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From Deep Positional Recap: Jordan Poole not only one of the biggest misses at SG, but the whole fantasy year

The 2023-24 NBA season continues to be a rollercoaster of highs and lows even into the playoffs, bringing with it an array of hits, misses and unexpected breakout stars across all positions. From point guards (PG) who defied expectations to centers (C) who dominated the paint like never before, we learned a lot to take into next year.

In this five-part series within From Deep, we'll dissect each position — PG, SG, SF, PF and C — sharing insights into the players who made waves, those who fell short, and the newcomers who burst onto the scene.

Next up, the shooting guards.

The Hits

Derrick White, Boston Celtics

White was that surprise plot twist that no one's quite adjusted to, yet. Defense is his calling card but I don't think many expected him to rise into third-round territory in fantasy — but he did in category leagues.

He played a career-best 73 games and averaged over 15 points with four boards and five assists. He shot 90% from the line (top-10 in the league), knocked down 2.7 3-pointers a night while being one of only two guards who averaged at least one block and one steal per game this season.

He was the second-most valuable asset on the best team in basketball, yet the fantasy community underestimated his upside. With an ADP in the seventh round of drafts, his performance should garner plenty of votes for the fantasy season MVP.

Now, if you played in points leagues, you're likely wondering why I'm gassing White. Well, even though he didn't make a considerable impact while ranking 76th in that format, he still beat his ADP. So at the end of the day, closing out the year as a top-30 player far exceeded expectations.

Jalen Williams, Oklahoma City Thunder

Williams took a substantial leap as a scorer and secondary playmaker in his second season, dropping 19 points with 4.5 assists per game. His 7.7 potential assists per night were second on the team behind SGA. His value in fantasy took off once J-Dub paired the production with his efficient 54/43/81 shooting splits.

He bested his ADP by two rounds, finishing with fourth-round value in his second professional season. I'm a firm believer that the Thunder will move on from Josh Giddey in the offseason, which can expand Williams' usage and playmaking opportunities for one of the youngest contending teams in the Association.

He'll likely be a third- or fourth-rounder in '24-25 and given his age and skill set on both ends. I'm here for it.

D'Angelo Russell, Los Angeles Lakers

I'm going to take a mulligan here because, while Russell played nearly all of his minutes at PG, he also had shooting guard eligibility in fantasy and I didn't have enough space to include him in the point guards section so here we are.

OK, back to D'Lo.

Russell had a consensus ADP in the ninth round this season, so fantasy managers only expected backcourt depth. However, D'Lo was the third-highest performing Laker this year and likely earned himself another decent payday if he decides to test free agency this summer.

The numbers don't lie. He was solid relative to his draft position. Fantasy managers got 76 games worth of production and gained three rounds of value rostering Russell in category leagues.

The Misses

Mikal Bridges, Brooklyn Nets

I thought Bridges was worthy of a late-second-round grade after balling out in 27 games in Brooklyn last year but the bridge(s) is over. Before this year, Bridges was a top 55 player in his last three seasons. And while replicating his 26 points per game with the Nets was a stretch, averaging sub-20 PPG was not it.

He really struggled from the field, shooting under 44% on his field-goal attempts. Bridges hasn't shot that poorly since his rookie season, plus he shot a career-low 49% on two-point FG attempts. Bridges did record his most total assists and rebounds in a season but the dip in offense depreciated his value into the eighth round after going 21st in preseason drafts.

Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls

Injuries and poor play sum up Zach LaVine's 23-24 campaign. Even when he was active, the Bulls played better with him off the floor. His efficiency and scoring dipped from last season but playing just 25 games pretty much deaded any hope of helping your fantasy squad. He missed a month from December to January only to not play another game after January 20. LaVine's contract is a sticking point for the Bulls and it's why he's rumored to be on the trade block.

From a fantasy perspective, the landing spot will dictate whether LaVine is worth a mid-round pick going forward.

Jordan Poole, Washington Wizards

The Warriors threw Poole into deep water and sank every piece of fantasy optimism in the process. Being shipped to the Wizards is like being exiled to the Iron Islands of basketball. No hope, just going through the motions until it's over.

Poole went through a brutal stretch of ball from January to February, prompting a switch to a bench role — and it turned out to be the best outcome for his fantasy stock.

Poole was well outside the top 200 for much of the season but his play over the final 20 games helped to ease the blow of a terrible draft pick. A consensus fifth-rounder, Poole finished the year ranked 135th in category leagues — amounting to one of the biggest L's of the fantasy season.

The Breakouts

Donte DiVincenzo, New York Knicks

I've talked about Donte quite a bit and with him being the most rostered player on the best public teams in Yahoo!, he's one of the oldest breakouts in recent memory. He broke three-point records for one of the most storied franchises while also posting career-highs in minutes played and scoring. He played in 81 games and his play throughout the regular season and postseason earned him the starting gig heading into next year.

DiVincenzo's performance not only boosted fantasy teams but also contributed to the success of the Knicks, making him a valuable player in both real and fantasy basketball. The Big Ragú went on a tear during the season's final three months, and it elevated him to sixth-round value by season's end. Not bad for a guy who went undrafted in 94% of Yahoo! leagues.

Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls

Caruso held up well after playing 71 games and getting asked to defend point guards to power forwards because of all of the injuries in Chicago. Like White, he was the other guard who averaged at least one steal and a block this year and, when looking at his impact defensively, he'll make another All-Defensive team.

Offensively, Caruso notched career-highs in points, rebounds, steals, 3-pointers made and FG percentage. He was drafted in 13% of leagues and was a fifth-rounder in category leagues. Like Derrick White, he's less appealing for points leagues but it'll be hard for the Bulls to keep him from getting nearly 30 minutes a night in the future.

Grayson Allen, Phoenix Suns

Another semi-old-head breakout who went undrafted in 90% of fantasy leagues, Allen was a waiver wire hero for many this season. His lights-out shooting earned him a lofty 4-year, $70M contract extension with the Suns so his role is secure going into 24-25. With the rash of injuries to key players, Allen stepped up and delivered the best scoring output of his six-year career along with the most boards and assists while leading the league in 3-point percentage at 46%.

He started in 74 of 75 games and with little depth in the backcourt, I'd expect Allen to be a worthwhile selection in the back end of drafts next season.

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