Bradford Doolittle of ESPN.com Insider offers 2013-14 statistical projections for the top-10 power forwards in the NBA, and Portland Trail Blazers All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge doesn't make the cut.
Aldridge is listed in the "next five" section along with Paul Millsap (Atlanta Hawks), Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks), Zach Randolph (Memphis Grizzlies) and David Lee (Golden State Warriors).
These days, the 4 position defines the style of basketball a team plays. A point guard-dominated offense that uses a lot of drive-and-kick plays likely looks for a long 4 who can score from deep. The Heat and Knicks use their best players, who traditionally would be small forwards, at the 4 to create mismatches and open up the floor. Teams like Indiana and Chicago use more of a traditional 4, with David West and Carlos Boozer, respectively, serving as primary post-scoring options. That gives these rankings a lot of diversity because many of these guys can and have played other positions.
The power forward position is loaded right now, so you have an awfully impressive "next five" at this position. Aldridge is coming off a down season on the offensive end, with drops in 2-point percentage and foul-drawing. ATH sees a recovery in both instances. Millsap is steady and his shift to Atlanta is predicted to impact his value one way or another. Nowitzki is five years past his peak levels of 17-19 WARP per season. If healthy, he can still push double digits, which is nothing to cry about. ATH, however, sees age taking a further toll on Nowitzki's production.
Who made the top 10? In order: LeBron James (Miami Heat), Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers), Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans), Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves), Tim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs), Ryan Anderson (New Orleans Pelicans), Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets), Josh Smith (Detroit Pistons), Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City Thunder) and Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks).
Doolittle previously projected Blazers forward Nicolas Batum as the No. 5 small forward in the NBA and Blazers guard Damian Lillard as the No. 10 point guard in the NBA.
PS Thanks to JayU who beat me to it in the FanShots.
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter