Commentary

Thankful for point guard depth

Updated: November 29, 2010, 3:39 PM ET
By Brian McKitish | Special to ESPN.com

Thanksgiving has come and gone, but because I enjoy all the typical traditions around the holiday (family, food and football), I'll partake in another Turkey Day tradition: giving thanks.

There are a million things in my life for which I should be thankful, including my friends and family who have been so supportive of me this year, but rather than bore you with my personal list, I'll keep the following geared toward fantasy hoops. So, without further delay, here are a few things that I'm thankful for, fantasy hoops style:

The Top 130

Note: Brian McKitish's top 130 players are ranked for their fantasy value from this point forward in the 2010-11 NBA season. Previous rank is indicated in parentheses.

1. Kevin Durant, SF, OKC (1)
2. Chris Paul, PG, NO (2)
3. Pau Gasol, PF/C, LAL (3)
4. Stephen Curry, PG/SG, GS (4)
5. Kobe Bryant, SG, LAL (5)
6. Deron Williams, PG, UTA (6)
7. Dwight Howard, C, ORL (7)
8. LeBron James, SF, MIA (8)
9. Josh Smith, PF/SF, ATL (9)
10. Danny Granger, SF, IND (10)
11. Carmelo Anthony, SF, DEN (12)
12. Dirk Nowitzki, PF, DAL (13)
13. Monta Ellis, PG/SG, GS (11)
14. Russell Westbrook, PG, OKC (14)
15. Steve Nash, PG, PHO (16)
16. Dwyane Wade, SG, MIA (15)
17. Jason Kidd, PG, DAL (17)
18. Rajon Rondo, PG, BOS (18)
19. Al Horford, C/PF, ATL (19)
20. Brook Lopez, C, NJ (20)
21. Gerald Wallace, SF/PF, CHA (21)
22. Amare Stoudemire, C/PF, NY (25)
23. Derrick Rose, PG, CHI (27)
24. John Wall, PG, WAS (23)
25. Andre Iguodala, SG/SF, PHI (34)
26. Joakim Noah, C/PF, CHI (26)
27. Kevin Love, PF, MIN (28)
28. Tyreke Evans, PG/SG, SAC (22)
29. Raymond Felton, PG, NY (29)
30. Manu Ginobili, SG, SA (31)
31. Paul Pierce, SF/SG, BOS (30)
32. Joe Johnson, SG/SF, ATL (24)
33. David Lee, PF/C, GS (35)
34. Tim Duncan, C/PF, SA (32)
35. Roy Hibbert, C, IND (33)
36. Stephen Jackson, SG/SF, CHA (40)
37. Andrea Bargnani, C/PF, TOR (36)
38. Al Jefferson, C/PF, UTA (37)
39. Paul Millsap, PF, UTA (38)
40. Rudy Gay, SF, MEM (39)
41. Blake Griffin, PF, LAC (42)
42. Zach Randolph, PF, MEM (43)
43. Jason Richardson, SG, PHO (41)
44. Andrew Bogut, C, MIL (44)
45. Marc Gasol, C, MEM (45)
46. Brandon Roy, SG/SF, POR (52)
47. Eric Gordon, SG, LAC (51)
48. Luis Scola, PF/C, HOU (46)
49. David West, PF, NO (48)
50. Jrue Holiday, PG, PHI (49)
51. Rodney Stuckey, PG/SG, DET (47)
52. Devin Harris, PG, NJ (50)
53. Brandon Jennings, PG, MIL (53)
54. Jeff Green, PF/SF, OKC (55)
