In this week’s installation of the Hoops Barometer, we’ll take a look at the power forward position. This is an overview of what has taken place in 2014 so far, and what to make of it in the future. We’ll look at two who are losing power, and two who have been charging up the leader boards. Let’s look at the ones we were hoping to be better first. Do you Love what you see?
Kevin Love – It’s unfair to say Love is a bust or not doing well. His numbers are still pretty good relative to the mere mortals at the power forward position. But compared to his elite status the past few years, he certainly has been a bit of a letdown in Cleveland. Whether it’s fit, having other superstars around him, or just plain learning a new system, he is hitting lows he hasn’t seen since his first couple years in the league. This year he is averaging 16.9 points, 0.4 blocks, 0.7 steals, 2.3 assists, 10.3 rebounds, 1.7 three point shots made on 43 percent from the field. Love’s field goal percentage is the worst he’s ever had barring his 18-game injury-shortened 2012 season. His 10.3 rebounds seem awesome, but the previous four years he had 12.5, 14, 13.3 and 15.2 in chronological order. Most people probably figured his numbers would dip a little in Cleveland, but maybe they didn’t realize this much. I’d say his current numbers are about what to expect from him if he stays in Cleveland, with a slight uptick in shooting percentage.
Dirk Nowitzki – Father Time catches us all at some point. At age 36, it appears the Mavericks star is finally slowing down. Like Love, Nowitzki isn’t totally terrible. He just isn’t worth the top pick he had been in the past, and is producing at career low levels. This year he has 17.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.2 three point shots made on 46 percent shooting from the field. Those numbers are okay, but the shot percentage is his worst in four years, and he has never produced a whole lot on the defensive end. Those limitations pretty much made it so you needed this guy to be an offensive force in order to make up for it. I’d say the trend will continue and Dirk is now destined to ride out his illustrious career providing you a few great games here and there, mixed in with mediocre ones. Unlike Love, his situation isn’t going to change, and his skills will be diminishing due to age. Dirk’s time as a fantasy star is up.
And now for your risers. One has beasted his way to the top, and (barring injury) I don’t see him falling off the number one spot again for quite a while. The other is a steady, solid guy producing steady great numbers. There were many I could have highlighted as great power forwards this year, but this time I chose Davis and Millsap.
Anthony Davis – The number one power forward, the beast, the brow, the one that does it all. Davis is a monster…. Too bad he never plays a full season of games. But even without, let’s look at his amazing numbers this year on 48 games played. Davis got 23.9 points, 2.6 blocks, 1.4 steals, 10.2 rebounds on 54 shot percentage from the field. That’s just wow. Amazing defense and offense. The only thing this guy doesn’t get you is three point shots, although he could probably do that too. Right now he’s out injured again, and maybe you could use that to twist the owner into an enticing trade. But unless the Davis owner is crazy frustrated with dealing with him sitting, there probably isn’t anyone not named James Harden or Stephen Curry you could dangle that would get it done. I like Davis when he comes back, and I like him as the number one PF for next season easily.
Paul Millsap – I have to admit, I’ve never been a huge Millsap fan. But man, he has been pretty steady. He produces great rotisserie stats and consistency is pretty key to your success in fantasy sometimes. This year he is averaging 16.8 points, 0.9 blocks, 1.7 steals, 2.9 assists, 8.0 rebounds, and 1.0 three point shots made on 48 percent shooting from the field. Across the board these numbers pad your stats. Paul is 30 years old but his numbers are pretty much on par or better than his career average. Due to this, and his consistency, I don’t see him diminishing much. I have no problems putting faith in Millsap to be around a top-five power forward producer for at least another year or two.