Player Rankings: Point Guards (32-47)
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32. Devin Harris - Dallas Mavericks
Proving to be a spark plug in the NBA Playoffs, the Mavs point guard of the future is expected to see increased minutes in his third professional season. A tough defender with great instincts, Harris creates lots of steals in (0.9) limited minutes (22.7). Though he hasnít shown much in the assist category, Harris is a slick passer and should take more of a ball distributor role in the Mavs offense this season. The Mavs donít generate many assists as a team, but Harris could be the team leader this year with Jason Terry playing more like a shooting guard. Look for a bump in minutes and a coinciding bump in production out of Harris in 2006-07.
Bottom Line: Harris will be a very good point guard in the NBA but that time might not come for another year or two. As a spark plug off the bench, Harris should put up solid numbers in points, steals and assists for the Mavs.
33. Jason Williams - Miami Heat
Though heís the starting point guard for the World Champion Miami Heat, J-Will takes a backseat to the playmaking abilities of Dwyane Wade. Acting more like a shooting guard, Williams drained nearly two three pointers per game and found plenty of open looks with opposing teams concentrating on Wade and Shaquille OíNeal. The open looks led to a career high 44.2 percent from the floor and 37.2 percent from beyond the arc. Despite this, J-Will posted a career low in assists (4.9) due to Wadeís aforementioned playmaking skills. Nagging knee tendonitis caused him to miss 23 games on the season and while the problem was corrected with off-season surgery, it is unclear how the injury will affect him in 2006-07.
Bottom Line: Williams is a decent option for three-pointers and a handful of assists and steals, but donít expect much more from the once flashy point guard. Keep a close eye on his return from knee surgery in preseason action.
34. Shaun Livingston - Los Angeles Clippers
Mr. Upside didnít exactly live up to his preseason expectations, mostly due to the addition of Sam Cassell. Livingston actually lost minutes in his second season but still showed all the tools of a future fantasy stud. Receiving just 25 minutes per game, Livingston averaged 5.8 points, 3.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.5 blocks per game. Standing at 6í7Ē with the quickness and wingspan to create steals and block shots at a high rate, Livingston will undoubtedly be a top point guard option in a few years. Livingstonís greatest quality on the court is his outstanding court vision that reminds some of a young Magic Johnson. Aside from the lack of range on his jump shot (he attempted only eight shots from long distance), thereís not much wrong with the kidís game. Itís still too early to tell if heís injury prone, but he did miss 52 games in his rookie season and 21 games last year to a back injury. Heíll have to play a full season to shake the label.
Bottom Line: As the future of the franchise, Livingston may have to wait another year to displace Sam Cassell in the starting lineup. That said, Cassell is getting up there in age, and Livingston has serious sleeper potential if he can stay healthy all season.
35. Chris Duhon - Chicago Bulls
An intense defender, Duhon earned valuable minutes with the Chicago Bulls in his second season as a pro. Not a great scorer, he is most valuable for his ability to create shots for his teammates, hit the three and steal the basketball. With increased minutes (29.1), Duhon averaged 8.7 points, 5.0 assists, 0.9 steals and 1.4 threes per game while shooting 81.8 percent from the line. Since head coach Scott Skiles likes to get his deep bench involved in the game, Duhon should see plenty of minutes in Chicago, even as a backup to Kirk Hinrich. Still, his fantasy value is somewhat limited considering he cannot create his own shot and wonít shoot well from the floor.
Bottom Line: While not the flashiest of players, Duhon can be a useful commodity in fantasy leagues. His tough defense ensures quality playing time, and he will be a solid option for assists, steals and threes this season. Check the status of his back (off-season surgery) before drafting the point guard out of Duke.
36. Antonio Daniels - Washington Wizards
A disappointment for the first two months of the season, Daniels turned his game up a notch in January and finished the season strong with 13.5 points, 4.7 assists and 0.8 steals per game after the All-Star break. Not surprisingly, his production in the second half coincided with a big jump in minutes, when he saw 34.3 minutes per game after the break. Contributing in the underrated categories, Daniels hit on 84 percent of his shots from the line with 4.2 attempts per game and turned the ball over just 1.1 times per game. He wonít hurt you anywhere as heís always been a high-percentage guy that ranks in the top ten in assists-to-turnover ratio.
