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NBA fantasy preview: Point Guards

The NBA just doesn't want the Hornets to part ways with Chris Paul. The league knows what it has in the 26-year-old star.

The Lakers couldn't offer enough. The Clippers couldn't either.

Paul just cannot seem to get out of New Orleans. The NBA, which is calling the shots there right now, is asking for a steep price for arguably the best point guard around. But it is the uncertainty that should keep you from drafting him as the No. 1 point guard in fantasy this month.

Being stuck in New Orleans can sap life out of him. Bourbon Street is a great place, but one best consumed in small doses.

Paul doesn't quite score like Derrick Rose, the top pick at the PG position. Nor does Paul quite dish out the dimes like Rajon Rondo or Steve Nash. But Paul is still a pretty complete package, one that can make a case for himself to be the No. 1 point guard picked on draft day, if not the top player selected overall.

We go with the scorer Rose, leading one of the deepest teams in the NBA, as we begin SI.com's 2012 look at the fantasy basketball rankings. But Paul is surely a nice consolation prize and might even wind up somewhere nicer still.

Breakout: John Wall, Wizards

Wall didn't have a great rookie year, mostly due to his injury woes and his supporting cast, but he showed enough to be considered a poor man's Chris Paul already. In fact, Wall is going to be picked at least a round or two later than Paul, but he is going to generate similar numbers for your fantasy team. He is a great fallback option if you don't get one of the elite point guards in Round 1.

Honorable mention: Tyreke Evans, Kings

Bust: Jason Kidd, Mavericks

His name will get him drafted a lot earlier than the late rounds he should be picked in. He does still give you assists. But, at 38, he should closer to winding up in a part-time role, or on IR, than your fantasy team. He has his title now, but says he wants to play two or three more years. Only half of this one will he perform like a fantasy starter.

Dishonorable mention:Tony Parker, Spurs

Sleeper: Mike Conley, Grizzlies

Conley might be the best fantasy guard you hardly care about. He has gradually improved his numbers in each of the past four seasons and, at age 24, is ready to take a step into the elite. A point guard cannot sustain on his own, so Conley will count on a rebound year for Rudy Gay and steady production from Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol in the post. Conley should even be able to get better play out of his guard mates Tony Allen and O.J. Mayo.

Honorable mention:Kyrie Irving, Cavaliers

If you play in a Rotisserie format and need to use the point-guard position to help in a specific category in the latter rounds:

1. Assists:Jose Calderon,Raptors -- Outside of the obvious PG distributors Steve Nash and Jason Kidd, Calderon is still a top-five assist man at the position.

2. Steals: Mike Conley, Grizzlies -- He jumped to almost two steals per game and could hit that elite mark at age 24; he's coming into his own.

3. Rebounds: Tyreke Evans, Kings -- He is the only point guard capable of averaging over 20 points, five assists and five boards per game. He did that as a rookie, but slipped last year.

4. Blocks:Tyreke Evans, Kings -- A healthy Evans can lead the position at blocks in addition to rebounds; he was second to Rose in BPG last season.

5. Turnovers (fewest):D.J. Augustin, Bobcats -- He has to hold off rookie Kemba Walker, but Augustin is clearly the better ballhandler of the two.

6. Points:Chauncey Billups, Clippers -- He has been a consistent scoring threat throughout his 15-year career, but age could make him an injury (or retirement) risk.

7. Three-point FGs:Mike Bibby, Knicks -- At his age, he is no longer a starter, but he can still shoot the three. He led all PGs last year and only Stephen Curry had a better percentage.

Here are the entire point-guard rankings. These are based on a 10-team league with two starting point guards, 10 starting players total and four reserves.

Eric Mack writes fantasy sports for SI.com. You can also find him on Twitter, where you can mock him, rip him and (doubtful) praise him before asking him for fantasy advice @EricMackFantasy.

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