2012-13 RotoRob NBA Draft Kit: Power Forward Rankings
Kenneth Faried will go wild if given enough PT this season.
We continue the 2012-13 RotoRob NBA Draft Kit today with yet another cheat sheet. So while you wonder if Dwight Howard’s back will hold up when he makes his debut for the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday, let’s review the top 40 Power Forwards in Fantasy basketball.
Looking for big man stats like boards, blocks and field goal percentage? This is the position where you’ll find what you need. The fact that so many centres also qualify here makes it pretty much the deepest position in Fantasy basketball, so if you don’t land one of the top two or three, fret not – options abound. You’ve got serious studs like Kevin Love and Smoov, wily vets like Disco Dirk and Pau Gasol and young guns like Kenneth Faried and Derrick Favors.
Update 10/22: Jeff Green of the Boston Celtics should slot in at No. 32, while Rashard Lewis of the Miami Heat is added to the bottom of the list.
Last year’s rankings are in parentheses.
1. Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves (1): Love, who played a big role off the bench for Team USA at the Olympics this summer, has proved he can score a ton of points in limited minutes and last season he continued his incredibly impressive upward trajectory. While his season ended early because of a concussion, Love logged much more PT and shattered his previous high in scoring. His dimes dipped, but his blocks – still his sole Achilles’ heel from a Fantasy perspective – rose slightly. Love is obviously now one of the elite players in the NBA, but he sounds a bit miffed that the T-Wolves didn’t give him a maximum contract extension, so let’s hope that doesn’t spill onto the floor.
2. Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks (4): When we ranked Smith fourth a year ago we talked about how he was on the block, but here it is, 12 months later and he’s still in Hotlanta. Last season was J-Smoov’s finest in the NBA as he stayed completely healthy, set personal bests in points and boards and slightly trimmed his turnovers. However, the regression in FT percentage was disappointing – especially after he showed such improvement the season before. He’ll be a free agent after the season and has made it clear he intends to test this, with no plans to sign an extension during the season. This could prove to be the motivation Smith needs for another big season.
3. LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers (6): Aldridge, who will have a new rookie PG to run the pick and roll with this season, wasn’t quite as good last season. A hip injury cost him 11 games, and he continues to be a non-factor from downtown. Aldridge didn’t get to the charity stripe as often and his rebounding slipped slightly. He also had a career high in turnovers per game. Aldridge believes he’s the man in Portland, so any talk that the Blazers might bring in another star do not thrill him. If that’s the case, it’s time for LA to take it to the next level this season.
4. Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers (3): Gasol was supposed to be on the move this summer, but somehow the Lakers managed to hold on to their All-Star power forward. The 32-year-old has been slowly regressing the past couple of years, but at least he’s remained healthy the past two seasons. Last season, Gasol’s trips to line dropped significantly, but he did a much better job of staying out of foul trouble. He remains part of the huge frontline in LA and should continue to be a top option for the foreseeable future.
5. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks (2): We briefly mentioned Nowitzki’s knee issues this fall already and our concerns were valid; Disco Dirk underwent surgery Friday and will be out six weeks, meaning he could miss the first 13 games of the regular season. To make matters worse, he is coming off his worst season since his sophomore effort way back in 1999-00. Nowitzki’s PT keeps dropping as do his defensive boards. He’s also no longer a block per game dude. You may recall that Nowitzki had to sit four games early last season because of this same right knee, so the concern here is very real for the 34-year-old.
6. Paul Millsap, Utah Jazz (10): Millsap jumped up to 10th last year after a breakout season; now he’s closing in on the top five after another step forward in 2011-12. Millsap became an even bigger part of the Jazz offense, although he did suffer through his worst shooting season ever. He started tossing up more treys, and while he didn’t get to the line as often, he enjoyed his best rebounding season yet. Millsap also did a slightly better job of staying out of foul trouble, but there’s definitely room for improvement in this department. He missed some time this fall because of his grandmother’s death, but Millsap should in line for another huge season, so don’t be shy about drafting this beast.
7. Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City Thunder (11): Well, lo and behold, Nick Collison finally stopped stealing so much of Ibaka’s PT last season and the results were spectacular. Ibaka has established himself as a key cog in the Thunder core after another season in which he proved durable. He didn’t shoot quite as well, but it’s all about the D with Ibaka anyways. His rebounding was down slightly, but he threw a nightly block party and improved his steals as well. Ibaka is capable shutting down opposing teams’ star fours, and that’s huge for OKC.
8. David Lee, Golden State Warriors (8): As we wrote in our 2012-13 Golden State Warriors preview, we’re interested to see how Lee adapts to sharing the boards with Andrew Bogut. Although Lee didn’t have as many double-doubles as usual last season, he remains a threat to compile one every night and his overall play last season rebounded. He’s never developed an outside game, but remains a force on the offensive glass and was asked to score more last season with Stephen Curry hurting and Monta Ellis dealt away at the trade deadline. Lee is still capable of driving to the bucket for cheap scores, but it’s reasonable to worry about regression in both his points and boards this season.
9. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers (5): Oh sure, Lob City with Chris Paul was exciting as hell, but Griffin was unable to build on his spectacular rookie effort. He’s stayed durable since his original rookie season was wiped out, and while Griffin didn’t get as many touches last season, he improved his accuracy. Three-point shooting is clearly not his thang, and he regressed at the line – still his Achilles’ heel. Until that improves, Griffin will remain an overrated Fantasy commodity, and we’re not biting – that’s why we’ve dropped him several slots this season.
10. Ryan Anderson, New Orleans Hornets (29): We ranked Anderson 29th a year ago, but after a breakout season in which he took a massive step forward offensively, he’s now a top 10 PF. Almost every single one of Anderson’s numbers were up and now he’ll look to build on his Orlando magic in Nahlins. Look for Anderson to possibly see some time at the three as well this season.
11. Amare Stoudemire, New York Knicks (4 at C): When we listed Stoudemire as the fourth best centre last year, we talked about how he was coming off a superb debut in New York which resulted in an All-Star appearance. Well, who knows if the lockout was the problem, but 2011-12 did not go nearly as well for Stat. In fact, last season was his worst more or less full campaign since he was a rook. His points at the charity stripe plummeted and his FT percentage dropped to its worst level since 2004-05. Stoudemire’s blocks dropped almost in half and he scored almost eight points less per game. Yikes! The key for Stoudemire is to get back to his aggressive ways that earned him tons of trips to the line. If he does that, expect a big time recovery.
12. Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies (7): Randolph missed a huge chunk of last season, going down four games into the schedule with a knee injury and not returning until mid-March. He’s a double-double machine when healthy, recording a whopping 110 of them in 156 games over the previous two seasons, and now that he’s healthy, you can bank on more of that. Last season, Z-Bo shot better in his limited touches from beyond the arc and did a better job of keeping out of foul trouble. However, given that missed well over half the season and spent most of the time he was healthy coming off the bench, we’re giving him a mulligan for 2011-12. This dude is a star who will get you tons of points and boards, so don’t be shy about making him your low-end No. 1 PF, because Randolph can provide a great return at that level.
13. Carlos Boozer, Chicago Bulls (22): When we had Boozer as a top 25 PF a year ago, we talked about how injuries had destroyed his first season in Chicago. Well, season two in the Windy City involved rare full health for the Booze Cruise, but his regression continued. His PT was down and – as usual – he was a complete non-factor from beyond the arc. Boozer’s rebounding has really slipped since he became a Bull (not a surprise given that he has to compete with Joakim Noah for boards), and while he bounced back to the steal per game level and cut down on his personal fouls last year, the continued decline in scoring last season was worrisome. So why have we jacked Boozer up the list this year given that backdrop? Well, with no Derrick Rose for the first couple of months, we’re expecting Boozer to become a primary scoring option. This is likely Boozer’s swan song in Chicago – the Bulls are expected to amnesty him after the season – so we’re looking for a bounce back in anticipation of him looking for another contract.
14. Nene Hilario, Washington Wizards (5 at C): After a few seasons of finally shaking the injury bug, Nene was again besotted by health woes last season. His PT was down slightly with Denver and after getting dealt to Washington, his rebounding was slightly improved. At the age of 30, Nene seems to be in slow but steady regression and the fact that he’s dealing with a foot problem this fall is another reason to worry. He’s supposed to be ready to go for opening night, but it’s clear that Nene is back to being a risky play from a health perspective.
15. Ersan Ilyasova, Milwaukee Bucks (30): A key component of what should be a better Buck team, Ilyasova last season proved he can be an explosive offensive force as well as a solid rebounder. He stayed moderately healthy, enjoying a major breakthough and lighting it up from downtown (45.5 per cent) at a shockingly good rate. Ilyasova got to the line more often and that helped beef up his scoring average. Formerly a tremendously inconsistent performer, he went on a second half tear last season that announced his presence as a major Fantasy factor. Don’t sleep on this dude.
16. Andrea Bargnani, Toronto Raptors (13 at C): Bargnani dealt with plenty of calf injury issues last season, opening the door for some of the Raptors’ younger big men. His overall play regressed slightly as his blocks and scoring dropped, but Il Mago did manage a career best two dimes per game. Unfortunately, the calf woes are again rearing their ugly head this fall, so let’s hope this doesn’t become a chronic issue for the former No. 1 overall draft choice.
17. Kris Humphries, Brooklyn Nets (17): Retaining Humphries (two years, $24 million) was part of a busy summer for the Nets and he’s one of the few leftovers on a roster that’s been rebuilt. Last season, he built on his breakout campaign of 2010-11 with an even better effort. As always, don’t look for Hump to do anything at all from downtown, but he did a much better job of getting to the line last season, helping beef up his scoring by almost four points per game. He improved in rebounding, finishing tied for fourth in the NBA, and even upped his dime numbers. And he did this all while dealing with the backdrop of a ridiculous and ill-fated marriage to Kim Kardashian. But hey, don’t feel sorry for him; he’s got a new $8,000-a-month Manhattan apartment.
