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 — starting with the point guards.
[2023-24 Draft Tiers: PGs | SGs | SFs | PFs | Cs]
Note: only some players will have analysis when listed in the tiers below. Players with multi-position eligibility will only appear in the positional tier story they have the most minutes at.
Tier one: Elite PGs
1) Luka Dončić, Dallas Mavericks
2) Shai-Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder
3) Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers
4) Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
5) LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets
6) Damian Lillard, Milwaukee Bucks
7) Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks
After delivering the best statistical season of his five-year career, Luka takes the top spot among the elite point guards and will be an MVP candidate once again.
Gilgeous-Alexander deservingly gets a few votes for the best point guard in fantasy. He does literally everything on offense and defense, so I wouldn’t fault anyone for drafting him within the first three picks this season. He finished top three in per-game and total value last season and fantasy managers won’t be disappointed selecting him within the first five picks.
Haliburton gets the nod over future HOF Stephen Curry because of his outstanding peripherals and has proven to deliver 20 points with 10 assists consistently. He’s a threat to lead the league in assists and when you add his defense and efficiency, he’s an easy mid-first-round pick.
His resume speaks for itself, but if he plays over 60 games, Curry could be a top-five player.
Ball was on the verge of having his best season as a pro but fell victim to unfortunate injury luck. I’m expecting him to return to All-Star form.
Young is another player with 20 points and 10 assists upside who could rise even higher by raising his FG percentage with fewer turnovers.
Tier 2: Should be drafted within the first three rounds
1) Fred VanVleet, Houston Rockets
2) James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers
3) Cade Cunningham, Detroit Pistons
I’m high on VanVleet this season as he’ll facilitate a much more dynamic offense with the Rockets and is poised to put up his best assist numbers to date.
Harden is another player who’s been downgraded due to his trade request. Don’t be surprised if you see him slipping down my rankings until there’s significant movement on his contractual situation. Should the Sixers and Harden find a resolution by the start of the season, then Harden deserves to be drafted within the top two tiers of fantasy basketball.
Cunningham’s ’22-23 campaign ended after only 12 games, but with a new head coach and a noticeable upgrade in talent surrounding him, Cunningham is looking like a third-year breakout.
Tier 3: All-Star caliber PGs with high floors
1) Jalen Brunson, New York Knicks
2) Jrue Holiday, Boston Celtics
3) Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers
4) De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings
5) Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets
Murray moved into this group after a memorable championship run that helped the Nuggets hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy in 2023. Murray has yet to crack the top 50 when playing over 50 games, which will change after this season.
Tier 4: Mid-tier guards with emerging roles (mostly)
1) Tyrese Maxey, Philadelphia 76ers
2) Tyler Herro, Miami Heat
3) Derrick White, Boston Celtics
4) Chris Paul, Golden State Warriors
I was early on the Maxey hype train last season, but Harden’s trade demands could shift Maxey into a more prominent role as a ball-handler and facilitator, which would be great for his fantasy value. Maxey could reach All-Star level production with Nick Nurse’s reliance on starters and increased usage in his fourth NBA season.
Herro was notably on the trade block this summer, but he doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. With Kyle Lowry in decline, Herro will see a usage rate of at least 25%, with a floor averaging 20/5/4.
White’s time as the starting point guard for the Celtics was short-lived, as Boston acquired Jrue Holiday. Still, he’s one of the best defenders at the guard position in fantasy basketball.
The steep fall for CP3 is warranted because he’s 38 and noticeably declining. However, he’s one of the most decorated fantasy basketball players of the modern era and never finished outside the top 40 in his career. He’ll be effective even if he doesn’t play heavy minutes, and that’s probably better for him at this age, anyway.
Tier 5: Underrated value picks relative to ADP
1) Marcus Smart, Memphis Grizzlies
2) CJ McCollum, New Orleans Pelicans
3) Markelle Fultz, Orlando Magic
4) Tyus Jones, Washington Wizards
5) Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies
6) Tre Jones, San Antonio Spurs
7) D’Angelo Russell, Los Angeles Lakers
Smart will produce a tier-four level at minimum to start the season since Ja Morant will serve a 25-game suspension. However, Morant’s return will hamper his long-term value.
McCollum shot poorly and posted his highest turnover rate in eight seasons, which led to him barely cracking the top 90 in fantasy last year. Still, he’s going in the eighth round of early drafts, and that feels low, considering he’s capable of averaging 21 points with four rebounds and five-plus assists with a talented Pelicans squad.