55. Kevin Garnett, PF, BOS (66)
56. Danilo Gallinari, SF/PF, NY (57)
57. Lamar Odom, PF/SF, LAL (59)
58. Luol Deng, SF, CHI (58)
59. Kevin Martin, SG, HOU (61)
60. Andray Blatche, PF/C, WAS (56)
61. LaMarcus Aldridge, PF, POR (64)
62. Chris Bosh, PF/C, MIA (65)
63. Nene, C/PF, DEN (60)
64. Andre Miller, PG, POR (67)
65. Gilbert Arenas, PG/SG, WAS (71)
66. Marcus Camby, C/PF, POR (63)
67. Chauncey Billups, PG, DEN (54)
68. Carlos Boozer, PF, CHI (68)
69. Serge Ibaka, C/PF, OKC (69)
70. Michael Beasley, SF/PF, MIN (70)
71. D.J. Augustin, PG, CHA (72)
72. Tony Parker, PG, SA (73)
73. Mo Williams, PG, CLE (74)
74. Aaron Brooks, PG, HOU (75)
75. O.J. Mayo, SG, MEM (62)
76. Mike Conley, PG, MEM (76)
77. Ray Allen, SG, BOS (81)
78. Darren Collison, PG, IND (77)
79. Jason Terry, SG, DAL (78)
80. Wilson Chandler, SF/SG, NY (79)
81. Dorell Wright, SF, GS (82)
82. Elton Brand, PF, PHI (83)
83. Jameer Nelson, PG, ORL (84)
84. Jose Calderon, PG, TOR (85)
85. Chris Kaman, C, LAC (86)
86. Jamal Crawford, SG/PG, ATL (87)
87. John Salmons, SG/SF, MIL (88)
88. JaVale McGee, C/PF, WAS (111)
89. Troy Murphy, PF/C, NJ (80)
90. Trevor Ariza, SF/SG, NO (89)
91. Boris Diaw, PF/SF, CHA (90)
92. Andrei Kirilenko, SF/PF, UTA (91)
93. Caron Butler, SF/SG, DAL (92)
94. Baron Davis, PG, LAC (93)
95. Nicolas Batum, SF, POR (94)
96. Emeka Okafor, C, NO (95)
97. Vince Carter, SG/SF, ORL (97)
98. Tyrus Thomas, PF, CHA (99)
99. Rashard Lewis, PF/SF, ORL (100)
100. Ben Gordon, SG, DET (96)
101. Samuel Dalembert, C, SAC (102)
102. Tyson Chandler, C, DAL (126)
103. Al Harrington, PF, DEN (104)
104. Anderson Varejao, PF/C, CLE (105)
105. Darko Milicic, C, MIN (130)
106. Antawn Jamison, PF, CLE (110)
107. Carl Landry, PF, SAC (109)
108. Channing Frye, PF/C, PHO (124)
109. Richard Jefferson, SF, SA (108)
110. Wesley Matthews, SG, POR (103)
111. Lou Williams, PG/SG, PHI (107)
112. Beno Udrih, PG, SAC (98)
113. Hedo Turkoglu, SF, PHO (101)
114. Yao Ming, C, HOU (113)
115. Andrew Bynum, C, LAL (114)
116. C.J. Miles, SF, UTA (NR)
117. Andris Biedrins, C, GS (122)
118. Carlos Delfino, SF/SG, MIL (118)
119. Charlie Villanueva, PF/SF, DET (125)
120. Mike Dunleavy, SG/SF, IND (119)
121. DeMar DeRozan, SG, TOR (115)
122. Toney Douglas, PG/SG, NY (106)
123. Wesley Johnson, SF, MIN (120)
124. Corey Maggette, SF, MIL (121)
125. Kyle Lowry, PG, HOU (123)
126. J.J. Hickson, PF, CLE (117)
127. Eric Bledsoe, PG, LAC (112)
128. Hakim Warrick, PF, MIL (NR)
129. Daniel Gibson, PG, CLE (129)
130. J.R. Smith, SG/SF, DEN (116)

