Jul 19, 2012 Fantasy Draft Rankings
SF Rankings Updated Oct. 8. Our 2012-2013 NBA Fantasy Basketball Small Forward Draft Rankings will be updated throughout the offseason and training camp, so check back weekly for updated rankings.
The following rankings are based on the FBD scoring system, which you can find HERE.
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Lebron James (MIA, 43.2 FPS) - The top two spots on the small forward draft board are fairly close this season, but I’m going with LeBron for the sole reason that he gives you 6.2 assists per game, which is like having an extra point guard on your roster. James went for 27 and 8, with 6.2 assists, 1.9 steals and .8 blocks. His free throw shooting was solid at 77.1%, but his three pointers attempted declined to a career low 2.4 per game. The turnovers are also a little high at 3.4 per game. He’s always a top 5 pick and will be again this season.
UP – Oct. 8 - It isn’t possible to move LeBron above number one, but the gap between Durant and James could get bigger depending on the health of Dwyane Wade. Several reports have Coach Spoelstra resting Dwyane Wade this season and possibly limiting his minutes, which should leave James on the court for more minutes to take up the slack. If Dwyane Wade ever has to shut it down, James might have to be a complete fantasy beast like he was in Cleveland.
Kevin Durant (OKC, 40.7 FPS) – Durant is closing the gap with LeBron, but I’m keeping him at number two for now. Depending on how you like to build your team, I could definitely understand if someone wanted to take Durant over LeBron. Durant attempted 5.2 threes compared to just 2.4 for James. Durant was also the better shotblocker (1.2 to .8) and better free throw shooter (86.0% compared to LeBron’s 77.1%). If you are building your team around three point shooting, blocks and solid percentages, Durant might be the pick.
Carmelo Anthony (NYK, 32.9 FPS) – It’s a big drop to number three on the small forward board and Melo is probably best deserving of the spot. His 23 and 6 was solid and the 1.1 steals and 3.6 assists were a big benefit. The only red flags on Anthony were his career low 34.1 MPG and the 43.0 FG%, which was the lowest since his rookie year. I think both of those stats should improve this year and I feel comfortable with him at number three.
Down – Oct. 8 – I can’t really justify dropping Anthony out of the number three spot, but I’m definitely starting to cool on his prospects this season. He’s made some comments lately that he’d much rather start facilitating the offense rather than doing the scoring himself. If his scoring drops, then so does his ranking. Keep an eye on his relationship with Felton and Stoudemire in camp.
Paul Pierce (BOS, 29.3 FPS) – Pierce is going to be 35 years old when the season tips off, but he hasn’t shown any signs of falling off yet. He went for 19 and 5 with 4.5 assists, 1.1 steals and 4.5 threes attempted. His 44.3 FG% was a little light, but the 85.2 FT% was excellent. His game is very well rounded and he helps in just about every category. I’d expect that he’ll once again carry the Celtics on his back, but this might be the last premium season that Pierce turns in before age, and possibly a Celtics rebuilding, catches up with him.
Rudy Gay (MEM, 29.8) – Gay has turned in just about the same stat line in each of the last five seasons and he’s a lock to do so again this year. You can pencil in 19 and 6 with 1.5 steals, 1.0 blocks and 2.5 threes attempted. He’ll also fall very close to his career 45.6 FG% and 77.1 FT%. I could make the case for putting Gay a notch above Pierce, but there’s the small chance that Pierce outproduces while Gay remains at his consistent level. There’s also the age difference and injury possibility with the older player too.
Andre Iguodala (DEN, 26.5 FPS) – Iguodala is such a tease. He’s got way more real world talent that what he produces for fantasy owners, but hopefully he’ll surprise this season. He’s an incredibly multitalented player with 5.5 assists, 6.1 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 3.1 threes attempted. The problem with Iguodala is his scoring and shot selection. He’s dropped from 17.1 points per game in 2010, to 14.1 per game in 2011 to a career low 12.4 last season. He’s quit taking it to the basket, which can mostly be seen in his decreasing free throw attempts. He’s gone from 5.2 FTA in 2010, to 4.5 FTA in 2011 to a career low 3.2 last season. He needs to start using his athletic ability more rather than always settling for the jumpshot. If he can just get his scoring back above 15 a game, the rest of his stat categories will make him a very valuable player.
