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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: Warriors sign guard Leandro Barbosa
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(7:51 pm ET) The Warriors agreed to a one-year, $2.5 million deal with guard Leandro Barbosa on Monday, reports ESPNLosAngeles.com.

Barbosa averaged 7.1 points and 1.5 assists in 66 games last season for the Warriors.


Report: Jazz close to signing Joe Ingles
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(7:36 pm ET) The Jazz are closing in on a deal with forward Joe Ingles, sources told Yahoo Sports.

Ingles averaged 5.0 points and 2.2 rebounds in 79 games last season. 


Report: Cavaliers seeking to land Clippers SG Jamal Crawford
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5:16 pm ET) The search of the Cavaliers to bolster their bench has them discussing a deal that would bring super sixth man Jamal Crawford over from the Clippers, sources have told ESPN.

Cleveland would dump Brendan Haywood in the trade.

Crawford has been instant offense throughout his career. But he shot just 39.6 percent from the floor last year, his second-worst accuracy since the 2004-05 season. He still averaged an impressive 15.8 points in 27 minutes per game.


Report: Mavericks sign PG J.J. Barea to two-year contract
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5:05 pm ET) Point guard J.J. Barea has agreed to a two-year deal worth $5.6 million to stay with the Mavericks, according to Puerto Rican newspaper El Nueva Dia.

Reports also claim that he has a player option for a third season.

Barea averaged 7.5 points and 3.4 assists last season in 18 minutes per game as a reserve.


Report: PF David West signs with Spurs for veteran minimum
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:57 pm ET) The Spurs continued to bolster their frontcourt Monday by signing veteran forward David West, league sources have told TNT, which is further reporting that it's for the veteran minimum.

The 34-year-old West, who will now make just $1.4 million next season, sought to play for a title contender.

West scored just 11.7 points per game and shot 47.2 percent from the field last year for Indiana. Both represent his worst numbers since his second season in the NBA.


Report: Grizzlies C Marc Gasol signs five-year contract
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:38 pm ET) Blossoming Grizzlies center Marc Gasol claimed he was not interested in joining any other team - and he proved it Monday by signing a five-year deal worth more than $100 million to remain in Memphis, league sources have told Yahoo Sports.

Gasol proved consistent and productive last year in placing himself in the NBA Most Valuable Player conversation. He averaged 17.4 points and 7.8 rebounds in 33 minutes per game during the regular season before leading them into the Western Conference semifinals.

He stepped up his fine work in the playoffs, averaging 19.7 points and 10.3 points in 11 games while attacking the basket aggressively enough to average eight foul shots per game.


Report: Fading PF Carlos Boozer targeted by several teams
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:19 pm ET) Several teams are in the mix to land veteran power forward Carlos Boozer, sources have told ESPN, which is claiming he has had conversations with the Clippers, Spurs, Mavericks and Raptors.

The 33-year-old Boozer showed signs of age last season with the Lakers. He averaged just 11.8 points a game, his lowest since his rookie year, and a career-worst 6.8 rebounds. But he was limited to 24 minutes per game and shot nearly 50 percent from the floor.


Report: Timberwolves pull qualifying offer to F Robbie Hummel
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:35 pm ET) The Timberwolves have withdrawn their qualifying offer to forward Robbie Hummel, sources have told The Associated Press, which is claiming that their acquisition of Euroleague Most Valuable Player Nemanja Bjelica negated their need for Hummel.

Hummel averaged just 4.4 points and 3.0 rebounds in 16 minutes per game last season. He is now free to shop his services.


Spurs guard Manu Ginobili to return for upcoming season
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(2:39 pm ET) Spurs guard Manu Ginobili announced via his Twitter that he would be returning to the team for the 2015-16, writing "Happy to announce that I'm coming back next season." Contract details between the team and Ginobili are still being finalized. 

Last season, Ginobili averaged 10.5 points in 70 games, while shooting 42.6 percent from the floor, the second-worst mark of his 13-year career. He said after the season, he would have to think about returning for another campaign. 

In his Twitter announcement, Ginobili closed with the hashtag #TDwouldvemissedmetoomuch, a reference to friend and teammate Tim Duncan, who recently announced he was returning to the Spurs for another year. 


Nets reach deal with forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(12:42 pm ET) The Nets and first-round pick Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, whom they acquired in a draft-night trade with the Trail Blazers, have reached agreement on a multi-year contract, per the Daily News

Hollis-Jefferson, who was picked at No. 23 before being dealt in exchange for center Mason Plumlee, will make around $1.3 million this year based on the rookie wage scale. He is playing for the Nets' summer league team in Orlando. 


 
 
 
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