2013 NBA Draft: Top Power Forwards

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Think back to the days of Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, and even Kevin McHale and what a power forward meant to teams. For the most part this position was filled by players with low-post games who were very good rebounders.

Flash forward to the new generation of superstar power forwards, and you see an aging group led by champions Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, and Kevin Garnett. The major difference between these newer stars and those Hall of Famers is the versatility the younger generation brings to the court.

On any given night, Duncan can step out and nail a 17-footer, block shots, or control the glass. Garnett can intimidate and frustrate opponents (see Carmelo Anthony) while stepping out to the perimeter and creating havoc for defenses. Nowitzki can not only initiate his own offense and that of his teammates, but also make shots with range well beyond the 3-point line.

During the playoffs this spring, both Duncan and Garnett will turn 37, while Nowitzki turns 35 later this year.

The point  is that the position of power forward is changing, and when these stars retire there will be guys like Chris Bosh, Kevin Love, and Blake Griffin to step up as the premiere players at the position. However they will be rare, as the NBA is changing it’s definition of the position.

Over the last few drafts the top power forwards taken were Anthony Davis, Tristan Thompson, and Kenneth Faried. While the jury has just begun deliberations on these youngsters, it is becoming clearer that teams prefer their power forwards to be active, energetic, dirty-work guys that won’t command the ball or bring too much ego into the locker room.

When examining this year’s crop of 4s, its important to remember that teams aren’t necessarily looking for the best player — rather the player that best fits into their team.

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If you like players that do the dirty work, prepare to enjoy. While there may be some debate about some college prospects and whether they are considered power forwards, these positional rankings are based on NBA projections of where players will be not only in the short-term but what they will grow into as well.

Anthony Bennett, PF UNLV

Bennett is by far the exception to the other prospects on this list. A skilled physical specimen, Bennett looks like the type of prospect that can potentially be an All-Star.

If Bennett were taller he’d undoubtedly be a frontrunner for the top overall pick, but as it stands is chasing Nerlens Noel for that distinction, at the moment.

From a type-of-game standpoint, Bennett has been compared to Larry Johnson and Zach Randolph. There is no denying his game involves a physicality that is advanced beyond his age. While Bennett’s production has slipped, some of late that is more due to the fact that opposing defenses have been making him the primary focus.

Offensively, Bennett is an efficient scorer with the ability to face from beyond the 3-point line, but his calling card is a post game in which he punishes defenders down low. Bennett is a very good rebounder and an above average shot blocker due to his 7’2″ wingspan.

It is apparent in watching his game film that Bennett has abilities that are unique for his position. A lock to go in the top-10, he should go higher.

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  1. sorry for typos. Tougher than HIS rep. As an add on plumlee……he can really get up and down the floor. And he’s strong…..as is miles, the older bro. I can see mason going top ten by the end of the day. Tony Mitchell is a freak. A physical freak. An elite intimidating defender….but i dont know where his head is. And for now at least, his shot is close to broken. There is also erik murphy at florida. A bit of a plodder, and not a great rebounder….but he can certainly score. Has a genuine post up game. How that translates to the NBA however, I dont know.

  2. WOW, im so glad reading this as I would second almost all of whats said. First, Agree totally about Mbakwe……soooooo underrated. This guy is going to be a solid pro, a very tough defender who can score more than you’d expect. Good free throw shooter too, which speaks to his discipline. Carmichal is a nice prospect. Not an elite athlete and more of a self made player, he is still going to be a solid role player in the NBA. He has a nice touch on his shot, too. Bennett oddly enough reminds me a bit of David Lee. Same facing the basket moves. Bennett is longer, and a better defender, but Lee shoots with more range. But thats what you get with bennet….a david lee level of play. Howell is fine…..reminds me a bit of kevin jones last year. A role player, but a hard working one. Young i dont like. Awkward, and doesnt enough of any one thing to make me want him. McAdoo reminds me some of kris humphries…….looks big and strong but just isnt. Soft soft and lacks court awareness. Id add gorgui dieng….who i think is more of a four than a five. He’s a stronger version of larry sanders. Mason Plumlee is really a four too. He cant play the five…ergo should be on this list. He is going to be a good but not great pro. But i love how chippy his play is…tougher than her rep. Cody is cody. A lamarcus aldridge kind of game. Quick and skilled….might have some trouble getting off against bigger fours though

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