David Lee (42) has escaped Eddy Curry and his incessant desire to be bum buddies.
The 2010-11 RotoRob NBA Draft Kit is almost done now, with this, the release of our second last cheat sheet. So while you bask in the afterglow of Friday night’s Kevin Durant–LeBron James showdown, let’s examine the top power forwards in Fantasy basketball.
Many writers believe that the path to success in Fantasy basketball lies in the drafting of point guards and power forwards. Count me as one of them. The theory behind this strategy is that each position provides relatively distinct category production and the combination of the two keeps your team balanced enough to win. When drafting power forwards, you want to load up on the ones that provide points, rebounds, blocks and field goal percentage. Another important factor is that many power forwards have dual eligibility at the power forward and centre positions. Given this dual eligibility, there may be some overlap with our Centre rankings, but here is a look at the Top 58 Power Forwards.
1. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks: Disco Dirk defines and redefines the power forward position. I can’t think of another top 10 player that is so undervalued. Last season, all he did was average 25 points and eight boards per game. He shot 48 per cent from the field and a ridiculous 91 per cent from the line. Throw in a block, steal and three dimes per game and it’s clear that Nowitzki is still the man in Big D and a legitimate MVP candidate.
2. Danny Granger, SF/PF, Indiana Pacers: Granger qualifies here, but you’re more likely to use him as a SF as he does not rebound anything like what you’d expect to get out of a four, although he did bounce back in this department after a down season in 2008-09. His blocks were down last season, but he made up for it by averaging a steal and a half per game. Granger remains one of the top scorers in the game, but hopefully he’ll be a bit more efficient with his touches than last season, when he shot south of 43 per cent. Owners must also pray that their All-Star stays healthy after missing 35 games in the past two seasons combined.
3. Pau Gasol, PF/C, Los Angeles Lakers (also listed in our centre rankings): With the uncertainty surrounding Andrew Bynum, I have upgraded Gasol considerably. With his dual eligibility at centre, Gasol is a stud and, last year, he often flirted with 20/20 games when Bynum wasn’t in the lineup. Gasol looks healthy and ready to go this season.
4. Amare Stoudemire, PF/C New York Knicks (also listed in our centre rankings): I feel obligated to rank Stoudemire this high as the focal point of Mike D’Antoni’s run and gun offense. He will be a lock for solid scoring and good shooting percentages, however, I have always stayed clear of him due to his lack of rebounding and I am curious to see how his numbers will fare without Steve Nash directing the offense.
5. David Lee, PF/C, Golden State Warriors (also listed in our centre rankings): Lee is another dual eligibility player joining a new team this season. He has been a double-double lock in his short career in New York and provides solid shooting percentages. Lee is not a shot blocker, but his strengths in the other categories should make up for it. While owners should keep an eye on how the coaching change in Golden State is going to affect the style of the team, Lee should be in line for a great season.
6. Gerald Wallace, SF/PF, Charlotte Bobcats: Although he tends to be injury prone, when in the lineup, Wallace has been consistently superb the past five seasons, reaching new heights last season. One of the NBA’s best defensive players, Crash remained relatively healthy last season, missing just six games and shattering his career high by averaging 41 MPG, one of just three players to see at least 40 MPG. I’d be a bit concerned if he saw that much PT again this season, but the fact that his FG percentage continues to bounce back from an off year two seasons ago is promising. Wallace’s outside game isn’t very refined, and he’s at his best when crashing the glass, hence his nickname. Of course, that style of play often lands him on the sidelines as well, and that’s always a concern when drafting him.
7. Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks: Smith is coming off a season during which he shot over 50 per cent from the floor for the first time in his career. Couple that with his usual all-around production – 16 points, nine rebounds, 1.6 steals and two blocks per game, and Smoov is a top 20 player. His 61.8 per cent from the stripe is brutal (yet it was a slight improvement over the season before), so be sure to couple him with later picks who excel from the free throw line. The dunk artist is currently sidelined with a finger injury, but it’s nothing that will cause him to miss any real games.