Danny Granger (IND, 26.9 FPS) – While Iguodala has a well rounded game, Granger is more of a one trick pony, and that one trick is three point shooting. Granger put up 19 and 5, but the 1.8 assists, 1.0 steals and .6 blocks were kind of weak. Another problem for Granger’s owners is the 41.6 FG% that results from most of his shot attempts being three pointers. If you are building around points and threes though, Granger is the pick with 5.2 thees attempted per game, which he hits at a career 38.4% rate. The red flag on Granger was the near career low 33.3 minutes per game, which was mostly caused by injury. While he never seems to really miss a lot of games, it seems he’s always dealing with some kind of nagging injury.
Down – Oct. 8 – Granger is dealing with a knee problem that should have been cleared up by now. He’s never been the toughest guy, but this lingering injury is really starting to hurt his fantasy appeal. His final ranking really depends on how much time he gets in camp and how the knee heals up. Keep an eye on his health.
Luol Deng (CHI, 26.3 FPS) – Two things scare me about Deng. First is the wrist injury that he chose not to have surgery on this offseason. I have no idea how well this has healed or if it’s going to be a problem this season. Second, he played a whopping 39.4 MPG last season and that just can’t continue if he wants to stay healthy. The Bulls will be without Derrick Rose for awhile, so I would expect that they will once again lean heavily on Deng for minutes and scoring. The red flag on Deng is the wrist injury which caused him to shoot a career low 41.2% last season, well below his 46.5 % career average. Oddly enough, it didn’t seem to hurt his three point shooting where he posted a solid 36.7% rate. I’ll keep an eye on Deng’s wrist injury in camp and adjust his ranking accordingly.
UP – Oct. 8 – I was recently offered a trade in a keeper league of Monta Ellis in exchange for Deng and I turned it down, although to be fair most of it had to do with salary cap and positional issues, however I’m starting to like Deng more and more this season and think he could really have a monster year with Derrick Rose out of the lineup. Deng is motivated to play and is even willing to play through his wrist pain to get on the court. While the wrist might scare some owners off, Deng shows no indication of sitting anytime soon because of it. The Bulls will run him out there 37-39 minutes a game and he should put up good numbers in a very top heavy small forward draft board.
Gerald Wallace (BN, 27.6 FPS) – Wallace was a late season trade to the Nets, but the move seemed to energize him a little as he put up increased stats with New Jersey. The Nets have locked him up for four years and $40 million, so he’s going to be a big part of the team for the foreseeable future. Wallace posted his usual 14 and 7 with 1.4 steals and 3.4 assists. For his career, he’s got a 47.3 FG% and 72.3 FT%. The only red flag that seems to follow Wallace is the ‘injury prone’ label due to the way he plays the game all out. Even though the Nets have way more than enough scoring power, I still think Wallace can put up his usual 14 and 7 and hang on to a Top 10 small forward ranking.
Nicolas Batum (POR, 22.4 FPS) – Batum is still haggling out a huge contract, but I think that he’s definitely going to be overpaid no matter what happens. He’s still young at 23, but in 30.4 MPG he only managed 14 and 5 with 1.0 block and 1.0 steal. He was able to knock down the three, taking 4.6 per game and hitting them at a 39.1% clip, but I’m not absolutely sure he can keep up that pace. The other thing that leads me to believe he may be a disappointment is that he’s played around 30 minutes per game over the last two seasons, but he hasn’t shown much progression in his development. What you see the last two seasons is probably what you are going to get this year. Unless his minutes jump to 35+, you’re probably going to have to overpay to get him, and you might well be disappointed with his production for that expensive price.
This is where the small foward group really falls of a cliff. If you don’t get one of the top 10 players, then there isn’t really that much difference in what’s left on the board.
Danilo Gallinari (DEN, 23.4 FPS) – It seems like Gallinari is constantly hurt, missing 75 games over the last three seasons. Last season he could only log 31.4 MPG, but he did manage to put up 15 and 5 with 2.7 assists and 1.0 steal. He’s going to kill your FG% though, as he’s just a 42.0% shooter. His real fantasy asset is his three point shooting, but even that was suspect last season as he took 4.3 per game, but only hit them at a 32.8% rate. He’s going to be a fantasy gamble this year.
