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.

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Scouting Take: Patric Young of Florida

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Few players in the nation have baffled me more than Patric Young. Here’s a guy who plays his best against the best, then can completely disappear while having the ball completely ignore him on both ends.

Coming out of the first half against a Kentucky team that could challenge some NBA teams, Young perfectly sealed UK’s wonderbig Anthony Davis then perfectly fed a cutting teammate for a layup. Beautiful drop step followed by an even better delivery to get an easy deuce against the most athletic and fast team in the nation.

In the first half he was very active, but as the game progressed he became less of a factor.

Big are always intriguing. Can they rebound right away? How is their footwork? Can they catch and finish in traffic. Can they stretch the defense to 15-18 feet?

Young, to me, seems to be able to do all these things. Florida has had a long line of big men who have developed into productive players. I was a fan of Vernon Macklin last year and he’s found his way on the Detroit Pistons’ bench.

But Young is, well, young. He’s got post value offensively and possesses a very nice drop step, jump hook on the right block.  And he doesn’t get to the free throw line, making him a draw and dump player or a face up shooter far too often. Consider he’s shot one free throw in his last 100 minutes in the month of March. Billy Donavan can complain about the Gators’ disparity all he wants, Young has only taken 81 on the season. He’s 6’9, 240 and a matchup nightmare for a lot of SEC bigs.

But if you watch enough SEC, teams often go very, VERY small and so do the Gators. That is difficult for Young to keep up with speed-wise. Except he can and that’s what you have to love about him. If he can find the right situation, like how Derrick Favors has in Utah, Young can be a serviceable rotation big man in a very short amount of time. He has the talent.

“The biggest problem with Young right now as it comes to his future in the NBA is that he looks every bit the part of a dominant pro but still plays like a sophomore in college,” says Adam Silverstein of OnlyGators.com. “It is obvious that Young is athletic, tough and strong with a great motor, but Donovan wants to see him be more consistent with his effort and intensity on a game-by-game basis. Young recently acknowledged that he is not used to the type of tough love approach Donovan is taking with him but believes he can improve in all areas going forward.

Young’s athleticism opened some eyes around last year’s draft but he weighed just over 220 lbs. Young is near 250 this year.

Talent has never been a question. If you watched his last 2 games against Kentucky you can see that he can compete against the nation’s best. But you’d like to see him do it on a more consistent basis.

Strengths:

- Footspeed and footwork.

- Great combination of size and strength.

- Catch and finish ability.

- Age (just turned 20).

- Ability to bring “A” game against nation’s best.

Weaknesses:

- consistency.

- maturity.

- rebounding tenacity.

- Lack of free throw attempts.

Tommy Dee is the founder of TheKnicksBlog, editor of CHARGED Magazine and is a regional scout for Marty Blake and Associates. Follow him on Twitter.