Bottom Line: The Wizards signed Deshawn Stevenson in the off-season, which may decrease Danielsí minutes, but he makes for a nice role player in fantasy leagues for his ability to put up solid stats without hurting you in the percentages or turnovers.
37. Earl Watson - Seattle Supersonics
Earl Watson showed great promise as Luke Ridnourís backup after a midseason trade brought him to Seattle. With the Sonics, Watson saw increased minutes (25.1) and responded with 11.5 points, 5.4 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.8 three-pointers per game. It is clear that Watson can contribute in limited minutes and he should see around 25-28 minutes per night relieving Ridnour. Even though heís a backup, Watson plays with high-energy and can be a solid fantasy option due to his intense style of play.
Bottom Line: Consider Watson in the later rounds of fantasy drafts for help in assists, steals and three pointers.
Update: Scratch that part about Watson being a backup, word around training camp is that he could end up taking the starters gig by the time the season starts. One thing is for sure: heís in line for more minutes and warrants an upgrade on your cheat sheets.
38. Bobby Jackson - New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets
Bobby Jackson doesnít need too much playing time to be a factor in fantasy leagues. What he needs is to stay healthy. A change of pace guard who can fill the stat sheet in limited minutes, Jacksonís injury history severely limits his fantasy potential. Jackson struggled from the floor last year with the Memphis Grizzlies, shooting just 38.2 percent. He did, however, contribute heavily in three-pointers, draining a career-best 1.8 threes per night. Leaving the Grizzlies for New Orleans, Jackson will come off the bench, spelling Chris Paul, Desmond Mason and Peja Stojakovic in the Hornets backcourt.
Bottom Line: Heíll need more minutes to make a big fantasy impact, and health is always a concern with Jackson. However, he could be a solid three-point specialist with his new team.
39. Earl Boykins - Denver Nuggets
Never lacking energy, Earl Boykins uses his intensity and quickness to compensate for what he lacks in size. He might not play a ton (only 25.8 minutes per game) but when he does, heís a game changer. Heís great at getting in the lane to create scoring opportunities, and his intensity on defense can lead to a good amount of steals. Since heís a high-energy guy, Boykins doesnít need an abundance of minutes to make an impact. In 25.8 minutes, he averaged 12.6 points with 3.8 assists, 0.8 steals and 1.0 threes per game. With Earl Watson in Seattle, Boykins should see more minutes and will be able to improve on his numbers from a year ago.
Bottom Line: Since heís unlikely to earn more than 30 minutes a game, Boykins has fairly limited fantasy potential. Heíll be a solid option for assists and steals and should be considered a late round option in deeper fantasy leagues.
40. Derek Fisher - Utah Jazz
After two years in Golden State, Derek Fisher brings his 10 years of experience and leadership to the Utah Jazz. He wonít be playing behind the injury prone Baron Davis anymore, so we canít expect him to see as many minutes (31.6) on the court as he did with the Warriors, but Fisher still has something left in the tank. Heíll act as a mentor to help in the maturation process of Deron Williams but will also see quality minutes at both the point and shooting guard positions in Utah. Fisher should put up somewhere around 10 points with three or four assists and around a steal and three-pointer per game for the Jazz.
Bottom Line: Even though heís more of a point guard, Fisher could contend for the starting shooting guard spot with Gordon Giriceck. Keep a close eye on preseason action and move him up on your cheat sheets if he wins the job. If he doesnít, heíll still see enough minutes to warrant fantasy consideration in the later rounds.
41. Luther Head - Houston Rockets
With Tracy McGrady on the shelf for much of the season, rookie Luther Head received valuable experience in his first season as a pro. Not surprisingly, Head did most of his damage as a starter, averaging 12.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.8 threes per game in 28 starts. Those numbers are quite impressive for a rookie, but most of them came with T-Mac on the sidelines in street clothes. Still, his upside canít be ignored, and Head should make for a nice sixth man in the Houston lineup.
