2013-14 RotoRob NBA Draft Kit: Power Forward Rankings
As good as Anthony Davis’ rookie effort was, this kid is about to blow up. (Brooklynbuckeye.wordpress.com)
The 2013-14 RotoRob NBA Draft Kit rolls on, Tsunami-like, with the release of yet another cheat sheet. While you wonder whether the ex-Celtics that gave the gears to Ray Allen when he left Beantown are now hypocrites, let’s check in on the top 35 power forwards in Fantasy basketball.
Power forward is the second most shallow position in the game, so you better try to fill your four slot early. You’re not going to find any of the true superstars in the game here (except for maybe Kevin Love), but there are some major talents to be had.
You might opt for a dependable old timer like Tim Duncan or Dirk Nowitzki, an in-his-prime stud like Love or LaMarcus Aldridge, or a youngster like Anthony Davis or Derrick Favors.
Last year’s rankings are in parentheses.
1. Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves (1): Love’s development into a solid three-point shooter took a downward turn last season, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see him a little less jack-happy this season. Injuries pretty much decimated Love’s 2012-13, but his rebounding bounced back and he maintained his modest block rate. Could an MVP season be coming? At the age of 25, Love may still have upside, so it’s not beyond the realm of possibility — especially if he keeps canning huge buckets like the one in the video below.
2. LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers (3): Aldridge shook off a quad injury early in camp and is again a major scoring threat, having averaged over 21 PPG in each of the last three seasons. He didn’t shoot quite as well from the line last season, but remains a much better FT shooter than most bigs and we love that he did a better job of staying out of foul trouble.
3. Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City Thunder (7): Ibaka has established himself as a great player (and possibly even a superstar as we declined in January), but he’s still on the upside which makes us wonder what his peak will look like. Last season, the durable big man took another major leap forward, showing modest growth in assists, but making huge strides as a scorer. Ibaka’s block numbers dipped, but he’s established himself as a solid fourth round talent.
4. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks (5): Nowitzki cemented his legacy by leading the Mavs to their only title in 2010-11, capping a likely Hall of Fame career that has included four All-NBA first time selections. Disco Dirk has been in decline the past few years and last season, his bucket count kept dropping and he tossed up fewer shots from beyond the arc. He remains a pretty damn good mid-range shooter, but his best years are definitely in the rear view mirror.
5. Anthony Davis, PF/C, New Orleans Pelicans (14 at C): Davis enjoyed a fine rookie campaign, spent nearly exclusively as a starter. Judging by his play this fall, he’s poised to take a major leap forward – especially offensively, and we’re interested to see how new PG Jrue Holiday will factor into Davis’ development. Davis potted a decent amount of buckets and did an acceptable job of getting to the line as a freshman, but we’re expecting so much more this season. This kid has a chance to be a legitimate superstar at a position that is screaming for some new blood.
6. David Lee, Golden State Warriors (8): Lee’s game didn’t explode the way many expected with the move to Golden State, but he’s improved each season with the Warriors and earned consideration as the 2012 RotoRob NBA Comeback Player of the Year. Last season, his work on the defensive glass bounced back and his dimes were up, but he slipped offensively.
7. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers (9): After having his true rookie season wiped out, Griffin has proved mostly durable, although he missed some time in early February and was dealing with a minor ankle woe this fall. He wasn’t quite as productive offensively last season and saw fewer minutes again while sinking fewer free throws for the second straight season. After that amazing first season, it’s been downhill for Griffin, but the upside is still so massive.
8. Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks (6): The key newcomer in Atlanta this season, Millsap regressed last season after enjoying his finest campaign in 2011-12. His bucket count dipped for the second straight season and his shooting touch slid for a third straight year. Watching how the Hawks perform with Millsap instead of Josh Smith is going to be one of the more interesting stories to follow this season.
9. Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs (19): You wouldn’t know it from his mild-mannered ways, but Duncan has that killer instinct – he wouldn’t have four rings without it, right? Talk about a first overall pick working out well for an organization – Duncan has come to embody Spurs basketball over the past 16 years. Last season, the Big Fundamental dipped into the Fountain of Youth to enjoy his finest campaign in several years. He sunk more buckets and enjoyed the finest FT percentage of his career. The Tim Duncan era is one of the most successful runs any team has ever had under one player for such an extended time. It’s that simple.
10. Ersan Ilyasova, SF/PF, Milwaukee Bucks (15): Ilyasova has an ankle issue this fall, but he’s expected to be the starting power forward in Milwaukee this season. He’s off crutches now, but it’s unclear exactly when he’ll return. Last season, he became a bigger part of the Buck attack, although his rebounding work slipped a tad. The big Turk shook off a slow start to average over 17 points with nine boards a game after the break.
11. Pau Gasol, PF/C, Los Angeles Lakers (4): Gasol’s game has regressed in each of the past three seasons and in 2012-13 his bucket count kept sliding. He’s never been a huge source of steals, but last season was worse than usual. If Kobe Bryant misses the start of the season, the Lakers will need Gasol to step up his offense.
12. Chris Bosh, PF/C, Miami Heat (9 at C): Bosh is no longer a slam dunk second round pick in Fantasy leagues. He’s looking very good this fall, but it’s become clear that in this Big Three situation, his numbers were hurt more than LBJ or Flash. Last season, Bosh continued the trend that has seen him regress each year in South Beach. He shot better than he ever had before and jacked up more treys than ever, but the scoring and rebounding keep dropping as his 20-10 days are in the rear view mirror.