Fultz has some financial incentive to ball out because he’ll be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2023-2024 season. He shot over 51% from the field and averaged career bests in points, assists, steals, blocks and three-point percentage last season, so he’s a player who should be rising up draft boards.
Poole’s arrival briefly put Tyus Jones’ plans of becoming a fantasy breakout on hold, but he still boasts an ideal skillset for fantasy. He’s fully capable of matching his production as a starter last season — over 16 points with four boards, eight assists, plenty of steals and a low turnover rate.
Tre, Tyus’ brother, is in a better position this season now that some guy named Victor Wembanyama is in the building. Jones has an exceptional assist-to-turnover ratio and is coming off his best year as a pro. He’ll be running the Spurs offense, and they’ll be better because of it.
D’Angelo Russell signed a new deal to remain with the Lakers, and he’s projected to start at point guard (in name only) for LA. The Lakers also signed Gabe Vincent, and I’m concerned about Russell’s assist numbers alongside LeBron James and Austin Reaves.
Tier 6: Draft-worthy mid-to-late-round picks
1) Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn Nets
2) Scoot Henderson, Portland Trail Blazers
3) De’Anthony Melton, Philadelphia 76ers
4) Russell Westbrook III, Los Angeles Clippers
Dinwiddie projects as the third option in Brooklyn but has traditionally never been more than a fringe top 120 player in fantasy despite playing close to 30 minutes a night.
Henderson moved into top 100 status after Damian Lillard was dealt to the Milwaukee Bucks. Like any rookie PG, he’ll struggle with his efficiency, but he’ll be an asset right away for fantasy managers needing points, assists and steals from the guard spot.
With or without Harden, Melton will be a key fixture of the 76ers rotation and remains a strong three-point shooter and steals specialist for fantasy. An increase in minutes would be ideal for his fantasy appeal.
Russell Westbrook is probably higher than expected, but his time as a Clipper was productive. He was a top 100 player and rarely misses games, so if you’re looking for assists, scoring and rebounding late in drafts, Westbrook is an option, assuming you can mask his poor shooting.
Tier 7: Combination of vets and potential sixth-man candidates
1) Mike Conley, Minnesota Timberwolves
2) Collin Sexton, Utah Jazz
3) Ben Simmons, Brooklyn Nets
4) Malcolm Brogdon, Portland Trail Blazers
5) Immanuel Quickley, New York Knicks
6) Kyle Lowry, Miami Heat
7) Dennis Schroder, Toronto Raptors
8) Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic
9) Colby White, Chicago Bulls
10) Kris Dunn, Utah Jazz
11) Gabe Vincent, Los Angeles Lakers
12) Dennis Smith Jr. – Brooklyn Nets
Conley is always a cheap source of assists, threes and steals.
Sexton has the early edge at starting for the Jazz and comes into the season the healthiest he’s been in two seasons.
Brogdon is the most efficient of the bunch but was dealt to the Blazers as part of the deal that landed Jrue Holiday in Boston. The Blazers said they’re going to keep him — which is odd considering he’s a veteran on a rebuilding team. He should be their sixth man, but I’ll be paying close attention in preseason to see how his role shapes out.
Last season was Quickley’s coming out party, and he’s poised to be one of the best guards off the bench in the league and has top-100 potential.
Schroder is on cloud nine after bringing home a gold medal for Germany at the FIBA World Cup a couple of weeks ago. As the presumed starting point guard of a rebuilding Raptors franchise, he should be drafted in all formats.
The Bulls starting PG spot is up for grabs, and while I initially thought Jevon Carter would start, Coby White got the nod in the Bulls preseason opener. He played a team-high 23 minutes and delivered 14 points with six rebounds, six assists and two steals. This is shaping up to be a position battle worth monitoring this preseason.
Tier 8: Waiver options that could become fantasy-relevant
1) Monte Morris, Detroit Pistons
2) T.J. McConnell, Indiana Pacers
3) Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago Bulls
4) Cameron Payne, Milwaukee Bucks
5) Jaden Hardy, Dallas Mavericks
6) Bones Hyland, Los Angeles Clippers
7) Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls
8) Delon Wright, Washington Wizards
9) Davion Mitchell, Sacramento Kings
10) Patrick Beverley, Philadelphia 76ers
11) Jevon Carter, Chicago Bulls
Morris and McConnell are the savvy vets who could help your roster if the injury bug hits Detroit or Indiana’s backcourts.
Hardy should see more minutes off the bench after a decent performance at the 2023 Las Vegas Summer League.
Then there’s a host of guards that could be waiver pickups throughout the season – Hyland, Caruso, Wright Mitchell and Beverley.