For aging veterans who have managed to defy the odds and stay productive late in their careers

Just think about the vets that are playing terrific basketball this year: Manu Ginobili, Steve Nash, Kevin Garnett, Lamar Odom, Elton Brand, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Ray Allen, Andre Miller and Tim Duncan. All 10 rank in the top 60 of our Player Rater when sorted by averages, and most are providing great value based on their draft position. Preseason sleeper lists are typically filled with young up-and-comers and rarely contain players who are undervalued because of their age. Perhaps we should start to challenge that way of thinking, no?

For Carmelo Anthony proving that he is much more valuable than people give him credit for

Almost every year, I get some pushback from readers who think that 'Melo is valuable only for his scoring and efficiency in the percentages. Those are undoubtedly his best fantasy qualities, particularly when considering the high volume of shot attempts, but I'm not sure why people continue to overlook his rebounding (8.9), assists (3.6), steals (1.4), blocks (0.7) and 3-point shooting (0.8). Anthony may be averaging career highs in boards, steals and blocks, but his history suggests that these numbers are sustainable for a full season. If you drafted him, enjoy the ride!

For the depth at the point guard position in fantasy leagues this year

Entering Monday's games, 14 players were averaging 7-plus assists on the season (in order): Rajon Rondo, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, John Wall, Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose, Raymond Felton, LeBron James, Andre Miller, Jrue Holiday, Tony Parker and D.J. Augustin. I couldn't remember the last time this many players averaged 7-plus assists so I had the ESPN Stats and Information department dig a little deeper, and they had to go all the way back to the 2000-01 season when 13 players accomplished the feat to even come close to this level of depth. With an infusion of young talent at the position, the NBA is quickly turning into a point-guard-dominated league. This trend makes it even more important to ensure that you have a stockpile of quality point guards in fantasy leagues.

For Tyson Chandler's return to good health

It wasn't all that long ago that Chandler was one of the league's best rebounders and interior defenders. In 2006-07, he averaged 9.5 points, 12.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocks. He followed that up with 11.8 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 2007-08 before struggling with injuries for the better part of the next two seasons. Mostly considered an afterthought on draft day thanks to his injuries and the presence of Brendan Haywood in Dallas, Chandler is now locked in as the starting center for the Mavs and is averaging 12.2 points, 10.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game in his past five. Those numbers look awfully similar to the last time Chandler was healthy, don't they?

For Roy Hibbert, JaVale McGee and Serge Ibaka living up to their preseason hype

Hibbert has had a bit of a down week, averaging 14.2 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in his past five games, but rest assured, the minor dip in production will be short-lived. He remains a top center option in fantasy leagues. Ditto for Ibaka, who has suffered through a miserable week with just 9.0 points, 3.8 rebounds and 0.4 blocks per game in his past five. Numbers like those don't justify a roster spot in standard fantasy leagues, but don't give up on him just yet. Ibaka is too talented not to produce and is already one of the league's most-feared shot-blockers in the paint. McGee is finally starting to figure out how to harness his potential and is averaging a ridiculous 14.0 points, 12.6 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 2.4 blocks per game in his past five. He'll still be inconsistent on a night-to-night basis in the scoring and rebounding department, but it should be noted that he's recorded at least one block in all 15 games he's played this season.

For Andre Iguodala returning to form after suffering an uncharacteristic early-season injury

Prior to the 2010-11 season, Iguodala was an iron man of sorts, having missed just six games in his entire 6-year NBA career. So when he missed five games early this season with an Achilles injury, we knew it had the potential to be serious. But Iggy has put our fears to rest upon his return by averaging 19.0 points, 8.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.8 3-pointers in his past four games. Iguodala had slipped a bit in my top-130 rankings due to the injury concern, but he's regained his spot in the top 25 after seeing him healthy and productive on the court.

For Devin Harris and Kevin Martin staying healthy through the first month of the season

I won't deny that Harris and Martin have been ranked a little low on my top-130 rankings list this year, and I'll be honest, I don't trust either player in the long run. There's just too much history that suggests that another injury is coming up around the corner. Still, it's hard to ignore what these two can do when healthy. Harris is averaging 17.8 points, 6.8 assists, 1.0 steals and 0.9 3-pointers while shooting 85.9 percent from the free throw line, while Martin is putting up 23.0 points with 2.2 3-pointers while shooting 90.2 percent from the free throw line. Let's cross our fingers that the two can remain relatively healthy for the duration of the season.

For Darko Milicic turning himself into a viable fantasy starter after underperforming for seven years

Darko is always going to be known as a bust, but he is still just 25 years old, and he's getting a chance to showcase his abilities for head coach Kurt Rambis in Minnesota. Averaging 17.2 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.0 blocks in his past five games, Milicic is now one of fantasy's hottest pickups. Can he keep it up? Probably not at this high of a level, but that doesn't mean that he won't be a solid fantasy center going forward. Remember, Darko has always shown great promise on a per-minute basis (particularly as a shot-blocker), so he should have some staying power as a pickup.

Brian McKitish is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com. He can be reached at bmckitish@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter @bmckitish.

Brian McKitish is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com and is a two-time Fantasy Basketball Writer of the Year, as named by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.

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