2013 Outlook: Paul put to rest any remaining questions about the health of his knees after playing 60 games last season and finishing as the top fantasy point guard in his first year with the Clippers. CP3 finished third overall on our Player Rater with averages of 19.8 points, 3.6 rebounds, 9.1 assists, 2.5 steals and 1.3 3-pointers per game while shooting 47.8 percent from the floor and 86.1 percent from the free throw line. The point guard position is as good and as deep as it's ever been, but Paul clearly stands alone at the top in the fantasy game. Draft him accordingly.
2013 Outlook: As we predicted last season, the move from Jerry Sloan's strict structure in Utah to a free-form, ball-hog role with the Nets resulted in increased scoring, 3s and turnovers -- and decreased field goal percentage and assists. This season, the Nets have a talented and diverse starting lineup, which should result in D-Will settling in somewhere between last season's production and what we saw in Utah. Averaging 20.0 points and 10.0 assists per game is fully within reach, and we should see an increase in field goal percentage with a likely dip in 3s. It's possible Williams could lead the league in dimes with a dip in scoring, but exactly how those stats balance out isn't as important as the fact that his overall value will remain elite.
2013 Outlook: With his explosiveness and ability to get to the basket at will, Westbrook has the talent (and talent around him) to be a perennial top-five fantasy player. Westbrook, who last year averaged 23.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 1.7 steals and 0.9 3-pointers per game while shooting 45.7 percent from the floor and 82.3 percent from the line, catapulted all the way up to fourth on our Player Rater in just his fourth season in the league. As versatile and consistent as any player in the league, Westbrook, 23, is a dominant, multi-category producer who hasn't missed a single game in his career. The ever-improving Westbrook should be considered a sure-fire first-round selection.
2013 Outlook: Last season, Irving lived up to the hype of being the No. 1 pick. In fact, he exceeded expectations in some areas, which gives hope to bigger long-term fantasy production. Despite being a scrawny, 6-foot-3 point guard, Irving shot 46.9 percent from the field and nearly 40 percent from beyond the arc while averaging 18.5 points per game last season. Clearly, he can score at the NBA level. His assists, however, were limited by a team devoid of other scorers; as a result, we expect his assist production to increase as the youthful Cavs figure out how to put the rock in the hoop. It should be noted that Irving missed all but 11 games at Duke, 15 games as a rookie and broke his hand this offseason, so there remains some concern about his durability -- but his upside outweighs that.
2013 Outlook: Building off of a spectacular second half during the 2010-11 season, Lawson broke out in a big way in 2011-12 to the tune of 16.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.2 3-pointers per contest in his first full season as a starter. With tremendous percentages (48.8 percent from the floor, 82.4 percent from the line), he catapulted to No. 19 on our Player Rater by the end of the season. Lawson is blessed with top-end speed and quickness, and is fearless in his attempts to get to the basket, where he can create or finish with a variety of offensive moves. Already a borderline elite fantasy point guard, Lawson looked brilliant last season during a seven-game playoff series against the Lakers and is poised to deliver once again in 2012-13.
2013 Outlook: Rondo has been the definition of a classic point guard: He dishes assists, racks up steals and doesn't care to shoot. While that's a dream scenario for an NBA coach, it keeps Rondo from being an elite fantasy option. With the Big Three previously taking care of the scoring, Rondo hasn't been asked to shoot; he just dished and let others put the rock in the hoop. But with Ray Allen gone and Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett aging, will the C's finally ask Rondo to shoot? Probably not, since he doesn't have a reliable jumper. Espn.com's John Hollinger put it this way: 'If he could shoot at all, he'd be dominant.' He's just 26 years old, so he could still develop a midrange jumper. But until then, he'll be a two-category (assists, steals) wonder.
2013 Outlook: Fantasy's best midseason pickup in 2011-12 was the big winner of the offseason when he signed with the Suns to replace Steve Nash. Dragic, who was Nash's understudy in Phoenix before moving to Houston, showed signs of brilliance despite being relegated to backup duty before getting his first opportunity for extended minutes in relief of Kyle Lowry for the Rockets last season. The results? Dragic posted 18.0 points, 8.4 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.8 3-pointers per game while shooting 49.0 percent from the floor and 83.9 percent from the line in 28 starts. He was so valuable in the fantasy game that, despite starting in only 28 games, he still finished 46th on our Player Rater. Now the clear starter for the rebuilding Suns, fantasy owners should expect big things from the 26-year-old entering his fifth NBA season.
2013 Outlook: Jennings is a hard player to peg. He's an insane athlete but a streaky scorer who hoists up far too many bad shots. Plus, he's a small guard paired up with another small guard (Monta Ellis), both of whom are really shoot-first point guards. On top of those factors, Jennings is entering into the final year of his rookie contract, which means the Bucks could be inclined to trade him during the season to address the size issue in their backcourt and save themselves from a big contract payout next summer. Landing in the wrong spot could limit his production. In Milwaukee, he remains in a position to contribute quality guard stats and likely will continue boosting his field goal percentage.
