When you think of power forwards in fantasy basketball, you want them to get points and rebounds. That’s the foundation of your thought process, or at least it should be. Think Charles Barkley, Karl Malone and Chubby from “Teen Wolf.” These are the paragons of the position. However, since the former two are retired and the latter is a figment of the imagination, let’s look at the current crop of fours and break them down.
1. Kevin Love, PF/C, Minnesota Timberwolves
2009-10: 60 G; 14.0 PPG; 2.3 APG; 11.0 RPG; 0.6 3PTM; 45.1 FG%; 81.5 FT%; 0.7 SPG; 0.4 RPG; 2.0 TO
2010-11: 73 G; 20.2 PPG; 2.5 APG; 15.2 RPG; 1.2 3PTM; 47.0 FG%; 85.0 FT%; 0.6 SPG; 0.4 BPG; 2.1 TO
Love is the epitome of the model power forward when looking at the numbers as he scored 20 points and led the league in rebounding. He was basically a machine last season and considering he achieved the desirable double-double the previous season, there’s no reason he won’t do it again for a third straight year. Whether or not it’s at the same high rate remains to be seen, but when you his ability to hit the three, nice number of dimes for the position, and very good shooting percentages, Love is irresistible and if you’re not in a money league, he don’t cost a thing. Moving forward, it should be stated that this is a fantasy basketball rankings list, a place where Love is better than the next two.
2. Pau Gasol, PF/C, Los Angeles Lakers
2009-10: 65 G; 18.3 PPG; 3.4 APG; 11.3 RPG; 0.0 3PTM; 53.6 FG%; 79.0 FT%; 0.6 SPG; 1.7 BPG; 2.2 TO
2010-11: 82 G; 18.8 PPG; 3.3 APG; 10.2 RPG; 0.0 3PTM; 53.0 FG%; 82.3 FT%; 0.6 SPG; 1.6 BPG; 1.7 TO
Gasol is one of the more efficient players in the league, but I always get the feeling that he’s never really been appreciated. He played in Memphis and the general population really doesn’t pay attention to that team. Sorry, Memphis folk, but Elvis and your awesome food are more popular, both of which I’ve experienced on a drive down to Graceland. As an aside, I’m wearing a white studded jump suit as I write this and practicing karate. Anyway, in Los Angeles, Gasol is second fiddle to Kobe Bryant and there are rumors about trading Gasol in the hopes of getting younger. Poor Pau, he’s like the Rodney Dangerfield of basketball. However, you shouldn’t treat him that way, so consider him as an early round pick.
3. Dirk Nowitzki, PF, Dallas Mavericks
2009-10: 81 G; 25.0 PPG; 2.7 APG; 7.7 RPG; 0.6 3PTM; 48.1 FG%; 91.5 FT%; 0.9 SPG; 1.0 BPG; 1.8 TO
2010-11: 73 G; 23.0 PPG; 2.6 APG; 7.0 RPG; 0.9 3PTM; 51.7 FG%; 89.2 FT%; 0.5 SPG; 0.6 BPG; 1.9 TO
If this were real basketball, it’s hard not to say that Dirk is the top dog amongst power forwards — he can score, board to an acceptable degree, shoot from anywhere on the court and it helps that he’s an NBA champion, basically beating The Big Three of the Miami Heat for his chip. However, in fantasy basketball, because of his lower rebounding numbers and sparse contributions in the defensive statistics, Nowitzki is knocked down a couple of notches from the top. In a 30-team experts league that I’m in, Nowitzki was drafted with the 18th overall pick with three players that follow Dirk on this list drafted before him. Obviously, I don’t agree too much with that trio supplanting the big man in Dallas, but we can all agree that Dirk is an early round pick. If he falls into the second round of your draft, grab him.
4. Amar’e Stoudemire, PF/C, New York Knicks
2009-10: 82 G; 23.1 PPG; 1.0 APG; 8.9 RPG; 0.0 3PTM; 55.7 FG%; 77.1 FT%; 0.6 SPG; 1.0 BPG; 2.6 TO
2010-11: 78 G; 25.3 PPG; 2.6 APG; 8.2 RPG; 0.1 3PTM; 50.2 FG%; 79.2 FT%; 0.9 SPG; 1.9 BPG; 3.2 TO
Stoudemire, despite some serious injuries to his knees and eyes, has been healthy for a good bit of time now. However, he stills somewhat of an injury risk pick. His saving grace is the New York Knicks offense, which is fluid and doesn’t require him to bang at the bottom much. Plus the Knicks don’t play defense, so STAT really doesn’t have to do too much and avoids potentially deleterious pain. While Stoudemire has never been an exceptional rebounder, the numbers might drop again with the addition of Tyson Chandler. However, enjoy the vast amount of points, shooting percentages, and hustle stats the man brings.
5. LaMarcus Aldridge, PF/C, Portland Trail Blazers
2009-10: 78 G; 17.9 PPG; 2.1 APG; 8.0 RPG; 0.1 3PTM; 49.5 FG%; 75.7 FT%; 0.9 SPG; 0.6 BPG; 1.3 TO
2010-11: 81 G; 21.8 PPG; 2.1 APG; 8.8 RPG; 0.1 3PTM; 50.0 FG%; 79.1 FT%; 1.0 SPG; 1.2 BPG; 1.9 TO
Since the unfortunate retirement of Brandon Roy, the Blazers are now somewhat officially Aldridge’s team. He stepped up his production last season and still has some upside to do more things for the Blazers. When the team runs its half-court offense, LMA is the main beneficiary there, but he’s also able to finish on breaks when called upon. He doesn’t possess the sexy name of some other fours, but he’ll produce like he’s Jessica Alba in “Sin City.” Don’t worry if you get caught watching that video at work because there are at least one million other perverts that’s watched it. I’m factoring repeated views of course. In any case, now I’m distracted. Yeah, Aldridge is good.
