Dec 14, 2011 Blog
Below are the initial 2011-2012 NBA Fantasy Basketball Small Forward draft rankings for all 30 teams. I have placed a copy of the rankings under the 2011-2012 Draft Rankings Tab at the top of the homepage for easy access as drafts approach. Check back Thursday for complete Power Foward rankings.
Tier 1 – The 2011-2012 Fantasy Basketball Small Forward All-Stars
1 LeBron James (MIA) – The number one SF and probably the number one player in all of fantasy basketball. James had a great season in 2010 posting 26.7 PPG, 7.0 APG, 7.5 RPG, 1.6 SPG. He moved away from the three point shot a bit only putting up 3.5 per game, down from 5.1 per game the prior season. He only lost about one shot attempt moving from Cleveland to Miami. James turns 27 this season and he’s had a year to build chemistry, so this could be a monster year for him.
2 Kevin Durant (OKC) – Durant is slipping, he dropped from 30.1 PPG all the way down to 27.7 PPG. Seriously though, the guy is a monster, and he’s still only 23 years old. The real difference in ranking between Durant and James is the assist stat. Durant only managed 2.7 APG while James dished 7.0 APG. Durant is a better free throw shooter, which accounts for most of the difference in their scoring averages.
3 Carmelo Anthony (NYK) – When it comes to scoring, last season Melo actually put up a better per/36 number (26.2 PTS per/36) than Durant (25.6 PTS per/36). Melo also got the best of Durant in per/36 assists (3.0 to 2.5) and per/36 rebounds (6.7 to 6.3). If these two get similar minutes in 2011, the draft position should be a lot close than many people think.
Tier 2 – Potential All-Star Performers
4 Danny Granger (IND) – I wanted to put Granger in Tier 1, but he’s just a notch below the top three guys on the board, mainly because he dropped off last season in scoring, down to 20.5 per game. His shot attempts dropped by 2.5 per game, most of that coming from a decrease in threes, dropping down to 5.2 3PA per game from 7.1 3PA per game in 2010. The Pacers have brought in David West to play alongside Granger and he might take a few of Granger’s shot attempts, as well as some of his rebounds. He’s still a great SF pick.
5 Rudy Gay (MEM) – Gay put up nearly identical per/36 stats in 2009 and 2010, except his percentages took a big jump last season. He raised his FG% from 46.6% to 47.1%, his FT% from 75.3% to 80.5% and his 3PT% from 32.7% to 39.6% - all career highs. He also picked up an extra assist per game and managed to post 5.6 RPG, 1.5 SPG and 1.0 BLKG, pretty good across the board. He should hold those figures and remain a quality SF for several years to come.
6 Paul Pierce (BOS) – Pierce is 34 years old, but his game doesn’t show any signs of slipping, although this could be his last year at a high level of production. His 2010 stats: 18.9 PPG, 3.3 APG, 5.4 RPG, 1.0 SPG. He’s still attempting 3.7 threes per game, hitting 37.4%. He’s definitely a target if you base your draft strategy on percentages.
7 Andre Iguodala (PHI) - If you are building a fantasy team around assists, Iguodala is a must draft player. His 6.2 assists per/36 from the SF position were second only to the 6.5 assists per/36 mark put up by LeBron James. Iguodala is no slouch in the other categories either putting up 14.1 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.5 SPG, .6 BLKG. He’ll also help you in the three point category with 2.7 attempts per game last season. He’s probably going to stick at SF again this year, but his fantasy game would probably improve if the Sixers played him at SG. He has both SG and SF eligibility in Yahoo and ESPN leagues.
8 Gerald Wallace (POR) – Wallace moved out to Portland for the last 26 games of the 2010 season and his stats didn’t miss a beat. Wallace posted 15.8 PPG, 2.5 APG, 7.6 RPG, 2.0 SPG and .7 BLKG in those 26 contests. Brandon Roy has retired so the Blazers will be looking for Wallace to pick up the scoring to compensate.
Tier 3 – Dependable Value
9 Luol Deng (CHI) - Deng put up his usual quality stats in 2010, but he did it in a little different manner than he used to. His three point attempts spiked to 4.1 per game as he patrolled the perimeter for the Bulls. The only drawback to playing out there was that his rebounds dropped to a near career low of 5.8 RPG. His scoring in 2010 was 17.4 PPG as compared to his 2009 mark of 17.6 PPG. He should duplicate last season’s stats in Chicago.
