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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
Hornets coach Clifford: Hairston's not making his teammates better
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:28 am ET) Hornets coach Steve Clifford doesn't like what he's seen from rookie P.J. Hairston as of late. Monday, Hairston was made inactive for arriving late to a weight training session and Tuesday Clifford had some harsh words for the rookie, according to the Charlotte Observer.

"He hasn't developed any way to play to make his teammates better," Clifford said.

Hairston didn't play again on Tuesday and is averaging 5.6 points and 2.0 rebounds in 35 games this season.


Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried doubles up on Tuesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:12 am ET) Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried put up a double-double on Tuesday against the Bucks.

Faried shot 5-10 from the field. He hit four of his five free throws, finishing with 14 points. Faried was active on the boards as well, picking up 14 rebounds. Twelve of those came on the defensive end of the court. Faried also added two blocks. 


Raptors' Greivis Vasquez adjusting to new role in offense
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/3/2015) Raptors point guard Greivis Vasquez wasn't expecting to fill a backup role this season. But the veteran is making the most of the playing time he's getting, reports the Toronto Sun.

"This year has been tough for me," said Vasquez of the changing roles and adapting to each changing situation. "I have to adjust to one, two, three different roles."

Vasquez is averaging 9.5 points and 3.6 assists in 60 games this season.

"I just want to win," said Vasquez. "I just want to play in May."


Bucks' Antetokounmpo goes for double-double on Tuesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/3/2015) Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo picked up a double-double on Tuesday against the Nuggets.

Antetokounmpo shot 7-10 from the field, including 1-1 from beyond the arc. He sunk four of his six free throws, finishing with 19 points. He was also active on the boards, pulling down 11 rebounds. Antetokounmpo finished with three blocks and two assists. 


Bulls forward Pau Gasol posts league-leading 39th double-double
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/3/2015) Bulls power forward Pau Gasol scored 20 points on 8 of 11 shooting from the field in Chicago's 97-92 win over the Wizards Tuesday. Gasol also grabbed 10 rebounds, leading to his league-leading 39th double-double of the season and fourth in his last five games.

Gasol also added two blocks and one steal to his totals.


Bulls center Joakim Noah posts double-double in win Tuesday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/3/2015) Bulls center Joakim Noah scored 14 points on 4 of 5 shooting from the field and 6 of 10 from the free throw line in Chicago's 97-92 win over the Wizards Tuesday. 

Noah also did well on the glass, grabbing 12 rebounds, leading to his third straight double-double and 14th of the season. Noah has reached double figures in rebounds in each of his eight games. He added five assists and three blocks to his totals.


Wizards guard John Wall doubles up Bulls in losing effort Tuesday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/3/2015) Wizards point guard John Wall scored 21 points on 8 of 20 shooting from the field in Washington's 97-92 loss to the Bulls Tuesday.

Wall, who struggled from 3-point range, going 1 of 4, also dished out 11 assists. It was Wall's 33rd double-double of the season and fifth in his last six games. He added two blocks and two steals to his totals.


Jazz center Rudy Gobert pulls down 24 rebounds on Tuesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/3/2015) Jazz center Rudy Gobert was a monster on the boards on Tuesday.

Gobert pulled down 24 rebounds during the game. Eighteen of those came on the defensive side of the floor. Gobert also put up a solid offensive game, shooting 6-10 from the field. He sunk three of his four free throws, finishing with 15 points and picking up a double-double. 


Hawks' Paul Millsap doubles up on the Rockets on Tuesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/3/2015) Hawks forward Paul Millsap posted a double-double on the Rockets on Tuesday.

Millsap shot just 6-16 from the field, including 0-3 from beyond the arc. He sunk all four of his free throws, finishing with 16 points. Millsap was active on the boards, pulling down 14 rebounds. Twelve of those came on the defensive side of the court. Millsap also added four assists and two steals during the contest. 


Magic guard Evan Fournier taking it slow in recovery from hip injury
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/3/2015) Magic guard Evan Fournier is hoping to get back on the court for Wednesday's game against the Suns, but is being cautious, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

"You don't want to mess too much with a muscle," Fournier said. "It's very important to take care of your body and make sure you feel good, because it can get worse."

Fournier suffered the injury Feb. 20 when he collided with Anthony Davis going up for a shot. 

The Magic are currently 4-point underdogs against the Suns Wednesday.


 
 
 
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