We covered the top 10 and top 20 for 2010 fantasy basketball. PG, SG, and SF too. Now it’s time for the top 20 power forwards for 2010 fantasy basketball. Right off, you’re bound to notice that half the guys on this list can be considered centers. Well, yeah, ’cause a lot of these guys played center. They also played power forward and the same shenanigans are going to play out this season too. But for the rare league that doesn’t toss around position eligibility like mailer coupons to Bed, Bath & Beyond, this is the position these players played most often last season. That might not be true this season, but if you already know what’s happening next season, then tell me this, hotshot, … will Sally Draper end up severely hurting someone before the newest season of “Mad Men” ends?
And before you attack me Wednesday because half the centers on that list played power forward, why don’t you first take a step back and ask yourself why you’ve been yelling so much lately. If Marilyn Manson is still making music, I’ll go ahead and blame him. Anyway, here are the top 20 power forwards for 2010 fantasy basketball.
1. Dirk Nowitzki – See the top 10 for 2010 fantasy basketball post for Dirk Nowitzki’s projections.
2. Pau Gasol – See the top 10 for 2010 fantasy basketball post for Pau Gasol’s projections.
3. Josh Smith – See the top 20 for 2010 fantasy basketball post for Josh Smith’s projections.
4. Amar’e Stoudemire – See the top 20 for 2010 fantasy basketball post for Amar’e Stoudemire’s projections.
5. Chris Bosh – This tier starts at Bosh and ends at West. I call it, “Simple and Appropriate, Just Like German Sex.” Most everyone has fingered Chris Bosh (welcome Google searchers!) as the member of Miami’s Triple ThrHeat whose stats will take a monumental hit. Although I agree, I think the monument will resemble the mini Stonehenge in “This Is Spinal Tap” rather than the real thing in England. First of all, there’s a better-than-average chance Osh-Kosh-G’Bosh will shatter the single-season dunk record, which should translate into fantasy with an impossible FG%. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again because I whispered it in a field of wind turbines last time and no one heard me – unless we are to believe that the Heat’s backup singers are all going to contribute heavily, there are more than enough stats to go around in Miami. They’re going to average 110 points a night. Bosh won’t be a top 15 draft pick in the foreseeable future, but let’s not get crazy with his ranking. There’s a reason he was one of the three big free agents over the summer.
Season Projections: .620/.770/0 3pt/18.5 pts/9 rbd/2 ast/1 stl/1 blk/2 tov
6. Carlos Boozer - I’m glad Boozer is out of Utah. I hated the incessant comparisons to Karl Malone. Why couldn’t Malone ever go on a Chris Webber “don’t compare me to Darko”-type rant whenever someone compared Boozer to him? I guarantee if Malone had done this just once, no one would ever make that comparison again. But, no. Malone wouldn’t ever say anything disparaging about a fellow Jazzman. He has class. He’s an old softy when it comes to people and a hardass when it comes to people wearing basketball jerseys. He’s both hard and soft depending on how you look at it, like a Gordita Crunch from Taco Bell or Jason Terry’s head. Boozer? Boozer lollygags, he’ll disappear for a string of games or – as has been the case in three of his eight seasons – 30+ games at a time. So I’m glad Boozer is elsewhere. And I’m glad that elsewhere is Chicago, where perhaps a little of Tom Thibodeau’s and Joakim Noah’s hardness will rub off on him (ewww). Or he’ll just Booze cruise his way to a 19/10 season instead of the 27/11 season Malone threw down when he was 29.
Season Projections: .526/.729/0 3pt/19 pts/10 rbd/2.5 ast/1 stl/1 blk/2.5 tov
7. Tim Duncan - He’ll be 34, his legs are shot, the power forwards he’ll be facing ain’t getting any weaker and the normal 95-96 DRtg Duncan has owned throughout his career has dipped to 100-101 in the last few seasons. So there’s that. He’s also decided that the goatee and the mini fro were bad looks, so there’s that on top of it. For 99 percent of the players in this league that would spell the withering of a career. Not Timmy B. Duncan. Nope, he’s shed his tail, developed webbed feet and bought a condo a mile away from his old primordial ooze neighborhood. Because while his defense and minutes per game dropped to career lows, his FG% was the third-highest of his career, his FT% was the fourth highest and he turned the ball over fewer times than he ever had before. He’s old and weary, but he’s still smarter than everyone else on the court (except for Battier, natch) and frighteningly efficient.