18. Luis Scola, Phoenix Suns (16): Scola was part of wholesale changes the Suns made this summer. Last season, the Argentinean’s game regressed significantly. He avoided injury, but did not get as many touches as he did the previous season. As always, Scola put up a big fat zero from deep, but the fact that his trips to the line diminished was another reason his scoring dropped almost three points per game. He also had a career low in steals per game. The key to the Suns’ recovery this season is how holdover Jared Dudley integrates with newcomers Scola and Goran Dragic.
19. Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs (13): Duncan had to sit the occasional game last season in order to stay fresh, and that’s not a situation that will get any better over time for the Big Fundamental. He’s no longer a second round pick at the age of 36 and with 15 years under his belt, but he actually had somewhat of a bounceback season in 2011-12. Duncan has never done much from beyond the arc, but these days, he’s barely hoisted any shots from downtown. And while his FT percentage regressed, he wound up garnering more points from the charity stripe, helping his overall scoring bounce back by a bucket per game. Duncan’s rebounding also bounced back slightly, but his blocks dipped to career worst levels. The core of the Spurs is getting long in the tooth but they are poised for another kick at the can this season.
20. Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets (NR): Injuries in Denver opened the door for Faried, and we recommended him as a waiver wire pickup in late-February. It was a fantastic call as the rookie got better as the season progressed to the point where he was averaging a near double-double in April. His PT rose each month and while he’s not the greatest FT shooter in the world he’s a block per game dude capable of flirting with double-doubles consistently. If his PT keeps rising into this season, Faried will be a major sleeper worthy of consideration in all Fantasy formats.
21. Elton Brand, Dallas Mavericks (23): After the 76ers amnestied Brand, the Mavs scooped him up. While he’s expected to come off the bench in Big D, Nowitzki’s knee surgery will open up more PT than expected for Brand for the first few weeks of the season. After a nice bounceback in 2010-11, Brand really slumped last season. He’s stayed moderately healthy the past few seasons, but his steals slipped slightly and his scoring really dropped off last season. At this point, Brand makes for a nice late pickup as he’ll provide early value and could be moderately useful even after Disco Dirk returns.
22. David West, Indiana Pacers (20): When we ranked West 20th last year, we cautioned that you shouldn’t reach for him too soon. Well, we were bang on there as his numbers dropped off the table and he had his worst season since his sophomore effort back in 2004-05. Yes, West did stay healthy – which was a nice surprise – but whatever limited outside game he had is gone and his scoring plummeted while the boards also dropped. He remains an important post presence in Indy, but West’s days as a consistent 20-10 threat are over.
23. Al Harrington, Orlando Magic (NR): It’s been a while since Harrington landed on the Fantasy radar but he enjoyed a decent bounce back last season to work his way back onto our cheat sheet. Harrington’s PT was up last season and his rebounding work – especially on D – was much better. Harrington teamed well with Arron Afflalo in Denver and now that the pair is in Orlando together they may again complement each other.
24. Spencer Hawes, Philadelphia 76ers (28 at C): Re-signed by the Sixers this summer, Hawes enjoyed a nice offensive recovery last season en route to what was close to his best NBA campaign. His 3-point shooting was a tad better and he got to the line more often, but he also turned the ball over more frequently. Unfortunately, with the addition of Andrew Bynum this season, Hawes will mostly likely come off the bench in Philly, although there is a chance he’ll see occasional starts at the four.
25. Glen Davis, Orlando Magic (NR): In late-January we recommended Davis as a waiver wire pickup, and while he was okay in February and March, Big Baby really turned it on in April when Dwight Howard got hurt. Overall, it was a bit of a letdown season for Davis as his scoring dipped, although he did maintain his rebounding work. Will the former LSU star enjoy a breakout now that Superman has flown from the Magic Kingdom?
Others to Consider
26. Derrick Favors, Utah Jazz (34)
27. Thomas Robinson, Sacramento Kings (NR)
28. Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers (33)
29. Drew Gooden, Milwaukee Bucks (NR)
30. Brandon Bass, Boston Celtics (NR)
31. DeJuan Blair, San Antonio Spurs (NR)
32. Antawn Jamison, Los Angeles Lakers (14)
33. J.J. Hickson, Portland Trail Blazers (24)
34. Matt Bonner, San Antonio Spurs (NR)
35. Derrick Williams, Minnesota Timberwolves (29 at SF)
36. Nick Collison, Oklahoma City Thunder (NR)
37. Jason Thompson, Sacramento Kings (NR)
38. Bismack Biyombo, Charlotte Bobcats (35)
39. John Henson, Milwaukee Bucks (NR)
40. Carl Landry, Golden State Warriors (32)