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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
Report: Celtics sign SF Jonas Jerebko to two-year contract
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:53 pm ET) Small forward Jonas Jerebko has re-signed with the Celtics to a two-year deal worth $10 million, according to USA Today.

Jerebko played more extensively late last season after arriving from Detroit. He finished the year averaging 6.0 points in 17 minutes per game.


Report: Thunder reach deal with Kyle Singler
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(3:44 pm ET) The Thunder and forward Kyle Singler reached an agreement on a five-year, nearly $25 million contract Wednesday, sources told Yahoo Sports.

Singler was a restricted free agent with the Thunder able to match any offers for Singler. He averaged 6.0 points and 2.4 rebounds in 80 games last season.


Amir Johnson agrees to deal with Celtics
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(3:39 pm ET) The Celtics reached a contract agreement with free-agent forward Amir Johnson on Wednesday, according to CBSSports.com NBA Insider Ken Berger. The reported deal is worth $24 million over two years. 

Johnson averaged 9.3 points and 6.1 rebounds in 75 games for the Raptors last season.


Report: Warriors no longer negotiating with Draymond Green
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(3:25 pm ET) Forward Draymond Green and the Warriors have broken off contract talks, a source told Yahoo Sports.

Green is a restricted free agent and the Warriors can match any outside contract offers. In 79 games last season, Green averaged 11.7 points and 8.2 rebounds.


Suns reach deal with Tyson Chandler
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(3:20 pm ET) The Suns and center Tyson Chandler reached an agreement on a contract Wednesday, reports CBSSports.com NBA Insider Ken Berger. The deal is worth a reported $52 millon over four years.

Chandler averaged 10.3 points and 11.5 rebounds in 75 games for the Mavericks last season.


Suns all set on $70 million deal with G Brandon Knight
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:10 pm ET) What was expected now appears official: the Suns have signed guard Brandon Knight to a five-year extension worth $70 million, a source has told CBSSports.com NBA Insider Ken Berger.

Knight, who lost time late in the year to minor ankle surgery, has established himself as a standout. He averaged 17.2 points and a career-high 5.2 assists in 32 minutes per game last season. He hit a career-best 38.9 percent from beyond the arc as well.


Kevin Love announces he's staying with Cavaliers
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:57 pm ET) Free agent power forward Kevin Love has declared that he is returning to the Cavaliers.

He made that announcement on The Players Tribune.

Love, who lost most of the postseason to a shoulder injury, wrote the following:

After Game 1 of the NBA Finals, that's when it really struck me. Sitting on the sidelines, I never wanted to play in a game more than that one. I had dreamed of playing in the NBA Finals and I just wanted to help my guys win. I couldn't have been prouder of them as they poured their blood, sweat and tears onto the court.

Yeah, of course I've heard the free agency rumors. But at the end of the day, and after meeting with my teammates (it turns out pools are great meeting places) and with the front office, it was clear Cleveland was the place for me. We're all on the same page and we're all in. We have unfinished business and now it's time to get back to work.

Love, who was seen meeting with LeBron James poolside, will earn a max deal of $110 million over five years, per CBSSports.com NBA writer Matt Moore.

The Cavaliers wasted no time locking him up, quelling rumors in the process that he was headed to the Lakers or Celtics.

Love was considered by some a poor fit as a third wheel in the Cleveland offense. His average of 16.4 points per game was nearly 10 points lower than what he had achieved the previous year in Minnesota. He spent much of his time roaming beyond the arc to provide space to drive for LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.

He hit two huge shots down the stretch in a playoff defeat of Boston and seemed to be finding his niche within the offense when the shoulder injury destroyed any further opportunity to contribute.


Report: Cavs nearing deal with Tristan Thompson
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(2:51 pm ET) The Cavaliers and center Tristan Thompson are closing in on a contract that would pay him more than $80 million, sources told ESPN.

Thompson is a restricted free agent and the Cavs can match any outside offers.


Report: Wizards offer Paul Pierce two-year contract
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(2:43 pm ET) The Wizards offered forward Paul Pierce a two-year contract that would pay him $6.6 million next season, a source told Yahoo Sports. The deal reportedly includes a team option for the second year.

Pierce averaged 11.9 points and 4.0 rebounds in 73 games last season.


Agent makes Trail Blazers signing of SF Al-Farouq Aminu official
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:35 pm ET) Agent Raymond Brothers has confirmed that free agent small forward Al-Farouq Aminu has signed with the Trail Blazers, per The Oregonian. The four-year deal is worth $30 million.

Aminu averaged 5.6 points and 4.6 rebounds in about 18 minutes per game for Dallas last season.


 
 
 
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