The 2023-24 NBA season is right around the corner, and it's time to start prepping for your fantasy basketball drafts! It's never too early to get a jump on your competition. To kick things off, I'm dropping my positional tiers series — next up are the shooting guards.
Note, 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 they have the most minutes at.
Tier 1: Elite SGs
1) Kyrie Irving, Dallas Mavericks
2) Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
3) Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves
4) Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers
Irving and Luka make up one of the most offensively gifted backcourts in the game. And Ky remains one of the most efficient guards in fantasy. A 50/40/90 line is always in play with Uncle Drew, and he averaged 26.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists across 16 games as a member of the Mavs last season. I'm no longer concerned about his availability, so he's a top-10 pick.
Booker went demon mode in the 2023 NBA Playoffs, offering a glimpse into what the Suns could look like sans Chris Paul. Now that Paul is officially gone, the keys to the offense are going to Book. He averaged 34 points with five rebounds and seven assists in the 2023 postseason, and even though he won't play 41 minutes a night, a 28/5/7 line playing alongside Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal. He's worth an early second-round pick and is poised to have the best fantasy season of his career.
Have the Timberwolves realized that it's time for Edwards to be the go-to franchise player he was drafted to be? Yes. I'm loading up on my Ant-Man shares ahead of the 2023-24 season because this is the year he approaches superstardom — with an All-Star appearance on the horizon. He finished inside the top 50 the past two seasons, so you'll have to spend up for his upcoming breakout campaign.
Mitchell had his most productive season as a member of the Cavs, and look for that to continue as he's an All-NBA caliber player.
Tier 2: Should be drafted within the first three rounds
1) Mikal Bridges, Brooklyn Nets
2) Desmond Bane, Memphis Grizzlies
3) Dejounte Murray, Atlanta Hawks
4) Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers
5) Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics
Bridges thrived as the No. 1 option in Brooklyn, averaging 26 points with exceptional shooting splits in 22 games after being traded from Phoenix. The Nets didn't alter their roster much this offseason, so he's set up well to run it back as a top-30 player in fantasy basketball.
"Now is not the time for fear … that comes later." Don't hesitate to select Bane. Even with a bum toe, he finished 36th in per-game value last season and the season before. Imagine what he'll do in the 25 games without Ja Morant to start the season.
Murray's first year in Atlanta was solid, finishing within the top 40 and he should have no issue replicating that performance this season. He's a steals specialist who's good for at least 20 points with five rebounds and five assists per night.
Brown inked the largest contract in NBA history in the offseason despite not having a left hand. Still, he's in his prime and otherwise trending up in fantasy.
Tier 3: All-Star caliber SGs with high floors
1) Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls
2) O.G. Anunoby, Toronto Raptors
3) Jordan Poole, Washington Wizards
4) Bradley Beal, Phoenix Suns
5) Tyrese Maxey, Philadelphia 76ers
He doesn't offer much defensively, and his knees could be a headache, but LaVine has a safe floor at 24/5/4 a night.
Fresh off earning his first All-Defensive team nod and leading the NBA in steals, this season offers the most opportunity for Anunoby offensively. He has shot 47% from the field and 38% on 3s in his career, so with more volume and sustained efficiency, he could be a top-20 player. Someone must step up behind Pascal Siakam, and I'd bet on Anunoby over Scottie Barnes.
Poole finds himself on a new team where he'll get more usage and opportunity as a full-time starter and resident bucket-getter. Entering his fifth NBA season, he's averaged over 21 points, three rebounds and four assists as a starter in his career so that projects to be a safe floor in the early rounds of drafts.
Beal may have found a reason to play more games now that he's teamed up with Devin Booker and Kevin Durant in Phoenix, and if he can stay healthy, top 40 is an attainable feat.
I was early on the Maxey hype train last season, but Harden's trade demands could shift Maxey into more of a facilitator role, which would be great for his fantasy value going into his fourth NBA season.
Tier 4: Mid-tier guards with emerging roles (mostly)
1) Jalen Williams, Oklahoma City Thunder
2) Devin Vassell, San Antonio Spurs
3) Terry Rozier, Charlotte Hornets
4) Anfernee Simons, Portland Trail Blazers
6) Jalen Green, Houston Rockets
5) Austin Reaves, Los Angeles Lakers
7) Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
8) Bennedict Mathurin, Indiana Pacers
J-Dub would've landed in Tier 3 but now that Chet Holmgren is back, that's one more mouth to feed in OKC. Still, he could flirt with top-60 value because of his efficiency and upside defensively. After the All-Star break, he averaged over 18 points, five rebounds and four assists with a 55/43/89 shooting splits. He also racked up the second-most steals in the league over that time. All-Rookie first-team honors was just the beginning.
Vassell, heading into his fourth NBA season, took a substantial leap in the scoring department with a 24% usage rate last season despite playing in just 32 games. He's a knockdown 3-point shooter and a capable defender with more playmaking ability than every starter not named Tre Jones. Victor Wembanyama's arrival likely slides Vassell to the second option offense (sorry to those who believe in Keldon Johnson). With more talent blooming in San Antonio, Vassell's more than capable of averaging over 20 points with four rebounds and five assists this year.
Simons gets a nice boost after the Blazers sent Damian Lillard to Milwaukee and Jrue Holiday to Boston. He's on a path to seeing more usage and volume than at any point in his career.
Green is getting a significant bump this season now that Ime Udoka is coaching the Rockets, and VanVleet came over in free agency. The Rockets lacked leadership and any semblance of a cohesive unit, and all that changes this season. Green had a career year in terms of production (he averaged his highest points, rebounds and assists), but his shooting percentage, turnover rate and lack of defensive stats dropped his ranking to nearly 200 for the second consecutive season. This year, he's a breakout candidate with minimal competition for minutes at the two-guard spot.
It's hard to identify a player who's earned so much respect from his peers and basketball pundits in such a short period of time. The Lakers blessed Reaves with a new contract, then he got invited to play for Team USA at the FIBA World Cup this summer and he ended up playing a pivotal role in making it to the bronze medal game (that they would eventually lose). He had success in 22 games as a starter last season, averaging 15.1 points, 3.5 boards and 3.5 assists per game. Now that he's been incentivized to play a critical role in the Lakers' quest for a championship, I'm projecting those numbers to increase —but don't expect much on the defensive end.
Mathurin led the league in scoring off the bench last year. Now, he could be in the running for Sixth Man of the Year, but I think he'll emerge as the starting SG. He admitted that he and Pacers HC Rick Carlisle got closer this offseason and with a revamped Pacers team that's trending up, they'll need his scoring in the starting unit.
Tier 5: Bucket-getters and low-end starters who offer late-round bench depth
1) Jordan Clarkson, Utah Jazz
2) Gary Trent Jr., Toronto Raptors
3) Kevin Huerter, Sacramento Kings
4) Jaden Ivey, Detroit Pistons
5) Josh Richardson, Miami Heat
6) Quentin Grimes, New York Knicks
Clarkson re-signed with the Jazz in the offseason and is slated to start alongside Collin Sexton. Clarkson's always been a bucket, and fantasy managers would appreciate any efficiency gains this season.
Having Cade Cunningham in your backcourt instead of Killian Hayes as your backcourt mate is a massive upgrade. Ivey will be better in Year 2.
The Heat gutted their roster to position themselves to win the Damian Lillard trade sweepstakes, but until that happens, Richardson should start at shooting guard now that Max Strus is on the Cavs. There's nothing wrong with grabbing a starter late in drafts with a versatile fantasy skill set.