Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant might not average 30-plus points per game anymore now that they are in their 30s (Wade turns that age in January), but they still dominate the shooting guard position in fantasy. We all should figure they hold off a set of good 20-somethings for at least one more year.
And it is some trio bringing up the next group.
The Warriors' Monta Ellis put his best full season together alongside running mate Stephen Curry, and the recently acquired Hornet Eric Gordon is going to do the same this year. That second tier is closing the gap, but the position is still the Wade and Bryant show, even if the aging Lakers star still needs a better running mate.
The two guards don't tend to post the fantasy points those at the point position do, since many head-to-head points leagues give two points for assists, but missing out on a good SG could leave you picking through scraps in the middle rounds. This makes snagging one from the top few tiers at the SG position important in the first few rounds.
We continue our look at the preseason NBA fantasy rankings with the two spot.
Breakout: Eric Gordon, Clippers
There is a good reason the Clippers didn't make the blockbuster deal for Chris Paul with the Hornets. The NBA wanted Gordon in the deal. The Clippers know what they have in this 23-year old entering his fourth season. Gordon has taken off offensively, and if not for a wrist injury we could be talking about him in the elite class already. He is reportedly 100 percent this season and going to be a great value after first few rounds on draft day.
Ginobili is coming off his best fantasy season, and the first in which he played at least 80 games. Only Bryant and Wade produced more fantasy points per minute than Ginobili did last season. The problem is Ginobili is getting up there in age (34) and won't average more than 30 minutes per game like the rest of the elite shooting guards. Also, he can be an injury risk because he is aging, along with the rest of the Spurs. They were great a season ago and we should expect them to be further from the elite this go-round. All this should keep you from picking Ginobili in the top tier, or two.
The 22-year-old Harden emerged down the stretch and in the postseason and should unseat defensive stopper Thabo Sefolosha in the Thunder's starting lineup sooner or later. If that is the case, Harden can perform like a top 15 shooting guard, if not top 10, in Year 3. The Thunder are one of the up-and-coming beasts of the NBA with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, not to mention the dunking Serge Ibaka. Harden can become the third scoring option for this team and will be a great value in the middle-to-latter rounds.
If you play in a Rotisserie format and need to use the shooting guard position to help in a specific category in the latter rounds:
7. Three-point FGs:Ray Allen, Celtics -- He is a bit obvious considering he is one of the best three-point shooters of all time. If he doesn't fall, then consider Jason Richardson, who led the position in numbers of threes made (189).
Here are the entire shooting-guard rankings. These are based on a 10-team league with two starting shooting guards, 10 starting players total and four reserves.
Eric Mack writes fantasy sports for SI.com. You can also find him on Twitter, where you can mock him, rip him and (doubtful) praise him before asking him for fantasy advice @EricMackFantasy.