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2013 NBA Shooting Guard Preview 

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As we inch closer to the start of the new NBA Season we take a look at some of the best shooting guards this season has to offer. While the two guard is certainly the weakest of the five positions in this NBA, having one of the good ones can create a mismatch in every game.

15. Danny Green

Danny Green sneaks onto the list in part because of how weak the position is but also because he is going to be asked to do a lot more this season because of Manu Ginobili’s health and age. While he certainly won’t be asked to carry a big portion of the load, as long as Kawhi can handle what is being asked of him, he will be asked to provide many more consistent minutes.

14. JR Smith

I really don’t like the fact that I added him to this list and almost cut it to 10 just to leave him off but that wouldn’t be right. JR is simply an irrational confidence guy that comes in off the bench and jacks shots up. Luckily for the Knicks they should have a shorter leash on him this year with the addition of Bargnani to the offense. The best way to include JR into an offense is to simply put him in for a few minutes early in each half just to see if he’s having a good night or not. If not, yank him and play the defensive minded Ronnie Brewer.

13. DeMar DeRozan

This kid is good. He had a career year last season averaging over 18ppg and this year he should take another step forward. 20 a night for this kid is not out of reach this game, but only if he can improve upon his outside shooting. He shot a career best of 28.3% from beyond the arc last year, which is bad to say the least. But when you factor in the fact that DeRozan shot a solid 9.6% from three point range, while starting 82 games in 2010-11, he is working on it. This years’ Raptors team should be more well rounded and should space the floor more for this kid.

12. Ben McLemore

I really like the potential of McLemore. Anyone that watched him at Kansas was frustrated by him when he would disappear in games. His problem is becoming complacent, probably due to the crazy childhood this guy had. He grew up and became humble, fast. The only thing I don’t like about him this year and beyond, is that he is on this Kings team. If there was ever a team to become lost on it’s them. However, he should see a ton of run on this young team. They have the talent on paper to be competitive if the coaching could ever carry their load and get this team to listen, they could be good, and McLemore could be really good and at a position that is so thin league wide.

11. Eric Gordon

Another guy I’m not all that happy to include, but due to the weakness at this position he must be included. When healthy Gordon is really good on the offensive end. Despite his lack of size at the shooting guard position, he finds ways to create his own shot and make the offense better on the whole. The issue is that he missed 4 games in his rookie season. 16 games in his sophomore season. 26 games in his third year. Then in the lockout shortened season he played 9 out of 50 making for 41 missed games, although he would have missed about 30 more had it been a full season. Then last season he missed 40 games. That makes for a total of 127 games missed in five years in the NBA. The injury bug lives inside this guy and is actually already dealing with a knee issue before this season has even started. The likely solution is microfracture surgery, which he probably should have had a couple of years ago. While he is young and skilled, it might effectively end his career. It could also mean a comeback in a couple of years with a contender, which could be fun. But that’s just nonsense thoughts by me. The point is, his skill and the position being so weak forces my hand with this pick, but there is no way he is playing anywhere near 82 games this year.

PS. If you do a search for “Eric Gordon” on ESPN the player card that pops up is for an “NFL” linebacker with no stats or information whatsoever besides that he was born Aug 22, 1987, went to Michigan State, and wears #57. The NBA’s Eric Gordon couldn’t even get top billing over him, so yah that’s what you should think about him.

10. Bradley Beal

Do you see how bad this position is? Bradley freaking Beal is in the top 10. He was billed as “the next Ray Allen” which was obviously an ESPN thing, because there were absolutely no signs of that whatsoever, in my opinion. Oh he ran through screens? So did Rip Hamilton. By the way, when was the last time Ray Allen shot 78% from the charity stripe? That’s what I was saying before the draft and fuck you for those who have sooner jumped on board.

