Brian Patrick

Draft Preview

print article archives RSS

Draft Power Forward Rankings

Friday, June 9, 2017


In what’s been a continuing trend, the power forwards are a very deep group, with a chance that everyone on this list ends up in the first round.  This group also has a nice range of players, whether it is inside vs. perimeter players, or polished vs. upside.

 

The players are listed in order of how I see these players ranked in ability and long-term NBA potential, though much of it will end up mirroring my next mock draft coming soon.

 

 

Jonathan Isaac, Freshman, Florida State, 6’11, 205 – When you talk about high upside picks, Isaac fits the bill almost entirely. While his freshman year at Florida State had its impressive moments, Isaac wasn’t a huge standout, but there were plenty of small flashes that showed that he was starting to get it out on the floor on both ends. What stands about Isaac immediately is his size and length, especially when matched up against other players on the perimeter. With a 7’1 wingspan, Isaac is more than just a nuisance defensively, and even if beat by a quicker player, his athletic ability and length still allows him to block shots. Isaac still has a lot of work to do in understanding the nuances of team defense, but he makes up for it with his effort and physical ability. Offensively, Isaac is still very much a work-in-progress, but he has shown a little bit of everything to this point. He shot 35-percent from long-range in his one year of college, and with his motion and shot, it wouldn’t be crazy to think he can get near 40-percent at the NBA level. While not a great ballhandler, he is still good for his size, and is a mismatch when paired up against fours in isolation. If given space, he can finish strong at the basket, though he will certainly need to get stronger for the NBA level. His athletic ability and long strides shine in transition, where he gets down the floor and to the basket with ease for easy finishes. There is a ton of untapped potential here, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Isaac work his way in the top five conversation come draft day.

 

Lauri Markkanen, Freshman, Arizona, 7’0, 225 – Markkanen, who shined playing for Finland over the years in international competition, looked to make his mark at Arizona in what was always expected to be a one-year stop. The seven-footer came in with a great reputation for his offensive skill, and it was evident, averaging almost 16 points per game, while shooting 42-percent from three-point range. A deadly spot-up shooter, where Markkanen really impresses is with his ability to hit shots off the dribble, or coming off of screens. While he isn’t quick enough or a strong enough ballhandler to consistently attack the rim, he is more than competent enough to clear space when needed. Markkanen has the size to be a good scorer around the rim, with the needed touch, but he is obviously more comfortable working on the perimeter. On the defensive side, Markkanen offers some size, but he doesn’t have the strength or speed to work against versatile low-post players, nor the footwork yet to defend on the perimeter. He shows little motor when looking to rebound, and while his size can be a deterrent, he is not a major threat as a rim protector. With spacing of the floor being as important as it is in the NBA, Markkanen should be an easy top ten pick, though I’m not quite sure how much more he will improve, as he often looks like he goes through the motions out on the floor.

 

John Collins, Sophomore, Wake Forest, 6’9 1/2, 225 – The emergence of Collins was one of college basketball’s best stories last year, and you can certainly see the effects of his tutelage under his college coach, Danny Manning. Collins was a force around the basket, averaging 19 points per game, on 62-percent shooting, to go with almost 10 rebounds, 4 offensive, per game. His footwork took a big leap this year, allowing him to create scoring opportunities in the post from many spots and angles. Collins could have some trouble scoring against length, and he will need to evolve his game to be more inside and out to create the mismatches he needs. Along with that, he didn’t do much shooting from the perimeter, which will likely be necessary, but based on his free throw shooting, the basis of a good shooting motion is there. Collins has great instincts when moving around the lane, and he has the leaping ability to go up high and finish above the rim. Collins did not make the same strides on the defensive end, where he struggled as the anchor of the Wake Forest defense. The good news is that the footwork he shows on the offensive end could eventually translate to the defensive side, if he can learn to master the basic defensive movements and he needs. Also, his instincts were never particularly great, and he will need to do a better job learning to play angles. Still, of the two Collins’, I like John’s upside a bit more, especially given his leap from freshman to sophomore year, and he could be a strong value pick in the top twenty.

 

Zach Collins, Freshman, Gonzaga, 7’0, 232 – The rise of Collins, the sixth man for Gonzaga, through the year is understandable and odd at the same time. The seven-footer played just 17 minutes per game, but hit two-thirds of his shots, including almost 48-percent from three-point range.  Collins also averaged six rebounds and almost two blocks per game in his limited minutes. He stepped things up in the NCAA Tournament, including a stellar game against South Carolina in the Final Four, though he was limited by foul trouble in the championship game. Collins has shown the ability to play inside and out, and he doesn’t mind mixing it up with other big men. He has a good shooting stroke, and strong footwork for his age. He hasn’t shown great speed or athletic ability for his size, but his effort often overcomes that. Collins can guard fours or fives at the NBA level, and his timing on shot-blocking opportunities is very good. There is no doubt that Collins is skilled for his age, but he has yet to prove he can be a force against strong competition, at least to the point where he is worth a lottery pick, and I’m not totally sure that his upside is his big as many believe.

