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Past Fantasy Outlooks
After two consecutive years with a strong bill of health, Paul succombed to the injury bug once again during the 2016-17 campaign, something that's plagued him throughout his entire 12-year career. It started with a lingering hamstring injury in December before tearing a ligament in his thumb in January and missing an additional month and a half. That limited Paul to just 61 games overall, his lowest mark since the 2011-12 season. However, when healhty, he was still one of the best point guards on the market, as he averaged 18.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, 9.2 assists and 2.0 steals across 31.5 minutes. That placed him third overall in the league for assists, while also landing him third in the league in steals, as Paul earned NBA All-Defensive First Team honors for the sixth time in a row and seventh in his career. After spending the last six seasons in Los Angeles, Paul now heads to Houston after being traded to the Rockets at the end of June. While he'll no longer be playing alongside Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, his new roster certainly isn't lacking talent, as Paul will be playing alongside MVP finalist James Harden. Harden dominated the lead guard role last season, spending nearly the entire year as the team's ball-handler, but that should change with Paul in the fold. Harden led the league in assists with 11.2 last season, so both players are likely going to see their assist totals fall while sharing the play-making duties. That said, Harden's ability as a creator should add more open looks for Paul and after shooting a career-high 41.1 percent from deep last season, he should be able to knock down shots at a high rate as a catch-and-shoot option when off the ball. Slight drops in assists and rebounds can be expected for Paul, but he's still going to get his points considering he's joining an extremely high-paced offense. He's also expected to bring a gritty defense that the Rockets' roster severely lacks, so there shouldn't be much of a drop-off in the steals department either. All that being said, Paul should remain a top-5 point guard despite concerns over his ability to co-exist with the ball-dominant Harden.
Paul enjoyed another stellar statistical year in 2015-16, averaging 19.5 points, 10.0 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game while claiming Second-Team All-NBA honors. With Blake Griffin out for much of the season, Paul carried the Clippers to the fourth seed in the Western Conference and notched his highest assist percentage (52.7%) since 2008-09. His shooting numbers dipped slightly compared to those of two seasons ago, but Paul remained a hyper-efficient scorer for a player of his stature and shooting volume. Coming off of a 2014-15 campaign in which he played all 82 games for the first time in his career, Paul appeared in 74 games last season, working to dispel the injury-prone label that’s followed him throughout his tenure in the NBA. However, a broken hand suffered in Game 4 against the Trail Blazers put an abrupt end to Paul’s season and reminded fantasy owners of his inherent risk. When healthy, Paul is without a doubt among the NBA’s top six or seven fantasy commodities, but his injury history may push him toward the latter end of the first round of drafts in certain fantasy leagues.
Following yet another All-Star season, 10-year veteran point guard Paul appears to be one of the top players in the league again this year. For the first time in his career, Paul managed to play all 82 games in the 2014-15 season. This level of durability was refreshing for Paul, who played just 62 games in the previous season and also sat out two 2015 postseason games due to a hamstring injury. Despite his somewhat dubious health, Paul is an absolute fantasy gem who averaged 19.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, a league-leading 10.2 assists, and 1.9 steals in 35 minutes last season. Paul also enjoyed perhaps the most efficient year of his career, shooting 49 percent from the field and improving his free-throw percentage to a career-high 90 percent. While the addition of veteran guard Pablo Prigioni gives the Clippers more depth behind Paul at point guard, his presence should not cut into the superstar's playing time. As long as Paul is able to stay healthy, he will likely be one of the top guards in all fantasy leagues this season.
What more can be said about Paul as a fantasy asset? He's firmly locked in as the Clippers' starting point guard, and he has the potential to drop double-digit assists on any night. Last season, he averaged 19.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, 10.7 assists, 2.5 steals, and 1.3 three-pointers in 35 minutes per game through 62 games played. Paul is a premier double-double threat. The only concern with Paul is injuries, as he missed 20 games last season. At 29 years old, he should have at least one more elite season in his pocket, and despite the fact that he's missed an average of 16 games over the last two seasons, the fact that he only missed eight games total from 2009-11 shows that Paul can remain healthy for a full season. As has become commonplace over the last eight seasons, Paul will be one of the first point guards off the board in most leagues this season. If you know you have to get assists early in your league, Paul is worth consideration any time after Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis are off the board.
