2018 Outlook: Have yourself a season, sir. Harden was great in 2015-16. Then he averaged 4.5 percent fewer minutes in 2016-17 yet averaged more points, free throws, assists and rebounds. Coach Mike D'Antoni will do that for a player, and Harden molded his game into the perfect player for this system. The jump in assists was the most notable statistical growth in 2016-17, and though the addition of Chris Paul will obviously cut into that, we still like Harden to top the assists he provided prior to 2016-17 due to the wide-open nature of this offensive system. You're looking at an incredibly high floor (15 games missed in his five seasons with the Rockets) and a ceiling that is nothing short of special.
2018 Outlook: Lillard entered the league in 2012 as a natural-born scorer, and he has honed that skill, as his scoring average has increased each season of his career. He has averaged exactly 10.8 rebounds-plus-assists in three straight seasons, so his ability to contribute in the other counting categories is nothing if not stable. You should like the direction of Lillard's game, as he is a lethal shooter who has displayed a willingness to attack the rim (as shown by a career high in free throw attempts and a career low in average distance of field goal attempt last season). Look for Lillard's assist total to bounce back as this team grows around their star point guard, putting him in a good spot to record the best fantasy season of his career.
2018 Outlook: Irving made it clear that he is plenty capable of taking over, and he will be asked to do more of that now that he is rocking Celtic green. Not only did Irving experience a 28.6 percent scoring spike last season from the season prior, but he also saw his assist average jump by 23.4 percent on his way to recording the best assist-to-turnover rate (2.32) of his career. He is essentially a statistical clone of Damian Lillard, but he now has room to expand his role and usage rate, while Lillard is already his teamís go-to option. Irvingís chances of winning an NBA title diminished this offseason, but his odds of helping you win a fantasy title grew.
2018 Outlook: Remember that "down" season Curry had in 2016-17? Neither do we. He finished third on the Player Rater despite some minor regression, as the Warriors welcomed Kevin Durant into the mix. Would you like a list of the individual seasons since 2014-15 in which a player averaged at least 3.0 3PPG and more than 1.5 steals per game? Curry in 2014-15, Curry in 2015-16 and Curry in 2016-17. That's it. Curry has also shed the fragile label (at least 78 games played in five straight seasons), and he averaged as many minutes in 2016-17 as he did the past two seasons.
2018 Outlook: The Rockets' newest toy has had strong fantasy production for a decade, and it's difficult to imagine a Mike D'Antoni system putting an end to that. How exactly this offense functions will be interesting, but you shouldn't be worried about James Harden welcoming CP3 into this already explosive offense. Pencil Paul in for a double-double (it'd be the fourth time in five seasons he has averaged one) and move on. A change in scenery often results in uncertainty, but Paul should continue to be one of the safest players on the board. The production isn't as flashy as the elite first-round point guards, but the lack of downside is likely to land Paul on many a successful fantasy team in 2017-18.
2018 Outlook: His historic 2016-2017 season is going to be difficult to repeat, especially with the addition of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, but even with significant regression in usage rate, he would be among the elite. His 3-point shooting probably comes back closer to his career average (though you could argue that the quality of 3FGA should increase) and back-to-back triple-double seasons seems unlikely, but there is no reason to think his usage rate won't be among the highest in the league. He should be taken with one of the first few picks in all formats.
2018 Outlook: The time is now. With excitement brewing and his health theoretically in a good spot, Simmons should get the chance this season to show the world why he has been hyped as a revolutionary talent. Markelle Fultz's ability to be a scoring guard should allow Simmons to play more than his fair share of point guard, something that could make him a nightly triple-double threat once he gets acclimated. We have him penciled in for more per-minute value this season than LeBron James had in his first NBA season, so yeah, you could say we are buying what this 6-foot-10 do-it-all prospect is selling.
2018 Outlook: An offseason to figure out exactly how this Pelicans offense can be best run should help all involved in a significant way. All things considered last season, Holiday managed to block out all of the noise and average 15.4 PPG, 7.3 APG and 1.5 SPG. Why can't he jump into that second tier of fantasy point guards in this offense that has frontcourt star power and operated at a top-10 pace in 2016-17? Holiday's fantasy value took a hit after the Cousins trade, and if his price on draft day suffers because of that small sample, Holiday could be among the most valuable players this draft season. Early talk suggests that he may play off the ball some with the acquisition of Rajon Rondo, something that boosts his scoring upside more than it would hurt his assist ceiling.
