Brian Patrick

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Power Forward Comparisons

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


This year’s power forward group, though seemingly different in their games, is a good microcosm of what the position has become. While the stretch four has become more common, it is often the versatility to play inside and out which tends to allow players to make a mark, and most of these players have that potential.

 

Check out the previous position comparisons: PGs | SGs | SFs | Centers 

 

Name

Ht.

Wt.

Age

Pts/40

FG%

3FG%

TS%

OReb%

DReb%

TReb%

John Collins

6’10

235

19

28.8

62.2

0.0

65.8

16.4

25.6

21.1

Zach Collins

7’0

230

19

23.2

65.2

47.6

70.3

12.0

23.2

18.3

Harry Giles

6’11

240

19

13.6

57.7

0.0

57.0

16.4

21.5

19.1

Jonathan Isaac

6’10

210

19

18.3

50.8

34.8

61.4

7.7

25.0

16.7

T.J. Leaf

6’10

225

20

21.7

61.7

46.6

66.0

9.0

19.7

14.9

Lauri Markkanen

7’0

255

20

20.2

49.2

42.3

63.5

10.0

17.5

14.0

Ivan Rabb

6’11

220

20

17.2

48.4

40.0

54.1

10.7

25.7

18.3

Caleb Swanigan

6’10

247

20

22.7

52.7

44.7

62.0

10.7

32.6

22.5

Ben Simmons (2016)

6’10

240

19

22.0

56.0

33.3

60.0

9.6

26.8

18.2

Marquese Chriss (2016)

6’9

225

18

22.1

53.0

35.0

58.5

9.8

11.6

10.7

Domantas Sabonis (2016)

6’11

240

19

22.0

61.1

35.7

65.4

11.7

28.2

20.7

Henry Ellenson (2016)

6’11

245

19

20.3

44.6

28.8

53.4

7.8

24.2

16.5

Brice Johnson (2016)

6’10

230

21

24.2

61.4

  -

64.9

11.7

28.5

20.4

Pascal Siakam (2016)

6’9

230

22

23.4

53.8

20.0

56.9

13.4

23.6

18.8

Skal Labissiere (2016)

6’11

225

20

16.7

51.6

  -

54.0

7.3

14.6

11.2

Trey Lyles (2015)

6’10

235

19

15.1

48.8

13.8

54.3

9.9

16.1

13.3

Bobby Portis (2015)

6’11

242

20

23.4

53.6

46.7

58.2

13.6

20.2

16.8

Jarell Martin (2015)

6’10

236

20

19.3

50.9

26.9

56.5

9.7

18.1

14.1

Larry Nance, Jr (2015)

6’9

235

22

18.4

51.4

33.3

58.1

6.0

21.1

14.1

Chris McCullough (2015)

6’10

220

20

13.2

47.8

100.0

50.8

9.0

18.5

13.8

Kevon Looney (2015)

6’9

220

19

15.0

47.0

41.5

53.2

12.2

21.0

16.6

 

 

Last year saw seven power forwards go in the first round of the draft, and there could be at least eight in this year’s group. Like the past two years, this is a very intriguing and diverse class, with everything from dominant post players, to your long-range shooting stretch fours, to a nice combination of both.

 

This year’s group is a young class, with four 19-year-olds and four 20-year-olds. Also, this a much bigger class, with all players measuring at least 6’10, and two players, Lauri Markkanen and Zach Collins, listed at 7’0.  The last two seasons included a few players as small as 6’9, and no seven-footers.

 

With the stretch 4 position becoming more the norm in both pro and college basketball, there is a need to differentiate between players who fit that role from players who play a more traditional power forward position. If there is any surprise, it’s that with the rise of the stretch four who can knock down threes, this year’s group has very few who were capable long-range shooters in college, though there is likely some potential in those who haven’t shown the ability already.

 

Even accounting for players who didn’t take many three-point attempts, this class still seems to be a better long-range shooting class than the prior two seasons. Markkanen was often set up on the perimeter, and was able to knock down 42-percent from behind the arc. Caleb Swanigan was also very impressive from three, knocking down almost 45-percent. Even players like T.J. Leaf, Zach Collins, and Ivan Rabb, who didn’t take that many three-point attempts, all still hit over 40-percent of the shots.

 

On the other side of the scoring attempts, you have players like John Collins, Zach Collins, Leaf, and Harry Giles, who took the majority of their shots within 8-to-10 feet of the basket, and often right around the rim. A look at their field goal percentages, 58-percent and higher, gives an indication of where they were getting their shooting chances, and all were making the most of them, including Giles, who after recovering from another knee injury, saw very limited time for Duke. Two players we haven’t really discussed yet, Jonathan Isaac and Ivan Rabb, didn’t really fit into either of the above two categories. Isaac, a raw, super-athletic freshman from Florida State, showed flashes of why he could be a lottery pick, but also never really found a role in the offense. He was good in transition, could knock down some jumpers, albeit inconsistently, and can also attack the basket. Rabb was more of a disappointment this past season as a sophomore. He did look to expand his game a bit more, especially in the mid-range area, but the lack of talent around him made it very tough for him to hit shots consistently.

 

I also want to look at the rebounding numbers, both offensive and defensive.  On the offensive end, this year’s class looks to be the best as a whole, with six of the eight players posting offensive rebound percentages over 10, led by John Collins and Giles at 16.4. Isaac was the lowest on the list, but he was rarely in position on offense to really make a dent on the offensive boards like the guys who played primarily around the basket. Even guys like Markkanen and Swanigan, who were more diverse in their offense, still managed to make the most of their size on the offensive glass.

 

As defensive rebounders, this group doesn’t seem as strong as last year, but is led by Swanigan’s whopping 32.6 defensive rebounding percentage. Defensive rebounding often comes down to size, opportunity, and desire, and Swanigan made it his mission to try and grab every rebound. Five more players topped 20-percent, including an impressive 25-percent from Isaac, who used his length and athletic ability to get to missed shots before others could often react. Leaf and Markkanen were the sole players below 20-percent, though Leaf was very close. Markkanen has the size, but he isn’t very quick or strong, so he could be overpowered on the defensive boards by smaller players.

 

As strong as this group is across the board, they are still very young, and the untapped potential is what really could cause all eight of these players to be first-round picks. While some, like Markkanen, will fit into the shooting big who can stretch the floor, there is still a place for a workhorse like John Collins, who emerged this past season as sophomore. Players like him can often move to the center position, depending on match-ups, and his skills will carry him well there.  

 




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