2013 Outlook: The Lakers made big headlines when they traded for the 38-year-old Nash over the offseason, giving them the great point guard they've long coveted. After averaging 12.5 points, 10.7 assists and 0.9 3-pointers with his usual terrific percentages for the Suns last year, Nash still has a few more years left in the tank. But there are plenty of question marks facing the veteran in 2012-13. Kobe Bryant has never played with a point guard like Nash, and it remains to be seen how the two will share the ball in their first season together. Expect Nash's assist numbers to drop to the 8-9 range, as Kobe will command the ball more than Nash is accustomed to; regardless, he'll still be a borderline top-tier fantasy point guard thanks to his 3-point shooting and incredible efficiency.
2013 Outlook: No longer is Ellis playing in the wide-open Warriors offense that made him a fantasy star. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. His new coach, Scotty Skiles, will demand quality shot selection and plenty of defense, which should result in better field goal shooting and rejuvenated steal production. Plus, the Bucks have little else in the way of playmakers outside of Ellis and fellow guard Brandon Jennings, so Ellis will still be his team's primary offensive weapon. One negative change is that Skiles might phase 3-pointers out of his game because he's not very accurate (32.7 percent career 3-point shooter). He's stayed relatively healthy the past couple of seasons, but long-term injuries remain a concern. Nonetheless, he is an elite fantasy option who will go in the early rounds of all drafts.
2013 Outlook: An underrated option in a deep crop of fantasy point guards, Conley vaulted all the way up to 26th on our Player Rater in 2011-12 thanks to his elite steal totals. Finishing the year second in the league in steals with 2.2 per game, Conley is a well-rounded guard who also posted 12.7 points, 6.5 assists and 1.0 3-pointers per game while shooting 86.1 percent from the free throw line. He won't overwhelm in any category outside of steals, but he's solid enough to be considered a second-tier point guard in most fantasy leagues. Plus, he's rarely hurt and has shown massive improvement in his night-to-night consistency over the past two seasons, which makes him an extremely safe fantasy investment.
2013 Outlook: Ankle injuries not only kept Curry off the court for much of the 2011-12 season, but also limited his effectiveness when he was healthy enough to play. A dynamic fantasy player when healthy, last season Curry posted 14.7 points, 5.3 assists, 1.5 steals and 2.1 3-pointers in 28.2 minutes per game, but saw action in only 26 games for the Warriors. One look at Curry's career averages indicates that he's a sure-fire first rounder if not for his troublesome injury history: In 180 games, Curry has averaged a brilliant 17.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.7 steals and 2.1 3-pointers per game while shooting 47.3 percent from the floor and 90.1 percent from the line. With an upside like that, Curry is the ultimate high-risk, high-reward selection for the 2012-13 season. Draft him with the knowledge that he can make or break your fantasy season depending on the health of his surgically repaired ankle.
2013 Outlook: Now two years removed from his record-setting rookie season, Evans posted 16.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.3 steals in 34.3 minutes per game in 2011-12. Though those numbers are still a far cry from the 20/5/5 he posted as a rookie, at least Evans was able to stay on the court after dealing with nagging injuries in 2010-11. However, Evans seemed to struggle when the Kings moved him to small forward in order to make room for Isaiah Thomas in the starting lineup; in 26 starts as a forward, Evans posted averages of 15.6 points, 4.4 boards, 4.1 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Tyreke's fantasy game would be much more impressive if he shot more 3-pointers (0.3 per game) and could improve his free throw percentage (77.9 percent). Regardless, he's a valuable fantasy commodity thanks to his ability to produce in multiple categories (though keep in mind that he's slightly less attractive as a small forward).
2013 Outlook: Parker gave Spurs fans a scare when he suffered a serious eye injury during an infamous nightclub melee during the offseason. Luckily, he escaped without any career-threatening injuries and was able to play for France in the London Olympics (sporting protective goggles). Though he looked fairly sluggish at the Olympics, his eye did not appear to bother him. Aside from offseason issues, Parker turned in a career year in 2011-12, posting 18.3 points, 7.7 assists and 1.0 steals per game while shooting 48.0 percent from the floor and 79.9 percent from the line. With Tim Duncan on the downslope of his career and Manu Ginobili battling injuries, Parker should continue to take more responsibility on the offensive end. Of course, the 30-year-old Parker no spring chicken himself, and he won't help at all in the 3-point category. But he's still a great fantasy point guard for his scoring, assists and field goal percentage.
2013 Outlook: Last season, Lowry turned 38 starts with the Rockets into big production, averaging 15.9 points, 7.2 assists, 5.3 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.9 3-pointers per game while shooting 86.5 percent from the stripe and 41.8 percent from the floor. His big season also prompted a trade to the Raptors, where he should start at point guard over Jose Calderon. It's fair to be skeptical about his ability to maintain that pace over a full season, because he's a career 42 percent field goal shooter who developed late. Plus, Calderon is there. But sometimes opportunity is the key to fantasy, and Lowry will have every opportunity to play a big role as the primary facilitator of the Raptors' offense ' and that makes him an intriguing fantasy option this season.