Season Projections: .521/.731/0 3pt/16 pts/9.5 rbd/3.5 ast/0.5 stl/1.5 blk/2.5 tov
8. David West – West’s points, boards and blocks all dipped along with his minutes per game last season. They didn’t dip a lot, but enough that it compelled me to stick a Post-It note on my Fathead poster of West back in April reminding me to “mention the dip” now. Either that or I misplaced the Post-It note reminding me to ask my mother about her Cucumber veggie dip. Either way, the dip is all good and we’re in for a zesty autumn!
Season Projections: .488/.861/0 3pt/20 pts/8 rbd/3 ast/1 stl/1 blk/2 tov
9. Kevin Love – This new tier starts here and ends at Aldridge. Call it, “They All Could Have Better Years Than Bosh, But I’m Unwilling To Make That Call At This Time.” “K-Lo’s really the only thing Minnesota has going for it.” – Brett Favre. Assuming Kevin Kong breaks free of his under-30 mpg shackles, expect him to go bananas all over the place. Then again, this is the T-Wolves we’re talking about, so maybe don’t go assumin’ he’ll break free of those shackles. You’ll just make an ass out of you and Kevin Love’s mins.
Season Projections: .455/.804/0.5 3pt/16.5 pts/13 rbd/2.5 ast/1 stl/0.5 blk/3 tov
10. Troy Murphy – I’m a little taken aback by how luke warm people seem to be on Murphy. So taken aback that when I tell people I’m taken aback I use a southern belle accent and wave a paper fan in front of my face to get my point across. Here’s a guy who averaged a double-double two years in a row along with 2.3 threes+blocks. Nowitzki, Jamison and Love are the only other power forwards on this list that will sniff those numbers (right, Josh Smith!?!). Now add a team Murphy is more stoked to play for, with a point guard that can get him the ball and a center that can space the floor (albeit, one who might also steal a few of Murphy’s boards) and you’ve got yourself a Troy Murphy on your team.
Season Projections: .481/.783/1.5 3pt/15 pts/9.5 rbd/2.5 ast/1 stl/0.5 blk/1.5 tov
11. LaMarcus Aldridge – Ira averaged career-highs in FG%, rebounds and assists in ’09, which is encouraging until you recall that his career-highs after four seasons in those categories are .495/8.0/2.1. That’s good. Not great. Nothing that can’t be replaced elsewhere with a shrewd late-round flier. He averaged 40 mpg in three different months as the only healthy non-Juwan Howard big man the team had. Unless Portland brought back that Hawaiian tiki idol from their vacation and everyone’s kneecaps go elsewhere for the season because of it, he won’t play as many minutes. If he improves this year, it will be his efficiency brought on by improved low-post moves. Other than that, he doesn’t do anything poorly, which is like saying “she was well-mannered” when someone asks you how the first date went.
Season Projections: .500/.770/0 3pt/18 pts/7.5 rbd/2 ast/1 stl/1 blk/1.5 tov
12. Luis Scola – Scola has steadily improved in each of his first three NBA seasons and with or without Yao, I think this trend continues in 2010. He averaged about 30 mpg with Carl Landry coming off the bench and 38.3 after he was traded to Sacramento. With Yao unlikely to average more than 28 mpg or 70 games, Scola could be a surprise mid-round pick-up. I’m hoping the blocks trend the farthest upward of all his categories. Dude only had 26 stuffs in 82 games last season – that’s just not going to cut it for a big man. Raise them arms up, chief. Get ‘em up. Get ‘em up!
Season Projections: .506/.771/0 3pt/17.5 pts/9.5 rbd/2.5 ast/1 stl/0.5 blk/2 tov
13. Zach Randolph – This starts a new tier called “None Of These Guys Impress Me Much, But They’ve Gotta Go Sometime.” It ends at Garnett. Remember about a year ago when Randolph was a poisonous pick before the sixth round? Yeah. Hold that thought. Randolph improved on everything last season; steals, rebounds, ORtg, Tetris score, personal hygiene, bass guitar – everything. He improved upon his career averages in eight of the nine roto stats and played in all but one game. Now that we’ve defined what Z-Bo did last season, let’s define what he won’t do this season … What? We just defined it? Really? Just now? Dang. Does his lack of a contract extension bode well for Randolph’s contentment this season, by any chance? It does not? Well … there you have it.
