Top 15 Power Forwards in the NBA at the Halfway Point

Top 15 Power Forwards in the NBA at the Halfway Point

Here’s a look into the Top 15 power forwards in the league at the halfway point in the season. Note: Nuggets forward Paul Millsap will not be included in this list as he’s missed significant time due to injury.

 

 

Honorable Mentions:

Thaddeus Young

James Johnson

Dario Saric

Derrick Favors

Taj Gibson

 

 

15. Julius Randle – Los Angeles Lakers

Randle driving to the basket.

Photo Credit/bleacherreport.com

 

Though he’s clearly on the Laker trade block and almost certainly won’t be a part of the LA roster next season, Randle is having the best year of his young career. While only seeing around 23 minutes of floor time so far, he’s shooting 54% from the field and has also shown his ability to rebound at an elite level when given the opportunity. Making the most of his playing time, Randle deserves a spot on the list.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

 

 

14. Serge Ibaka – Toronto Raptors

Serge Ibaka celebrating after a play.

Photo Credit/si.com

 

After signing a new deal with Toronto in the offseason, Ibaka has remained an important frontcourt piece for the team this season. While he shouldn’t be expected to give you 20 a game or dazzle in the assist department, the big man makes a statement on defense and compliments the Raptors backcourt stars well. He’s slowed down as the years have gone on, but Ibaka remains an above-average 4 in the NBA.

Previous Ranking: 9

 

 

13. Carmelo Anthony – Oklahoma City Thunder

Melo smiling during a dead ball.

Photo Credit/clutchpoints.com

 

In his first year in OKC, Anthony has given the Thunder pretty much what was expected; scoring and basically nothing else. Melo remains a good shooter and crafty scorer but hasn’t been able to develop his defense or playmaking which is necessary to be a star in today’s game. After a disappointing start to Oklahoma City’s season, it’s possible Anthony finds himself on another team by next year.

Previous Ranking: 10 (Small Forward)

 

 

12. Zach Randolph – Sacramento Kings

Randolph during a dead ball.

Photo Credit/hoop-ball.com

 

In his first year with the Kings, Randolph has clearly shown he’s currently the best player on the young Sacramento roster. After several years of team and individual success in Memphis, Z-Bo is now more of a mentor and leader than star for the Kings. On the court, he’s putting up almost 15 points a game while keeping his FG percentage at nearly 50%. His workload is expected to decrease as the season goes on, but Randolph still has some game left in him.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

 

 

11. Rondae Hollis Jefferson – Brooklyn Nets

RHJ dribbling up the floor.

Photo Credit/si.com

 

An integral part of the Nets rebuild, Hollis-Jefferson is in his first season handling true starters minutes and he’s performing well. His athleticism and defensive potential make him an intriguing forward prospect. If he finds a jumper over the next few seasons he can maintain a status as a 2nd or 3rd option in the young Brooklyn lineup.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

 

 

10. Lauri Markkanen – Chicago Bulls

Markkanen getting ready to shoot.

Photo Credit/sportingnews.com

 

In his first year in the league, Markannen has been a pleasant surprise for the Bulls as most expected him to be a bit more of a project. Putting up over 15 and 7 while at some solid percentages, the former Arizona big man has shown he’s the key piece to the Chicago rebuild early in his career. While he’s currently sharing power forward minutes with Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic, Markannen clearly has the most potential and skill out of the three and should see increased minutes with the expected trade of Mirotic away from the Bulls.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

 

 

 

9. Kyle Kuzma – Los Angeles Lakers

Kuzma passing the ball on offense.

Photo Credit/nba.com

 

Just a rookie, you could argue Kuzma is already the best player on the Lakers. His scoring ability is far more advanced than most expected from the Utah product. With a good 6’9″ frame, Kuzma is able to play the 3 or the 4 and guard a range of positions. As his playmaking and defense progress, Kuzma could be a star in the NBA in a few years.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

 

 

8. Harrison Barnes – Dallas Mavericks

Barnes during a dead ball.

Photo Credit/mavs.com

 

Though a long time small forward with the Golden State Warriors, Barnes seems to have essentially shifted over to the power forward position since his arrival in Dallas. His composed face-up play style has lifted his game with the Mavs and allowed him to start off this year averaging nearly 19 points a game at some comfortable percentages. While his playmaking still needs work, Barnes is a key piece of the Mavericks rebuild as he nears his prime.

