The power forward position features some of the most versatile guys in the NBA. Who cracks the top 15 heading into the season?
Just missed the cut:
Larry Nance Jr.
15. Kenneth Faried – Denver Nuggets
Faried was involved in some underground trade rumors earlier in the summer but it looks as though he’ll begin the season in Denver. The Morehead State product hasn’t exactly improved much since his first few years in the league but remains a guy who could be an important energy guy for a playoff team, and with the Nuggets improvements this offseason, it looks like he has the opportunity to have that role off the bench. Look for slightly worse numbers this year from Faried, but he will surely be an important piece for Denver behind Paul Millsap.
16-17 Stats: PPG: 12.5 RPG: 8.7 APG: 1.2 BPG: 0.9
17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 8.2 RPG: 7.6 APG: 1.4 BPG: 0.7
14. JaMychal Green – Memphis Grizzlies
Green is currently in a sticky situation heading into next season. He and the Grizzlies didn’t come out of the summer with a contract extension as Memphis tested the market, winning big by now being able to bring Green back for next year on an RFA contract and giving themselves a year to decide whether to give him a long-term deal next summer. The 27-year old is coming off easily his best season as a pro and with Zach Randolph out of Memphis, could be set for an even bigger year.
16-17 Stats: PPG: 8.9 RPG: 7.1 APG: 1.1 SPG: 0.6
17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 11.7 RPG: 8.3 APG: 2.4 SPG: 0.9
13. Ryan Anderson – Houston Rockets
Like Green, Anderson was involved in some trade rumors this summer, mostly related to Carmelo Anthony. Assuming he’s in Houston at the start of the season, he’ll likely start again at the power forward position and be another floor spacer for James Harden and Chris Paul. Anderson shot an impressive 40.3% from deep last season and will be expected to carry that percentage into this year and help the Rockets grab a home playoff spot in the West.
16-17 Stats: PPG: 13.6 RPG: 4.6 APG: 0.9 SPG: 0.4
17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 11.9 RPG: 5.2 APG: 1.1 SPG: 0.3
12. Julius Randle – Los Angeles Lakers
Randle will start at the 4 again this year ahead of Larry Nance Jr. The new-look Lakers now feature a new point guard in Lonzo Ball and will look to further develop talented starters in Brandon Ingram as well as Randle. The 22-year old is currently in the best shape of his young career and after coming off another strong rebounding year, could become a top 10 power forward by midseason.
16-17 Stats: PPG: 13.2 RPG: 8.6 APG: 3.6 SPG: 0.7
17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 14.1 RPG: 9.7 APG: 3.9 SPG: 0.8
11. Gorgui Dieng – Minnesota Timberwolves
Dieng enters this year as the Wolves likely starting power forward over Taj Gibson. Coming out of Louisville, his athleticism and defensive potential were his calling cards, though over the last few seasons he’s showcased an improving 3-point shot and with a Minnesota team expecting to contend this season, Dieng will need to keep his percentage from deep up close to 40%. The T-Wolves aren’t exactly a bad team from behind the arc, but if you look at other top teams around the league, the shooting ability in Minnesota is a bit below average. If Dieng can become almost a stretch 4 for the team, he could be looking at a starting job alongside KAT in the frontcourt for years to come.
16-17 Stats: PPG: 10.0 RPG: 7.9 APG: 1.9 BLK: 1.2
17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 9.6 RPG: 8.1 APG: 2.4 BLK: 1.6
10. LaMarcus Aldridge – San Antonio Spurs
Aldridge has just moved farther and farther down this list over the past couple years. He’s still a valuable piece for the Spurs and likely the second most valuable player in San Antonio, but he’s not the perennial All-Star he used to be. Aldridge’s defense has never been a strength of his, much like his playmaking ability. For the former Texas big man to stay out of the rumor mill and help San Antonio keep a top spot in the West, he needs to post tremendous mid-range shooting numbers and be stronger inside on offense.
16-17 Stats: PPG: 17.3 RPG: 7.3 APG: 1.9 BLK: 1.2
17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 15.8 RPG: 7.1 APG: 1.9 BLK: 1.0
9. Serge Ibaka – Toronto Raptors
Ibaka came to Toronto in a midseason trade from the Orlando Magic. He joined Kyle Lowry and Demar Derozan to form a big 3 in the East and the team was able to keep the crew together to contend again this year. Ibaka came into the league as an elite defender and shot blocker and still carries those attributes, though over the past few years he’s improved his three point shot immensely. The Spanish big man shot around 40% from deep last season and has become one of the best stretch 4’s in the NBA. If he keeps his defensive intensity and 3-pt% up expect the Raptors to be a top team in the East again.
16-17 Stats (TOR): PPG: 14.2 RPG: 6.8 APG: 0.7 BLK: 1.4
17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 13.9 RPG: 7.1 APG: 0.8 BLK: 1.6
8. Harrison Barnes – Dallas Mavericks
Barnes had a career year last season in his first campaign with the Mavs as he posted nearly 20 points a contest and was arguably the most important player in Dallas. After years in Golden State playing at the 3 for the Dubs, Barnes logged several minutes at the 4 for the Mavericks this past season. His size, athleticism, and shooting ability seem perfect for a modern day NBA power forward, and Rick Carlisle used him there efficiently. With a young Mavs team around him, I can only see Barnes going up and again setting career highs this season.
