By Tom Lorenzo and Jeff Andriesse
Ah, power forwards. While many fantasy players hold centers in high esteem, the truth is that in many leagues there are more center-eligible players than you think. And when in doubt, we’ll tend to put a guy like Tim Duncan or David Lee in our center spot. But you see what that does? It thins out the power forward position, which is always a little thin to begin with. We moved most of the PF/Cs to C for the purposes of our rankings, and here’s what we’re left with. Yes, some of these guys are center eligible, but most are the starting power forwards for their respective teams. Don’t neglect this position on draft day because you are trying to grab centers. Power forwards, especially the best ones, can be as valuable as any position out there. For this exercise, format is based on standard eight-category rotisserie style (FG%, FT%, PTS, REB, AST, STL, BLK, 3FG).
2009-10 Power Forward Rankings
|Tom’s Top 25||Jeff’s Top 25|
|1. Dirk Nowitzki||1. Dirk Nowitzki|
|2. Chris Bosh||2. Chris Bosh|
|3. David West||3. Troy Murphy|
|4. Kevin Garnett||4. David West|
|5. Antawn Jamison||5. Antawn Jamison|
|6. Troy Murphy||6. Kevin Garnett|
|7. Josh Smith||7. Josh Smith|
|8. Shawn Marion||8. LaMarcus Aldridge|
|9. Carlos Boozer||9. Elton Brand|
|10. LaMarcus Aldridge||10. Shawn Marion|
|11. Charlie Villanueva||11. Boris Diaw|
|12. Zach Randolph||12. Carlos Boozer|
|13. Elton Brand||13. Anthony Randolph|
|14. Tyrus Thomas||14. Zach Randolph|
|15. Boris Diaw||15. Charlie Villanueva|
|16. Anthony Randolph||16. Blake Griffin|
|17. Blake Griffin||17. Jeff Green|
|18. Michael Beasley||18. Jason Thompson|
|19. Jason Thompson||19. Kevin Love|
|20. Jeff Green||20. Paul Millsap|
|21. Ryan Gomes||21. Tyrus Thomas|
|22. Kevin Love||22. Michael Beasley|
|23. Yi Jianlian||23. Ryan Gomes|
|24. Paul Millsap||24. Yi Jianlian|
|25. Brandon Bass||25. Kenyon Martin|
BREAKING DOWN THE POWER FORWARD POSITION
Three Questions for Tom
Jeff: How high are you willing to take Kevin Garnett in a draft this year? Even if his knee is healed, the C’s brought in Rasheed Wallace and re-signed Glen Davis. Are you concerned they will monitor KG’s minutes?
Tom: I actually think it’s a blessing in disguise that KG doesn’t have to play 38 intense minutes nightly. He could use a break. That in no way would keep me from taking him in the late-2nd or early-3rd. Of course, that depends on who I draft in the first. The reason why I would take KG is because he’s a 15 and 8 candidate who can block shots, pick up steals, and — here’s the reason why I really like Garnett — he shoots high percentages from both the field and the floor. If I can get the 53.1 FG% and the 84.1 FT% he shot last year from my power forward I’ll happily take that! The fewer minutes don’t bother me so much, especially if it turns into more games played.
Jeff: Anthony Randolph showed flashes of what kind of havoc he can wreak on a box score late last season. Which side of the hype do you come down on with Randolph this year?
Tom: I’m in the camp that won’t overpay for Randolph. Maybe because I bit and drafted Tyrus Thomas in his second season and got burned, or maybe because his name is really hot right now and I’m not sure he’s worth the buzz in the round he’s projected to fall off the board in. Why? Well, for one thing, can you assure me that Don Nelson will give Randolph consistent PT? Need I remind you that he’s 20 years old AND already has a contentious past with Nelson? I’m worried about his age, his coach, his team, his current developmental stage, and his name being on most, if not all, “sleepers” lists. I’ll pay for him in the 9th or 10th round, but I think he’ll be long gone before then.
Jeff: You like Tyrus Thomas a lot more than I do. Is this the year he puts it all together?