Previous Ranking: 8

 

 

7. Nikola Mirotic – Chicago Bulls

Mirotic preparing to shoot.

Photo Credit/si.com

 

As the trade deadline comes closer, the likelihood of a Mirotic trade has turned into a certainty. While the Montenegrin big man is being tossed around in rumors, he’s having the best season of his career. Off the bench, Mirotic is averaging over 17 points a game while shooting the 3 at an accurate 45%. His start to the season will benefit the Bulls as they’ll be able to garner more assets in a deal.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

 

 

6. LaMarcus Aldridge – San Antonio Spurs

Aldridge after making a play.

Photo Credit/espnsa.com

 

Aldridge has enjoyed much more individual success to start the season largely due to the absence of fellow star Kawhi Leonard. As he’s looking more like his Portland self, the 32-year old is putting up over 22 and 8 while shooting about 50% from the field. If Leonard remains out for a bit and Aldridge continues his efficient ways, it’s possible he finds himself in the All-Star game again.

Previous Ranking: 10

 

 

5. Kristaps Porzingis – New York Knicks

Porzingis going up for a layup.

Photo Credit/newsday.com

 

In his first season without Melo, Porzingis is thriving and having by far the best offensive year of his career. His defense is again a strong suit of his as well, putting up well over 2 blocks a game. Where Porzingis can transform into a real superstar who could lead a team to the playoffs singlehandedly is his playmaking and strength down low. Someone with his height shouldn’t have the trouble on the boards that he does. Improving on these facets of his game this offseason could help New York punch a ticket to the playoffs in 2019.

Previous Ranking: 5

 

 

4. Blake Griffin – Los Angeles Clippers

Griffin backing down on Chris Paul.

Photo Credit/sbnation.com

 

Though he’s again been plagued with injuries this season, Griffin is having another All-Star caliber year. The loss of star PG Chris Paul has meant more touches and expected playmaking from him. With questions surrounding some of his teammates, Griffin has the Clips again in a position to make a visit to the postseason.

Previous Ranking: 4

 

 

3. Draymond Green – Golden State Warriors

Green during a dead ball.

Photo Credit/usatoday.com

 

Green is having another tremendous season with the Warriors, leading the team in assists and upping his PPG from last season. Though his defensive statistics are a bit down compared to his DPOY performance last year, he’s having the same profound effect on that side of the ball. It’s likely one of his teammates picks him for the All-Star game this year and he should be in the running for Defensive Player of the Year again as well.

Previous Ranking: 2

 

 

2. Anthony Davis – New Orleans Pelicans 

Davis dribbling up the floor.

Photo Credit/sportingnews.com

 

Davis is again having an incredible season alongside fellow frontcourt star DeMarcus Cousins. While putting up another double-double average, Davis has gotten his 3pt% up to around 34%, a bit above his career average. At this point, the star forward has all the tools be a perennial MVP candidate. The only thing Davis needs to be a surefire Hall of Famer is good health. He’s had trouble in his young career with various injuries which have held him and the Pels back from success. If Davis is able to have a good run of health and avoid nagging Injuries in the future, he’ll be one of the best players in the league for years.

Previous Ranking: 1

 

 

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo – Milwaukee Bucks

Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo dribbling the ball up the floor.

Photo Credit/nba.com

 

Giannis has picked up right where he left off last year, stuffing the stat sheet and getting stronger individually while putting his Bucks in the position to make the playoffs again. The 23-year old will certainly be making another All-Star appearance next month and will be in the MVP conversation in June barring injury. With his size, athleticism, and playmaking ability, Antetokounmpo has the potential to be a top 10 player all-time. While his jumper can still be developed to make him pretty much unstoppable offensively, he’s already the top power forward in the NBA.

Previous Ranking: 4 (Small Forward)

 

 

 

Top 15 Point Guards Here

Top 15 Shooting Guards Here

Top 15 Small Forwards Here

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Report Cards for Every Team Halfway Through the NBA Season (Eastern Conference)

Report Cards for Every Team Halfway Through the NBA Season (Eastern Conference)

We have reached the halfway point of the NBA season. LeBron James continues to put up MVP numbers, the Golden State Warriors sit atop the Western Conference, and most of the same bottom-feeding teams already find themselves fighting for the top pick. With that being said, SFE is here to break down the opening stanza of the NBA season and grade each team’s performance heading into the second half starting with the Eastern Conference.

