To Catch a Shooting Star

The Heat is Dwyane Wade's team and he'll continue to post huge numbers.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - As with the last article describing the difference between a good "fantasy" point guard and a good "real life" point guard, the same holds true at the shooting guard position.

In the fantasy world, it's not about winning games and championships, it's about a player's statistics helping you to fantasy titles.

Being great in the eight fantasy categories (PPG, RPG, APG, SPG, BPG, FG%, 3PT%, FT%) is more important to the fantasy owner than winning games. Of course, if a player is good in all the categories he is probably helping his team win instead of hurting it, so indirectly there is going to be a correlation between a good fantasy player and a winning basketball team, but it is not a guarantee.

Both New Jersey Nets C Brook Lopez and former Minnesota PF/C Al Jefferson are very good fantasy players, yet neither of which helped their team win many games last season.

Today, we are looking at the top fantasy shooting guards.

Dwyane Wade, Miami (Yahoo ADP 5) - Apparently Wade is a "Nine-Tool" player because besides being an eight-category "statistical monster" he's also a great salesman. To convince LeBron James and Chris Bosh to join him in Miami might have been a better feat than anything he's done on the basketball floor. And he's pretty good on the hardwood. Wade has always been a great contributor in all categories except for three-point shooting percentage, but he's even become a decent long-range shooter. Not great, but for a guy who hit just 17.1% in 2005-06, he's averaged at least 30% over the past two seasons. No matter what you might hear over the next few months, the Heat is Wade's team and he'll continue to post huge numbers.

Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers (ADP 7) - Bryant owns five championships and 12 NBA All-Star appearances, but more important to fantasy owners are his 25.3 ppg career scoring average to go along with 5.3 rpg and 4.7 apg. However, 14 seasons and multiple deep runs into the playoffs may be taking a toll on Bryant. In 2007-08 he played 3,192 minutes and in each of the next two seasons that total has dropped significantly. For Bryant, it's only about winning championships which could mean he'll "coast" a little more during the regular season because he has playmakers around him. He may never again score 35.4 ppg like he did in 2005-06, but he'll still be good for 26-5-5 and that's enough to make him the No.2 fantasy guard.

Brandon Roy, Portland (ADP 23) - Roy could become a consistent 23-5-5 player this season. The only thing holding the Portland shooting guard from challenging for the top fantasy spot is health. In two of his four seasons, he's played in 65 games or less and that's just too much risk to take on Draft Day. If he can stay on the court, he can put up numbers similar to Kobe. Maybe even more because while Bryant can let the rest of the talented Lakers carry him sometimes, Roy has no such option. The only other consistent scorer is LaMarcus Aldridge, and though Andre Miller is a nice point guard, he'll be 35 in March and his minutes will take a hit. That leaves Roy in control of the Trail Blazers' offense which could mean a huge year if he can stay healthy.

Joe Johnson, Atlanta (ADP 27) - Until he became a free agent this summer, and finally got some press, the fact that Johnson had scored at least 20 ppg over the last five seasons probably went unnoticed. And that's not all he contributes. Johnson averaged 4.6 rpg and 4.9 apg last season while shooting over 45% from the field and 81% from the line. He'll continue to be drafted in the late third round and early fourth, and should be a solid value.

Monta Ellis, Golden State (ADP 30) - When Ellis was on the floor (he only played 64 games in 2009-10) he was a fantasy star. He averaged more than 25 ppg last season -- a 6.5 ppg increase from the previous season. Playing in the run-and-gun Warriors offense and alongside Stephen Curry and new acquisition David Lee, Ellis' fantasy value should only get better. With three explosive weapons on the floor, the opposition won't be able to key on Ellis. He's improved his three-point shooting from 23.1% in 2007 to 30.8% in 2008 and 33.8% last year. He's also a threat to lead the league in steals.



Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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