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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
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich says Aron Baynes healthy for Game 4
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(3:31 pm ET) Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said his team is healthy, including center Aron Baynes (ankle), and that everyone is available to play for Game 4 of their Western Conference Quarterfinals series against the Clippers on Sunday, reports the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau says entire team healthy for Game 5
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(3:19 pm ET) Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said his team is healthy and everybody should be ready to play for Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series against the Bucks on Monday, reports ESPNChicago.com.

Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic missed Game 3 of the series with a bruised left knee and strained quadriceps but played in Game 4, saying afterwards he was not one hundred percent during the contest.

The Bulls lead the series 3-1.

Doc Rivers not concerned with Clippers F Hedo Turkoglu's ankle
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(3:07 pm ET) Clippers coach Doc Rivers said he's not concerned with the sprained ankle injury to small forward Hedo Turkoglu, per ESPN. 

"I didn't know a guy who moved that slow could sprain his ankle," Rivers joked. "It shouldn't slow him down." 

Turkoglu is averaging two points and 16 minutes per game in the Clippers' Western Conference Quarterfinals series against the Spurs.


Celtics F Jae Crowder (knee) leaves Sunday's game, will not return
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(2:53 pm ET) Celtics forward Jae Crowder left Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Sunday with a sprained left knee and will not return, the team has announced.

Crowder injured the knee after getting fouled hard by Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith, who was subsequently ejected.


Cavs' J.R. Smith ejected Sunday for hard foul on Celtics' Jae Crowder
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(2:44 pm ET) Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith was ejected from Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Sunday for a Flagrant 2 foul, called for knocking down Celtics forward Jae Crowder.

Crowder left the game with a sprained left knee as a result and will not return. 


Mavs' Tyson Chandler determined not to get swept by Rockets
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(2:32 pm ET) Center Tyson Chandler and his Mavericks trail the Rockets 3-0 in their Western Conference Quarterfinals series, and the 14-year NBA veteran is determined not to get swept out of the first round of the plays, per the Dallas Morning News.

"I don’t want to go down like this. We got to take it one game at a time, but I’m not going out like this," Chandler said. "It’s embarrassing. That makes for a long summer. And I don’t want to face that.”

Nets coach Lionel Hollins steadfastly defends PG Deron Williams
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(2:22 pm ET) Nets coach Lionel Hollins steadfastly defended Deron Williams to the media on Sunday, saying his point guard has played well and has not warranted the negative criticism he's been receiving, according the the New York Daily News.

"Talking about Deron, though, from a playing perspective, Deron has played well," Hollins said. "He's gotten us off to great starts with his pace. He's made passes and when you're getting seven, eight assists in a game and eight to 10 rebounds, you're doing a lot of stuff right."

"I'm disappointed in how everybody is coming down on Deron and treating him like he's a pariah. Deron's a good person, he's a good player," Hollins added.



Report: Pelicans offer Anthony Davis maximum deal
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(2:05 pm ET) The Pelicans want forward Anthony Davis in their plans for a long, long time. 

According to ESPN.com, the Pelicans have offered Davis a maximum deal that could be worth more than $140 million over five years. Negotiations between the two can begin on July 1. 

Davis averaged 24.4 points and 10.2 rebounds per game this past regular season. 


Cavs F Kevin Love injures shoulder, won't return vs. Celtics
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(1:46 pm ET) Cavaliers forward Kevin Love sustained a left shoulder injury and will not return to Sunday's playoff game against the Celtics, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer

Love is going through further evaluations on the injury. The severity of the injury is unknown at this time but Love did appear in pain. Love scored two points, had one rebound and one assist during his time on the court. 


Nets' Joe Johnson: Deron Williams also dealing with tendinitis
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(12:54 pm ET) Nets guard Deron Williams is hoping to play against the Hawks in Game 4 on Monday despite having an injured tailbone. However, there's another injury he's apparently dealing with too.

According to the New York Daily News, teammate Joe Johnson said Williams is enduring a severe case of tendinitis as well. Williams has been banged up for a while so news that he's playing through this injury as well isn't too surprising. 

If Williams sees his minutes limited against the Hawks, Jarrett Jack will step in and run the show at point guard. 

 


 
 
 
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