Oct 6, 2009 News
The power forward position has a lot of question marks this season with many of the big names nursing injuries or having contract problems. There are also some guys who are getting an opportunity to shine this season due to injuries and some trades into great situations. It’s still early, so several of these guys could move significantly up or down the list.
Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas, #41, 7’0-245, 31yo) Dirk gets the top spot because he helps in just about every category and is very durable. Last season he posted 25.9 pts, 2.4 ast, 8.4 reb, .8 stl and .8 blk. His percentages were 47.9 FG%, 89.0FT% and 35.9 3P%. He has put some offseason personal problems behind him and should be ready to go this season.
Chris Bosh (Toronto, #4, 6’10-230, 25yo) Contract year for Bosh and he’s looking for a big payday in 2010 which should motivate him to put up a career line this year. Last season he put up 22.7 pts, 2.5 ast, 10.0 reb, .9 stl and 1.0 blk. He has Calderon and Turkoglu, both great assist men, to get him the ball.
Amare Stoudemire (Phoenix, #1, 6’10-249, 27yo) Shaq is gone this year so Stoudemire will be manning the middle all by himself. His eye problems seem to be corrected and fully healed. Stoudemire had 21.4 pts, 2.0 ast, 8.1 reb, .9 stl and 1.1 blk last season over 53 games. He carries a 54.1 career FG%, but doesn’t shoot the 3 pointer. He has improved his FT% over the last couple of season and managed a 83.5 FT% in 2008. With the Suns short at the center position, he might see a good bit of action there.
Pau Gasol (LA Lakers, #16, 7’0-250, 29yo) With Bynum looking healthy coming into 2009, Gasol should return to a full time PF. While he has had some injury problems in the past, Gasol played an average of 37.0 minutes over 81 games in 2008. His line was 18.9 pts, 3.5 ast, 6.4 reb, .6 stl and 1.0 blk. With Bynum healthy, Odom coming off the bench and Artest also in the mix, I’m looking for Gasol to lose a couple of minutes per game but I think his stats will still allow him to hold the #4 spot on the rankings.
David West (New Orleans, #30, 6’9-240, 29yo) West played a career high 39.2 minutes over 76 games last season and had a great year posting 21.0 pts, 2.3 ast, 8.5 reb, .6 stl and .9 blk. His driving style allows him to post a solid 48.3 career FG% with a 84.1 career FT%. He doesn’t shoot many 3′s. His stats from 2007 and 2008 are almost identical and he shouldn’t have any problem making it 3 years in a row. The only thing to watch in the preseason is how West meshes with new center Emeka Okafor.
Antawn Jamison (Washington, #4, 6’9-235, 33yo) I probably have Jamison ranked higherthan anyone on the web. The guy is an Ironman playing 38+ minutes a game for the last 5 years. He is one of those players you can plug in and not worry about. His biggest advantage is he gives you 3′s from the power forward position making 112 of them last season at a 35.1% rate. he also chips in a good steals figure. His stats were 22.2 pts, 1.9 ast, 8.9 reb, 1.2 stl and .3 blk. With a healthy team around him this year, Jamison should get his minutes and his stats.
LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland, #12, 6’11-245, 24yo) Last season Aldridge proved that his great 2007 season was no fluke. He easily repeated those stats providing a line of 18.1 pts, 1.9 ast, 7.5 reb, 1.0 stl and 1.0 blk. His percentages were also consistent posting a 48.7 FG% both seasons. The FT% is average at 76.4%. Aldridge has also managed to get his fouls under control, which allowed him to stay around for 37.1 minutes per game.
Elton Brand (Philadelphia, #42, 6’9-254, 30yo) I hesitate to rank a 30 year old who has only played 37 games over the last 2 years this hig, but Brand looks to finally be healthy. Keep an eye on his health if your draft is close the real season, as that will determine Brand’s final ranking.
Zach Randolph (Memphis, #50, 6’9-260, 28yo) If Randolph didn’t have such a bad real life reputation, he would get alot more fantasy respect. The guy has been traded all over the league and he has produced in every stop. 20 point, 10 rebound guys are hard to find. Randolph really has no competition for minutes in Memphis with only Gasol and Thabeet as the other big men. Memphis needs all the points it can get from their only offensive minded big man. His career percentages are tolerable at 46.6 FG% and 77.0 FT%. Randolph usually falls a couple of rounds due to his rep, but don’t be scared of him.
