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Monday October 15, 2007 7:41 pm

2007-08 Preseason Power Forward Rankings

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Power forward is likely the most important position in fantasy basketball.  They can knock out FG%, FT%, rebounds, points, and blocks with only one of your picks.  If you draft them right, they can allow you to go cheap at center, the least deep position in fantasy hoops.  There is so much depth at the four spot that you can get lucky and take an elite power forward early or wait for one later on. Remember also that the majority of good centers are power forward eligible, adding to the aforementioned depth.  However, you’ll probably want to play those F/C players at center, but it’s nice to have options and flexibility while you’re drafting.

1. Kevin Garnett, Timberwolves: Garnett will bounce around between going first and fourth overall this year, but his place could easily be later cemented as the top fantasy player when all is said and done. There are chances that he could gain center eligibility early on, which would clearly make him the most valuable player of this group.  Of the Big Three now in Beantown, KG is the player you have to worry about the least. He’ll get fewer touches than he did in Minny, but points aren’t his major contribution and that’s not a reason why you should shy away from him.  His rebounding should go nowhere but up, which is scary for a guy who hasn’t averaged fewer than 12 boards per in his last six seasons.  He contributes across the board, and some of his other numbers like assists and turnovers, should improve as well.  KG with more rebounds, assists, and less turnovers?  Sign me up.

2. Shawn Marion, Suns: Like KG, the once disgruntled Suns forward is the definition of a stat-stuffer.  Somehow, every year the fantasy community fails to rank Marion first overall, but somehow he ends up there at the end of each season.  A few weeks ago, you could avoid him with good reason, but reports out of Phoenix are that chemistry has actually improved from last season, which is good, because much was made of the rift between Shawn and fellow fantasy stud Amare Stoudemire.  That would be the only knock on him, but the possibility that he gets traded is almost zero now.  Marion is as consistent as they come, averaging right around the same numbers in every statistical category since his first full season in the league.  His blocks are even IMPROVING.  Add that to great percentages, tons of rebounds, and top-of-the-league steal totals, and he’s right up there with the new Celtic. He doesn’t have the assists KG does, but he has the treys KG doesn’t.  Take your pick here.

3. Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks: Poor Dirk had to take himself to the Australian Outback to rehab from last season’s painful loss to Golden State.  Maybe this season Dirk will think of the postseason as part of the Mavs’ regular season record.  Either way, he’s due for a bounce-back year, which is funny to say considering any other player in the league wouldn’t mind the stats he produced last season.  However, most of Dirk’s numbers were down, except for percentages and assists, at least a little bit.  Of course, they were still stellar as he led his team to the league’s best record, but he still has to be fuming over that first round loss in the playoffs, so you can expect his numbers to return to something a little closer to the 26 PPG he averaged the two years prior, and his assists to be down a bit to maybe under 3.0 as he becomes more assertive.  His FG% could also dip, as last season was the first he ever shot 50%.  Still, the big German could end up in the fantasy top three by the end of the season.

4. Antawn Jamison, Wizards: A thick line separates this former Tar Heel from the elite power forwards in the league. Why? His play isn’t as all-around as Marion or KG.  Still, he’s a stud who will likely put in 20 PPG, 8-9 rebounds, a couple of triples and decent steals numbers.  The trade-off is a less-than-great FG% from a power forward.  Since he shot 53.5% in 2003-04 with Dallas, he has bounced around between 42-45%.  You also can’t count on him for blocks, as he’s never averaged more than 0.6 in any season. He does shoot threes, which is a good reason why he is this high.  Last season, he made 2.0 per game, a career high, as he vaulted up on everyone’s cheat sheets for this year.  The possibility of 20-10 with a ton of threes allows you to wait a few rounds into the draft and still grab a stud power forward, while also allowing you to ignore threes right away.

5. David West, Hornets: West is a bit risky, but with huge upside. He’s been injured in two of his past three seasons, so that concern is there. He broke out two years ago, which is why he is this high, averaging 17.1 PPG, 7.4 RPG, and 0.9 BPG with great percentages.  His numbers were down across the board last season because he missed the start of the campaign and only played in 52 games.  As long as he’s healthy, nothing holds West back from being close to 20-10. He’ll fall in some drafts, which allows you to take a good risk on a big upside guy. His FT% alone—over 80% in the last two seasons—makes him valuable.  His injury problems will allow you to possibly grab your starting power forward as late as the fifth round, which means a lot when you can wait that long to draft probably the most important position in the game.  If he lives up to that upside, he’s at least 18-8, but if he doesn’t, he could end up really hurting you by May.

6. Lamar Odom, Lakers: Odom is the epitome of a roto stud, and that’s where his true value lies.  He won’t hurt you anywhere, except maybe turnovers. On the flipside, he’s not a 20-10 potential guy. Instead, draft him to play alongside a big rebounder and give you flexibility from his position.  Good percentages, a three a game, and last season’s career 4.8 assists all make this guy a stud.  Throw in a steal a game and triple-double potential night in and night out, and Odom is a great guy to have in that F spot on your fantasy roster.  Just know he’s not a big-time scorer (never averaged 20 PPG in his career) and you’ll have a good feel for his value.