8. Chris Bosh, PF/C, Miami Heat (also listing in our centre rankings): You may have heard that Bosh went to the Heat this offseason. While many believe that his star teammates may take away a lot of his Fantasy value, I actually think he should be in line for a solid season. The strain to produce is off his shoulders and Bosh should be the recipient of many easy buckets. While his scoring will be lower than the 24 PPG he put up last season, Bosh will still be a great source for rebounds and good shooting percentages and 1-to-1.5 blocks per game.
9. Al Horford, PF/C, Atlanta Hawks: We already discussed Horford in our Centre rankings.
10. Al Jefferson, PF/C, Utah Jazz: We already discussed Jefferson in our Centre rankings.
11. David West, New Orleans Hornets: West is such an underappreciated Fantasy player. While he is not a shot blocker, and his rebounding isn’t stellar, West has become one of the more reliable power forwards in the game. He is coming off a season in which he averaged 19 points, eight boards and three assists while shooting 50 per cent from the field and 87 per cent from the line. West provides great value if he is available in the third round.
12. Andrea Bargnani, PF/C, Toronto Raptors: We already discussed Bargnani in our Centre rankings.
13. Nene, PF/C, Denver Nuggets: We already discussed Nene in our Centre rankings.
14. Zach Randolph, PF/C, Memphis Grizzlies (also listed in our Centre rankings): Z-Bo seems to always be a lock for 20-to-22 points and 10-to-12 boards. Even though he won’t help you much in other cats, it’s hard to argue with those types of numbers and he should be in line for another strong season as long as he can stay out of trouble. The increasing amount of talent around him in Memphis shouldn’t hamper his numbers too much, either.
15. Rudy Gay, SF/PF, Memphis Grizzlies: Gay is another player that generally plays the three, but also qualifies at PF. He still hasn’t managed to build on his big breakout sophomore campaign, but last season was nothing to sneeze at as Gay averaged close to 20 points and six boards, while putting up a career-best 1.5 steals per game. He’s been durable, but at times settles for jump shots when he could be attacking the basket. If Gay would drive to the hoop more often, you’d see a big increase in the career-best five trips to the line he averaged last season.
16. Tim Duncan, PF/C, San Antonio Spurs (also listed in our centre rankings): Another season, another year of great numbers from Duncan. The Spurs are continuing to reduce the amount of minutes Duncan plays and coach Gregg Popovich recently indicated he is going to give Duncan even more nights off this season. Duncan should provide solid numbers still, but the reduction in minutes has me hesitant. At the right spot in a draft, he’s a great pick still.
17. Kevin Love, PF/C, Minnesota Timberwolves (also listed in our centre rankings): When Love started last season, he was an automatic double-double. However, as anyone who owned him last season knows, it was frustrating to see him getting inconsistent minutes. With the off-season departure of Al Jefferson, many believe that Love is going to blossom into a top 25 Fantasy player. Watch out, though, as it appears the arrival of Darko Milicic and Michael Beasley may eat into his minutes.
18. Antawn Jamison, SF/PF, Cleveland Cavaliers: A candidate to be traded by the rebuilding Cavs, Jamison suffered a big decline in his numbers after a mid-season trade from Washington. Of course, that was with the LeBron-led Cavs. Now that LBJ has taken his talents to South Beach, Jamison will be counted on to play a bigger role in the offense. He’s no youngster, but Jamison could still contribute close to 20 and 8 with a trey and a steal per game and percentages that won’t kill you. That’s not too shabby.
19. Joakim Noah, PF/C, Chicago Bulls: We already discussed Noah in our Centre rankings.
20. LaMarcus Aldridge, PF/C, Portland Trail Blazers: Aldridge is still the only PF option in Portland and I keep waiting for him to explode. His numbers have been good — as he averaged 18 points and eight boards a game last season — but not great. Off-season reports are saying that he put on 20 pounds and has been working on his low-post game. I really like Aldridge as a value draft pick with huge upside.