6. Zach Randolph, PF/C, Memphis Grizzlies
2009-10: 81 G; 20.8 PPG; 1.8 APG; 11.7 RPG; 0.2 3PTM; 48.8 FG%; 77.9 FT%; 1.0 SPG; 0.4 BPG; 2.2 TO
2010-11: 75 G; 20.1 PPG; 2.2 APG; 12.2 RPG; 0.1 3PTM; 50.3 FG%; 75.8 FT%; 0.8 SPG; 0.3 BPG; 2.0 TO
Randolph is really good and has been for a while. He’s a 20-10 beast … sorry, a 20-10 pudgy teddy bear that gets the job done in the post. He’s been pretty much dependable in three categories — points, rebounds and field goal percentage. Everything else is gravy, which is something both Z-Bo and I enjoy. It will be his third season with the Grizz and he and Marc Gasol seem to co-exist like two peas in a pod. A repeat of seasons past production is not only expected, it’s pretty much inevitable.
7. Blake Griffin, PF, Los Angeles Clippers
2010-11: 82 G; 22.5 PPG; 3.8 APG; 12.1 RPG; 0.1 3PTM; 50.6 FG%; 64.2 FT%; 0.8 SPG; 0.6 BPG; 2.7 TO
If there’s a more exciting basketball player on the planet than Blake Griffin right now, I haven’t seen him or her. If you saw last night’s Lakers/Clippers preseason game, you’ll understand what I’m talking about. Fantasy-wise, however, there are some deficiencies. His free-throw percentage can certainly use a boost, but maybe that’s the sacrifice he gave to the basketball gods so he can be as devastating as he is. I’m pretty sure Dwight Howard made the same sacrifice. In any case, for someone as athletic as Griffin is, one would think his steals and blocks, particularly the latter would stand out a bit more, but beggars can’t be choosers. Points, boards, assists and field goal percentage are what Griffin does best. If only there was a Posterize category.
8. Josh Smith, SF/PF, Atlanta Hawks
2009-10: 81 G; 15.7 PPG; 4.2 APG; 8.7 RPG; 0.0 3PTM; 50.5 FG%; 61.9 FT%; 1.6 SPG; 2.1 BPG; 2.4 TO
2010-11: 77 G; 16.6 PPG; 3.3 APG; 8.5 RPG; 0.7 3PTM; 47.7 FG%; 72.5 FT%; 1.3 SPG; 1.6 BPG: 2.6 TO
Smith is another high-flying freak, but while he doesn’t score or board like Griffin, J-Smoove certainly gets those defensive stats. Over one per contest for both steals and blocks is only the starting point for Smith as he has the potential to score a pair for each. Other than inconsistent shooting from the charity stripe, J-Smoove doesn’t hurt your squad in any way. Plus you have to love the dimes coming from him and your power forward position. J-Smoove giveth (assists) and J-Smoove taketh away (steals and blocks).
9. David Lee, PF/C, Golden State Warriors
2009-10: 81 G; 20.3 PPG; 3.6 APG; 11.7 RPG; 0.0 3PTM; 54.5 FG%; 81.2 FT%; 1.1 SPG; 0.5 BPG; 2.3 TO
2010-11: 73 G; 16.5 PPG; 3.2 APG; 9.8 RPG; 0.0 3PTM; 50.7 FG%; 78.7 FT%; 1.0 SPG; 0.4 BPG; 2.3 TO
Lee was a monster with the Knicks, but took a dip in production during his first season with the Warriors last year. He’s still a solid all-around player, but there are multiple options on offense for the boys in the Bay Area with their perimeter guys (Stephen Curry, Monta Ellis and Dorell Wright) dominating the rock. It’s possible for Lee to average double-digit boards again and he’s an attractive “safe” pick at the end of the early rounds where he’ll give you solid production.
10. Serge Ibaka, PF/C, Oklahoma City Thunder
2009-10: 73 G; 6.3 PPG; 0.1 APG; 5.4 RPG; 0.0 3PTM; 54.3 FG%; 63.0 FT%; 0.3 SPG; 1.3 BPG; 0.9 TO
2010-11: 82 G; 9.9 PPG; 0.3 APG; 7.6 RPG; 0.0 3PTM; 54.3 FG%; 75.0 FT%; 0.4 SPG; 2.4 BPG; 0.9 TO
Alert! Alert! Man-crush alert! Ibaka is a big-time monster in the making. He already has excellent shot-blocking ability and will only need to figure out how to rebound more efficiently and it’s lights out. Ibaka is crazy athletic and had drawn comparisons to Shawn Kemp before joining the NBA. As long as Ibaka keeps it in his pants and doesn’t find a love of Big Macs, Ibaka has the potential to be as good as the pre-slob Kemp. However, until Ibaka gets things figured out, draft him for the potential of 10/10 production with standout blocks numbers.
And don’t forget to follow DV on Twitter and if you ask nicely, he’ll tweet all about his straight-up domination of Jamaica, Queens’ 8-to-10 year-old youth basketball league … last year: 67.9 PPG and 136.5 RPG, but mostly because he was doing a Moses Malone impression on offense.