We’ve covered point guards, shooting guards and small forwards, which means it’s time to take on the projected top 10 fantasy power forwards for the upcoming NBA season. With some big names in new places, there were a few tough decisions here. Voice your opinions below, and keep in mind that we’re using nine categories.
1. Dirk Nowitzki: Stop yawning. Unlike some of the other names on this list, Nowitzki didn’t make a big splash in the summer’s free-agency period, opting to re-sign with the Mavs instead. The good news is that that means he shouldn’t have any trouble replicating the trustworthy value he’s been giving fantasy owners for the past decade. If you’re looking for holes, you won’t find them here. The only unknown will be how Diggler wears his mop this season.
2. Pau Gasol: He averaged a double-double for the first time in his NBA career last season, thrusting him into the upper-stratum of fantasy appeal. He’s the best-rounded big man for fantasy purposes, and with a FIBA-free summer of rest, Gasol is set to resume his strong play for the Lakers this season. When Andrew Bynum racks up his annual wave of DNPs in 2010-11, watch out.
3. David Lee: Lee had himself a great 2009-10, and the good news is that he managed to leave the fast-paced Knicks for an even faster-paced Warriors squad. In two games against the Warriors last season, he averaged 27 points, 14 rebounds, 6 assists and a steal. The chances for Lee to put up gaudy lines will abound this year.
4. Amar’e Stoudemire: He’ll be the man in New York this season, which ensures that he’ll get more shots and points. While the prospect of huge numbers is obviously there for Stoudemire this season, the question will be how he’ll fare without Steve Nash feeding him the ball. Also, if STAT doesn’t improve his rebounding and shot-blocking, he could disappoint a multitude of fantasy owners licking their chops at taking him in the first round of their drafts.
5. Josh Smith: We all know what Smith is about: steals, blocks and a dismal touch at the charity stripe. This summer, he’s been preparing for a faster offense, courtesy of new coach Larry Drew. Smith hasn’t been hitting the weight room as often, but he’s working on his skills and conditioning. A faster pace could mean good things for this athletic forward.
6. Chris Bosh: Many fantasy owners will be down on Bosh’s value heading into this season, and rightfully so. Nevertheless, the “lap dog” of the summer should continue to rebound well, and the good news is that his strong shooting percentages will remain intact.
7. Carlos Boozer: Boozer will continue to be an appealing fantasy player in Chicago, where he finds himself playing with a talented point guard and a polished roster. His stats shouldn’t budge drastically from last season, though Joakim Noah’s rebounding abilities could knock Boozer off of his career double-digit rebounding average.
8. Tim Duncan: He just won’t go away. Every year, many of us expect Duncan to finally take that nosedive into age-driven decline, but he continues to pull some kind of magic out his hat o’ tricks, similar to what Steve Nash and Jason Kidd have been able to do. He’ll be entering this season a bit lighter, which bodes well for his body’s ability to hold up down the stretch of the season. Duncan should continue to be a very usable fantasy big man, though his days of averaging a double-double could be numbered. The good news is that concerns about his health can probably be laid to rest – he’s only missed 19 games in the past five seasons.
9. David West: His averages don’t jump out at you, but the fact of the matter is West doesn’t have any weaknesses. His shooting percentages are great, he grabs rebounds, dishes out a good number of assists, and is always approaching 1 steal/1 block per game. With Chris Paul back and Trevor Ariza in New Orleans, the floor should be spread well for West to continue rolling right along.
10. Hedo Turkoglu: We’re used to seeing him as a SF, but in Phoenix’s quirky lineup, Turkoglu is set to start at PF. There’s a lot to like about his chances for a bounce-back season, all stemming from his seemingly perfect fit in the Suns’ offensive schemes. Expect him to approach his averages from his Orlando days. The only possible downside is the surplus of SG/SF/PF players in Phoenix, which could limit Turkoglu’s minutes.
On the cusp: Zach Randolph, Kevin Love, Troy Murphy, Jeff Green, Kevin Garnett, Andray Blatche, Paul Millsap
Throughout the season, be sure to leave your questions, comments, concerns, trade offers, roster problems and more in the comments below.
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