10 Dorell Wright (GSW) – Wright isn’t a huge talent, but he’s found himself in a sweet fantasy situation getting 38.4 MPG on a fast paced Warriors team. He made the most of it putting up 16.4 PPG, 3.0 APG, 5.3 RPG, 1.5 SPG and even .8 BLKG. His 6.3 3PA per game are huge from the SF position, and he hit 37.6% of them. Reggie Williams doesn’t figure to return to the Warriors and the only real backup is Klay Thompson, so Wright should continue to see 38.0 minutes per game.
11 Michael Beasley (MIN) – Yes, he’s a headcase, but he put up some impressive stats in 2010 going for 19.2 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 2.2 APG. He’s fairly limited to scoring and rebounding, but he good at it. Hopefully the other owners in your league avoid Beasley due to his attitude and reputation and let him slip to you in the later middle rounds.
12 Corey Maggette (CHA) – Maggette is a guy that will probably fall a lot further than he should in fantasy drafts this season. He was hurt for a good portion of the 2010 season and didn’t put up very good fantasy stats. He’s now with the Bobcats and is pretty much the primary scoring option for that pathetic squad. Sometimes the best player on a horrible team can be fantasy gold. Maggette doesn’t do much outside of scoring, so figure that into your draft strategy. His one strength is getting to the free throw line, so if that’s a category in your league, move Maggette up the board.
13 Shawn Marion (DAL) – Marion is no longer the fantasy beast that he once was, but he’s still very useful. His 2010 stats: 12.5 PPG, 6.9 RPG, .9 SPG, .6 BLKG. He doesn’t shoot the three ball anymore. He’s 33 years old and someone in your draft is probably going to overreach for the name, don’t be that guy. He’s dependable stats with limited upside, nothing more.
Tier 4 – Old Guys Still Producing, But With Risk
14 Hedo Turkoglu (ORL) – Turkoglu’s value directly depends on how a team uses his unique skills. Phoenix didn’t let him play his game, but Orlando seems to know exactly how to use Turk. His assists per game mark in Phoenix was 2.3 per game, in Orlando it spiked to 5.1 per game, and that’s where Turkoglu’s fantasy value is. The best thing about his passing ability is that he limited his turnovers to 1.8 per game to get those 5.1 assists. His other stats in Orlando: 11.1 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 1.0 SPG. He’s also a deadly three point shooter, taking 3.8 per game in 2010 and hitting 40.4%.
15 Danilo Gallinari (DEN) – Gallo isn’t old, but he fits nicely in this tier. He’s going to get some good run in Denver this season with J.R. Smith, Wilson Chandler and Kenyon Martin all missing most of the season. Somebody has to score and Gallinari showed that he could by the guy posting 14.7 PPG in his 14 games with Denver. He put up an average of 15.3 PPG in his year and a half with the Knicks. He’s fairly limited to helping you in the points, rebounds and three pointers categories.
16 Grant Hill (PHO) – Hill decided to stay in Phoenix this year, I guess so he could hang with Steve Nash and not feel so old at 39. He showed last season that he can still turn in enough stats to help fantasy owners posting 13.2 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 2.5 APG with excellent percentages across the board. As the title of the tier says, he’s old and has risks, but he can still help your team.
17 Rashard Lewis (WAS) – Lewis’ game fell off pretty quickly, but it seems to have plateaued around his 2010 stats of 11.7 PPG, 5.1 RPG, .9 SPG and 4.3 3PA per game. He should hold the SF spot for the Wizards and I’d expect a line similar to 2010′s.
18 Caron Butler (LAC) – Not only is Butler getting up there in age, he’s coming off a serious ACL injury. His draft position will completely depend on how healthy he is. Even if he shows pretty good health, he’s not going to be the primary scoring option on a team with Eric Gordon, Blake Griffin and Chris Kaman. He does have a well rounded game though, so he can help you in all categories, not just scoring.
19 Tayshaun Prince (DET) - There are a lot of old SF’s aren’t there? Prince just signed for four years to stay with the Pistons where he should put up something similar to last season’s line of 14.1 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 2.8 APG. The Pistons aren’t paying him big money to sit on the bench, so look for Prince to get 33-35 minutes pre game.