7. Zach Randolph, Knicks: What a great fit for the Knicks - another troublemaker.  Well, “real” basketball aside, this season will be interesting for Fat Zach in the Big Apple.  Since he’s been a regular starter in the league, you’ve been able to count on him for numbers somewhere near 20-10. This season, he gets to play alongside Eddy Curry and in front of David Lee. Because of this, his value is really pretty unknown.  He should be the main big man for the Knicks, and Isiah was able to develop Curry into something more than a lump of a human being, so maybe Randolph’s value goes up.  It’s hard to tell. Still, the change is risky enough to make his value fall. If he gets any fewer touches, it takes a big drop.  If you can’t get 20 PPG out of him, you’ll only salvage his rebounds and good percentages.  He doesn’t block shots. He doesn’t get steals, and last season he turned the ball over 3.2 times a game.  Pretty risky, but if he pans out, you’ll be loving the place you got him at in the draft.

8. LaMarcus Aldridge, Trailblazers: Upside, upside, upside.  That’s why he’s #8.  With Greg Oden out for the year, Aldridge’s playing time is guaranteed and we can expect more than 22 minutes a game from the big man out of Texas. He’s got the kind of potential to lead the league in blocks if he plays 35 minutes, while shooting a very decent clip from the line. Those are the two stats that need to be looked at for this position. Of course, he’ll have a great FG% and his rebounds should go way up, but the blocks are what make this stud a stud.  You’ll get him a lot later than the elite power forwards, and a stat that Randolph, Odom, and Jamison don’t provide.  Throw in the fact that he is center eligible in most leagues, and this guy has to be considered a huge sleeper.

9. Rasheed Wallace, Pistons: A lot of people wonder if Sheed is on the decline, and the answer is probably yes. A career-low in points (barring his rookie year) and another drop in FG% should worry you.  He’s becoming less and less a part of that Pistons offense as he ages.  Of course, he’ll make the threes for you and block some shots, but his FG% leaves a lot to be desired.  If he can get those points and his FG% back up a bit, he’s more valuable, but don’t expect much more than average rebounds, with decent steals and good blocked totals, but a bad FG%.

10. Al Harrington, Warriors: Harrington puts up some bizarre numbers. He shoots a ton of threes (1.7 makes on 4.2 shots last year) but still manages to get enough good shots to shoot a halfway decent FG%.  His rebounding and blocks are horrible for this position, and his FT% isn’t too great.  You should only take Harrington if you’ve sealed up blocks and rebounds at the center position, or if he falls to you after drafting one of the above guys. He’s just not a typical power forward. He plays more like a SG than anything else, so draft him thinking as such. Still, also being a center eligible player in many leagues, Harrington’s flexibility can be useful if you draft around him right.

The Best of the Rest:
11. Darko Milicic, Grizzlies
12. Nene Hilario, Nuggets
13. Chris Wilcox, Sonics
14. Boris Diaw, Suns
15. Al Horford, Clippers
16. Channing Frye, Trailblazers
17. Drew Gooden, Cavaliers
18. Al Thornton, Hawks
19. Tyrus Thomas, Bulls
20. Udonis Haslem, Heat

Addendum

Other Positional Rankings:

Point Guard Rankings

Shooting Guard Rankings

Small Forward Rankings

Power Forward Rankings

Center Rankings

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Comments:

We ranked guys like Pau Gasol, Bosh, Boozer, and Duncan as centers because we figured that was where most people will end up playing them.  Calm down.

Oh, man… what a dummy.  What the heck does this writer know? 

Actually, a lot.

Like Brandon said, we ranked guys like Gasol et al. in the center rankings due to publish soon.  Why rank them as centers?  As B said, because that’s where most of you would probably play them.

Now, if after seeing the C rankings list (written by world-renowned Cleveland sports fan, Sarge) and you still think we’re all idiots, fine.  I wouldn’t blame you… but we actually do know a thing or two.

Last season in two experts leagues, this little blog won both of them - one roto, one h2h.  Who did we beat?  Some big boys - ESPN, NBA.com, SI, DIME, Rotoworld, amongst many others.  Now, maybe, we can get lucky once, but we won both.

So, hopefully, Roger and John, you guys can come on back and give us a real chance.  If not, thanks for passing by.

D

Holy jumping to conclusions, Batman!

Poor Brandon, the rest of us were the ones that adjusted his list so that a lot of PF/C players, like TD, Bosh, Amare, Gasol, etc., are listed at center. After all, that’s how many a fantasy GM would take advantage of their positional eligibility.

I guess it would have helped to release the PF and C rankings together.

Roger and John, thanks for stopping by anyways. But you both forgot to leave your own blog addresses so we can check out how your rankings stack up!

WOW! Harsh!  I think that’s the first flaming comment I’ve seen here, and Brandon gets it right out the gate.

I wouldn’t have looked for either of those guys on a PF list (maybe Boozer, but not if kept “C’ eligibility) to begin with, but I’m just kooky that way…

Don’t worry 420, I’m sure there will be more to come!

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