Tom: Speaking of Thomas… It still amazes me that he’s just 23 years old. If you look at the way he closed out the 2008-09 season there is finally a legitimate reason to get excited about him. He posted huge block numbers (plus-2 per game), well over a steal per, and 14 and 8 in the points and rebounding departments, respectively, after the ASB. He’s a career 44.7 percent shooter from the floor and 72.4 percent shooter from the line (both of which have increased from year-to-year). Let me see: 15 points, 8 rebounds, 2+ blocks, 1+ steal, 45.0 FG%, 75.0 FT%… wait a minute, that’s Josh Smith! But, only I can grab him three-to-four rounds later than Smith and get solid free throw numbers. I can’t tell you for certain that he’s going to put it all together this year, but for his sake I certainly hope so. He’s a huge talent with possibly huge returns on defense.
Three Questions for Jeff
Tom: Sell me on Troy Murphy as the third best power forward. I realize how valuable he was last season combining both his rebounds with his stellar three-point shooting, but it certainly was the best season of his eight-year career. Considering that he gives you nothing on the defensive side of the ball, if he were to regress at all this year it could be a steep fall. Give me the sales pitch!
Jeff: You mean sell you on the 15th-ranked player in Yahoo! last year? Sure, my pleasure. Murphy averaged a 14.3 and 11.8 in 34 minutes per game, and that alone should have him near the top of the rankings, but he canned 2.2 threes per game and shot 47.5 percent from the floor and 82.6 from the line. And I’ve seen nothing – no, not Tyler Hansbrough – that Indiana has done to their roster that will preclude Murphy from playing the same amount of minutes in the same type of role this year. He’s their sturdiest big man, is eligible at center in many leagues, and the return to health of Danny Granger can only open up more set shots for Murphy. Yes, last year looks like an outlier, but I think Murphy has found a groove. He’s finally rebounding like he can, and he’s even more of a bonus in leagues that count turnovers (just 1.6 per game last year). He’s definitely in the second tier of PFs after Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Bosh, but he’s on par with David West and, in my mind, he’s more dynamic and a safer bet than the other guys below him.
Tom: What can we make of the Paul Millsap–Carlos Boozer time share in Utah? We know that Boozer is likely gone from Utah next season since they extended Millsap to a long-term contract. So, do the Jazz owe it to Boozer to give him 35 minutes or do they develop Millsap and give him a bulk of the minutes since he is seemingly their PF of the future?
Jeff: This is one of the true headaches for fantasy owners this preseason. Millsap is a coach, team and fan favorite in Utah and with good reason. He is one of the toughest players in the league as well as a shot of energy for the Jazz. Boozer has a better offensive repertoire, but as you said his days in Utah are numbered. With Boozer in a lame duck year, Millsap is a must-draft, as Carlos is prone to exaggerating injuries for dramatic effect when things aren’t going his way. That said, Boozer is likely to start and you’ll see a three-man rotation up front with these two and Mehmet Okur in the PF and C spots. I expect Boozer’s typical numbers to dip slightly and Millsap to fall to more of the 13 and 8 range, with potential for much more, obviously, should Boozer get hurt or traded.
Tom: How much confidence do you have in Elton Brand? I see that you have him ranked 9th on your list, but is it more that you are underwhelmed by the forwards behind him or is that you have faith in Brand this season?
Jeff: Brand’s in about the right spot for me. I would try to wait to get him, but he’s in line for a similar season as Boozer with the added bonus of some blocks. Brand is going to have to fit in with the Sixers this year, and his health is always a concern, but I am confident that he will approach a 17 and 8 if not better than that with over a block a game and decent percentages. There’s some risk here, but he’s up a few spots in this list because shot blocking is at a premium in fantasy leagues, especially at this point in the power forward rankings.
Tom Lorenzo and Jeff Andriesse will break down the Center position in the next few days. If you have comments, questions or suggestions, drop ’em in the Comments Section. Also, be sure to follow Tom and Jeff on Twitter and check out RotoExperts.com for the most comprehensive fantasy sports coverage on the web.