The 2022-23 NBA season is fast approaching, which means it’s time to start getting ready for your fantasy basketball drafts. Fantasy analyst Dan Titus is putting in the work on his draft rankings as well as his position-by-position tiers — starting with the point guards below — to help you be prepared when you’re on the clock.
Not every player will have analysis when listed in the tiers below. Players with multi-position eligibility will only show up in the positional tier story where they have the most minutes.
Tier 1: The Elite
• Luka Doncic
Luka tops the list as one of the few heliocentric players in the NBA. He’s averaged at least 25.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 8.0 assists per game in three straight seasons — basically on the cusp of a nightly triple-double. If he improves on his 74% free throw percentage from last season — he has top-3 potential in category leagues.
• Stephen Curry
The 34-year-old four-time champion will remain the best source of 3s and free throw percentage in fantasy. Curry’s field-goal efficiency dipped last year, so if he gets back to his career 47%, he’ll also be in contention to finish as a top-3 overall player.
• James Harden
“Hard work, plus patience.” Harden dedicated this offseason to rehabbing a lingering hamstring injury and improving his conditioning. He finished fifth on a per-game basis last year on one leg! The Sixers’ deep bench should lighten his load, but The Beard is one of the only players capable of averaging 20-plus points with 10 assists every night. He’s the odds-on favorite to average the most assists this season — coupled with his ability to contribute to every category except for blocks, and he has top-5 potential.
• LaMelo Ball
Incoming third-year breakout? No Miles Bridges and a new head coach will benefit the young point guard. With Steve Clifford at the helm, he alluded to building his offensive scheme around Ball while emphasizing the need to limit turnovers and improve defensively. You want to hear this flavor of coach speak when investing in a point guard. LaMelo should see more minutes, too — former Hornets PG Kemba Walker averaged 34 minutes per game under Clifford.
• Tyrese Haliburton
Haliburton’s playmaking ability, efficiency and opportunity elevate him into elite point guard status this season. Take a look at my first-round mock draft, and you’ll see why Haliburton has “league-winner” written all over him. No cap.
• Trae Young
Young’s outlook hasn’t changed except for All-Star guard Dejounte Murray coming to play for the Hawks. If you can stomach some poor shooting nights from the field, Ice-Trae will still put 25+ points on the board, dish out at least eight assists and make a ton of free throws.
• Damian Lillard
Last year was the first time in five seasons that he did not finish in the top-11 on a per-game basis in fantasy basketball. A core muscle injury shortened Lillard’s season, but he’s healthy and ready for a bounce-back campaign. He’s one of the best sources of points, 3-pointers, assists and free throw percentage in all of fantasy.
Tier 2: All-Star caliber
• Kyrie Irving
Did you know Kyrie averaged a career-high in minutes last season at 37.6 per game? That was fifth in the NBA. Now, if he can only play during home games. Kidding aside, that shouldn’t be an issue heading into the season (well, except for Toronto). When Kyrie’s on the court, he’s one of the best. He’s a threat to eclipse 50/40/90 shooting splits while racking up points, 3-pointers, and steals… don’t sleep on Ky.
• Fred VanVleet
His head coach is Nick Nurse, meaning he will be top-3 in minutes played. The Raptors don’t have a ton of depth at the point guard position, and FVV provides value in five categories: points, 3-pointers, assists, steals and a high free-throw percentage.
• Darius Garland
A top-40 player a season ago, Garland saw career-highs across the board. Some might say his breakout occurred because of injuries to Collin Sexton and Ricky Rubio. And that’s fair. However, he also seized the opportunity and showed the basketball world why he’s one of the best young guards today. The arrival of Donovan Mitchell will dilute some of his usages, but he’ll still be an asset for fantasy managers looking for points, assists, 3-pointers, free-throw percentage and steals.
• Ja Morant
Morant has always been a highlight waiting to happen, but it rarely translated to fantasy. His peripherals and lack of 3-pointers hurt his fantasy value in years past (finished No. 135 in ’19-’20 and No. 206 in ’20-’21 on a per-game basis). However, he made an epic leap to become the NBA’s Most Improved Player last season and finish inside the top 50 on a per-game basis. Hopefully, his No. 48 finish last season wasn’t an outlier.
