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2013 Fantasy Basketball Draft Prep: Early positional tiers

Fantasy Writer
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You want to go into your draft with a blueprint for how you want your team to look at the end. I'm not saying map out every step along the way along with each possible permutation, like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book. You lead a busy life, I know. And you'll only end up frustrated when your buddy, who grew up a UConn fan, grabs Kemba Walker two rounds too early and ruins everything, as your buddy is wont to do.

But you do need to have something resembling a plan for what kind of team you want to draft. A lot will depend on where you land in the draft order, as well as the individual foibles and idiosyncrasies of your fellow drafters, but you can put yourself ahead of the competition anyway.

And you can still draw up a vague road map for how you want your draft to go in pencil, and your best place to start is with the following tier rankings. Each position is broken down, helping give you a feel for where different players fall across the spectrum of positional value.

You'll also get an idea of which players should be grouped together, which can help you anticipate runs on certain positions and get ahead of the curve. Don't be the person who has to react to everything -- be the trendsetter.

Guard

Guard is easily the deepest position on Draft Day, so there's no reason to really reach on anyone here. The top four are essentially interchangeable at this point, though it should be noted that Stephen Curry's unprecedented three-point shooting is threatening to break our Rotisserie scoring calculator, so bump him up a bit in those formats.

There are a few big injury question marks at this spot, especially in that second tier, where more than half of the 11 options carry significant concerns based on their recent past. Still, every Fantasy owner can be happy ending up with at least two players from the top three tiers, and there isn't a huge drop along the way like at other positions. The only problem this season might be a relative lack of breakout options. Guard is deep in the NBA and there isn't a ton of playing time up for grabs for younger players.

The Elite
Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, James Harden, Chris Paul (4)

The Sub-Elite
Deron Williams, Brandon Jennings, Damian Lillard, Mike Conley, Kyrie Irving, Paul George, John Wall, Derrick Rose, Tony Parker, Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant (11)

The Next-best thing
Kemba Walker, Jeff Teague, Ty Lawson, Jrue Holiday, Monta Ellis, Ricky Rubio, Kyle Lowry, Rajon Rondo (8)

The Fallback options
Goran Dragic, O.J. Mayo, Evan Turner, Klay Thompson, Greivis Vasquez, Jeremy Lin, Raymond Felton, George Hill, Tyreke Evans, Bradley Beal, Steve Nash, Kevin Martin, Arron Afflalo (13)

The Low-End Starters
Eric Bledsoe, Jose Calderon, Michael Carter-Williams, Jameer Nelson, DeMar DeRozan, Joe Johnson, C.J. McCollum, Trey Burke, Victor Oladipo, Brandon Knight, Ramon Sessions, Jamal Crawford, Dion Waiters, Brandon Knight, Lou Williams, Eric Gordon (17)

The Late-Rounders
Vince Carter, Danny Green, Nate Robinson, J.J. Redick, Jared Dudley, Wesley Matthews, Kyle Korver, Mario Chalmers, Jarrett Jack, Thabo Sefolosha, Luke Ridnour, Gerald Henderson, Andre Miller, Marcus Thornton, Iman Shumpert, Tony Allen, Isaiah Thomas, Patrick Beverley, Manu Ginobili, Ray Allen, Mo Williams (21)

Forward

If I could, I would put another tier between the Elite and Sub-Elites and leave it totally empty, in order to adequately illustrate just how big the difference is between LeBron, Durant and everyone else. Forward is also surprisingly shallow, which is why you might want to focus there early. You can wait until Round 8 or 9 for a third guard and still end up with a Klay Thompson or Bradley Beal. Wait too long at forward and you're looking at having to rely on unproven guys like Tobias Harris or an injury-prone Amar'e Stoudemire.

The Elite
LeBron James, Kevin Durant (2)

The Sub-Elite
Blake Griffin, Josh Smith, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love (4)

The Next-best thing
Serge Ibaka, Tim Duncan, Paul Millsap, Rudy Gay, LaMarcus Aldridge, Chandler Parsons, Ryan Anderson, Chris Bosh, Nicolas Batum, Pau Gasol, Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young, Dirk Nowitzki, David Lee, Zach Randolph (13)

The Fallback options
Derrick Favors, Ersan Ilyasova, Kawhi Leonard, Jeff Green, Luol Deng, Amir Johnson, Paul Pierce, David West, Kenneth Faried, Carlos Boozer, Tobias Harris, Maurice Harkless, Danny Granger, Shawn Marion, Amar'e Stoudemire (14)

The Low-End Starters
Wilson Chandler, J.J. Hickson, Gerald Wallace, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Andrei Kirilenko, Trevor Ariza, Jason Thompson, Otto Porter, Martell Webster, Jimmy Butler, Anthony Bennett, John Henson, Brandon Bass, Carl Landry, Derrick Williams, Luis Scola, Carlos Delfino, Harrison Barnes (17)

The Late-Rounders
Taj Gibson, Danilo Gallinari, Josh McRoberts, Jared Sullinger, Elton Brand, Otto Porter, Thomas Robinson, Al-Farouq Aminu, Markieff Morris, Alonzo Gee, Matt Barnes, Bismack Biyombo, Brandon Rush, C.J. Miles, Dorell Wright, Michael Beasley, Patrick Patterson, Ed Davis, Chase Budinger, Metta World Peace (20)

Center

This is actually a position of relative strength -- at least at the top. The league has moved away from the hulking, back-to-the-basket scorers of the 1990s and early aughts, but the new brand of quick, rangy pivot men has made big men easier to find. There's a lot of young talent here that you can bank on for breakouts, though the position becomes a bit scary once you start looking for that No. 2 guy in the middle rounds.