16-17 Stats: PPG: 19.2 RPG: 5.0 APG: 1.5 SPG: o.8
17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 21.7 RPG: 6.2 APG: 1.9 SPG: 1.1
7. Jabari Parker – Milwaukee Bucks
After a strong start with Milwaukee this past year, Parker suffered a season ending injury, the second big road block he’s had to go through in his young career. Despite another hiccup, expect him to come back strong and ready to help Giannis lead the Bucks this season. The Duke product has proven himself to be a young star as he continues to showcase his efficient scoring ability and all-around game while Milwaukee continues it’s rise in the East. If IT4 is out for an extended period or the new Boston stars can’t figure it out right away, watch out for Parker, Giannis, and the Bucks as a possible dark horse in the East.
16-17 Stats: PPG: 20.1 RPG: 6.2 APG: 2.8 SPG: 1.0
17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 22.3 RPG: 6.7 APG: 3.2 SPG: 1.4
6. Paul Millsap – Denver Nuggets
Millsap comes to Denver this season after a sign-and-trade during the summer. He joins Nikola Jokic in the Nugget frontcourt to form a dynamic duo in the West. After several years with the Hawks in Atlanta, Millsap heads back West and it looks as though Denver is primed for a playoff appearance this season. The 32-year old power forward’s offensive versatility and outside shooting ability make him a perfect fit and if he’s able to keep up his All-Star level play this year, look for Denver at the top of the standings.
16-17 Stats: PPG: 18.1 RPG: 7.7 APG: 3.7 SPG: 1.3
17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 16.7 RPG: 8.1 ARPG: 4.2 SPG: 1.3
5. Kristaps Porzingis – New York Knicks
With Carmelo Anthony’s future still uncertain, it’s unclear whether Porzingis will be fully handed the keys to the franchise this season or not. Whether Melo is in a Knicks jersey come opening night or not, expect Kris to put up career highs across the board this year. The 22-year old Latvian has been working out with Dirk Nowitzki this summer and has also showcased his skills for his National team during the offseason. If Hornacek makes Porzingis the number one option flat out this season, look for him to make his first All-Star appearance in the NBA.
16-17 Stats: PPG: 18.1 RPG: 7.2 APG: 1.5 BLK: 2.0
17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 22.3 RPG: 10.7 APG: 2.1 BLK: 2.2
4. Blake Griffin – Los Angeles Clippers
Griffin recently signed a new 5-year deal with LA this summer shortly after the departure of Chris Paul. Blake and DeAndre still form one of the best front courts in the league and with new guys around the perimeter, the Clippers could possibly find a way back to the postseason, though the chances aren’t great by the looks of it. Griffin was absent from the All-Star game last season and struggled with injuries again. Despite this, the former OU star maintained solid numbers and did enough to get the Clippers a home playoff spot in the West. It’ll be an adjustment for Griffin this year as he learns to play again without Paul at the point, but look for similar numbers from him.
16-17 Stats: PPG: 21.6 RPG: 8.1 APG: 4.9 SPG: 0.9
17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 22.4 RPG: 8.7 APG: 4.3 SPG: 0.8
3. Kevin Love – Cleveland Cavaliers
With Kyrie out of the Land and Isaiah Thomas likely out for an extended period, Love will start the season as the #2 option for the Cavs. After a few down years to start his career in Cleveland, Love came into his own last season and tallied the votes to be an All-Star starter before getting hurt. It was his first double-double average since joining the Cavs and many began to find more confidence in the UCLA product. If LeBron puts more trust in K-Love this year and Love is able to sustain his percentage from deep while avoiding injury, the Cavs are likely the favorite in the East again.
16-17 Stats: PPG: 19.0 RPG: 11.1 APG: 1.9 SPG: 0.9
17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 21.3 RPG: 10.7 APG: 1.8 SPG: 0.9
2. Draymond Green – Golden State Warriors
Green helped his Warriors get their 2nd NBA title in 3 years back in June. The Dubs are again expected to dominate and are favorites for the Ship in 17-18 as well. Green may be the least talented of the Golden State big 4 but you can make an argument that he’s the most important. While he won’t give you 20 points a night, the 27-year old can guard all 5 positions and play point guard on offense at 6’7″. Green has the ability to put up a triple double on any given night and posted the second best plus/minus in the league last year only behind teammate Stephen Curry. Look for Green to again help lead the Warriors this season and be in the conversation for DPOY.
16-17 Stats: PPG: 10.2 RPG: 7.9 APG: 7.0 SPG: 2.0
17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 11.7 RPG: 8.8 APG: 7.5 SPG: 2.2
1. Anthony Davis – New Orleans Pelicans
Unlike previous years, Davis starts this season with high expectations. He and his frontcourt partner Demarcus Cousins are the best pair of big men we’ve seen in years and with newly re-signed point guard Jrue Holiday, should challenge for a playoff spot this year. The Pelicans didn’t live up to expectations post All-Star break last season but now that they’ve had time to gel, all the pressure is on them to compete in the stacked Western Conference. AD carries a set of skills that are rare to see in a big man as he’s able to use his length and athleticism to dominate on defense and offensive versatility to put up big numbers on that side of the floor. After logging a career high 28 points a game last year and taking home the All-Star game MVP in New Orleans, look for huge numbers again from him and better team success from the Pels.
16-17 Stats: PPG: 28.0 RPG: 11.8 APG: 2.1 BLK: 2.2
17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 27.6 RPG: 11.9 APG: 2.7 BLK: 2.8