 

Atlanta Hawks

The expectations were not very high for the 2017-2018 Atlanta Hawks as this season was the beginning of a rebuild. Top players Dwight Howard and Paul Millsap departed in the offseason leaving behind Dennis Schroder and an unproven supporting cast. Schroder has put up decent numbers as well as Kent Bazemore and Taurean Prince providing serviceable production on the wing. John Collins has also been very impressive in his first year in the NBA averaging 11 PPG and 7 RPG thus far. Still, this Hawks team sits at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and will look to grab one of the many talented players at the top of the draft.

1st Half Grade: D+

 

Image Credit: nba.com

 

Boston Celtics

So far, Kyrie Irving has looked pretty comfortable being the franchise player on a contending team. He’s averaging 24 PPG and 5 APG and with help from a good supporting cast including Al Horford, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown, the Celtics sit at 33-10 atop the East. Tatum has really stepped up his game in his rookie season, Brown has improved his outside his shot, and Boston has some nice pieces off the bench with Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, and Marcus Morris. While LeBron James’ Cavaliers look to reach the NBA Finals yet again, the young core of Irving-Tatum-Brown will make things very interesting for years to come.

1st Half Grade: A

 

Brooklyn Nets

The story of the 2017-2018 Brooklyn Nets changed after the first game of the NBA season. After finishing with the worst record in the NBA last season, Brooklyn looked to lean on veteran Jeremy Lin as well as the talented youngster D’Angelo Russell. Well, it turned out that these two would not be the story as both have spent their seasons on the sidelines. Lin is out for the season and Russell has played in only 12 games. With these injuries becoming a factor, it forced some young players to take on bigger roles. Point guard Spencer Dinwiddie and forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson have grown into some pretty good NBA players. Brooklyn will look to Dinwiddie, RHJ, and the rest of their young players to keep improving as the rebuild continues.

1st Half Grade: C

 

Charlotte Hornets

This Hornets team has to be one of the most disappointing teams in the league this season. Kemba Walker has been doing his thing once again (22 PPG, 6 APG) and Dwight Howard is averaging a double-double in his first season in Charlotte. All the signs would point to this Hornets team as a trendy playoff team in a weak Eastern Conference but it hasn’t worked out. This isn’t a very good passing team and they can’t let the ball get stuck in Walker or Howard’s hands every possession. Charlotte’s role players will need to gel with Howard and be much more consistent in the second half to compete for a playoff spot.

1st Half Grade: D

 

Chicago Bulls

The Bulls are one of the very few teams that sit just about where we thought they would be midway through the season. Albeit not in a good position, but it was clear to see this team is in a rebuild. Chicago looks like one of the more underrated young cores with an improved Kris Dunn, Justin Holiday, and rookie Lauri Markkanen. With Nikola Mirotic back from his injury (punched in the face) and Zach LaVine about to return, the new-look Bulls will be both fun to watch and have a top ten pick.

1st Half Grade: C+

 

Image Credit: thesource.com

 

Cleveland Cavaliers

For the last seven years, the Eastern Conference has been LeBron James’ playground, reaching an unprecedented seven straight NBA Finals. Now at age 33, he is still at his career averages of 27 PPG, 8 RPG, and 9 APG and even playing point guard until Isaiah Thomas’ recent return. Kevin Love looks to have found his All-Star form and Dwyane Wade has resurged playing with LeBron again. Currently, James and the Cleveland Cavaliers sit in the third seed behind the surprising Toronto Raptors and former Cavalier Kyrie Irving’s Boston Celtics. We do know their so-so record doesn’t reflect their place in the Eastern Conference and Cleveland is using this stretch to gel with Thomas and prepare for the playoffs.

1st Half Grade: B

 

Detroit Pistons

Off of a hot start, Detroit found themselves in a seven game losing streak which stopped their early momentum. Still, this Pistons team is sitting in the 7 seed and has to be content with their 1st half. The starting five has been tremendous most of the season, led by Tobias Harris, Andre Drummond, and trade acquisition Avery Bradley. The X-Factor will be if Detroit can get consistency from their bench down the stretch. Should this team make the playoffs, they would not be a tough out. The Avery Bradley move could prove to be very important as he brings great perimeter defense. Drummond will need to make his free throws though.

