Friday, August 12, 2022

Fantasy Basketball: Ranking the top five free agent point guards

Several big-time point guards could hit the open market this offseason, but most of the major stars have player options for the 2022-23 season. It’s hard to pass up the kind of money that Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving are set to make next year. Other players seem more likely to change teams, and we’ve ranked the unrestricted free agent targets that fantasy managers should prioritize going after at the one.

1) Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks 

The Mavericks are in the back half of the league when it comes to cap space for the 2022-23 season and theyre’ tasked with retaining one of the most desirable free agents on the market. Brunson is sure to draw plenty of attention after a career year in which he averaged 16.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game. He thrived as a starter with and without Luka Doncic in the lineup and finished 2021-22 as a top-15 guard and is almost certainly in for a heavier workload in his next campaign. The New York Knicks are one of several teams that didn’t address their point guard needs in the 2022 NBA Draft and are reportedly prepared to offer Brunson a nine-figure deal. We’ll see if that comes to fruition. His raw numbers and efficiency make him worth pursuing regardless of format.

2) Dennis Schroder, Houston Rockets 

Schroder become a forgotten man after turning down a top-notch deal with the Los Angeles Lakers and landing with the Boston Celtics at the beginning of last season. He was a fringe top-30 point guard despite splitting his time between Boston and the Houston Rockets despite only starting 29 games. He’s unlikely to spend another season with Houston, which has added a ton of young talent to bolster its rebuilding efforts. Other teams are sure to inquire about bringing the nine-year veteran, though. Schroder can help a few backcourts in need and tallied 17.8 points, 5.5 assists, and 4.1 rebounds per game as a starter last season.

3) Ricky Rubio, Indiana Pacers 

The Cleveland Cavaliers want to bring back Ricky Rubio after shipping him to Indiana following a season-ending ACL tear last year. The point guard will be around 10 months removed from his injury by the time the 2022-23 season rolls around and his game doesn’t require a ton of burst at this point. Rubio’s numbers were comparable to Lonzo Ball’s before he got hurt. Rubio’s scoring and shooting efficiency might not be elite, but his playmaking and defense help make up for his shortcomings. He should be a solid fantasy asset once he knocks off some rust.

4) Tyus Jones, Memphis Grizzlies 

Jones has long been thought of as more of a low-risk game manager, but he got to strut his stuff on a few occasions while Ja Morant was hurt last year. Backing up one of the league’s most dynamic guards isn’t easy, but Jones rose to the occasion and averaged 12.7 points, 6.6 assists, and 3.2 rebounds per game as a starter in 2021-22. He was especially impressive in the Western Conference Semifinals when he averaged 15.7 points, 7.3 assists, and 6.0 rebounds over three games with the starting five. The Grizzlies have traded De’Anthony Melton and drafted Kennedy Chandler ahead of 2022-23. Jones could be in for a more significant role for a team that strikes out on bigger names.

5) Goran Dragic, Brooklyn Nets

Quite a few teams wanted in on the Goran Dragic sweepstakes after the San Antonio Spurs acquired the veteran point guard from the Toronto Raptors. His contract buyout made him a prime late-season target for teams looking to add guard depth ahead of the playoffs. The crafty Slovenian was rusty in Brooklyn after hardly touching the court in Toronto, but still tallied 7.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game in 25.5 minutes with the Nets. Dallas could seek out Doncic’s countryman to replace Brunson, or Dragic could remain with the Nets following a Kyrie Irving sign and trade. He’s in a great spot to have a bounce-back year in his destination of choice regardless of what option he goes with.

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