2018 Outlook: For a second consecutive season, Wall increased his point and assist averages, a trend that indicates how comfortable the Wizards are with putting their faith in the hands of their point guard. You should be too. Wall is probably never going to be a dead-eye shooter (32.1 percent career 3-point shooter), but with his percentage of shots coming from inside of eight feet jumping by 33.6 percent from the 2015-16 season, Wall profiles as an elite scorer anyway. With a usage rate that is on the rise, Wall has as good a shot as anyone to finish as the third-best point guard in fantasy.
2018 Outlook: How many players in the NBA averaged more 3PPG and converted those 3s at a higher rate than Walker last season? Three. The Splash Brothers and Kyle Lowry -- that's it. He may not come with the hype of other long-ball artists, but the numbers don't lie. In addition to the elite 3-point production, Walker has averaged 8.6-9.6 rebounds-plus-assists in each of the past three seasons, making him a stable asset in this golden age of point guards. In a perfect world, Walker develops a midrange game, but this version of him will make you competitive at the PG position.
2018 Outlook: Growth. McCollum is an unquestioned marksman, but he shot fewer 3s in 2015-16 in favor of increasing his efficiency (Bradley Beal was the only player to average more 3PPG and record a higher FG% than McCollum in 2016). While McCollum improved his scoring, he failed to make significant strides elsewhere, a trend that has us thinking his ceiling is only as high as his scoring can take him. He has the potential to be an elite scorer (see playoff Games 1 and 3 against Golden State), but understand that if you spend early on McCollum, you will need to target versatility elsewhere sooner than later.
2018 Outlook: For the first time in his career, Lowry attempted the majority of his shots from at least 24 feet away from the rim, and he converted his 3s at a career-high 41.2 percent. His efficiency has spiked in consecutive seasons, and given that he was rewarded with a nine-figure contract this summer, it is clear that the Raptors are willing to put their eggs in the Lowry basket. Believe it or not, there is upside on the heels of a career season, as Lowry's usage rate was far below that of DeMar DeRozan. If they meet in the middle, Lowry's usage would spike 14.9 percent. Pay for a repeat performance of a strong 2016-17 and hope that the massive contract is the first sign of even greater opportunity.
2018 Outlook: Evans has now played a total of just 65 games over the past two seasons, which is a major issue. Yes, the 16.1 PPG and nearly 10 rebounds-plus-assists he has averaged for his career are impressive, but you've got to bake in the risk of missed time and the risk of playing in Sacramento. How much you are willing to invest in Evans depends greatly on your view of his jump shooting; he's a 29.5 percent career 3-point shooter, but he is converting at a 36.9 percent clip over the past two seasons. There is major risk involved here (both skills and health) Ö at which point are you willing to roll the dice?
2018 Outlook: When efficiency and volume increase in the same season, you have a breakout star. When both happen before said player turns 24, fantasy owners get deservedly giddy. That's what happened in 2016-17 for Schroder, and given such a productive response to the increase in role, it is difficult to see the Hawks going in a different direction this season. The scoring should remain stable (nearly 60 percent of his career shots have come within 16 feet), thus making a 20-point and seven-assist season (something only five players accomplished in 2016-17) plausible. With Paul Millsap and Tim Hardaway Jr. out of town, a high projected usage rate makes Schroder a high-floor option who is a good bet to produce above his ADP.
2018 Outlook: Teague joined the Timberwolves this offseason and now is at the controls of one of the more promising offensive teams in the NBA. We know Teague can score for a point guard (more than 15 PPG in four straight seasons), and he figures to set a new career mark in assists, given the level of talent around him. He posted the best assist-to-turnover ratio of his career last season (2.96), despite opponents' labeling him as the second-most important player on his team to stop. It's possible that he is the fourth option on the Wolves this season, and that could well make him a nightly double-double threat.