself into an entirely new echelon of players after emerging as one of the best two-way players in all of basketball. He made improvements across the board in every single statistical category from last season while taking on a larger role, and his ability to contribute across the stat sheet is something owners absolutely have to love considering the investment price going forward.
It would be nothing short of shocking if Butler finds himself anywhere except Chicago next season since the Bulls can match any offer he receives this offseason, and that makes projecting his performance a little safer as it removes some of the unknown volatility. The Bulls need Butler to continue his ascension to stardom, and Butler is more than ready to accept that challenge as he always has at every stage of his journey. Confidence has never been an issue. It will never be an issue.
You’d be foolish to doubt Jimmy Butler. You’d be wise to have him on your team next season.
Kyle Korver, SG/SF Atlanta Hawks
2014 ADP: 69.5 overall, Round 6.7
2014 Key Stats: 12.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 2.9 triples, 89.8% FT shooting, 49.2% shooting.
Coincidentally, Kyle Korver was usually the next guard off the board right after Stephenson and Butler were gone, but his value is based in something very different: Connecting on that three-point shot.
Korver shot a blistering 49.2% from behind 3-point line this season, the second-best mark of his career. He came *this* close to posting a historic shooting season of 50/50/90 (not to be confused with 40/50/90) after registering 48.7/49.2/89.8, something myself and most readers could only achieve in a video game. Although he doesn’t light up the stat sheet like some others at his position, Korver’s 2.9 made triples per game added up to 221 over the course of the season, a mark good for third in the NBA, behind only—you guessed it—Golden State’s sensational Splash Brothers pairing of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. That’s pretty good company to keep.
I wouldn’t expect a different Korver next season, but I would expect his price to rise at inflation-style rates after the remarkable season his Atlanta Hawks have enjoyed. If you want to be aggressive in locking down a three-point specialist, Korver should be your top target.
He’s turned into a pretty valuable player for someone who was once (kind of) traded for a new copy machine.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Detroit Pistons
2014 ADP: 142.1 overall, Round 12.8
2014 Key Stats: 12.7 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.1 steals, 1.9 triples, 40.1% shooting.
Here is a sampling of names drafted ahead of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope this season: Arron Afflalo, Andre Iguodala, Gerald Green, Manu Ginobili, Randy Foye, Nate Robinson (!), Mike Miller (!!) and Jeremy Lamb (!!!). Whoops.
If this is the part in your script where you scroll up the page, scroll back down, wipe your eyes and say, wait, what, I’m guessing you’re not alone. But trust me when I say that it’s time to get familiar with Caldwell-Pope’s game. We’re talking about the guy who made the 14th most three-pointers in the league this season with 153 makes (Kevin Love, for context, had 144 makes), the prospect Stan Van Gundy can’t get enough of and the floor-spacer that Reggie Jackson, Andre Drummond and the rest of the Pistons need in order to make anything work.
Greg Monroe, regardless of whatever rhetoric is being spewed ahead of his departure, is all but certain to exit stage left as an unrestricted free agent. The next part of the puzzle? Here’s the Pistons’ depth chart at shooting guard after Caldwell-Pope: Jodie Meeks. That’s it. That’s the entire list. One look up and down this roster paints an obvious picture of a situation that requires spacing, and KCP has the paintbrush to turn this canvas into a work of art.
You down with KCP? Yeah, you know me.
Rodney Hood, SG/SF Utah Jazz
2014 ADP: Undrafted
2014 Key Stats: 8.7 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.2 triples, 41.4% shooting.
Over 19 games as the starting shooting guard last season, Rodney Hood averaged 12.4 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.9 steals and 1.7 triples on a solid 46.3% shooting. Those numbers are right in line with his Post All-Star break averages, where Hood logged 11.8 points, 2.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.8 steals and 1.6 3-pointers on a still-solid 46.4% shooting. And with Hood looking like a very nice fit with the starting unit in place of Alec Burks (who missed most of the season with a shoulder injury), there’s plenty of reason to believe that the Jazz will enter next season with Burks in a bench role.
Although it was a small sample size, Hood’s April was incredibly encouraging as we look toward next season. Over seven games, Hood averaged an impressive 16.7 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.7 triples on 45.2 percent shooting. At this point in the campaign, Hood was averaging north of 30 minutes per game as well, a great sign that the Jazz were emphasizing his development in advance of his sophomore season.
Considering the price point and the potential reward, Hood makes a lot of sense as a bargain-bin purchase for the 2015-16 season.