Oct. 8 – The real issue to keep an eye on in camp is how the Nuggets use Wilson Chandler. If Chandler looks to get most of his minutes at SF, then Gallinari has to be downgraded just a bit.
Trevor Ariza (WAS, 22.0 FPS) – Ariza was recently traded to the Washington Wizards, along with Emeka Okafor, where he should step right into the starting small forward spot. Ariza is never going to be much of a scorer, especially on a Wizards team that may be looking to slow things down this season, but he is a well rounded player putting up 1.7 steals, 3.3 assists, 5.2 rebounds and taking 2.1 threes per game last year. His biggest drawbacks are his career 43.1 FG% and 67.4 FT%.
UP – Oct. 8 – Ariza was already going to be shouldering some of the offensive load, but now that John Wall is out for at least 8 weeks, Ariza will have to pick it up even more. He should get a small bump up with a higher usage number.
Gordon Hayward (UTA, 19.5 FPS) – Hayward is probably better suited for shooting guard rather than small forward, but I’m going to list him here to start the season and see what happens during training camp. The drawback to playing small forward is that the Jazz just brought in Marvin Williams, so any platoon between Hayward and Williams will kill both of their fantasy values. On the other hand, the Jazz really want to give Alec Burks the shooting guard spot. Hayward had a solid season going for 12 and 5 with 3.1 assists and .8 steals. He attempted 2.4 threes, but his 34.6 3P% was a lot lower than his rookie year number of 47.3%. He’ll probably fall somewhere between those two numbers this season.
UP – Oct. 8 – I’ve seen many people sleeping on Hayward and I have to admit that I was one of them in my initial small forward rankings. I was expecting there to be small forward battle between Hayward and Josh Howard, but it doesn’t even appear that Howard will return to the team. It also doesn’t look like the Jazz have any intention of playing Derrick Favors at small forward, which leaves all the minutes for Hayward. The guy could be a serious breakout candidate and I may move him up even further as camp progresses.
Kawhi Leonard (SAS, 16.8 FPS) – Leonard was a nice surprise in his rookie year, putting up 8 and 5 in 24.0 minutes of action. He’s an energy guy and goes all out on the court, which is something Coach Popovich likes. Leonard managed to pickup 1.3 steals and 1.7 three point attempts in his 24 minutes, which translates to 2.0 steals and 2.6 3PA per/36. He kept up a 49.3 FG% and a 77.3 FT%. I think there’s a good chance he gets tabbed for more minutes this season, and if he does, his ranking will climb.
UP – Oct. 8 – I guess the biggest thing to say about Leonard is that Coach Popovich likes him, which really means a lot to his playing time. Reports have Leonard making big improvements in his game over the summer and the Spurs intend on starting him at small forward for big minutes.
Michael Beasley (PHO, 16.0 FPS) – I’ve probably got Beasley on my rankings for the same reason that real teams keep taking chances on him, simply for the fact that he has so much talent, but just can’t quite get it harnessed. The Wolves recently traded Beasley to Phoenix where he’s going to have to learn to play small forward if he hopes to see the court for any meaningful minutes. The Suns already have Channing Frye and the recently acquired Luis Scola to man the power forward spot. Beasley is a great fantasy asset in head to head and points leagues, but no so much in roto leagues. He’s strictly a points and rebounds guy, but he did that very well in 2011 posting 19 and 6. If he gets minutes, he has the ability to repeat that. If he doesn’t get a starting spot, then he’s waiver wire material.
UP – Oct. 8 – Yes, the guy is a headcase, but it looks like he definitely has a starting spot on a fast paced Suns team. There doesn’t appear to be much of a battle between Beasley and Marvin Williams and if Beasley has finally got his mental condition right, he could have a big year. Of course, he is still Michael Beasley and could totally flop, but I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt just one more time.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA, Rookie) – Charlotte traded away Corey Maggette, which opens up a starting spot for Kidd-Gilchirst at small forward. He was the second player picked in the 2012 NBA Draft and he’s got a chance to be an immediate impact player. I’m going to have to see what the Bobcats choose to do with him during training camp to get a feel for his final ranking. He’s a good one year league pick and a must pick in keeper leagues.
UP – Oct. 8 – I’ve had a few days to examine the Bobcats camp and Kidd-Gilchrist is definitely going to have a starting spot and the team seems really high on him. He’ll get every chance to play and I doubt the Bobcats would sit him even if he makes tons of mistakes over the first couple of months. Charlotte isn’t going anywhere and they will get Kidd-Gilchrist as much experience as they can.