21. Marcus Camby, PF/C, Portland Trail Blazers: We already discussed Camby in our Centre rankings.
22. Carlos Boozer, PF/C, Chicago Bulls (also listed in our Centre rankings): Boozer had a monster 2009-2010 season and cashed in with a five-year deal from the Bulls for near max money. An offseason full of promise turned to disaster quickly with Boozer’s freak injury (who trips over a bag?) costing him six-to-eight weeks. I was a big proponent of Boozer despite his injury history, but he is now looking at playing only 60-to-65 games this season, assuming he can stay healthy when he returns (which is obviously a huge assumption). Boozer is a decent buy-low option at this point, but I have moved him way down in my rankings.
23. Anthony Randolph, PF/C, New York Knicks (also listed in our Centre rankings): One of the most promising young forwards in the league was hampered by injuries last season. Randolph is now set to start at PF next to Amare for the Knicks, and D’Antoni’s offense should serve him well. Randolph is a multi-cat contributor with absolutely huge upside.
24. Troy Murphy, PF/C, New Jersey Nets (also listed in our Centre rankings): Murphy is on a new team, but as a big man that produces a double-double and can hit almost two threes a game, he is very valuable. Rookie Derrick Favors may cut his minutes (if the kid ever starts to impress, that is), but I hope it will motivate Murphy to produce. There is late news that Murphy has suffered a back injury so be sure to keep an eye on that situation as the timetable for his return is currently indefinite.
25. Jeff Green, SF/PF, Oklahoma City Thunder: Green’s playing style is more akin to a small forward, but he does have PF eligibility in most leagues. In leagues which require you to start a SF and a PF, he is a phenomenal player to own. I don’t want to repeat from previous columns, but Green played every game last season and is only getting better playing next to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. I really look for Green to have a solid season.
26. Andray Blatche, PF/C, Washington Wizards (also listed in our Centre rankings): Blatche is more of a centre, but is another big man with dual eligibility. He had never been given a chance to shine until last season when the Wizards were depleted by injuries. Blatche started 36 games during that stretch and put up a ridiculous line of 21 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.4 steals and 0.9 blocks per game while shooting 48 per cent from the field. Those types of numbers would certainly rank him higher, but don’t forget that in the second half of last season, neither Gilbert Arenas nor incoming stud rookie John Wall were around, and both of them will need touches.
27. Paul Millsap, Utah Jazz: The departure of Boozer should finally open things up for Millsap. Don’t worry about Millsap based on last season’s numbers, as he served as Boozer’s backup and never received starter’s minutes. Some are concerned that the addition of Al Jefferson will also limit Millsap, but early indications are that they will start together on the front line with Mehmet Okur going to the bench.
28. Rashard Lewis, SF/PF, Orlando Magic: Lewis may start at the three or the four, but he will start either way. I’m concerned that his shooting touch has been on the decline four seasons running, but if the Magic follows through on its plan to post up Lewis more, that trend could reverse. Hopefully, that will also translate into more trips to the line and a corresponding uptick in scoring for the superb free throw shooter.
29. Luis Scola, PF/C, Houston Rockets: Scola doesn’t block shots, so it is tough for me to be real high on him. However, his scoring and rebounding are solid, as he averaged 16 points and nine rebounds last season. Scola is also extremely reliable, as he has never missed a game in his NBA career. Also, there is no one in Houston who will challenge him for minutes.
30. Andrei Kirilenko, SF/PF, Utah Jazz: One of the precious few Russian players in the NBA, Kirilenko got to start most of last season after spending the majority of 2008-09 coming off the bench. That was the good news. Unfortunately, health woes again reared their ugly head as the injury-prone AK-47 missed 24 games, shooting his owners in the foot. Kirilenko was discussed in one of the 478 Carmelo Anthony trade rumours making the rounds, but for now, he remains in Utah where he’ll offer his usual across-the-board production, when he’s healthy, that is.
31. Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics: KG is one of the tougher players to evaluate. It is clear that he still has some Fantasy relevance, but it is just a question of how much he has left in the tank and how many minutes he is going to get in the regular season. Early on, with the injury to Kendrick Perkins, KG may be the starting centre and if he gains eligibility at this position, that will certainly be a huge plus.
32. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers: Griffin is a wild card this season after missing his entire rookie season due to injury. The starting PF job is his and he should be in line for a lot of minutes for an up-tempo team. I am looking for near 20-10 production out of Griffin, but likely on an inconsistent basis.
33. Channing Frye, PF/C, Phoenix Suns: I liked Frye a lot going into last season, and he came through as a pretty solid sleeper. This season, more is going to be expected of him, especially in the rebounding department with the departure of Stoudemire. Frye finished last season with 11 points, five boards, two 3-pointers and nearly a steal and a block per game. I would look for a slight increase in those numbers this season.
34. Carl Landry, SF/PF, Sacramento Kings: Landry went to the Kings last season in the Kevin Martin deal, and started at power forward in all 28 games he played in Sacramento. During that stretch, he averaged 18 points and 6.5 rebounds, but only 0.6 blocks per game. The Kings drafted DeMarcus Cousins, but it appears that Landry is going to be starting at either the three or the four spot. The Kings do have a lot of big men, but I like Landry assuming he gets the minutes.
35. Lamar Odom, SF/PF, Los Angeles Lakers: Odom will start at the four for the Lakers until Bynum returns from this latest injury. After that, he’ll return to being the team’s sixth man, a position from which he can still provide plenty of value, as evidenced by last season. Mr. Kardashian still received starter-type minutes in 2009-10, and while he got to the line on average less than any other time in his career and his steals and blocks slipped, he still averaged a near double-double, while pitching in with a few assists.
36. Tyrus Thomas, Charlotte Bobcats: New team, another disappointing season for Thomas. Even after being traded to Charlotte from the Bulls, Thomas played under 22 minutes a game and it’s hard to get Fantasy production in such limited PT. He remains a risky Fantasy option but the upside he has shown is so enticing, so if he falls to you deep enough into your draft, you’ve got to pull the trigger on this talented, but enigmatic kid.
37. Elton Brand, PF/C, Philadelphia 76ers: Brand is another aging player trying to find his old self. New coach Doug Collins has stated he would like to try Brand at centre, but I can’t envision him putting up huge numbers at that position. If there is any positive to take from last season, it is that Brand stayed relatively healthy, playing in 76 games.
38. Al Harrington, PF/C, Denver Nuggets: Harrington is another injury-prone big man, and he’s reminded us of that already with a foot injury he’s currently dealing with. But he is the rare type of player that can be productive whether he’s starting or coming off the bench, and that makes him a dependable selection (as long as he doesn’t miss too much action with his litany of wounds). Monitor his progress from this latest injury, because if he’s healthy Harrington has a chance to be quite valuable early in the season with both Kenyon Martin and Chris Andersen missing in action at the outset.
39. Michael Beasley, Minnesota Timberwolves: A change of scenery might be just what the doctor ordered for the former second overall pick that just never got his shit together in Miami. If his shooting touch can return to his rookie season levels, Beasley will score plenty of points, as he’s sure to get way more chances in Minny. I wouldn’t be shocked if the former Kansas State star approached 20 PPG this season.
40. Corey Maggette, SF/PF, Milwaukee Bucks: The oft-injured Maggette is already hurting this fall with an ankle woe. Worse yet, he’s moved to an extremely deep Buck squad where touches will be at a premium. He can score, and offers great percentages, but bear in mind that he’s played 70 or more games just five times in his 11 NBA seasons.
41. Wilson Chandler, SF/PF, New York Knicks: Chandler has improved each season he’s been in the NBA, but I imagine his ceiling is not tremendously higher than what he showed last season. Staying healthy has also been a problem for him in his brief NBA career, and he’ll need to remain in the lineup if he’s going to take the next step. Chandler can be extremely productive at times, but he needs to show it on a more consistent basis.
