by Will Overton
We’re only a few days away from tip off to the NBA season and so we are going to wrap up our rankings with power forwards and centers this weekend. Power Forward isn’t the strongest of positions, but there are plenty of good options and guys ready to break into the upper tier:
1) Anthony Davis – New Orleans Pelicans
2) Paul Millsap – Atlanta Hawks
3) Draymond Green – Golden State Warriors
4) LaMarcus Aldridge – San Antonio Spurs
5) Blake Griffin – Los Angeles Clippers
6) Serge Ibaka – Orlando Magic
7) Kristaps Porzingis – New York Knicks
8) Kevin Love – Cleveland Cavaliers
9) Derrick Favors – Utah Jazz
10) Nerlens Noel – Philadelphia 76ers
11) Dirk Nowitzki – Dallas Mavericks
12) Jabari Parker – Milwaukee Bucks
13) Ryan Anderson – Houston Rockets
14) Enes Kanter – Oklahoma City Thunder
15) Kenneth Faried – Denver Nuggets
16) Aaron Gordon – Orlando Magic
17) Markieff Morris – Washington Wizards
18) Thaddeus Young – Indiana Pacers
19) Marvin Williams – Charlotte Hornets
20) Marcus Morris – Detroit Pistons
21) Julius Randle – Los Angeles Lakers
22) Al-Farouq Aminu – Portland Trail Blazers
23) Nikola Mirotic – Chicago Bulls
24) Jared Sullinger – Toronto Raptors
25) Zach Randolph – Memphis Grizzlies
26) Taj Gibson – Chicago Bulls
27) Terrence Jones – New Orleans Pelicans
28) Trey Lyles – Utah Jazz
29) Trevor Booker – Brooklyn Nets
30) Jamychal Green – Memphis Grizzlies
Sleeper: Markieff Morris – I may be a little bit too bullish on Markieff Morris, but I would be taking him about two rounds higher than he is currently going on ESPN. Not only that, but he isn’t even being drafted in about half of those leagues which is crazy. Morris was a huge disappointment last season, but he was clearly disgruntled in Phoenix, and I don’t think he came into the season in shape or motivated in the least. We saw some improvements in his game after going to Washington and I think after a full offseason of putting work in we’ll get closer to the version of Morris from two years ago. Morris is capable of contributing in multiple categories and doing so at a pretty high level. Take advantage of the savings you’re getting and hope for a return to his old form.
Bust: Julius Randle – I mentioned that Markieff Morris was going about to rounds too late on ESPN, well Julius Randle is going two rounds too early, or more. I do believe Randle is the Lakers best big man and I do believe that he’ll get plenty of double-double’s, but he’s a two category guy only. Randle will get you some points, lots of rebounds and not much else, and if last year is any indication he’ll hurt your FG%. You can wait and take Taj Gibson in the last round for like two less rebounds per game, but also get some blocks too.
Deep Sleeper: Chris McCullough – This has been my guy in deep league drafts this year, any league I am in 14 teams or deeper he is on my team. I was hoping for a little more from him this preseason in hopes that he’d earn a bigger role, but I’m not sure it happened. Still, his way is only blocked by Trevor Booker and Luis Scola, not exactly the dynamic duo. McCullough is loaded with upside as a freak athlete with a big reach, decent range and an ability to run the floor. In only 15 MPG last season McCullough averaged 1.2 SPG. McCullough is someone you may have to stash for a bit this season, but I think he’ll get his chance.
More Power Forward News & Notes
- For one reason or another LaMarcus Aldridge is falling down draft boards this preseason, and I can’t get behind that. Aldridge took a little bit of time to gel in San Antonio last season, but he had a big second half with 19.9 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 1.2 BPG and 0.9 SPG. Aldridge was a borderline first round pick not long ago and these numbers aren’t far off from that time. I do think Pau Gasol has more of an impact than Tim Duncan did last season, but I don’t believe that automatically means Aldridge will be worse.
- The most talked about player in basketball last season might have been Kevin Love, and it wasn’t very positive stuff. Love has struggled in Cleveland to find the right role for himself and figure out how his talents will be best utilized. For fantasy owners it’s time to give up the memories of Love in Minnesota because he isn’t ever putting up those numbers in Cleveland. Love is still a double-double machine in Cleveland and he’s also still good for a couple threes per game. That’s good enough for a third or fourth round pick.
- The Orlando Magic are committed to making Aaron Gordon a big part of their team this year, but they didn’t exactly rebuild themselves this season to show that. Instead the Magic brought in a bunch of guys who play the same position as Gordon and are now going to try and pigeon hole him in at a position he probably shouldn’t be playing. I like Gordon’s potential as a blocks/steals guy who gets a bunch of boards, but I worry he’s going to spend too much time on the perimeter on offense and defense and that’s going to create problems for him.
- A change of scenery may be exactly what Terrence Jones needed to restore his fantasy value and I really like his upside in New Orleans. Jones has been killing it this preseason, and while he may not have a starting job, I’m not sure that is going to matter. Anthony Davis will spend a lot of time at center opening up a place next to him for Jones who is a great compliment to AD. Jones is a great late round flier to grab for his upside.