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USATSI

Basketball is loaded with combo guards and tweeners these days, so it can get hard to group players into positions. While DeMar DeRozan could technically be considered the loan shooting guard who cracked last year's fantasy top 10, he served more of a frontcourt role with the Chicago Bulls as a small and power forward. Roles will change with new personnel, and the shooting guard position is one that often lacks depth. Nevertheless, there are plenty of promising targets that seem poised to lead the way in 2022-23.

Which players are worth grabbing in the first round? What players seem likely to improve upon last year's numbers? What players could fall short of expectations? Check out the rankings below to get a feel for what you should expect in the NBA's next campaign:

The Top Five

Paul George
LAC • SF • 13
PPG24.3
APG5.7
SPG2.16
3P/G2.935
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George carried the Clippers without his co-star, Kawhi Leonard last season. While he was limited to 31 regular season games, he averaged more fantasy points per game than Devin Booker, Anthony Edwards, and Donovan Mitchell. He's a do-it-all player who scores from all three levels, makes plays for others, and rebounds. While he can create shots for himself off the dribble efficiently, he's remained one of the league's most dominant catch-and-shoot players over the past few seasons. Adding a true distributor in John Wall to the backcourt should help George get easier looks this year, and his defense gives him a leg up against the players behind him in my rankings. 

Bradley Beal
WAS • SG • 3
PPG23.2
APG6.6
SPG.9
3P/G1.575
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 The Wizards were short on legitimate floor generals last season, so Beal took on more responsibility than usual as a playmaker during his shortened year. His scoring average dropped below 30 points for the first time in two seasons, but he also recorded a career-high 6.6 assists per game. Washington hasn't added an elite option at point guard, but Monte Morris will be a serviceable ball handler who'll let Beal get back to what he does best. Score. I don't expect any other shooting guard to match Beal's scoring upside and he could very well still lead Washington in assists in 2022-23.

Devin Booker
PHO • SG • 1
PPG26.8
APG4.8
SPG1.13
3P/G2.691
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Booker is fresh off his best scoring year yet (26. points per game) in his second season with Chris Paul and also notched a career-high in rebounds per game (5.0). His assist numbers haven't taken a huge hit since Paul joined Phoenix and he's essentially been a 25-point scorer for five consecutive seasons. Booker has a chance to challenge Beal for the number two spot, but he'll likely have to match or improve upon last year's point average to do so. He averaged 28.2 points and 7.0 assists in the 11 games Paul missed last season.

Zach LaVine
CHI • SG • 8
PPG24.4
APG4.5
SPG.61
3P/G2.761
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LaVine had a great 2022-23 season but has been overshadowed by DeMar DeRozan at times. The explosive guard's co-star led the Bulls in total points and assists last season. LaVine and DeRozan thrived as a duo, but it's clear that LaVine won't be asked to do as much as the aforementioned players. Lonzo Ball is still Chicago's best passer and I expect him to have a more impactful year as the Bulls' starting point guard. LaVine no longer has to be a true showrunner in Chicago, but he does enough to remain an elite option at his position.

Jaylen Brown
BOS • SG • 7
PPG23.6
APG3.5
SPG1.06
3P/G2.515
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Many fantasy analysts are predicting a breakout season for the Minnesota Timberwolves' Anthony Edwards, but I think Brown will edge out the third-year guard for a spot in the top five. The Celtics' lanky, two-way guard is likely the second-best rebounder on this list and is capable of scoring 25 points a night despite playing alongside Jayson Tatum. He's consistently active on defense, has shot better than 38 percent from deep in two of his last three seasons, and has improved his assist numbers in three straight seasons. I expect Brown to come back hungry after being mentioned in a potential Kevin Durant trade and Donovan Mitchell's uncertain future makes Brown seem like the better option right now.

Shooting guard rankings

1. Paul George, LAC
2. Bradley Beal, WAS
3. Devin Booker, PHO
4. Zach LaVine, CHI
5. Jaylen Brown, BOS
6. Anthony Edwards, MIN
7. Donovan Mitchell, UTA
8. R.J. Barrett, NYK
9. Tyler Herro, MIA
10. Buddy Hield, IND
11. Klay Thompson, GSW
12. Desmond Bane, MEM
13. Jalen Green, HOU
14. Gary Trent Jr., TOR
15. Will Barton, WAS
16. Caris LeVert, CLE
17. Luguentz Dort, OKC
18. Bogdan Bogdanovic, ATL
19. Josh Hart, POR
20. Norman Powell, TOR
21. Tim Hardaway Jr., DAL
22. Evan Fournier, NYK
23. Devin Vassell, SAS
24. Joe Harris, BKN
25. Seth Curry, BKN
26. Kevin Huerter, SAC
27. Eric Gordon, HOU
28. Grayson Allen, MIL
29. Malik Monk, SAC
30. Duncan Robinson, MIA
31. Victor Oladipo, MIA
32. Josh Primo, SAS
33. Josh Richardson, SAS
34. Reggie Bullock, DAL
35. Terrence Ross, ORL
36. Alec Burks, DET
37. Luke Kennard, LAC
38. Isaac Okoro, CLE
39. Cam Reddish, NYK
40. Chris Duarte, IND
41. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, DEN
42. Cody Martin, CHA
43. Johnny Davis, WAS
44. Jalen Williams, OKC
45. Cam Thomas, BKN
46. Matisse Thybulle, PHI
47. Davion Mitchell, SAC
48. Quentin Grimes, NYK
49. Moses Moody, GSW
50. Austin Reaves, LAL