Join Frank Santos and Andy Flint, as they bring you their power-forward installment of the back-and-forth draft styled list that ranks the top 30 current players at each NBA position. Look out for the centers draft next Wednesday.
You can check here to see where Frank and Andy ranked each power-forward last season, and you can follow the ranking next to each player to see if they moved up or fell down since last year.
1 – Blake Griffin – Los Angeles Clippers (Andy Flint) +2
Last year I took LaMarcus Aldridge with the second pick, and stated that I would have taken him first overall, because, simply put, LMA is a bad, bad man. But, Blake Griffin has also become a bad, bad man, and his 2013-14 campaign really opened up my eyes.
Blake put on his big boy pants last season and led the Clippers to a 13-6 record, while Chris Paul missed time with a Grade 3 AC joint separation.
If you would have asked me what I thought of Blake, heading into last season, I would have explained that he was a talented leaper, who will always find a way to score, being that he’s one of the most athletic players at his position. I honestly felt like it ended there, but Blake surprised me, by expanding his all-around game last season.
2 – LaMarcus Aldridge – Portland Trail Blazers (Frank Santos) Same
These top five guys are all so close, it really comes down to personal preference, and what you are looking for in a power forward. If it were my pick, I would have taken Aldridge #1, but Blake’s game has grown so much, its hard to argue against him.
I think there is a misconception we need to clear up. LaMarcus Aldridge is NOT a “stretch 4″. He has an excellent post game, so his talent is not strictly in the mid-range. However, that mid-range game is by far the best of his peers in this group. Aldridge is simply unstoppable when he is on his game.
You are probably expecting me to say that last years playoffs were LMA’s “coming out party”, but he’s been low-key killing dudes for years now; most people just don’t notice because he plays in Portland at 2AM EST.
3 – Anthony Davis – New Orleans Pelicans (Andy Flint) +3
I was really on the fence with this pick, as I obviously had Kevin Love on my mind a bit. This isn’t a slight against Love, but rather me praising Davis for his ability and what I believe he is turning into. The polished offense we all heard about when Davis was drafted back in 2012 is starting to show its face, while his defensive prowess is years ahead of most players in this league.
I believe Davis will be the top dog in this list next season.
4 – Kevin Love – Cleveland Cavaliers (Frank Santos) -3
First off, #BowToTheBrow, but I was quite shocked that Flint took him over Kevin Love, who we appear to be quite low on. Before the season started last year, I think Love was the popular consensus for the #1 pick on this list. Part of his drop has simply been the performance of his peers, but I think Love’s game has taken a serious PR hit. He now has what I call “Carmelo Anthony Syndrome”, where people don’t deny your talent, but throw that question around of “does he make his teammates better?”
Obviously, that has all changed now, as Love is about to be playing alongside LeBron James, and won’t need to be the alpha dog anymore. However, we are about to see how Love adjusts to now being the third option on a championship contender as opposed to the first, second, and third option on a team lucky to hit .500. Love should have been watching Chris Bosh film all off-season, as he should expect to play a very similar role for the Cavs this season.
5 – Chris Bosh – Miami Heat (Andy Flint) Same
Much to the surprise of most of you haters, Chris Bosh is still a top-tier talent in this league. I understand that Bosh is everyone’s favorite player to hate, but the dude has skill, and the Miami Heat will only go as far as Bosh’s skill can lead them, because Dwyane Wade (and his knees) are done.
6 – Tim Duncan – San Antonio Spurs (Frank Santos) +1
Do I need to really tell you about the Big Fundamental? He’s a Hall of Famer who somehow has told Father Time to sit down and shut up while Timmy does his work.
I usually don’t resort to this argument, but… Count The Rings.
7 – Dirk Nowitzki – Dallas Mavericks (Andy Flint) -3
You can say a lot of the same things about Dirk that Santos just said about Timmy D. Storied NBA career. Dirk is the top European player to ever lace ‘em up in the NBA, and at the tender age of 36, you can still count on The Germanator to average somewhere around 20 ppg, while leading his team to the playoffs.
8 – Serge Ibaka – Oklahoma City Thunder (Frank Santos) +6
I can’t believe we drafted Ibaka 14th last year; that seems far too low. Ibaka is by far the best defender on this list, at least for now (I think The Brow can enter the conversation this year), and he has carved out a role in the OKC offense that many didn’t believe he could, even stretching out to the three-point line.
As Dirk and Duncan age another year, I expect Ibaka to leap over them this time next year if he continues his progression this year.
9 – Zach Randolph – Memphis Grizzlies (Andy Flint) -1
Zebo! Heart, grit, determination. And all of that came from one Google search for Zach Randolph.
All joking aside, name five players who leave it out on the floor the way Zebo does. This guy pours everything he has into the game, and it shows, as you can never count Memphis out.
Randolph may be the best below the rim player at his position, but don’t let the lack of athleticism fool you. Zach is tough as nails, and if you get in his grill, you may have a boxing match on your hands. Randolph embodies bully-ball, whether it be hard play in the paint, or sheer intimidation.