With a fat new contract, a highly-respected new coach and one of the most talented rosters he's ever been a part of, Chris Paul should continue his run as the top point guard in fantasy this season. Paul signed a five-year, $107 million contract to stay with the Clippers over the summer and will quarterback a team that seems poised to make a run at the top of the Western Conference, and maybe the NBA Finals. His scoring average took a slight dip in 2012-13 – he scored under 17 points per game, down from 19.8 in his first year as a Clipper – possibly because he played a bit less on a per-game basis (33 minutes per game versus 36 the previous season). Or maybe his teammates simply picked up the slack – his assists per game jumped from 9.1 to 9.7. He doesn't rebound quite as much as he once did, but he remains among the league leaders in steals (2.4 spg in 2012-13) and shoots a very healthy percentage from the floor for a guard (48 percent in 2012-13). Paul and running buddy Blake Griffin clashed at times over the direction of the Clippers' offense last season, but new coach Doc Rivers has proven to be adept at getting star players on the same page. The addition of shooters like J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley to the rotation should help give CP3 plenty of room to operate this season.
The move to Los Angeles didn't phase CP3 one bit. He started his Clipper career the way he ended his run with the Hornets, averaging near a double-double (19.8 points, 9.1 assists per game) nightly. One might have expected to see more assists and less scoring from Paul now that he's running such a talented team and setting up Blake Griffin, arguably the NBA's best finisher. But that isn't the case. Last season's scoring average was Paul's highest in four seasons. Strangely, his assists declined for the fourth consecutive season. He didn't rebound as much as in years past either. Paul’s 3.6 rebounds per game set a new career low. Of course, those declines are minor and offset by the fact that he is better than average in every fantasy category. The larger concern with Paul is injuries. He hasn't missed significant time due to a major injury since he was limited to 45 games in 2009-10, but he seems to suffer more than his share of nagging, minor problems. A hip issue during the playoffs and a thumb problem during Olympic training camp are just the latest examples. It's hard not to worry that these things will catch up with him at some point, or that the Clippers will try to reduce his minutes to protect their investment. Paul is set to hit free agency after this season. Some may see that as a positive, if you're one to believe that contract years impact fantasy performance.
Paul’s 2009-10 campaign was disappointing when compared with his ordinarily stellar overall numbers, as he posted a career-low in scoring (15.9 ppg) and rebound (4.1) assist (9.8) shooting percentage (46.3%) and three-point percentage (38.8%) numbers well off his established norms. On the plus side, he was relatively injury-free and able to play in 80 games, a number he’s matched just once in his stellar career. So why the drop-off in production? Probably a combination of issues. As a team, the Hornets played at a slightly slower pace than in 2009-10. He suffered a concussion in March, and while he missed just two games, the effects might have lingered. Other nagging injuries might have slowed him from time to time; bear in mind, he’s reportedly got very little cartilage in his knee at this point. But the biggest concern might have been the lack of talent surrounding him. Paul played the second half of last season without his go-to guy, forward David West. That won't be an issue this year with Paul having Blake Griffin and Caron Butler as running mates as well as Chauncey Billups and strong finisher DeAndre Jordan. Expect Paul to improve on last year's numbers so long as he remains healthy.
Paul was right in the mix with LeBron James in the "first overall pick" discussion for the 2009-10 fantasy season, and rightly so. He was coming off two straight seasons of over 20 points, 10 assists, four rebounds and 2.7 steals. But knee and finger injuries limited CP3 to just 45 games played last season - by far his career low - and likely killed quite a few fantasy owners' hopes of finishing in the money. Paul is expected to be fully recovered from both injuries to start the 2010-11 season. Perhaps more importantly, after Paul and his representatives made noise about trying to force a trade from New Orleans, new general manager Dell Demps started re-configuring the roster to better suit Paul's skills by adding Trevor Ariza – and eliminating the "will the Hornets trade Paul and make Darren Collison the starter" question by sending Collison to Indiana. With a speedier roster and his status assured – at least for now – look for Paul to return himself to the ranks of fantasy's best this season. But one note of concern - after last season's knee problems, there's some question as to how much cushioning remains in Paul's left knee. That could leave him vulnerable to additional injury in the future.
Fantasy owners just love a 20-and-10 guy. When the “10” is assists, the emotion is something much, much stronger than love. In 2008-09, Paul averaged over 22 points and 11 dimes per game for the second straight season, while improving his rebounding to 5.5 boards per game and grabbing a career-high 2.8 steals per game. And despite being the absolute focus of a Hornets team that was one of the NBA’s most disappointing all year, he protected the ball very well, averaging just three turnovers per game, and has been durable, averaging 79 games played in his last two seasons. The only reason for concern about Paul’s fantasy value: his teammates. The Hornets seemed headed for full-on salary dump mode last season, giving Tyson Chandler away for pennies on the dollar. But they got a mulligan on that deal due to concerns over Chandler’s injury history, and this offseason they’ve shown a commitment to contending in the West by acquiring the long-term contract of Emeka Okafor. Okafor is a better offensive player than Chandler and should help to free up Paul on that end of the floor. All signs point to another excellent season from CP3. He’s on the very short list of players that merit “first overall pick” consideration.