Bottom Line: With T-Mac reportedly ďfeeling great,Ē Headís minutes and production will take a minor hit this season. Draft him in the later rounds for his upside in steals and threes but realize that his production relies on minutes and T-Macís health.
42. Marcus Banks - Phoenix Suns
Banks benefited from the trade that sent him from the Celtics to the Timberwolves in late January. In Minnesota, he saw a career-high 30.7 minutes per game and scored 12.0 points with 4.7 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Signing an off-season contract with the Suns, Banks will act as Steve Nashís backup in Phoenix. Heís unlikely to see as many minutes as he did in Minnesota but should see decent time due to his defensive prowess.
Bottom Line: Heís a big time thief but will need an injury to Steve Nash to be anything other than a one category wonder in fantasy leagues.
43. Damon Jones - Cleveland Cavaliers
Jones, the self-proclaimed best shooter in the NBA, had a rough go at it in his new home in Cleveland. Booed consistently, he struggled mightily from the floor and from beyond the arc, shooting just 38.7 percent on the season. In Cleveland, his minutes took a major hit (mostly due to his poor play), and he greatly missed the open shots he saw in Miami with Dwyane Wade and Shaquille OíNeal garnering most of the attention. Heís still a very good shooter but will be streaky at times. Heíll have to earn more than 25 minutes per game to have much fantasy value this season.
Bottom Line: Heís a better shooter than he proved last year, but you should consider Jones only if you are desperate for three-pointers.
44. Eric Snow - Cleveland Cavaliers
Technically the Cavs starting point guard, Eric Snow will have a hard time putting up fantasy worthy stats with LeBron James and Larry Hughes doing most of the playmaking in Cleveland. Snow is an adequate assist man (4.2 APG) and a solid defender, but doesnít do enough in any category to be considered anything other than a specialist in assists.
Bottom Line: Snow did average 31.5 minutes per game in the 2005-06 NBA Playoffs and is expected to see solid minutes as the starting point guard for the Cavs. Unfortunately, he is one of those players where minutes do not translate into production.
45. Anthony Johnson - Dallas Mavericks
Anthony Johnson played admirably in Jamaal Tinsleyís stead putting up 11.3 points, 4.8 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.8 threes per game after the All-Star break in 2005-06. Johnson is a solid player that can be a useful fantasy option if given the minutes, but an off-season trade to Dallas hurts his fantasy prospects for the 2006-07 season. Heíll come off the bench behind Jason Terry and Devin Harris in Dallas and wonít see nearly as many minutes as he did with the Pacers.
Bottom Line:Johnson will need multiple injuries to warrant fantasy consideration this season.
46. Nate Robinson - New York Knicks
Nate Robinson compensates for his small stature with incredible quickness, explosiveness and athleticism. Heís a feisty competitor but will have to contend with the likes of Stephon Marbury, Steve Francis and Jamal Crawford for playing time in New York. Heíll likely be used as a spark plug off the bench and will have some value in points, steals and threes if he can earn enough playing time. After the All-Star break last season, Robinson turned some heads posting 11.7 points, 1.4 steals and 1.0 threes per game in just 25.5 minutes of action.
Bottom Line: Robinson has a ton of upside and could be a good source of points, steals and threes this season if the minutes are there. Keep a close eye on Isiahís rotation in the preseason to and adjust your cheat sheets accordingly depending on his potential playing time.
47. Chucky Atkins - Memphis Grizzlies
Atkins played admirably filling in for the injured Damon Stoudamire after a midseason trade to Memphis. Consistently solid, he split time with Bobby Jackson and posted modest numbers in points (11.4), assists (3.0) and steals (0.7). He was most impressive from beyond the three-point line, connecting on 1.5 threes per game after averaging 2.2 for the Lakers a year ago. Stoudamire is expected to return to the court in time for opening day, so Atkins will act as his primary backup.
Bottom Line: Atkins could have some sleeper value if Stoudamire stumbles in his return from knee surgery.
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