 

Harry Giles, Freshman, Duke, 6’10 1/2, 232 – There have been a lot of high expectations for Giles over the past few years, including being the top recruit in his high school class, but a series of knee injuries have derailed his promise somewhat. On top of that, a lackluster freshman season at Duke did nothing to assure people that he would once again become the prospect he once was. Giles is still an impressive physical figure, with a strong body and wingspan over 7’3. In his limited minutes at Duke, he still was able to make an impression, especially among those who watched him pre-college and saw some flashes of the same. Giles’s calling card was always his agility and explosiveness, and even with the knee troubles, he still moves as well as anyone his size, just without the same explosiveness around the basket. The injuries have set back his offensive development, and he still relies on finishing around the rim off of guard penetration or rolling to the rim after a screen.  Giles has relied on the same physical tools to make an impact on defense, along with a motor which made him a problem on the boards. While he can still provide that, with his long arms helping him along, he still lacks an understanding of movements in team defense, seeing the floor, and knowing when and where to help. I’m still a big fan of Giles’ upside, especially if he can stay injury-free, though it may be another two seasons for him to catch up in skill development. I’d even consider him in the late teens if I had the development system in place to catch him up quickly.

 

T.J. Leaf, Freshman, UCLA, 6’10, 222- Lonzo Ball may have gotten all the accolades during UCLA’s season, but it was often Leaf who was the more impressive freshman on the floor. Leaf is a very good athlete for his size, and he used that well to his advantage, especially when getting out in transition. At this stage, in the halfcourt, Leaf is at his best in the mid-range and beyond, where he can use his athletic advantage. He showed a good long-range shooting touch, hitting over 46-percent of his limited attempts, and a good mid-range jumper. Leaf could also play around the basket, showing decent footwork in the low post, and soft touch on his shots, but he could have trouble with rim protectors, and he doesn’t really have the strength to muscle through even average big men. Leaf is a smart player with the ball in his hands, showing good vision and passing ability, and he does a good job taking advantage of his size and a spread floor to see over the defense.  Like most of the UCLA team, Leaf was a mess on defense, showing little of the fundamentals needed to guard at the college level, let alone the NBA level. He doesn’t have the strength to defend around the basket well, or the lateral movement to guard on the perimeter. Like many on this list, Leaf is still coming into his own as a player, but like Ball, his success was often more the product of the system they played in. Leaf’s skill set is still impressive for his age, and think he would be a strong value pick in the 20’s, even if he is still a few years away from cracking a rotation.

 

D.J. Wilson, Sophomore, Michigan, 6’10 1/2, 234 – Even halfway through this past season, not many besides Michigan fans knew much about Wilson, but he made an impact when it really mattered – the postseason. Wilson has good size, with a 7’3 wingspan, and he started to develop the skills to go along with his physical tools, though he is far from a polished product. He has shown good range on his long-range shot, knocking down 37-percent. He wasn’t a major part of the Michigan offense, but made the most of opportunities, even if it meant creating how own by hitting the offensive glass. His bigger impact started to come on the defensive side, where his size and length caused problems no matter who he was matched up against. Wilson showed good instincts on the defensive side of the ball, even if he wasn’t causing many turnovers. Wilson is another pick who falls in the high upside category, though he may not have all the physical tools of say a player like Isaac. While he has a long way to go, he could be a decent value at the end of the first round.

 

Tyler Lydon, Sophomore, Syracuse, 6’9 1/2, 215 – Lydon started to become a hot name towards the end of his freshman season, as Syracuse made a Final Four run. At just under 6’10, he has very good size, though a slight frame. He used his size well on the perimeter, hitting almost 40-percent from long-range off of often very good looks. Lydon is a decent ballhandler for his size, and while he is capable of creating space for his shot, he still has work to do to hit consistently. Lydon moves well for his size, and makes up for his lack of strength by finding holes in defenses and hitting them quickly. He also used his size and shooting touch around the basket, but he was much better when he had a good size mismatch rather than against players his own size. Defensively, Lydon was as active as we’ve seen of any player in the Syracuse zone, and he provided some good help as a weakside defender. I’m not sure he has the footwork yet to defend well on the perimeter at the NBA level, but he isn’t as far off as many might think. With his size and shooting ability, Lydon could be worth a shot towards the end of the first round, but would be a great value in the second round.

 

 

Others to watch: Isaiah Hartenstein, Germany; Ivan Rabb, California; Jordan Bell, Oregon; Caleb Swanigan, Purdue; Alec Peters, Valparaiso




Email :Brian Patrick



Highest Searched Players over the last 7 days



Video Center

  •  
    Boyer: Hot Hitters

    Boyer: Hot Hitters
  •  
    Jesse: MLB Power Rankings

    Jesse: MLB Power Rankings
  •  
    Short: Saves & Steals

    Short: Saves & Steals
  •  
    Jesse: MLB Power Rankings

    Jesse: MLB Power Rankings
  •  
    Boyer: Hot Hitters

    Boyer: Hot Hitters
  •  
    Jesse: MLB Power Rankings

    Jesse: MLB Power Rankings
  •  
    Boyer: Hot Hitters

    Boyer: Hot Hitters
  •  
    Jesse: MLB Power Rankings

    Jesse: MLB Power Rankings