Posted: Tuesday December 20, 2011 7:22PM ; Updated: Thursday December 22, 2011 1:37PM
Eric Mack
Eric Mack>INSIDE FANTASY

NBA preview: Power Forwards

Story Highlights

Andrea Bargnani could outplay draft position id he is healthy for entire season

Serge Ibaka could average double-digits in points and lead the league in blocks

Bobcats' Boris Diaw led the power forward position in assists last season

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Blake Griffin is likely to improve on his averages of 22.5 points and 12.1 rebounds per game with Chris Paul as a teammate.
Blake Griffin is likely to improve on his averages of 22.5 points and 12.1 rebounds per game with Chris Paul as a teammate.
AP

Blake Griffin enjoyed the best rookie season since LeBron James -- arguably better -- which was highlighted by capping a dunk competition by jumping over a car. To the victor goes the spoils.

Griffin now has the Point God in Chris Paul to lob him, so things could be scary good in Los Angeles (and no longer in terms in the Lakers).

Griffin is easily the best fantasy option at this aging position now and it took him all of one season -- actually two, if you count his real rookie season lost due to injury. With Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and even Dirk Nowitzki on the wrong sides of their careers, the power forward position needed a new fantasy star.

Griffin is the man for the job. He and the Clippers look here to stay.

You might try to justify considering Kevin Love over Griffin in Rotisserie formats. Love is a 20-15 rebounding monster. But you shouldn't talk yourself out of Griffin in any league.

After the rookie season he had, the ceiling is somewhere between the sky and the moon.

We continue our SI.com fantasy basketball position-by-position previews with the deep power forward spot. If you don't get one of the elite ones, you still should be pretty happy with what you wind up with. In fact, if you miss out on Griffin or Love, you might want to make power forward the last pool you dip into on draft day.

Breakout: Andrea Bargnani, Raptors

Limited to just 66 games a season ago, if he can play a full season this go-around, he is going to easily outperform his modest draft position. Dual eligibility certainly helps, too, although he is most likely to be slotted at center on most rosters. Entering his fifth season, Bargnani should be able to average over 20 points per game and chipping in more threes than most players at his position.

Honorable mention: Paul Millsap, Jazz

Bust: Lamar Odom, Mavericks

Odom is now out of Los Angeles and has landed with the defending champs, but he will be playing in the shadow of Dirk Nowitzki and might be an injury risk at the age of 32. His name will certainly get him selected higher than his low teens scoring average suggests. If his rebounds continue to drop as they have, even if he does stay healthy, you are going to be unhappy with this pick.

Dishonorable mention: Tim Duncan, Spurs

Sleeper: Serge Ibaka, Thunder

He is a steadily rising big that should benefit from a full year of Kendrick Perkins playing the center position. Ibaka can be an outstanding player as the starting power forward, picking up the scraps from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. He is already an accomplished shot-blocker and exciting dunker and is only 22. There are going to be a lot of veterans picked ahead of him, but Ibaka can whip right past them with double-digit points, rebounds and a league-leading blocks pace.

Honorable mention: Michael Beasley, Timberwolves

Categorically speaking: Where to find the ...

If you play in a Rotisserie format and need to use the power forward position to help in a specific category in the latter rounds:

1. Assists: Boris Diaw, Bobcats -- He is a bit undersized for a big man and might even start at center for the Bobcats. He also happened to lead the PF position in assists per game last season.

2. Steals: Andray Blatche, Wizards -- He isn't outstanding in any one category but he is pretty steady in all of them and led the PF position in steals per game.

3. Rebounds: Kris Humphries, Nets -- Assuming you're not getting Love ... Humphries does more than marry models. He also happens to be one of the league's double-digit rebounders.

4. Blocks: Serge Ibaka, Thunder -- If the dunk competition didn't convince you, this is one of the best players you might not know. He is easily the best shot-blocker at this position.

5. Turnovers (fewest): Channing Frye, Suns -- He is a big man who plays like a wing. The Suns have him slotted regularly at PF and he has come into his own.

6. Points: Michael Beasley, Timberwolves -- You are more likely to draft him to play small forward on your team, but he is likely four-eligible in your league and can score with the leaders at the position.

7. Three-point FGs: Channing Frye, Suns -- See the turnover section. He is a big man with outside game and he is easily the best three-point shooter at the position.

Here are the entire power forward rankings. These are based on a 10-team league with two starting power forwards, 10 starting players total and four reserves.

Power Forward Rankings
Rank Player Position Team Tier
1 Blake Griffin PF LAC 1
2 Kevin Love PF MIN 2
3 Amar'e Stoudemire PF/C NY 2
4 Pau Gasol PF/C LAL 2
5 LaMarcus Aldridge PF/C POR 2
6 Al Jefferson PF/C UTA 3
7 Dirk Nowitzki PF DAL 3
8 Josh Smith SF/PF ATL 3
9 Al Horford PF/C ATL 3
10 Zach Randolph PF MEM 3
11 Chris Bosh PF/C MIA 3
12 Lamar Odom PF DAL 3
13 Paul Millsap PF UTA 3
14 Tim Duncan PF/C SA 3
15 Kevin Garnett PF BOS 3
16 David Lee PF/C GS 3
17 Andrea Bargnani PF/C TOR 3
18 Elton Brand PF PHI 3
19 Luis Scola PF HOU 3
20 Serge Ibaka PF/C OKC 4
21 DeMarcus Cousins PF/C SAC 4
22 David West PF IND 4
23 Gerald Wallace SF/PF POR 4
24 Joakim Noah PF/C CHI 4
25 Carlos Boozer PF CHI 4
26 Michael Beasley SF/PF MIN 4
27 Greg Monroe PF/C DET 4
28 Danilo Gallinari SF/PF DEN 4
29 Boris Diaw SF/PF CHA 4
30 Andray Blatche PF WAS 5
31 Kris Humphries PF NJ 5
32 Channing Frye PF/C PHO 5
33 J.J. Hickson PF/C SAC 5
34 Amir Johnson PF TOR 6
35 Glen Davis PF ORL 6
36 Carl Landry PF NO 6
37 Antawn Jamison PF CLE 6
38 Taj Gibson PF CHI 6
39 Jason Thompson PF SAC 6
40 Derrick Williams PF MIN 6

Eric Mack writes fantasy sports for SI.com. You can also find him on Twitter, where you can mock him, rip him and (doubtful) praise him before asking him for fantasy advice @EricMackFantasy.

 
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