Last year Beal was injured early and mostly disgusted me late. This Wizards team (does it make you cringe when you to read the team name “Wizards” as much as it makes me when I type it?), is really bad, so if Beal can stay healthy he should be able to put up halfways decent numbers. Maybe he can hit the 15ppg mark, but if Washington’s hoops fans (I think that’s better?) remember correctly, they had this guy before. His name is Nick Young and he’s on the Lakers now for a reason. Sure they had a different set of skills, but neither plays defense particularly well and both are offensive players that, best case scenario (BCS)... yup; BCS they become the irrational confidence guy off the bench for a championship team. That’s Beal’s destiny, so if you are planning on playing in a fantasy hoops league, don’t draft this guy. He should put up some decent stats but, he is not going to blossom like you, or someone else in your league, thinks he may. Someone will draft him too early thinking they are getting something out of him and you should smirk at the fact that they just took someone you don’t want.

9. Joe Johnson

I’m really disappointed in this guy. He played his college ball at Arkansas, so he shouldn’t have any sense of complacency. There’s not exactly a guarantee of making the NBA when you play for Arkansas and their wonderful hoops tradition. He can be really good at times, but may have gotten paid at the wrong time, but even then he was inconsistent before then. Johnson sort of baffles me and will likely turn into a doppelganger for drafts to come, for guys I think have so much talent but don’t give a shit about being great… beware Ben “JJ” McLemore.

Now that Johnson gets to play with the likes of Pierce and Garnett, he should be a whole lot better. He will be the biggest x-factor throughout the year, but mostly when the pressure ratchets up in the playoffs. Johnson will be able to have the peace of mind of having the green light in the regular season without having to make a big play late. He almost becomes the Rondo of the Nets. Expect this guy to have a nice regular season despite spreading the rock around and then a stellar postseason thanks to just that.

8. Victor Oladipo

This kid is going to be good. He reminds me of Manu Ginobili only infinitely better on the defensive end. He is going to make a name for himself early and often provided the Magic don’t ruin him. They have some nice young pieces in place with Tobias Harris and Nikola Vucevic and now they have a guard who should make them competitive in the backcourt as well. The Magic obviously have a long way to go, but having Oladipo is a step in the right direction. He may win himself rookie of the year honors.

7. OJ Mayo

I feel like Mayo could be a key contributor for a title contender but instead he signed with the Bucks and will become their best player. That bodes well for his stats and for fantasy rosters with him on them, but not for Bucks fans. Mayo plays good defense and could score 20+ a game, pushing him up the rankings of the weakest position in the NBA.

6. Kobe Bryant

Who knows how long it will take him to get back to 100%, but he is still Kobe Bryant and he still has connections in Germany. The Lakers are going to be bad this year and Kobe’s shooting percentage will probably suffer, but his scoring numbers won’t. He is going to be jacking shots trying to pass Jordan and get closer to that top spot held by Kareem.

5. Monta Ellis

This Dallas team could be really fun to watch this year largely in thanks to the addition of Monta Ellis. Replacing OJ Mayo with Ellis was one of the underrated acquisitions in the offseason although it certainly isn’t enough to put Dallas over the hump. But they should be able to score some points provided Monta can play off the ball allowing Calderon to find him and Dirk open shots.

4. Klay Thompson

This kid really burst onto the scene last year. If you didn’t notice his exceptional regular season you certainly noticed him in the playoffs. With the Warriors style of play his lack of defensive prowess won’t hurt a ton, especially with Iguodala now in a Warriors uniform. This kid can shoot the lights out and should gamble a bit more on the defensive end resulting in more steals and fast break points/assists.

3. Dwyane Wade

This season could go one of two ways for Wade. His knees have hurt him recently and his body could continue to break down as his game hasn’t evolved much over the years. Or he could show up in better shape than ever, looking to silence the critics from last years postseason.

2. Paul George

Paul George took a few steps towards superstardom last postseason and then signed a deal that a superstar would. He has one of the most well rounded games of anyone in the league and could garner some MVP votes if this Pacers team can play up to their potential.

1. James Harden

Harden is the clear cut #1 here and deserves being one of the top favorites in the MVP race heading into the year. The Rockets are going to be in it when it matters. They are loaded with talent and the addition of Dwight Howard is going to allow Harden to really have himself a career year.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

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