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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
Mavericks rule Chandler Parsons, Devin Harris out of Game 2
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(8:16 pm ET) The Mavericks will be without forward Chandler Parsons and guard Devin Harris for Tuesday's Game 2 contest at Houston, reports the Star-Telegram.

Parsons was dealing with a right knee injury and he re-aggravated the injury during the Game 1 loss. He will be reevaluated Wednesday and coach Rick Carlisle said he was very concerned with the injury, reports the team's official website.

Meanwhile, a toe injury will prevent Harris from playing in the contest.

The Mavericks are 6 1/2-point underdogs at Houston.


Report: Warriors F David Lee (back) will not play in Game 3
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(8:09 pm ET) Warriors forward David Lee has been ruled out of Game 3 on Thursday at New Orleans, reports the Bay Area News Group.

Lee has missed the first two playoffs games with a lower back injury.

The Warriors are 5-point favorites over the Pelicans on Thursday.


Grizzlies guard Mike Conley dealing with foot issue
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(7:29 pm ET) Grizzlies guard Mike Conley said his sprained right foot will continue to bother him as long as he stays in the lineup, reports NBA.com.

"It's going to flare up no matter what I do," Conley said. "I just go out there and play as if I'm not injured and see how much I can do and what I can do to help the team and the following day is just rehab and recover."

The injury caused Conley to miss the last four games of the regular season, but he was able to play 24 minutes and score 16 points in the Game 1 victory over the Trail Blazers.

Despite the injury, center Marc Gasol said he expects Conley to keep playing through the pain.

"I expect a lot out of him to be honest with you," Gasol said. "He's my little man. He's a great player, great guy. I knew he wasn't going to miss a playoff game. I can only ask him to give me whatever he has, and he's done it. And I'm going to ask the same next game."


Morris twins charged with felony assault
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(6:03 pm ET) Suns forwards Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris are facing charges for felony aggravated assault during a Jan. 24 incident in Phoenix, according to court documents obtained by The Arizona Republic.

The twins and three other men are charged with assaulting Erik Hood at a sports facility in Phoenix. Hood told police he was accosted and assaulted by the five men. Hood sustained a broken nose, bruises and abrasions during the incident.

Markieff Morris has denied being part the group that attacked Hood, but acknowledged he was at the sports complex.

The first court date for the twins is May 7.

"Markieff and Marcus are good men and I am confident that when all the facts come out, their names will be cleared," their agent Leon Rose said in a statememt, according to ESPN.com. 


Spurs' Tiago Splitter (calf) may see more minutes in Game 2
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(5:45 pm ET) After sitting out the team's final six regular-season games because of a calf injury, Tiago Splitter played only 10 minutes in the Spurs' Game 1 loss on Sunday but coach Gregg Popovich said the center will see more minutes in Game 2 on Wednesday, reports the Los Angeles Times.

"He didn’t go backwards, so that’s a good thing," Popovich said. "Maybe he can play a few more minutes [Wednesday] night, I’m hoping," Popovich said.


Despite big Game 1, Cavs' Kyrie Irving sees room for improvement
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(5:29 pm ET) In his first-career playoff game on Sunday, guard Kyrie Irving was the standout player for the Cavaliers in their Game 1 victory over the Celtics, scoring a game-high 30 points, but said afterwards there's room for improvement, reports Cleveland.com.

"Just limit all my mistakes is the biggest thing, just continue to have that attitude," said. "I'm going to do whatever it takes to win ... As well as you think you play, there are so many things you can improve on."

LeBron James added that he's always had confidence in Irving in important games.

"I knew how special the kid was and I know how special he is now still. He's going to be very key to our success," James said.

Blazers unsure if Arron Afflalo (shoulder) will play in Game 2
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(3:53 pm ET) Trail Blazers guard Arron Afflalo is listed as questionable for Game 2 at Memphis on Wednesday, the team announced.

Afflalo has not played since April 9 because of a right shoulder sprain. In 78 games, Afflalo averaged 13.3 points and 3.2 rebounds.

The Blazers are 6-point underdogs.


Spurs G Tony Parker says his ankle and thigh are fine
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(3:24 pm ET) Spurs guard Tony Parker said his left ankle and thigh are not an issue and he is good to go for Game 2 on Wednesday, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Parker sustained an ankle injury in the Game 1 loss to the Clippers, but he was able to practice Tuesday and will likely play in Game 2.

The Spurs are 1 1/2-point underdogs.


Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (back) says he is feeling great
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(3:01 pm ET) After scoring only seven points in the Game 1 loss to the Wizards, Raptors guard Kyle Lowry attributed the lack of success to having a bad game and not a back issue, reports the Toronto Sun.

Lowry has been suffering from back spasms, which caused him to miss a variety of games toward the end of the season, but Lowry said he is feeling great heading into Game 2 on Tuesday.

The Raptors are 5-point favorites for Game 2 against the Wizards.


Bulls G Derrick Rose says he has no soreness in knee
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(2:43 pm ET) After playing 38 minutes during Monday's Game 2 win over the Bucks, Bulls guard Derrick Rose said he is not experiencing any soreness in his knee, reports ESPNChicago.com.

"I feel great [Tuesday]," Rose said, per SportsNet Chicago. "As far as playing those minutes every game, we'll have to see."

Rose is making his way back from knee surgery and is no longer on a minutes restriction. During his 38 minutes Monday, Rose scored 15 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out nine assists.


 
 
 
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