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Tuesday August 12, 2008 4:33 pm

Dropping Dimes Mock Draft: Round 1, Pick 2 - Chris Paul

Chris Paul holding off Superman, Dwight Howard
We here at Dropping Dimes have selected LeBron James #1 overall for three years running now. This year our mock draft focuses towards a head-to-head league; even with the lower FT%, LBJ is a surefire pick.

Where does that leave us now with the #2 pick? Happily calling on the name of the point guard who can shove Superman to the curb, that’s where.

Here are Paul’s highest and lowest averages in the major fantasy categories over the last three seasons:

Three year bests:
80 GP, 48.8 FG%, 85.1 FT%, 21.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 11.6 apg, 1.2 3pg, 2.7 spg, 0.1 bpg, 2.4 topg

Three year worsts:
64 GP, 43.0 FG%, 81.8 FT%, 16.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 7.8 apg, 0.6 3pg, 1.8 spg, 0.1 bpg, 2.5 topg

His “worst” stat-line would be enough to garner second round consideration. Paul definitely upped the ante last year, playing his way into garnering strong MVP consideration. His three-point shooting has improved every year, and despite more field goal attempts per game last year, he still increased his field goal percentage to a level where solid power forwards deliver for their fantasy GMs.

After missing 18 games in 2006-07, Paul was a picture of health last year. Assuming he can come out of China unscathed from his Olympic experience, Paul will be one of a few players deemed worthy of a #1 selection. Certainly in a roto league, filling your starting point guard slot with Paul is a must. In a points-based league, I would not blame you if you took ‘Bron ahead of Paul. It seems this year the consensus top four are Paul, ‘Bron, Kobe and Amare; the exact order of selection will vary according to the type of league you play, as well as how much ‘Bron’s free throw percentage bothers you.

Last year ‘Bron played five less games than Paul. Their FG% were quite similar (48.8% for Paul vs. 48.4% for ‘Bron), with ‘Bron shooting 5-6 more shots per game on average. ‘Bron scored 566 more points and grabbed 211 more rebounds than CP3 last year, while Paul dished out 386 more assists. Paul swiped 79 more balls than ‘Bron last year, which translates into about one extra steal per game, while ‘Bron blocked 77 more shots than Paul, also about one per game. ‘Bron committed 54 more turnovers in five less games, but drained 21 more treys.

The bottom line is the first few players taken in any draft are unique talents. ‘Bron is a beast in head-to-head play, and could have a 35-10-8 season in him. CP3 posted a lot of career highs last year. Is this where he sits for the next ten years, or can he possibly up those numbers even more?

If you are lucky enough to draft Paul for your team this year, smile early and often and build a great team around him. At the end of the second and beginning of the third rounds, there should be lots of options, including do-everything types such as Paul Pierce, Andre Iguodala or Manu Ginobili and solid big men like (hopefully), Tim Duncan, Carlos Boozer or Dwight Howard…assuming Superman can get over the SICK facial delivered by CP3 in the photo above.

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