13. Ryan Anderson, New Orleans Pelicans (10): Anderson enters this season with a heavy heart, as his girlfriend committed suicide this summer. On the positive side of things, the team around him is more talented, so he should get more open looks. Anderson showed progress in steals in 2011-12, but regressed in that department last season. Despite being just 25 himself, he’ll be needed to show veteran leadership on a very young squad.
14. Derrick Favors, Utah Jazz (26): With both Al Jefferson and Millsap gone, this is a massive season for Favors to show he can be the main inside presence for an NBA team. Favors only had nine double-doubles last season, but we’re expecting that total to blow up this season. He’s steadily improved each year, last season upping his assist count and even hoisting up a few treys. Few players in the NBA are as poised for a breakout as much as Favors is, and this will be the season he proves he should have gone ahead of Evan Turner in the 2010 draft.
15. Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies (12): For a big, Randolph doesn’t play much at the rim, but the word on the street is that he’s in great shape this fall. He enjoyed a nice bounce back season, finishing fourth in the association with 45 double-doubles. Z-Bo was almost exclusively a starter last season, putting up more shots, but shooting worse for the second straight season. He’s generally been highly efficient since landing in Memphis and the Grizzlies will need one more big season from him if they have a chance to take it to the next level.
16. David West, Indiana Pacers (22): West may see less PT this season now that the Pacers have added power forward Luis Scola. Last season, West’s rebounding bounced back and he matched a career high with one steal per game as he enjoyed a fine comeback effort after an ugly first year in Indy.
17. Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets (20): Faried showed progress offensively last season, but we could see him taking a bigger leap this season, possibly up to 15 PPG. He’s dealing with a minor ankle issue this fall and he faces competition from J.J. Hickson for the starting job, but we believe Faried is the slightly better player to own. Known as the Manimal, Faried stayed moderately healthy last season, and became the full-time starter. He should have renewed confidence based on his Team USA experience this summer.
18. Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons (NR): Drummond’s rookie season was interrupted by injuries, but considering he averaged almost eight points, nearly eight boards and 1.6 blocks per game despite the fact he played under 21 MPG, he flashed serious potential. He got a chance to start a portion of the season and assuming his role grows this season, he could be a major sleeper. Drummond is a serious beast a 6’10”, 270, and while he doesn’t get the press fellow soph Davis does, he could wind up coming fairly close in results.
19. Carlos Boozer, Chicago Bulls (13): Boozer, who will be 32 in November, remains a tough Fantasy play given that he doesn’t hit the deep ball, and gets very few blocks and steals. He enjoyed a comeback season offensively, bit remember that Derrick Rose was out. Still, Boozer was awesome on the defensive glass and just missed averaging double-digit rebounds for the first time as a Bull.
20. Tristan Thompson, PF/C, Cleveland Cavaliers (28): Thompson’s scoring rose 3.5 PPG as a sophomore and we can see him taking an even bigger jump offensively this season. The Canadian stayed completely healthy last season and became a full-time starter, doing a better job of getting to the line and protecting the ball well, relative to his minutes. We can’t wait to see how Thompson looks with fellow Canuck and No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett.
21. Kevin Garnett, PF/C, Brooklyn Nets (12 at C): Garnett was packaged up to Brooklyn as part of a massive trade this summer. A product of the old system that allowed high school players to jump directly to the NBA, the aging veteran regressed last season, taking fewer shots while getting to the line less often. If nothing else, KG can still trash talk with the best of them.
22. Amir Johnson, PF/C, Toronto Raptors (NR): Johnson was slow to develop, but because he came straight out of high school, he’s still young enough to get better. Last season, he broke out for a career year, getting more touches than ever and improving his work on the glass. Johnson is a tremendous shut down defender.
23. J.J. Hickson, PF/C, Denver Nuggets (33): The athletically gifted Hickson enjoyed his finest campaign last season, staying healthy and becoming a full-time starter, but now he has to battle for a starting job in Denver and we don’t think he’ll earn it. Still, this is one of the more interesting position battles in the NBA this fall.
24. Cody Zeller, PF/C, Charlotte Bobcats (NR): Charlotte represents a land of opportunity for this rookie, and the fact that Josh McRoberts is dealing with a toe woe means that Zeller will likely start from Day One. The fourth overall pick left some big shoes to fill at Indiana.
25. Amare Stoudemire, PF/C, New York Knicks (11): The fact that Stoudemire may be limited to 20 MPG this season prohibits us from ranking him any higher. Knee woes have plagued him this fall and we still don’t know when he’ll be back. Remember when Stat was a Fantasy stud? Wow, has he ever tumbled dramatically the past couple of years. Last season, Stoudemire was used exclusively off the bench for the first time in his career and his PT was way down. Health issues have simply destroyed his career.
Others to Consider
26. Luis Scola, Indiana Pacers (18)
27. John Henson, Milwaukee Bucks (39)
28. Patrick Patterson, Sacramento Kings (NR)
29. Taj Gibson, Chicago Bulls (NR)
30. Brandon Bass, Boston Celtics (30)
31. Markieff Morris, Phoenix Suns (NR)
32. Reggie Evans, Brooklyn Nets (NR)
33. Andrea Bargnani, PF/C, New York Knicks (16)
34. Dante Cunningham, Minnesota Timberwolves (NR)
35. Ed Davis, Memphis Grizzlies (NR)
Okay, now it’s your turn. Who’s your favourite sleeper at power forward? Let us know in the comments below.