10 – Pau Gasol – Chicago Bulls (Frank Santos) -1
Fact: Pau Gasol, in an age of overly sensitive basketball players, may be the most sensitive player in the league.
Fact: Pau Gasol is still underrated as hell, and you guys need to stop sleeping on him.
Fact: Pau Gasol will play an important role in the Bulls run to the #2 seed, and possibly the NBA Finals for the Chicago Bulls.
Fact: I picked the Bulls to make the Finals last year too, and that didn’t go so well for me.
11 – Paul Millsap – Atlanta Hawks (Andy Flint) +1
It’s about that time where I start to ask Paul Millsap what he’s actually worth. I like the guy and I like what he can do out on the hardwood, but It’d be nice to see a greater overall impact from him.
If you’ve been reading Frank and I’s drafts over the past few weeks, you’ve probably caught on to the fact that, while I love guys who impact the stat sheet, I also need to see the big moments, and much like I rode Ty Lawson for lacking these moments, I’ll ride Millsap for never seeing any from him either. Perhaps Jeff Teague can loan Paul some of the ice water he has flowing through his veins.
12 – David West – Indiana Pacers (Frank Santos) -1
Andy says I am way too high on West, and thinks this is a reach. I don’t see it that way (obviously), as West is the one constant that keeps the Pacers afloat. It got so bad for the Pacers last year during the playoffs that West literally had to put the team on his back OFFENSIVELY to get them past the Atlanta Hawks. And he did, because he’s David West and if he wants something, he will bully his way there.
West has high basketball IQ, toughness, and is a great defender. What’s not to like?
PS I would have taken him over Millsap too, and I have a legitimate basketball crush on Paul Millsap.
13 – Greg Monroe – Detroit Pistons (Andy Flint) +2
To be clear, I don’t hate David West or anything, and no, Frank didn’t claim that I do. I just know how your minds tend to work. I just don’t believe he’s top 15.
Greg Monroe on the other hand, has some real potential to be a huge impact for any team. Although, much like Paul Milsap, I need to see more of those big moments. I want to see Monroe’s 15 and 9 develop into 18 and 10, and I want to see his play translate into wins.
14 – David Lee – Golden State Warriors (Frank Santos) -4
Lee was one of the losers of the Andre Iguodala addition to the Warriors last year, which explains his slight fall on this list. Then you combine that he can never seem to stay healthy, and that his defense continues to leave much to be desired, and 14 seems like a good home for him.
15 – Kenneth Faried – Denver Nuggets (Andy Flint) +4
Faried is a dude that I’ve been highly critical of, but the skill is there, and I fully expect to see him have a breakout year in 2014-15.
His play-style fits this Nuggets’ team well, and the addition of a true shooting threat in Arron Afflalo should make it a bit easier on everyone, but particularly for Faried, who should suddenly find more space to move, as the floor will spread more for the Nuggets this season.
16 – Nene Hilario – Washington Wizards (Frank Santos) +9
Nene and Marcin Gortat were like those cousins that share the same birthday week: they just decided to have their coming out party at the same time to make things easier for us. We appreciate that, guys.
It has never been a question of talent for Nene, but rather consistency, and staying on the court. He still has issues with both, but certainly made strides last season, enough to earn him the biggest leap on this list.
17 – Josh Smith – Detroit Pistons (Andy Flint) -1
How the mighty have fallen. Could you have pictured Josh Smith not being in the top 10 or top 15 two years ago? Me neither. I always said that Smith needs to do a bit more, but I never imagined he’d become the third best player on his team. But that seems to be the case now with the arrival of both Monroe and Andre Drummond.
I wonder if Stan Van Gundy can find a way to squeeze the sponge and revive Smoove’s career?
18 – Thaddeus Young – Minnesota Timberwolves (Frank Santos) +N/A
You’ll notice we didn’t draft Thad Young last season… that’s because last season he was a small forward. Did we convert Thad to a power forward because that is the position he will play for the T’Wolves, and NOT because we forgot to draft him in the small forward draft?
Sure, we will go with that.
19 – Derrick Favors – Utah Jazz (Andy Flint) -2
Young kid still trying to figure out the league and the tremendous size and athleticism he possesses, or career 14 and 8 player? Listen, either way, Favors will find a job, but this kid has the size and tools to be a great big man. I just hope he realizes it soon.
Note: Favors is just 23-years old still. Seems like he’s been in the league for 8 seasons.
20 – Taj Gibson – Chicago Bulls (Frank Santos) +8
Poor Taj Gibson, man. He FINALLY gets Carlos Boozer out of town and thinks he is going to get the starting role he has long since earned, and what do the Bulls do? They bring in Pau Gasol, and now Gibson is relegated back to his backup role.
Taj Gibson should be a starter in this league, but them be the breaks, kid. I expect Gibson to perform at a high level once again, and be in contention for Sixth Man of the Year.
