We’ve looked at the top 10 fantasy point guards and shooting guards this week already and now we’re moving on to look at the projected top 10 fantasy small forwards for the 2009-10 season. As always, your comments are very welcome here so don’t shy away from voicing your opinions.
1. LeBron James: The King needs little explanation here. Though his scoring and rebounding declined last season, James improved on his turnovers and free-throw shooting, two areas that were seen as his weaknesses. Expect a hungry, bitter James to furiously put up nasty lines on a nightly basis as he seeks redemption after last year’s disappointing early exit from the playoffs.
2. Kevin Durant: There is a ton of hype surrounding Durant in fantasy circles this year, and with good reason. The kid had a fantastic season last year and with an improved, more developed roster this year it seems that the table is set for the 21-year-old phenomenon to assert himself further as one of the league’s elite players. If he continues to improve his overall game, Durant could easily finish the season as a top-5 fantasy player.
3. Danny Granger: No one can fault someone who wants to list Granger above Durant on this list. Durant’s appeal is in his potential, but the two players were fairly even in terms of production last season. Granger did hit more threes, block more shots, turn the ball over less and score half a point more per game in 2008-09, but he also missed 15 games last year because of a bad knee. It basically comes down to whether you can stomach the injury risk with Granger this year and how high you estimate Durant’s ceiling to be.
4. Caron Butler: Tough Juice hasn’t been able to play in more than 67 games in each of the past three seasons, which doesn’t bode well for his health this year. But he lost 10 pounds and worked hard on his explosiveness and strengthening his core this summer, and with Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood back, along with a few key new players on board, it seems that Butler’s body will carry a lighter load this season. His scoring will go down, but so will his turnovers. His rebounding and steals should climb back up to 2006-07 levels though, his All-Star year when Arenas was playing, too.
5. Gerald Wallace: Another player with a history of health concerns. Wallace has never played more than 72 games in a year during his eight NBA seasons, mostly because of his reckless style of play. But with that wildness comes some pretty nice stats, and with the Bobcats set to run more this season, it looks like all of Wallace’s numbers have feasible potential to increase. However, his turnovers are also likely to increase, and if he shoots more threes like he did in 2007-08, his field goal percentage will dip again as well.
6. Shawn Marion: He has new life in Dallas with a very capable, intelligent point guard in Jason Kidd, which bodes well for Marion’s numbers. He won’t be the Matrix of old, but expect him to hit more threes and grab another rebound or two per night while maintaining his great shooting percentages and low turnovers.
7. Rashard Lewis: He’s out for the first 10 games of the season, but if you’re willing to wait on his return Lewis should produce a fine return on your investment. He hit 2.8 threes per game in the past two seasons, which is bananas, and though none of his other numbers pop out, Lewis is an efficient player that will help any fantasy team. The new players in Orlando do pose slight risks to his value, but expect more of the same from Lewis this season.
8. Paul Pierce: Kevin Garnett‘s return shouldn’t affect Pierce’s numbers too drastically. His scoring might drop a bit along with his minutes, but he will probably hand another assist each night. He’s as steady as they come, so you pretty much know what you’re getting with Pierce.
9. Carmelo Anthony: I expect many disagreements with Anthony’s position here, but besides his scoring (which dipped to below 23 ppg last season) and solid rebounding numbers, he doesn’t offer anything that’s all that great. He won’t hit more than about one three-pointer per game, hands out as many turnovers as assists and with his minutes declining during the past three seasons it doesn’t look like Anthony will improve much on his numbers from last season.
10. Hedo Turkoglu: He won’t play as well as he did last year for Orlando, especially with his recent bout with health and fatigue issues, but Turkoglu has always had a nice all-around game, which shouldn’t change much in Toronto. His three-point shooting always helps, but expect a relatively low field goal percentage along with a few turnovers per game. Expect an up-and-down season from Turkoglu this year.
On the cusp: Rudy Gay, Charlie Villanueva, Lamar Odom, Luol Deng, Marvin Williams, Richard Jefferson
What do you think?
Throughout the season, be sure to leave your questions, comments, concerns, trade offers, roster problems and more in the comments below.
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