Tier 3: High floor
• De’Aaron Fox
Fox did work once Haliburton was shipped to Indiana in a deal for power forward Domantas Sabonis. How promising, you say? Try 27.8 points, 6.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds with 1.7 threes on 50.5% shooting from the field in 13 games with Sabonis in the lineup. Fox is a guy I’m very high on this season.
• Cade Cunningham
Detroit’s “MotorCade” has arrived. It didn’t take long for Cunningham to adjust to the NBA game, delivering 21.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 6.2 assists in 34 minutes per contest after the All-Star break. He accounted for 28.2% of his team’s assists last year (98th percentile) and even chipped in almost two stocks (1.2 steals and 0.7 blocks) per contest. The Pistons have enough offensive talent around them to make an even greater leap in Year 2.
• Shai-Gilgeous Alexander
How many games will SGA play this season? The fifth-year guard has missed 91 games over the past two seasons, and he’ll reportedly miss the start of training camp due to a grade two MCL sprain. With prized rookie center Chet Holmgren out for the season, SGA will boast high-end usage numbers. He’s a late-season liability with the Thunder in tank mode, but when he’s playing, he’s well worth the pick (current Yahoo ADP of 33.3). 25.0 points with 6.0 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game is well within reach.
Tier 4: Mid-round picks
• Jalen Brunson
The newly acquired New York point god will log heavy minutes under Tom Thibodeau. Brunson proved to be a difference maker for the Mavs’ 2022 postseason run and should settle in as a point guard with upside this fantasy season. He’s only missed seven games across the past two seasons, so fantasy managers can expect Brunson to be a cheap and reliable source of assists with strong peripherals. He’s a solid mid-round pick with an ADP in the seventh round.
• Josh Giddey
The season hasn’t even started, and the second-year pro has his hands full. With SGA already nursing a knee injury and rookie Chet Holmgren out for the year, Giddey’s ability to score will be the differentiator for the Thunder. He only connected on 33.6% of his jump shots last season, so if he can make headway in that category, he could be a compelling asset for fantasy managers. He finished last season as one of eight players to average at least 10 points, 7.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists.
• Jamal Murray
It’s been 17 months since we’ve seen the Blue Arrow on the court, but I’m optimistic the time off has given him ample opportunity to get healthy and ready for the 2022-2023 season. He’ll likely have a minutes restriction at the onset of the season, but it’s encouraging he’s been scrimmaging 5-on-5 since late summer. Before going down with a knee injury in 2021, he had a career-year averaging 21.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 4.8 assists with 2.7 3-pointers per game on 47.7% shooting from the field. He could be a value pick if he falls outside of the seventh round in drafts.
Tier 5: Sleepers with upside
• Tre Jones
His struggles from the field are well-documented, but Tre Jones is in a great position to lead an underrated Spurs team to fantasy relevancy. Much like his older brother Tyus, he takes exceptional care of the ball, finishing second in assist-to-turnover ratio last season. It’s a small sample size, but he averaged 13.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 7.5 assists in 11 games as a starter last year. The Spurs have yet to announce who’ll be starting between him and Josh Primo, but you’ll want to grab Jones before the draft price goes up. He’s been going in the 10th round. Sleeper alert.
• Monte Morris
New team, same Monte? He was the fourth option on the Denver Nuggets before being traded to the Washington Wizards. His situation doesn’t change much playing alongside chuckers like Bradley Beal, Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle Kuzma. But his shooting efficiency and assists with minimal turnovers are very serviceable for a bench guard.
• Kevin Porter Jr.
A backcourt of bucket getters with green lights? Sign me up. KPJ certainly has room for growth in a few categories — field-goal percentage, free-throw percentage (42% and 64%, respectively, last season), and turnovers (3.1 per game). But he put up a solid 15-plus points with 4.4 rebounds and 6.1 assists per contest. His efficiency woes put him outside the top 150 in ’21-’22, but I think he takes a step forward in Year 3 and falls inside the top 100.