Paul easily could have been named MVP last year without anyone thinking Kobe Bryant got robbed. He improved statistically in most fantasy categories and has become the best at the position. Paul’s been a floor leader the moment he stepped out of Wake Forest that makes his teammates better. How else can you explain Tyson Chandler’s spike in offensive production? Paul is very quick and great off the dribble, leading to easy penetration where he’s got Chandler in close, David West anywhere from the low blocks out to mid range and Peja Stojakovic to light it up from long distance. The Hornets shoot 46.6 percent from the field (8th in NBA) and 38.9 percent from 3-point range (3rd) so Paul gets the ball to his mates where they like it. Paul himself improved his field-goal accuracy, knocking down 48.8 percent from the floor and 36.9 percent from 3-point range. Despite initiating the offense every possession, Paul maintains a great handle (11.6/2.5 A/TO), and defensively, he plays well off the ball (2.3 career spg). He’s been pretty healthy other than an issue with his thumb two seasons ago. This is an elite player who should be snapped up within the first five picks of any fantasy draft.
No team in the NBA was more disrupted by injuries than the Hornets. The club lost Peja Stojakovic for much of the season and David West missed a long stretch of games. Paul missed time because of an ankle injury then played on a bum foot that eventually required surgery. He’s expected to be ready for training camp and looks primed for a big season if the others are healthy. Even with the injuries and replacement players on the floor, Paul ranked fourth in the league with 8.9 assists per game. Add in Morris Peterson at shooting guard, and Paul should have ample targets inside and outside to increase his fantasy value.
Top rookie wasn’t nearly enough for Chris Paul, who rapidly ascended from “dominant player in the draft class of 2005” to “elite NBA point guard” to starter status for Team USA in the World Championships. And to think – he was selected fourth overall. Think Atlanta would like a mulligan on that pick? This year, the conditions are ripe for more of the same – with a premium scorer like Peja Stojakovic on the wing and an active pivot guarding the basket in Tyson Chandler, Paul’s assist totals and steals seem ripe for a healthy increase. But there’s risk – remember that Paul is coming off the longest basketball season of his life, and that he went almost directly from his rookie NBA season into training with Team USA. His body will have very little time to recover before training camp; a slow start to his sophomore season wouldn’t be shocking.
Paul may very well be New Orleans’ best player right now -- that’s both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing to the Hornets, who netted the elusive Paul in this year’s lottery. Within a year or two, Paul should emerge as a solid scoring point guard with exceptional court vision. It’s a curse to Paul, who probably had more talent surrounding him on last year’s Wake Forest squad. Splitting time with veteran Speedy Claxton, it is possible that Paul might manage numbers similar to what Dan Dickau gave New Orleans last year – 12 points, around five assists, a steal or two. Bump him up a couple of rounds in a keeper league.
Paul is widely considered the top point guard in this year's draft. He has lightning quick speed, great court vision, superb decision-making, great range and accuracy on his jumpshot, shifty penetrating skills and a great knack for playing the passing lanes. The biggest knock on Paul is his lack of size, as he's listed at 6-1 which is a stretch. Portland isn't likely to draft Paul with the third pick after drafting Sebastian Telfair last season so Hornets or Bobcats could end up with potentially the most NBA-ready (along with Andrew Bogut) player in this year's draft.
More Fantasy News
Another double-double against Hawks
Paul scored 13 points (4-10 FG, 2-6 3Pt, 3-4 FT) while adding 11 assists, three steals and a rebound in 29 minutes during Tuesday's 121-105 win over the Hawks.
Scores game-high 25 points Sunday
Paul produced 25 points (8-12 FG, 6-7 3Pt, 3-3 FT), 10 assists, seven rebounds, and one steal in 29 minutes during Sunday's 117-102 victory over Minnesota.
Will play Sunday
Will be rested Friday
Logs 24 points in Wednesday's loss
Paul pitched in 24 points (7-12 FG, 2-6 3Pt, 8-8 FT), six rebounds, and three assists in 33 minutes during Wednesday's 106-104 loss to the Warriors.