1st Half Grade: B

 

Indiana Pacers

Another team that has to like where they sit currently is the Indiana Pacers. The story in Indiana is clearly the emergence of Victor Oladipo. Taking over as the go-to guy for Paul George, Oladipo is averaging 25-5-4 and leading the Pacers to the 8 seed thus far. Oladipo and center Domantas Sabonis playing well, it looks as though the Pacers have won the trade to this point. This team also shows good depth, with six players averaging double figures. The next step for this team is for Myles Turner to take the next step if they want to compete this season.

1st Half Grade: B+

 

Miami Heat

And here’s ANOTHER team that loves where they’re at to this point. In the first half, Miami has taken advantage of some disappointing Eastern Conference teams on their way to the 4 seed. The Heat have used a balanced scoring attack and suffocating defense to fuel a strong first half. Currently with eight double digit scorers, anyone can beat you on any given night. However, heading into a playoff push, Miami will need someone to step up as the go-to guy. This could be Goran Dragic, Hasaan Whiteside, or even Dion Waiters. All in all, Miami has to love where they’re at but they will need to stay consistent to host a playoff series.

1st Half Grade: A-

 

Milwaukee Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo has taken the next step we all knew was coming. The Greek Freak is currently averaging 29-10-5 and is a clear-cut MVP candidate. Alongside him are wing Khris Middleton and the super athletic Eric Bledsoe, giving them somewhat of a “Big Three”. The talent hasn’t really translated into a top team in the East leaving them with a 22-18 record. A playoff spot is a near lock, but fans in Milwaukee should be wanting more which starts with consistency. While the Greek Freak deserves an A, the Bucks as a team have been slightly disappointing.

1st Half Grade: C

 

Image Credit: espn.com

 

New York Knicks

The problems in New York were very clear. Aside from the GM/Ownership’s inability to quality players to New York, the Knicks needed to move on from Carmelo Anthony. His ball dominance was stunting Kristaps Porzingis’ growth and not helping win games anyways. Now that this is KP’s team, we have seen glimpses of what this team can become. Porzingis is averaging 24-7 while handling all the publicity in New York while a plethora of role players are helping contribute. Heck, even Michael Beasley looks serviceable. Unlike in previous years, the Knicks have a real future with KP, Frank Ntilikina, and Enes Kanter leading the way. With that being said, they are not ready this year.

1st Half Grade: C+

 

Orlando Magic

Life is difficult for me as an Orlando Magic fan. It just seems like this franchise plays their way to being just outside the top 3 pick in the draft every year. Aaron Gordon when healthy has looked as close to a star as Orlando has (19 PPG, 8 RPG) and free agent acquisition Jonathon Simmons has been a good pickup. Health has been the biggest issue for Orlando as the entire starting five hasn’t played together in months. The Magic look like they need to trade one of Evan Fournier, Nikola Vucevic, or Elfrid Payton and shake this roster up because they still aren’t close.

1st Half Grade: D

 

Philadelphia 76ers

Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid have lived up to the hype and look like perennial All-Stars. Although, first round pick Markelle Fultz hasn’t touched the floor since the first week of the season. The Sixers’ young core (Simmons, Embiid, Saric, Covington, Fultz) appear to be a year away. While “trusting the process” has almost payed its dividends, the Sixers need to learn how to consistently win. Alongside Simmons and Embiid, Philly has some veterans in JJ Redick and Amir Johnson to help the youngsters through the second half. I had them as a borderline playoff team as they are so it will be interesting to see how they play in the second half.

1st Half Grade: B-

 

Image Credit: TSN

 

Toronto Raptors

“The Six” should be very happy with their hometown team’s first half. The Raptors are 28-11 and have a 14-2 record at home this season, a start that Toronto fans had been hoping for for years. DeMar DeRozan could be a darkhorse  MVP candidate, averaging 25-4-5 alongside the core of Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka. Complementing the big three, Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright, and CJ Miles have been playing very well and converting close games into wins. The question in Toronto is of course: Can they play at a high level into the postseason?

1st Half Grade: A

 

Washington Wizards

The Nation’s capital has been one of the most unlucky markets in sports with little postseason success in recent years. The Wizards have been no different, representing one of the Eastern Conference teams that can’t get over the hump in the playoffs (somewhat due to LeBron). John Wall is doing what he does averaging 19-9 and Bradley Beal is averaging a career-high 24 PPG. Although, Washington hasn’t made any necessary moves to get over the hump and it is showing in their record. Sitting in the 5 seed, the Wiz have been beating good teams but not taking care of business against sub-.500 teams. Something needs to change if they want to ever get to the Finals.

1st Half Grade: C-