Chandler Parsons (HOU, 18.5 FPS) – Parsons had to deal with being the other half of a Chase Budinger platoon, but Budinger has been shipped out of Houston, which leaves Parsons with a chance to get more than the 28.6 minutes per game he got in 2012. If Parsons could work up to 34-36 minutes, he could put up 13 and 6 with 1.5 steals and nearly 4 threes attempted. However, if he ends up in another platoon, he’s probably looking at identical stats to last season and his ranking will suffer.
Oct. 8 – Keep an eye on how the Rockets distribute the minutes between Parsons and Carlos Delfino, as well as any of the many rookies on the squad.
Shawn Marion (DAL, 21.9 FPS) – Marion is just about at the end of his career and he won’t get you much more than the 11 and 7 he put up last season. He used to be a monster in the defensive categories, but with just 1.1 steals and .6 blocks, those days are gone. There doesn’t appear to be much upside with Marion, only downside risk. It’s amazing that he’s ranked this high, but that’s just how weak the small forward position is this year.
Tayshaun Prince (DET, 20.2 FPS) – About the only thing that can be said of Prince at this point in his career is that he’s fairly consistent. His stats really haven’t changed much over the last three seasons and probably won’t be much different this season. He’ll get you 12 and 5 with a couple of assists and a couple of three point attempts. His defensive stats have dwindled to just .4 steals and .5 blocks. The only red flag I could find on him from last season was a career low 42.1 FG%.
Lamar Odom (LAC, 27.0 FPS) – I’m pretty much going to scrap last season’s performance and give Odom a free pass on that one. While he’s more suited for the power forward position, I doubt he’s going to get many minutes there with Blake Griffin manning the spot. Odom is going to have to slide down and play some small forward. He’s definitely an upgrade over Caron Butler at that spot. Since Odom’s 2012 was so bad, I’ll use his 14 and 9 from 2011 as a better representation of what he can do, and he managed to do that in just 32.2 minutes. There’s a good chance that he’ll see the court for that much time at small forward and backup power forward and hopefully he can put up something close to that. However, if he ends up in a platoon, his final ranking will suffer.
Hedo Turkoglu (ORL, 18.6 FPS) – Turkoglu is an attractive fantasy asset due to his ability to handle the ‘point forward’ duties. He’s averaged 5.1 and 4.4 assists the past two seasons while putting up 11 and 4 last year. You are probably looking at the same 11 and 4 this season, but if you like the extra assists, he’s not a a bad late round flier.
Harrison Barnes (GSW, Rookie) – The Warriors selected Barnes with the seventh pick in the 2012 NBA Draft to fill a need a small forward. Golden State recently traded away Dorell Wright and the only competion that remains is Richard Jefferson. Barnes may not find himself in the starting lineup immediately, and there’s a good chance that he platoons with Jefferson for awhile, but I could see him winning the spot outright by Christmas. He’s a risky pick in one year leagues, but a definite must pick in keeper leagues.
Caron Butler (LAC, 17.5 FPS) – Yeah, I know, I’m struggling here to even come up with 25 guys to rank for the small forward board. Butler had a mediocre year in 2012 going for 12 and 4, and this year doesn’t look to be much better for him now that the Clippers have brought in Lamar Odom. Look for Butler to get 25-27 minutes, which isn’t going to make him draftable.
Down – Oct. 8 – Lamar Odom is in camp and wants a bigger role this season, which may come at Butler’s expense. Keep an eye on how the small forward minutes get distributed in camp.
24. Chase Budinger (MIN, 14.9 FPS) – If you are in the last couple of rounds of your draft and you are looking for threes, Budinger is a nice target. He was recently traded from Houston to the Wolves and could be a great source of offense off the bench for them. He won’t offer much outside of threes and points though.
25. Derrick Williams (MIN, 13.9 FPS) – Since I’m having a hard time finding someone who really stands out for the last spot on the board, I’m going to go with a guy who might be a real sleeper this season. Williams has trimmed down and could get an opportunity to win the starting small forward spot for the Timberwolves. If he doesn’t get it, then he’s not really draftable.
Others looking to break into the Top 25:
Metta World Peace