20 Chase Budinger (HOU) – There is some question as to whether Budinger is going to start this season, but if he does he could have a season very similar to the upside presented by Gallinari. Budinger can score the basketball and his per/36 stats say that he could produce 15.9 PPG, 2.6 APG, 5.8 RPG, .8 SPG and 6.0 3PA per game. His percentages dipped a little last season, but should be decent enough to gamble on. His ranking here depends on landing the starting job and getting 30+ MPG.
Tier 4 – Everyone Else
21 John Salmons (SAC) – Salmons will probably move to small forward this season while Marcus Thornton takes over at SG for the Kings. His SF eligibility is really the only thing that makes him draftable. His 2010 stats with the Bucks: 14.0 PPG, 3.5 APG, 3.6 RPG, 1.0 SPG. He’s a decent three point shooter putting up 3.0 per game last year and hitting 37.9%.
22 Marvin Williams (ATL) – Williams does a little bit of everything, but doesn’t really do anything well. His 2010 stats: 10.4 PPG, 1.4 APG, 4.8 RPG, .5 SPG, .4 BLKG, 1.7 3PA per game. He’s going to be back with the Hawks this season, so look for him get about 28 minutes a game.
23 Carlos Delfino (MIL) – Delfino actually had a decent season in 2010 posting 11.5 PPG, 2.3 APG, 4.1 RPG, 1.6 SPG. He’s a great source of threes, jacking 5.8 per game and hitting 37.0%. He’s worth a late draft pick if he retains the starting job and gets 30+ MPG.
24 Omri Casspi (CLE) – Casspi was traded to the Cavs for J.J. Hickson and it looks like he might step into the starting SF spot for the Cavs since he really doesn’t have much competition. Casspi is just 23 years old and his per/36 stats say he could produce around 13.0 PPG, 1.7 APG, 6.5 RPG and 1.1 SPG if given the starting job. He’s a good shooter from three point range and could be good for about 5 attempts per game with a 37.0 3PT%.
25 Trevor Ariza (NOR) – Ariza somehow found a way to stay on the court for 34.7 MPG in 2010, which says something about the Hornets. He was decent rebounding the ball with 5.4 RPG and picked up a 1.5 SPG. He’s a horrible shooter (39. 4 and 39.8 FG% the past two seasons) and an even worse free throw shooter (66.5% career FT%).
26 Richard Jefferson (SAS) – There has been some speculation that the Spurs are going to amnesty Jefferson, but I’m going to slot him in the rankings right here based on his 2010 stats of 11.0 PPG, 1.3 APG, 3.8 RPG. Jefferson is an aging player playing in a system that isn’t designed to maximize his fantasy skill set. The only way his fantasy value increases is if he gets waived and picked up by a team that plays a faster paced game.
27 Travis Outlaw (NJN) – You have to wonder just what the Nets were thinking handing this guy a huge contract. If they want to use the amnesty provision, Outlaw is the guy to use it on. He played 28.8 MPG last season and only managed to put up 9.2 PPG, 1.0 APG and 4.0 RPG. His shooting was absolutely horrible with a 37.5 FG%, 30.2 3PT% and 77.2 FT%. And to make matters worse, he broke his hand recently and will be playing with a screw in his hand. That isn’t going to help his shooting stroke.
28 Ron Artest (LAL) – You would think with all the hype that his game would be better, but he’s one of those guys who is better in real life than in fantasy. He fits perfectly on a team with Derek Fisher. He’s on the court for his defense, not offense. 2010 stats: 8.5 PPG, 2.1 APG, 3.3 RPG and 1.5 SPG. If you can’t find him in your draft, try looking under Metta World Peace instead of Ron Artest.
29 Andrei Kirilenko (FA) – Kirilenko hasn’t committed to returning to the NBA yet, but he probably will. He’s always had a good fantasy game and his value will depend on where he lands this season.
30 James Johnson/Linas Kleiza (TOR) – No clue who the Raptors are going with as their starting SF. Kleiza is still recovering from injury and it looks like Johnson might get the job by default. Avoid both for now.
Waiver Wire Small Forwards: Jeff Green, Shane Battier, Austin Daye, Corey Brewer, Al Thornton, Ryan Gomes, Matt Barnes, Sam Young, Daequan Cook, CJ Miles, Dante Greene, Dominic McGuire, Dahntay Jones, Andres Nocioni, Quentin Richardson, Martell Webster, Al-Farouq Aminu