21 – Carlos Boozer – Los Angeles Lakers (Andy Flint) -8
Washed up? Boozer’s on the back nine, and getting away from one of the league’s top defensive teams will probably expose exactly how close he is to sitting up at the clubhouse, enjoying dollar hotdogs and drinking whiskey sours.
The fact that he’ll have the young Julius Randle waiting to tee off behind him won’t make things any easier for the 32-year old. Doesn’t it seem like just yesterday Boozer was a 20 and 10 guy around the association?
22 – Tristan Thompson – Cleveland Cavaliers (Frank Santos) -2
I am very curious where Tristan Thompson fits into the Cavs new look. Playing him at center instead of Anderson Verejao is an option, but the Love/Thompson front-line isn’t exactly a defensive juggernaut.
However, Thompson should be able to find some easy buckets in transition with LeBron and Kyrie running the break. He has the potential to be one of the big winners of LeBron coming to Cleveland. Let’s see if he can capitalize.
23 – Channing Frye – Orlando Magic (Andy Flint) +N/A
Frye is a career small-forward, who isn’t graceful or quick enough to play the three, thus forcing him to be a power-forward. Good thing for Channing, the NBA loves stretch-forwards, who shoot a ton, and are generally unfazed by the concept of having to play defense.
However, as a Magic fan, this is the part where I say that I’m in love with him arriving in Orlando… yeah, let’s go with that.
24 – Luis Scola – Indiana Pacers (Frank Santos) -3
I don’t even want to talk about Luis Scola.
I just want to have a moment of silence for the 2014-2015 Indiana Pacers. We hardly knew you. Enjoy the couch while watching the playoffs.
25 – Jared Sullinger – Boston Celtics (Andy Flint) +1
22-years old and already making some impact on the block. I do like Sully as a throwback type of PF, but Boston is at a funny crossroads and I’m unsure where Jared fits in the long run. Perhaps he’ll end up being their longterm option at the four, but who knows with Boston anymore.
26 – Amir Johnson – Toronto Raptors (Frank Santos) -2
I feel like Amir Johnson has just found a great fit with the Raptors, and the role he plays is exactly what the Raptors need him too. In another situation, I am not sure if Johnson even sniffs this draft, but with the Raptors, he is clearly a starting caliber power forward in this league.
27 – Ryan Anderson – New Orleans Pelicans (Andy Flint) -9
I feel like Ryan Anderson was coming into his own and had found a solid home in The Big Easy, but he got injured, and then he found his girlfriend dead from a suicide. Ugh.. AWFUL!
Hopefully Ryan can turn it around and bounce-back in 2014-15. The tools are there.
28 – Kevin Garnett – Brooklyn Nets (Frank Santos) -5
Andy didn’t even have KG on his list… The Hate Is Real.
Okay, yeah its a homer pick. So what? For some reason, I feel like KG is going to go out with a bang in what is presumably his last season in the league.
29 – Kelly Olynyk – Boston Celtics (Andy Flint) +N/A
KG is trash. I’ve always wanted to say that, because I truly dislike the guy, but I had to keep it real, and the truth is, Kevn Garnett is one of the best to ever play this game. That being said, he’s not good anymore and I didn’t have him ranked inside the top 30.
Oh.. Kelly Olynyk. Yeah, he’s okay. Perhaps it will be him as the longterm fix in Boston and not Sully. Who really knows?
30 – Markieff Morris – Phoenix Suns (Frank Santos) +N/A
Markeiff is the good twin, right? Don’t look at me like you can tell them apart. You can’t.
Pick Too High
Frank: Flint and I had a few discrepancies in this draft, especially toward the end. I thought the one player that went far too high was Channing Frye. You can have your power forward provide nothing but threes if you want. I prefer my power forwards to be… useful. (Frye was 30th on my list, and I almost left him off.)
Andy: Says the guy who drafted KG. Tisk, tisk, Santos. Although, Garnett isn’t the pick I felt went to high. That label is reserved for David West. I would have liked him somewhere closer to the 17, 18 area, but hey, that’s just me.
Pick Too Low
Frank: It’s natural to forget just how much a guy brings to the table when he’s out with injuries, and I think we did that with Ryan Anderson. Slipping nine spots from last year is a bit steep. He should have gone around 22-24.
Andy: I guess Josh Smith could have gone a few picks higher. I sort of feel silly seeing it in writing, but what the heck, quit shooting threes, Josh!
Pick You Could Take Back
Frank: I am pretty satisfied with my picks here. Flint and I do these drafts via Facebook, and then write up the drafts after. Usually, I come into the write-ups and look at one pick, and say “what the hell was I thinking?”. That wasn’t the case this time. Props to me for having faith in myself for more than a week in my convictions I guess.
If I had to pick, I would probably say Luis Scola was a slight reach at 24.
Andy: I agree with Frank on this one. I’ve actually felt content with my picks in every draft we’ve done this year, which is an accomplishment, since I generally tend to second-guess myself with these things. But, keeping with tradition, I’ll still choose one, and I guess it will be Ryan Anderson, who wish I had taken a couple of picks earlier.