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2011-12 RotoRob NBA Draft Kit: Small Forward Rankings

December 22, 2011 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
Dorell Wright became a force for the Golden State Warriors last season.
No NBA player improved more offensively last season than Dorell Wright.

We’re back with another batch of the rather rushed version of the 2011-12 RotoRob NBA Draft Kit. So while you Kobe Bryant owners cringe at the news regarding his wrist, here are the top 35 small forwards in Fantasy basketball.

At the small forward position you’ve got a mix of serious studs like Kevin Durant and LeBron James, ball-handling point forwards like Hedo Turkoglu and Andre Iguodala and pure gunners like Carmelo Anthony and Rudy Gay. Need treys? Try Danny Granger or Dorell Wright. Want boards, blocks and steals? Gerald Wallace fits the ball.

There’s something for everyone here, so dig in and enjoy!

Last year’s rankings are in parentheses.

1. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder (1): Durant is a match-up nightmare for opposing coaches, trying to find someone fast enough and big enough to guard the 6’9” small forward who can score from anywhere. While Durant wasn’t quite as dominant last season as he was during 2009-10, he remains the top player in all of Fantasy hoops. His 3-point accuracy has slipped in each of the past two seasons, and if that continues you have to wonder if he’ll keep jacking up as many from downtown as he did last season. Durant’s FT shooting also slipped slightly, but he again threw up a block per game. He’s still just 23, so it’s reasonable to expect him to bounce back and perhaps even exceed what he did two seasons ago.

2. LeBron James, Miami Heat (2): LeBron’s first season in Miami was not as statistically dominant – not surprisingly – than his last season with the Cavs, but Fantasy owners couldn’t moan too much. After all, King James enjoyed the finest shooting season of his career, although he didn’t take nearly as many treys as usual, and his accuracy from downtown dropped for the second straight season. James actually enjoyed a better rebounding effort in Miami, especially defensively, as he pulled in a career best 6.5 boards per game under his own basket. James says his relationship with recently extended coach Erik Spoelstra is getting better all the time, and that can only be good news for Fantasy owners that use their second or third overall pick on LeBron.

3. Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks (5): In his first full season in New York, Anthony will team with holdover Amare Stoudemire and newcomer Tyson Chandler to form one of the top frontcourts in the NBA comprised, ironically, of three players that the Nets tried to land. Last season, Melo was getting less PT in Denver and was taking less 3-pointers while the Melodrama played out and then he was finally peddled to the Knicks. Once in the Big Apple, Anthony was draining them from downtown like never before, but his long-range game came with a price as his FT attempts dipped.

4. Danny Granger, Indiana Pacers (3): After a serious breakout in 2008-09, Granger has now slipped in each of the past two seasons, and last season’s drop was quite precipitous. His PT was down as was his shooting touch and his 3-pointers made. Granger’s scoring was also dragged down by fewer trips to the line and fewer overall touches per game. He can still light it up from time to time, but it’s a fair question to ask if he’s already peaked. Granger’s capable of better than he showed last season, but asking for a repeat of 2008-09 is unwise.

5. Rudy Gay, Memphis Grizzlies (10): Part of the core components that the Grizzlies have locked up to long-term deals, Gay was enjoying his finest season before a shoulder injury ended his campaign early. While he didn’t get to the line as often, he never did a better job of canning his freebies and did better work on the offensive glass. Gay’s turnovers rose, but he compensated for that with career numbers in blocks and steals. He established himself as a star last season and there’s no reason to believe he can’t take another step forward this season.

6. Gerald Wallace, Portland Trail Blazers (4): Wallace began the season in Charlotte and his playing time was down a couple of minutes per game while his accuracy from downtown slipped. Dealt to the Blazers, Crash came off the bench for a while before moving into the starting lineup and he suddenly started firing away from beyond the arc way more often. Wallace is just 6’7”, but he plays a much bigger game than that – especially on defense where he’s one of the best rebounders in the game relative to his height.

7. Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia 76ers (6): You should start considering Iguodala near the end of the third round in your draft. His play has declined for the past three seasons, and last season – despite shooting a bit better – his touches were way down. Iggy also got to the line less often and the result was his lowest PPG since his second season back in 2005-06. His boards and steals also dipped, but he made up for it with a career high in assists. The veteran is not so old, however, to think that he’s not capable of reversing his declining production, but it will be interesting to see what impact Evan Turner – who’s expected to have a bigger role – will have on Iggy.

8. Dorell Wright, Golden State Warriors (NR): Wright had periodically flashed potential with the Heat, but nothing that quite prepared us for last season’s breakout in his first campaign with the free-wheeling Warriors. He stayed healthy and responded to his first season as a full-time starter and the corresponding upswing in touches by emerging as one of the game’s top deep threats. But Wright was far from a one-trick pony, contributing in boards, assists and steals as well. But it was his scoring that blew everyone away – Wright’s 9.3 PPG increase was the highest jump in the NBA last season.

9. Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics (9): Pierce is dealing with a heel injury that may cause him to miss the season opener, but it is not considered serious. The Truth is coming off a fine bounce back effort last season as he stayed healthy and enjoyed the finest FT percentage of his Hall of Fame career. His rebounding work – especially on the defensive end – was better, but his steals slipped. The aging Pierce could have some trouble with the accelerated schedule, but he remains a solid performer.

10. Luol Deng, Chicago Bulls (18): Deng, the native of Sudan who will somehow be playing for Great Britain in the Summer Olympics, had another strong season for the Bulls. He stayed healthy and although his buckets and FG percentage slipped slightly, he made up for that by developing into an outside threat – although his percentage from beyond the arc was not inspiring. Deng also slightly improved his steals and continued to be a player that rarely gets into foul trouble. In fact, he hasn’t fouled out of a game in either of the past two seasons. Now that the Bulls have added more scoring options, Deng may have more room to operate, so he could be in line for a big season.

11. Danilo Gallinari, Denver Nuggets (13) 138: Gallinari enjoyed his finest offensive effort last season, but didn’t exactly bust out like many expected. He was shooting poorly for the Knicks before getting moved to Denver as part of the Melo deal. Once with the Nuggets, Gallinari improved his touch from downtown, but still wasn’t as sharp from beyond the arc as he had been his first two seasons in the NBA. He’s going to be counted on to score in Denver this season, so consider him a nice breakout candidate – again.

12. Michael Beasley, Minnesota Timberwolves (39 at PF): It’s unclear how much rookie Derrick Williams will affect Beasley’s PT, but after he showed such improvement last season, you have to expect Beasley to get plenty of burn. It’d be nice to see Beasley’s shooting touch improve, but it was a promising sign that he got to the line more often last season. The rebounding numbers were disappointing, but anyone playing in the same frontcourt as Kevin Love isn’t going to get their mitts on a lot of loose balls. The other area holding Beasley back from taking the next level is his turnover rate. If he can address that, and improve his shooting touch, he will start to live up to his billing as the second overall pick in 2008.

Others to Consider

13. Nicolas Batum, Portland Trail Blazers (31)
14. Jared Dudley, Phoenix Suns (NR)
15. Thaddeus Young, Philadelphia 76ers (32)
16. Austin Daye, Detroit Pistons (NR): Daye took a nice step forward in his sophomore effort, but we’re still waiting for him to be let loose. He’s got major offensive potential and is a pretty good FT shooter. Last season, Daye got more touches, but struggled from the field. He did, however, make nice strides in his perimeter shooting and got to the line more often. Daye also improved his blocks, steals and scoring and at the tender age of 23 is on the verge of a major breakout.
17. Corey Maggette, Charlotte Bobcats (28)
18. Carlos Delfino, Milwaukee Bucks (NR)
19. Shawn Marion, Dallas Mavericks (34)
20. Hedo Turkoglu, Orlando Magic (14): Turkoglu hasn’t been the same player since leaving the Magic two seasons ago. Last season, he began the campaign in Phoenix, mostly starting, but also coming off the bench a bit, and he shot well, albeit with limited touches. He was dealt back to Orlando, but once there his magic didn’t come back with the Magic as he didn’t sink as many treys and his offensive rebounding dried up. The fact that he’s dealing with a hip issue now doesn’t bode well for the aging small forward, but he remains a solid across-the-board producer capable of helping Fantasy owners with a bit of everything.
21. John Salmons, Sacramento Kings (23)
22. Chase Budinger, Houston Rockets (NR)
23. Grant Hill, Phoenix Suns (NR)
24. Andrei Kirilenko, Free agent (26): AK-47 is still playing in Russia, but it’s just a matter of time before he comes back. In fact, it looked like the Nets were going to land him before that fell through. Kirilenko’s production slipped slightly last season. While he got more touches, his FG percentage dipped significantly. He continued to jack up a fair amount of treys and his FT percentage bounced back as did his assists. Kirilenko is probably the best remaining unsigned free agent, so have no fear that he’ll be scooped up in short order.
25. Shane Battier, Miami Heat (NR)
26. Trevor Ariza, New Orleans Hornets (17)
27. Omri Casspi, Cleveland Cavaliers (NR)
28. Caron Butler, Los Angeles Clippers (21)
29. Derrick Williams, Minnesota Timberwolves (NR)
30. Gordon Hayward, Utah Jazz (NR)
31. James Johnson, Toronto Raptors (NR)
32. Tayshaun Prince, Detroit Pistons (NR)
33. Jonas Jerebko, Detroit Pistons (NR)
34. Al-Farouq Aminu, New Orleans Hornets (NR)
35. Damion James, New Jersey Nets (NR)
36. Josh Howard, Utah Jazz (NR)

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