Coming into the 2009-10 season, most fantasy basketball pundits had Chris Paul (PG, New Orleans Hornets) ranked among their top three overall players. Clearly, with career averages of 19.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 10.0 assists and 2.4 steals, as well as outstanding field goal and free throw percentages, he is an elite performer.
This year, it appears that everyone is approaching him with a bit of caution. There are two reasons for this reaction:
1. 37 games missed due to injury last year
2. Off season request to be traded
In recent weeks, he has met with team management and backed off the request to be traded. So, the issue comes down to injury risk.
The prudent approach is to completely discount his post-injury performances, as Paul's minutes were limited and he was not playing at full speed. As you will see, Paul is still the same player who exceeded those career averages for two years straight heading into 2009-10.
Chris Paul, 2009-10 Statistics, Pre-All Star Break
What's more, this was only the second time in his five professional seasons that Paul did not appear in at least 78 games. Accept the fact that athletes get hurt and move on.
Paul is one of the best players in the league and he will possibly be available at a discount during your fantasy basketball draft. Should that come to pass, you would be well-served to take the leap. If your cards fall right, you will have arguably the most valuable fantasy asset in the game without having to land the number one overall pick.
This article originally appeared on Examiner.com.