The power forward field is a deep one this year, with potentially the top two overall picks, up to six worthy of lottery consideration and seven likely first rounders. Though only a few have substantial upside, almost everyone listed below is capable of fulfilling some type of rotational service. Here’s our top 10 power forwards who have declared in 2012.
Whether it’s post scoring, rebounding or shot-blocking, almost everyone listed below can provide some type of service that warrants interest.
1. Anthony Davis 6-10 220 SF/PF Kentucky Fr.
Not even Adele has anything on Davis, who swept up practically every major category award given out: National Freshman of the Year, National Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player to name a few. Despite his age, Davis ripped through college towns like a tornado. His impact on the game is unparalleled, given his defensive dominance and offensive package.
Defensively, his length and court coverage allow him to simultaneously defend both his man off the ball and the ball itself. He was blocking jumpers at the elbow and weak side layups at the rim. And being that he was a 6’3 guard just a few years ago, his perimeter game and offensive outlook remain bright and promising.
As the number one pick, Davis adds both a sense of winning paired with potential marketability. The fact that he’s embraced the unibrow speaks volumes about his personality. He’s the kind of player you want with the top overall pick.
2. Thomas Robinson 6-8 240 SF/PF Kansas Jr.
Robinson possesses that powerful combination of strength and athleticism, however it’s his development as a basketball player that’s boosted his overall value. He’s transformed from raw athlete to pick and roll threat and a devastating inside scorer, doing a better job of harnessing his physical gifts. And he’s done this without conceding to recklessness, a habit difficult to avoid when you consider his capabilities as an athlete. Robinson will only continue to improve as a scorer, specifically with the ball in his hands and working the pick and roll/pop game. The Bobcats will certainly entertain the possibility of selecting him at #2.
3. Arnett Moultrie 6-10 225 PF Miss St. Jr.
Moultrie must be salivating before these predraft workouts, where the environment is ideal for him to showcase his unique mix of mobility, athleticism and size. Though better suited in an up-tempo attack where he can catch and finish or make plays off the ball, his spot-up shooting has improved, making him a bigger threat in the half court. At 6’11, Moultrie can potentially guard 4s or 5s, increasing his value and maximizing his use. If he can ever develop into a legitimate pick and pop option, his output will make him worthy of a lottery selection.
4. Jared Sullinger 6-9 286 PF Ohio St. So.
So Sullinger’s stock is down from a year ago despite averaging 17 points and 9 rebounds shooting 51% from the floor and 40% from downtown.This tells us that we as a group get bored with steadiness and consistency. He still has the most polished and advanced post-game of any prospect in the field, where he uses angles to effectively score over either shoulder from the high or low block. He’s even added a faceup game, knocking down jumpers out to 22 feet from the rim. Understanding his limitations and strengths, he only missed three three-pointers in a game once all season. He’s smart, skilled and strong, but his lack of athleticism and size raise concerns over his ceiling and ability to score against and defend longer and better athletes. Still, I think Sullinger is one of those guys who will slip after extensive nitpicking, and then produce top ten numbers.
5. Perry Jones 6-11 235 SF/PF Baylor So.
Jones and Moultrie share similar physical attributes, standing 6’11 with guard-like agility and small forward athleticism. But Moultrie’s role is a little more defined. Jones is still looking to establish an identity for himself, though his upside surpasses both Moultrie’s and Sullinger’s. When analyzing Jones, it’s tough not to think of Anthony Randolph, who shares identical challenges as a 6’11 tweener. His inability to perform well in big games is a major concern, but proponents will argue that his lack of development was attributable more to his situation. But if Jones can maximize his strengths and successfully apply them, his reward could be worth the risk.
6. John Henson 6-10 220 PF UNC Jr.
Henson’s appeal stems directly from his length and shot-blocking/rebounding capabilities, though his offensive arsenal could use some work. He’s got a soft touch on the low post, and sprinkled in some midrange jumpers here and there. But teams looking at Henson are seeking rim protection and a finishing-target. However, his lack of strength could trigger hesitation from GMs who fear Henson’s interior presence will be diminished. With so many quality big men available, Henson is a candidate to slip into the mid-first round.
7. Andrew Nicholson 6-9 225 PF St. Bonn. Sr.
Nicholson has been on draft radars for a while, but was weighed down by mid-major competition concerns making him difficult to evaluate. That changed this year after leading the Bonnies to an A-10 tournament championship with some dominant individual performances over substantial defensive units. He meshes inside power with outside finesse, where he knocked down 43% of his three-point attempts. Nicholson owns an array of diverse skills that make him a versatile option at the 4 position.
8. Kevin Jones 6-8 248 PF West Virginia Sr.
Sometimes it just takes a few years for it to click. As a senior, Jones raised his scoring average by 7 and his rebounding average by 3.5 playing generally the same amount of minutes. He has a soft touch on the interior, which he gets to use often thanks to his keen offensive rebounding instincts. Jones also grew confident in his jumper, and though the numbers don’t show it, he definitely has promise as a stretch 4 or pick and pop option. Jones could be a serviceable reserve for a team with a dull supporting front court cast.
9. Drew Gordon 6-9 245 PF New Mexico Sr.
Gordon had a bumpy career bouncing from UCLA to New Mexico, but a strong senior year with an impressive finish have solidified his spot in this draft. Gordon is incrediblly active with soft hands, explosive athleticism and a constant motor. Essentially an automatic double-double, he’s at his best playing off the ball, running the floor and finishing others’ creativity. Though he lacks any real post moves, Gordon has developed a reliable midrange jumper that expands his overall services. He’s a fitting candidate to inject energy and back up a starting power forward.
10. Herb Pope 6-8 235 PF Seton Hall Sr.
For the majority of his college career, Pope would set up shop in the paint and rarely leave his post. As a senior, he added a new offensive dimension that complimented his relentless work on the glass. Pope started to face the basket on the perimeter, displaying a jumper and some shake reminiscent of the late Antoine Walker. Though 6’8, his length and new found mobility should help compensate for his lack of athleticism and size for a 4. A strong, bullying rebounder, he presents a team with an active interior option and some future stretch potential.
Honorable Mention: Quincy Acy 6-6 240 PF Baylor Sr., Laron Dendy 6-9 228 PF Middle Tennessee Sr., JaMychal Green 6-9 220 PF Alabama Sr., Eli Holman 6-9 258 PF Detroit Sr., Dario Hunt 6-8 240 PF Nevada Sr., Jarrod Jones 6-9 230 PF Ball State Sr., Abdoulaye Loum 6-10 240 PF France, Greg Mangano 6-10 231 PF/C Yale Sr., Cameron Moore 6-10 223 PF UAB Sr., Kyle O'Quinn 6-10 241 PF Norfolk St. Sr., Josh Owens 6-8 240 PF Stanford Sr., Miles Plumlee 6-11 247 PF Duke Sr., Ricardo Ratliffe 6-8 240 PF Missouri Sr., Mike Scott 6-8 240 PF Virginia Sr., Renardo Sidney 6-10 270 PF Mississippi St. Jr.,
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