Troy Murphy (Indiana, #3, 6’11-245, 29yo) Murphy doesn’t get much respect, mainly because his stats were pretty average before last season. His rebounds (11.8) last season were way above his career average of 8.4 per game, so be careful of a drop in that category. Murphy also went crazy from the 3 point arc last year making 161 at a 45% rate. No way he repeats that feat. His previous career high for 3′s was 94 and he has a career 3P% of 39.7%. He is a good fantasy player, but don’t overvalue Murphy based on last season’s career year.
Carlos Boozer (Utah, #5, 6’9-266, 28yo) Boozer should be higher, but his request for a trade and the presence of Paul Milsap just make drafting him more risky than it should be. I have no handle on what kind of minutes he will get. If he gets the minutes, he will produce, but how can Utah not give Milsap at least 20-25 minutes a game? Boozer put up 18.0 pts, 2.4 ast, 11.6 reb, 1.3 stl and .2 blk. Very comparable to Z. Randolph. Hopefully this situation clears up before your draft.
David Lee (New York, #42, 6’9-249, 26yo) An excellent player in an awesome system. Lee got a career high 34.9 minutes over 81 games last year and he produced 16.0 pts, 2.1 ast, 11.7 reb, 1.0 stl and .3 blk. He signed a one year deal and he will look to parlay a good season in 2009 into a big payday in 2010. Lee is an excellent shooter with a 56.4 career eFG%. He could also find himself playing center in 2009.
Kevin Garnett (Boston, #5, 6’11-253, 33yo) I love Kevin Garnett but his fantasy game is declining rapidly. I don’t think many casual fans have noticed since they tend to get caught up in the media glorification of Garnett’s passion and leadership, but that isn’t a fantasy category. Garnett is now 33 and dealing with a serious knee injury. Last season he managed only 57 games and only got 31.1 minutes in those games. Even a healthy Garnett probably won’t get more than that with Rasheed Wallace in the mix. Since arriving in Boston, Garnett has seen a career low in FG attempts and he rarely draws contact anymore, getting to the line a career low 3.5 times a game over the last two seasons. Let someone else reach for him and definitely don’t touch him if that knee starts giving him problems.
Shawn Marion (Dallas, #31, 6’7-220, 31yo) Marion should probably be moved to SF and I’ll probably move him there once Dallas sets their lineup. Marion isn’t the fantasy player he used to be as his stats have decreased across the board, especially steals and blocks. He has also decreased to about 35 minutes a game and only managed 12.9 points a game last season. I think Marion is in a great situation in Dallas and he is still a solid fantasy option, but I don’t expect him to return to his fantasy glory days.
Al Harrington (New York, #7, 6’9-250, 29yo) Most players wouldn’t see an increase in stats by leaving Golden St., but that’s what happened to Harrington last season. He produced 20.7 pts, 1.4 ast, 6.3 reb, 1.2 stl and .3 blk after getting to New York. He will probably see more time at SF than at PF, which is manned by David Lee. He will slide over to the 4 if Lee gets bumped to center.
Luis Scola (Houston, #4, 6’9-245, 29yo) Scola should see big minutes in Houston with Yao Ming out for the year. He might be moved to the center rankings once Houston sets their starting lineup. In 30.3 minutes a game he put up 12.7 pts, 1.5 ast, 8.8 reb, .8 stl and .1 blk. With the lack of big men, Scola should be the team’s leading rebouder and should see his scoring increase. Scola is an excellent shooter with a 52.3 career eFG%.
Josh Smith (Atlanta, #5, 6’9-235, 24yo) An incredibly aggravating and inconsistent player. Smith’s blocks, assists and rebounds really declined last year but he did manage to post 15.6 pts, 2.4 ast, 7.2 reb, 1.4 stl and 1.6 blk. Smith has huge potential and if you feel like gambling then move him up.