The Elite
Dwight Howard, Marc Gasol, Al Jefferson, Al Horford (4)

The Sub-Elite
Greg Monroe, DeMarcus Cousins, Roy Hibbert, Anthony Davis, Brook Lopez, Nikola Vucevic, Larry Sanders (7)

The Next-best thing
Nikola Pekovic, Tyson Chandler, Kevin Garnett, Joakim Noah (4)

The Fallback options
Marcin Gortat, Anderson Varejao, Andrew Bynum, Jonas Valanciunas, Tiago Splitter, Nene, Tristan Thompson (7)

The Low-End Starters
Enes, Kanter, Andre Drummond, JaVale McGee, DeAndre Jordan, Spencer Hawes, Kelly Olynyk, Emeka Okafor, Robin Lopez, Glen Davis, Cody Zeller, Andrea Bargnani (9)

The Late-Rounders
Tyler Zeller, Kevin Seraphin, Nick Collison, Kendrick Perkins, Andray Blatche, Chris Kaman, Andrew Bogut, Kosta Koufos, Jordan Hill, Timofey Mozgov, Samuel Dalembert, Meyers Leonard (12)

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Player News
Clippers center DeAndre Jordan remains NBA's best rebounder
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(1:45 am ET) Clippers center DeAndre Jordan posted 16 rebounds in Tuesday's loss to the Warriors, his NBA-leading 68th game with 10 or more rebounds.

Coming into Tuesday, Jordan leads the NBA with 14.8 rebounds per game.

F Blake Griffin goes for 40 points in Clippers' defeat
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(1:40 am ET) Forward Blake Griffin scored a game-high 40 points but couldn't carry his Clippers over the Warriors on Tuesday, losing 110-106.

It's the first game since Dec. 8 that Griffin reached the 40-point mark.

Griffin also notched a game-high 12 rebounds and five assists in the loss.

G Stephen Curry finishes with 27 points in Warriors' win
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(1:36 am ET) Guard Stephen Curry finished with 27 points in the Warriors' 110-106 win over the Clippers on Tuesday. 

Curry shot 8 of 14 from the floor, including four of six from 3-point range, and hit seven out of seven from the free throw line. 

He also added four assists in the win.


Clippers' Jamal Crawford practices Tuesday, could return next week
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(3/31/2015) Clippers guard Jamal Crawford participated in a full workout on Tuesday and remains hopeful to return next week, according to ESPN.

Crawford will travel with the team this week.

Crawford, who is averaging 16.4 points per game this season, has been out since March 2 when he suffered a right calf contusion.

Hassan Whiteside returns to score 10 points in Heat loss
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(3/31/2015) Hassan Whiteside returned from a three-game absence (hand) to score 10 points and post six rebounds in 23 minutes on Tuesday in the Heat's 95-81 loss to the Spurs.

The center also added two blocks.

Whiteside lacerated his right hand March 24 in the Heat's loss in Milwaukee.


F Kawhi Leonard's 22 points, 4 steals lift Spurs in win
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(3/31/2015) Forward Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs with 22 points on Tuesday, leading his team over the Heat 95-81.

Leonard also grabbed nine rebounds and tallied four steals, two assists and two blocks in the win.

''He has a way of knocking it all sideways,'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said about Leonard's performance. ''Four steals, it felt like 10.''


G George Hill drops 28 points in Pacers' loss
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(3/31/2015) Guard George Hill put up 28 points, including a big 3-pointer late in the game, but the Pacers could not get past the Nets on Tuesday, falling 111-106.

Hill was 9 of 16 from the floor and tallied six rebounds and three assists in the defeat.

Center Brook Lopez posts 24 points, 11 boards in Net's win
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(3/31/2015) Center Brook Lopez posted team highs of 24 points and 11 rebounds as the Nets drop the Pacers on Tuesday, 111-106.

It was Lopez's fourth straight game with at least 20 points and nine rebounds.

Lopez also added two blocks and two assists to his stat line.


Hawks' Thabo Sefolosha goes for 19 points, 5 rebounds in loss
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(3/31/2015) Forward Thabo Sefolosha scored 19 points, a season best, and pulled down five rebounds in the Hawks' 105-95 loss on Tuesday to the Pistons.

Sefolosha went 7 of 14 from the field including two of three from 3-point range.


Andre Drummond notches 42 double-double in Pistons' victory
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(3/31/2015) Andre Drummond recorded his 42nd double-double of the season, third most in the league, in the Pistons' 105-95 victory over the Hawks on Tuesday.

The center scored 22 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in the victory.

Drummond shot 8 of 11 from the floor.


 
 
 
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