Thursday, October 6, 2022

Fantasy Basketball: Luka Doncic takes top spot, Ja Morant cracks top five in 2022-23 point guard rankings

Four of last season’s top 10 Fantasy performers were point guards and floor generals are sure to be crucial to Fantasy success in 2022-23. While it doesn’t appear likely that any will knock the Denver NuggetsNikola Jokic from the top spot, quite a few will be high-impact players this upcoming season. Most stars at the position are stat sheet stuffers, and we’ve ranked the top 50 to help Fantasy managers prioritize certain targets in their upcoming drafts.

Which players are worth grabbing in the first round? What players seem likely to take big leaps? What players could fall short of expectations? You can get an idea about how I think the season-long standings will pan out by checking out my rankings below:

The Top Five

1. Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

This year’s MVP favorite is likely to finish as the most productive Fantasy point guard in 2022-23 as long as he’s healthy. The Mavericks star played nine fewer games than Trae Young last season and still finished second overall among floor generals. and averages of 27.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 8.0 assists per game seem like a given for Doncic at this point, and he appears poised to return from international duty in the best shape of his young NBA career. Jalen Brunson’s departure will leave Dallas with even less legitimate point guard depth. Doncic averaged 32.7 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 7.7 assists in the three games he played without Brunson last season. Nobody should compete with him for the top spot if he eclipses 70 games for the second time this year. 

2. James Harden, Brooklyn Nets

Harden was still an elite fantasy option last season despite his ups and downs. While many seem skeptical about his ability to fill it up as a premier scorer, his skill set and the personnel around him is ideal for a resurgent campaign. He averaged 21 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 10.5 assists per game after the Brooklyn Nets sent him to the Philadelphia 76ers and showcased impressive chemistry with his co-star, Joel Embiid, after being thrown into Philly’s offense on the fly. Harden’s had plenty of time to deal with the health issues that hampered 2021-22 and his pick-and-roll prowess should lead to easy stat padding on a nightly basis. Only Nikola Vucevic scored more points per game as a roll than Joel Embiid last season. Harden will continue to operate as the 76ers’ primary initiator on offense and feast thanks to the gravity of his superstar big man. 

3. Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks

Young finished as last year’s top Fantasy point guard after posting career highs in points (28.7) and assists (9.7) per game. While he gained a dynamic backcourt partner over the summer in Dejounte Murray, he’ll still run the show in 2022-23 as his team’s most gifted scorer and creator. The crafty guard has finished among the top five at his position in three consecutive seasons. Murray will help hide some of the Oklahoma product’s defensive shortcomings while providing relief as a ball handler when Nate McMillan chooses to stagger the minutes of his two best backcourt players. Young should at least flirt with the top five in points and assists per game in 2022-23.

4. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers

Lillard was struggling before suffering a season-ending abdominal injury in 2021-22 but has had plenty of time to recover ahead of 2022-23. His shooting was streaky last year, but he’ll be asked to do a lot now that CJ McCollum has vacated Portland for New Orleans. Several young, unproven players will step into the starting lineup and will be looking for guidance from the vet, who has averaged 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game without McCollum over the previous five seasons. He’s said he’s feeling stronger than ever and Portland’s playoff hopes rest on his shoulders. Don’t let recency bias force you to underestimate Lillard.

5. Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies

Morant caught a lot of people by surprise in his third pro season and showed tremendous improvement as a scorer. The explosive guard bumped his 2021-22 scoring average up by more than eight points on one more minute per game while blossoming into one of the league’s best finishers around the rim. Morant only appeared in 57 games but scored at least 40 points six times while posting season averages of 27.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 6.7 assists. The Grizzlies’ backcourt rotation might get a little thinner with Tyus Jones moving into the clear favorite to back up Morant. Morant averaged more Fantasy points per game than two of the guards who cracked last season’s top five. I think improved health will help him break into the next tier in 2022-23.

Point guard rankings

1. Luka Doncic, DAL

2. James Harden, PHI

3. Trae Young, ATL

4. Damian Lillard, GS

5. Ja Morant, MEM

6. Stephen Curry, GSW

7. De’Aaron Fox, SAC

8. LaMelo Ball, CHA

9. Darius Garland, CLE

10. C.J. McCollum, NOP

11. Tyrese Haliburton, IND

12. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

13. Kyrie Irving, BKN

14. Fred VanVleet, TOR

15. Chris Paul, PHO

16. Cade Cunningham, DET

17. Dejounte Murray, ATL

18. Jrue Holiday, MIL

19. Jamal Murray, DEN

20.Terry Rozier, CHA

21. Jalen Brunson, NYK

22. D’Angelo Russell, MIN

23. Russell Westbrook, LAL

24. Ben Simmons, BKN

25. Josh Giddey, OKC

26. Jordan Poole, GSW

27. Tyrese Maxey, PHI

28. Kevin Porter Jr., HOU

29. Lonzo Ball, CHI

30. Kyle Lowry, MIA

31. John Wall, LAC

32. Collin Sexton, CLE

33. Marcus Smart, BOS

34. Monte Morris, WAS

35. Mike Conley, UTA

36. Spencer Dinwiddie, DAL

37. Malcolm Brogdon, BOS

38. Jordan Clarkson, UTA

39. Reggie Jackson, LAC

40. Markelle Fultz, ORL

40. Jalen Suggs, ORL

41. Jaden Ivey, DET

42. Derrick White, BOS

42. Cole Anthony, ORL

43. T.J. McConnell, IND

44. Devonte’ Graham, NOP

45. Donte DiVincenzo, MIL

46. De’Anthony Melton, PHI

47. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, UTA

48. Immanuel Quickley, NYK

49. Derrick Rose, NYK

50. Ricky Rubio, CLE

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