Boris Diaw (Charlotte, #32, 6’8-235, 27yo) Diaw finds himself in a great situation after last season’s trade to Charlotte and his stats exploded in almost every category. His stats over 59 games for Charlotte were 15.1 pts, 4.9 ast, 5.9 reb, .8 stl and .7 blk. Diaw is an excellent shooter with an eFG% of 54.2 last season and he can knock down a 3 pointer if needed. He got 37.6 minutes a game and should get that again this season. At 27 years old he might be able to improve on last years production.
Jeff Green (Oklahoma City, #22, 6’9-235, 23yo) If Jeff Green didn’t play in Oklahoma City he’d probably be a more recognizable name. He had an excellent second season increasing in just about every stat category. He posted 16.5 pts, 2.0 ast, 6.7 reb, 1.0 stl and .4 blk. He is a good 3 point shooter making 96 of them at a 38.9% rate. Take advantage of the fact that nobody really knows him and snatch him up in mid to late rounds.
Charlie Villanueva (Detroit, #31, 6’11-232, 25yo) Villanueva has always been more of a bench player topping out around 26 minutes per game over the last couple of seasons but he might now be in a position to finally get somewhere around 35 a game as a full time starter. His career stats projected to 36 minutes are 18.2 pts, 1.7 ast, 8.6 reb, .8 stl and .8 blk. He has the opportunity and at 25 years old could finally be putting it all together in Detroit. He makes a good upside gamble.
Kevin Love (Minnesota, #42, 6’10-260, 21yo) Love is a rebounding machine. He grabbed 9.1 in only 25.1 minutes a game last year – as a rookie. That’s 12.9 rebounds when projected out to 36 minutes a night. Love should see his minutes increase in his second year and he should be a guaranteed nightly double/double. In 25 minutes a game he managed 11.1 pts, 1.0 ast, 9.1 reb, .4 stl and .6 blk.
Anthony Randolph (Golden State, 6’10-205, 20yo) If you put Love and Randolph’s 36 minute projections side by side, they are almost identical. Love 15.8 pts/ 12.9 reb - Randolph 15.9 pts/11.6 reb. Love gets all the hype while Randolph goes unnoticed. Randolph has one thing that Love doesn’t, he’s a great shot blocker. He projects out to 2.4 blocks a game over 36 minutes. Randolph should get the starting PF spot in Golden State this year and I think he easily gets 30+ minutes a night. The only concern I have with Randolph is that his light 205 pound frame might not be able to handle the nightly beating.
Jason Thompson (Sacramento, #34, 6’11-250, 23yo) Thompson had an excellent rookie season getting 28.1 minutes of action over all 82 games. His line was 11.1 pts, 1.1 ast, 7.4 reb, .6 stl and .7 blk. He is a little weak in the FT% with only a 69.9% rate, but his FG% of 49.7% is solid. His 36 minute projections only fall a little behind the two guys ahead of him.
Yi Jianlian (New Jersey, #9, 7’0-238, 22yo) He’s been a bust so far but he is only 22. He also has the handicap of having to adjust to a totally different country and culture, a problem American rookies don’t have. Reports are that Yi has bulked up and become a little more aggressive. New Jersey will be nowhere near the playoffs and they need to give Yi a full chance to see just what they have so I expect that he is going to see big minutes. Worth a late round gamble for the chance at a big upside surprise.
Udonis Haslem (Miami, #40, 6’8-235, 29yo) Unless Miami makes a trade, Haslem will be their starting PF with Beasley sliding to SF. There is nothing flashy about Haslem but the guy has averaged almost a double/double over his 6 year career. If you are looking for a solid late round roster filler, he is good value.
Several of the following guys could easily make the rankings from #20-#25, but they have unresolved position battles or uncertain minutes:
Lamar Odom (LA Lakers), Paul Milsap (Utah), Anderson Varejao (Cleveland), Kenyon Martin (Denver), Rasheed Wallace (Boston), Blake Griffin (LA Clippers), Tyrus Thomas (Chicago), Antonio McDyess (San Antonio), Hakim Warrick (Milwaukee), Andray Blatche (Washington), Joe Smith (Atlanta), Carl Landry (Houston), Brandon Bass (Orlando), Jared Jefferies (Washington)