Season Projections: .479/.771/0 3pt/20 pts/10.5 rbd/1.5 ast/1 stl/0 blk/2.5 tov
14. Antawn Jamison – The gentlemanly thing for Antawn and Mo Williams to have done was rock, paper, scissor for who gets to be “the man” in Cleveland. Then again, maybe it’s not something to fight over. Deciding the man on the Cavs is like deciding who gets to do the Thanksgiving carving when all you have is a jar of cranberry sauce and some burnt biscuits.
Season Projections: .458/.709/1 3pt/22 pts/8.5 rbd/2 ast/1 stl/0.5 blk/2 tov
15. Paul Millsap – Five-to-one odds says Millsap is everything he’s spent two seasons promising to be, but injures himself just as Mehmet Okur returns. Then, Okur explodes for a career year while Millsap recovers. Then, when Millsap returns, Jerry Sloan decides Millsap is better suited for the bench. Then the Cryptkeeper pops out of his coffin, makes a pun about how “apPaulling” his luck is and how it’s enough to “millSAP” the life out of anyone. Then he cackles. Then I try to watch scrambled Cinemax since my parents are already asleep upstairs.
Season Projections: .522/.704/0 3pt/15 pts/9 rbd/2 ast/1 stl/1.5 blk/2 tov
16. Kevin Garnett – If you’re drafting Kevin Garnett anywhere near the top 60, it’s because you’re hoping that by doing so, you can convince someone in your fantasy league to buy the Celtics No.5 jersey you bought back in ’07. Foolhearty purchase, bro. K.G. Cagey is still good at what he’s always been good at (112 Ortg/101 DRtg in ’09, career 111 ORtg/99 DRtg), but he can’t keep it going 80 games a year, 36 minutes a game. He couldn’t make it to 30 mpg or 70 games last season. If you want a slightly slower, slightly less efficient, player who won’t fight night after night for the ball, draft Zach Randolph … or Garnett three rounds after him.
Season Projections: .490/.811/0 3pt/14.5 pts/7.5 rbd/3.5 ast/1 stl/1 blk/2 tov
17. Blake Griffin – This last tier ends the list and is called “You Rolls The Dice, You Takes Your Chances.” Call me nutso, but I’m not totally buying the idea that the NBA will one day have a dominant player named Blake. Nutso. There you go.
Season Projection: .560/.656/0 3pt/17 pts/8.5 rbd/2 ast/1.5 stl/1 blk/2.5 tov
18. Andray Blatche – I spent the entire second half of last season doing the following: a) wondering when Blatche would return to being a mediocre big on a failing team, b) identifying what Blatche translated to in any other language and c) killing in every fantasy league I owned him in. Turns out Blatche means blech in any language that has ever seen the guy play. As talented as he is, I can’t shake the feeling that his head is rarely in the game. He’s like Ricky Davis back when Ricky Davis was allowed to play professional basketball. And that was when D.C. was leaning heavily on him (21/8/3.5 as a starter, 9/5/1 as a reserve). What happens now that he’s the third or fourth option on the team?
Season Projections: .477/.740/0 3pt/17 pts/7 rbd/1.5 ast/1 stl/1 blk/3 tov
19. Carl Landry – I said this back in late April: “Had the Sixth Man Award wrapped up until he was Sac’ked. And by Sac’ked, I mean his efficiency spiraled. He went from averaging 16 and 5.5 in 27 minutes with Houston to 18 and 6.5 in 37 minutes per game with the Kings.” Ain’t nothin’ changed except a Rookie of the Year candidate DeMarcus Cousins entering the fray. Landry could absolutely bust out, but how early in the draft do you want to start gambling?
Season Projections: .522/.811/0 3pt/15 pts/6.5 rbd/1 ast/1 stl/0.5 blk/1.5 tov
20. Lamar Odom – Lamar Odom needs a Ben Affleck to pick him up at his house every morning, day in and day out, hoping that maybe one day, he’ll knock on Lamar’s door and Lamar won’t be there. The problem (fantasy-wise) is, Odom is perfectly happy as the sixth man on a very good team. He plays the role well, well enough to help make the Lakers NBA champions multiple times over. Well enough that the Lakers don’t skip a beat if Bynum or Artest of even Gasol go down. But when everything’s humming and everyone’s healthy, Odom’s just a player with top 20 talent in this league turns into a ninth round pick.
Season Projections: .475/.710/0.5 3pt/11 pts/9 rbd/3.5 ast/1 stl/1 blk/2 tov