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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
Byron Scott getting close to finalizing starting five
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(9/10/2014) Lakers coach Byron Scott told the Los Angeles Daily News Wednesday he has penciled in four of the five spots for the team's starting lineup, with only the small forward spot left the fill.

Scott plans to start Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Carlos Boozer and Jordan Hill together this season, with Wesley Johnson or Nick Young being considered for the small forward spot. That means rookie Julius Randle and newly acquired guard Jeremy Lin will come off the bench, and he is leaning toward bring Nick Young off the bench as well.


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"You know if he has made that demand, it hasn't been directly to the Celtics," Gotham said.

Rondo is entering the final year of his deal of his contract and is expected to be fully healthy heading into the start of the 2014-15 season. He was limited to only 30 games last season because of his recovery from a torn ACL. He averaged 11.7 points, 9.8 assists and 1.3 rebounds while shooting 62.7 percent from the field and 28.9 percent from downtown over that span.


Chris Singleton catches on with the Pacers
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(9/6/2014) Free agent small forward Chris Singleton agreed to terms with the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday. Terms of the deal were not made public. Singleton averaged 3.0 points and 2.2 rebounds in 25 appearances last season for the Wizards.

Wayne Ellington waived by Sacramento
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(9/6/2014) The Kings waived guard Wayne Ellington on Wednesday. Ellington was acquired by Sacramento as part of a four-player trade with the Knicks early August. 

Clippers sign Chris Douglas-Roberts, Ekpe Udoh
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(9/6/2014) The Clippers have signed power forward Ekpe Udoh and guard Chris Douglas-Roberts Wednesday. Both players signed a minimum contract worth approximately over $1 million.

Udoh averaged 3.4 points and 3.5 rebounds in 42 games last season for Milwaukee. Douglas-Roberts averaged 6.9 points and 2.4 rebounds in 49 games with Charlotte last season.

Mavericks bring back Bernard James
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(9/6/2014) The Mavericks are bringing back Bernard James. He signed a one-year contract with the team on Wednesday. The third-year center averaged 2.1 points, 2.3 rebounds and 7.9 minutes in 76 career games (11 starts) with Dallas.

Raptors ink Greg Stiemsma to one-year contract
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(9/6/2014) The Raptors signed center Greg Stiemsma to a one-year, $1 million contract. Stiemsma registered career bests of in rebounds (4.1) and minutes (18.3) per game last season with New Orleans. In 55 games (20 starts) he averaged only 2.9 points.

76ers acquire, then waive Hasheem Thabeet
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(9/6/2014) The 76ers acquired center Hasheem Thabeet from the Thunder in exchange for a 2015 protected second round draft pick. The team also received cash considerations from Oklahoma City. Thabeet was immediately waived by Philadelphia. 

Mike Scott stays put with the Hawks
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(9/6/2014) Restricted free agent forward Mike Scott agreed to a three-year, $10 million contract with the Hawks. He has the first two years of his deal guaranteed, with a team option in the third year, per the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Scott had a productive 2013-14 campaign, averaging 9.6 points and 3.6 rebounds in 18.5 minutes per game. 

 
 
 
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