42. Anderson Varejao, PF/C, Cleveland Cavaliers: Everyone’s favourite Simpsons’ character, Sideshow Bob may see plenty of time at centre this season. And if gets to start with regularity, he should log plenty more minutes, translating into better production. He’s done well as a sixth man, however, so even if he reverts to that role, he’ll offer value as he does a little bit of everything, other than hit treys or drop dimes. Oh, and shoot for a decent FT percentage. But other than that…
43. Thaddeus Young, SF/PF, Philadelphia 76ers: Young’s offense regressed last season, but he’s still just 22 and has the potential to produce 16-to-17 points with six or seven boards per game if he’s starting regularly. The Sixers would love for Young to play the four, but Evan Turner is not ready to play the two, so that means Andre Iguodala will have to man that position, shifting Young from the four to the three. It’s not the best scenario for Philly, but Young is rather undersized at PF, so it may work to his advantage.
44. Shawn Marion, SF/PF, Dallas Mavericks: It doesn’t seem that long ago that the Matrix was an automatic first round pick and Fantasy stud. But injuries have played a factor in recent seasons, and Marion is just a shell of the player that would regularly score over 20 PPG and be among the top rebounders in the game. His rebounding in particular has fallen by the wayside, as last season he failed to even average six and a half boards per game. The fact that he may be coming off the bench for basically the first time in his career does not bode well for a major recovery.
45. JaVale McGee, PF/C, Washington Wizards: McGee flashes occasional glimpses of his talent that leave Fantasy owners drooling, but unfortunately he lacks any consistency. He missed quite a bit of time last season, so health will be a good first step in his development. But this seven-footer could be a great source of rebounds and blocks if he gets the minutes.
46. Jason Thompson, PF/C, Sacramento Kings: Thompson missed some time last season, but he took a nice step forward in his development as a quality big man. There’s not a ton of upside here, but he was the Kings’ leading rebounder last season and managed to put up 24 double-doubles. Nothing wrong with that.
47. Robin Lopez, PF/C, Phoenix Suns: Lopez has plenty of potential, but is still a work in progress. He did a better job of getting to the line in his sophomore season, and this season is ready to evolve into a legitimate NBA starter. Lopez won’t help you in steals, but he averaged a block per game in less than 20 minutes of action. What the Suns and his Fantasy owners really need from Lopez is more rebounding, and he’ll have to step up in that regard to become a real Fantasy asset.
48. Tayshaun Prince, SF/PF, Detroit Pistons: Prince is a solid FT shooter, but doesn’t drive to the hoop enough to take advantage of this. Last season, his PT was down and he wound up missing a huge chunk of the season with injuries, so consider him a good buy-low candidate. With an expiring contract, Prince could find himself in a new home before season’s end, and that’s a wild card when trying to determine his value.
49. Boris Diaw, SF/PF, Charlotte Bobcats: The former Sun may never regain his 2005-06 form, but the move away from Phoenix has definitely revitalized Diaw. He struggled from beyond the arc last season, but made up for that with his fine across-the-board production. Diaw is yet another player that was involved in an ill-fated Carmelo Anthony deal, but we’re beginning to run out of NBA players that haven’t been mentioned in such talks.
50. J.J. Hickson, PF/C, Cleveland Cavaliers: Someone has to produce in Cleveland, right? While many people believe Jamison is primed for a big season, I am equally as high on Hickson. Last season, he averaged 8.5 points, five boards and a half block per game. This season, as the starting power forward, I look for him to really improve on those numbers and turn into a solid Fantasy option. There are safer bets, but not many with as much upside as Hickson, especially if Jamison gets dealt.
Others to Consider
51. Charlie Villanueva, Detroit Pistons: Looks to be the starter now that Jonas Jerebko will miss most, if not all of the season.
52. DeMarcus Cousins, PF/C, Sacramento Kings: Could be a serious stud; could be a major dud.
53. Drew Gooden, PF/C, Milwaukee Bucks: Dependable option, but on a very deep team.
54. Marvin Williams, SF/PF, Atlanta Hawks: He could be a surprise this season.
55. Darko Milicic, PF/C. Minnesota Timberwolves: Well, he’s going to play at least.
56. Amir Johnson, Toronto Raptors: Major sleeper possibility with Bosh gone.
57. Yi Jianlian, Washington Wizards: Could be ready to take his game to a new level.
58. Taj Gibson, Chicago Bulls: Will start while Boozer is out.