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Oklahoma City Thunder

2018 Northwest Division Position Rankings | Power Forwards

The Thunder Guys

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PF Rankings - NW Division

Preseason is in full swing, and with each new day we are closer to the start of the 2018-19 NBA regular season.

This season, we are ranking each team in the Northwest Division by position. We have already covered point guardsshooting guards, and small forwards, and now we take a look at power forwards.

The consensus rankings come from a points system. A first place selection is worth 5 points, second place is 4 points, and they continue in descending order with fifth place equaling 1 point.

Consensus Power Forward Rankings

Ranking Points
1. Utah 12
T-2. Denver 10
T-2. Oklahoma City 10
4. Portland 7
5. Minnesota 6

Craig

1. Utah | Utah is a team that relies heavily on their big men. Between Jae Crowder and Derrick Favors, the Jazz will not struggle to score points from the power forward position. Utah might have one the best combinations in the league at this position.

Both of these guys averaged 12 points per game last season, although Crowder only played 27 games for the Jazz. There’s a chance that the production will go down for one of these guys with them both playing a full season on the same roster. However, if the Jazz can find a way to maintain the production of both of these guys they very well could be heading for a fantastic season.

2. Minnesota | The power forward position is one of the stronger positions for the Timberwolves. Minnesota will rely on Taj Gibson to lead the way. Gibson is a proven guy who has spent nine years in the league.

Taj Gibson has been successful everywhere he has been, but last year in Minnesota was by far his best. Minnesota will need Gibson to improve even more this season for the team to be successful. Considering the lack of talent on this roster Gibson might have his biggest chance to shine of his career.

3. Denver | Paul Millsap has been a solid scorer over the course of his twelve-year career. Even though he is aging, I don’t expect that to change very much this season. Denver should be pretty solid at the power forward position with Millsap and Trey Lyles.

Lyles is a young guy who started his career in Utah, but played last season in Denver. Averaging nearly 10 points per game in only 19 minutes, it seems as if Denver should have no problems allowing Paul Millsap to get some rest. It’s safe to say that the Nuggets will have a scoring threat with either of these guys on the court.

4. Oklahoma City | The Thunder have an interesting set of power forwards on their roster. Patrick Patterson is a guy who can play inside, and pop out to hit shots from the corner. He didn’t show great consistency last season, but the Thunder organization is hoping for a much better year from the veteran.

The other power forward on the roster is Jerami Grant. Grant may be the most athletic power forward in the NBA. Unfortunately, he is plagued with the same issue as Patterson in the fact that he couldn’t find any consistency. Grant is the better scorer between the two, and the far better rim protector on defense. It’ll be interesting to see who gets the start for Oklahoma City this season.

5. Portland | As I’ve stated before, Portland is a very guard heavy team, which means there’s a lack of talent often times in other positions. In my opinion, the Trail-Blazers do not have a solid option for the power forward position. The team will rely on Al-Farouq Aminu to take up the responsibilities of the position.

Aminu has shown throughout his career that he is a capable scorer. The only issue is that he often times disappears in certain game situations. Considering the amount of scoring that will come from the guard positions on the roster, I expect a quiet year from Aminu. However, if they can find a way to work the ball to him, it would help out this team tremendously.

Trent

1. Oklahoma City | Jerami Grant serves as a promise for OKC’s lineup, providing an offensive presence down low to accompany Adams. Grant has seemingly improved every season he has played, and he averaged 8.4 PPG and 4.0 RPG a season ago.

Patrick Patterson, who averaged 4.0 PGG last year, will look to contribute more on offense, but he still serves as a solid back-up to Grant.

2. Portland | Although the Blazers have holes in their lineup to fill, the PF position is a strength for a team who finished 3rd in the West. Aminu, who averaged just under 10 PPG a season ago, appears to fit well with Portland,  and he heavily contributed on the boards with 7.6 RPG. If Aminu can average a double-double this upcoming season, look out for Portland to matchup well with top Western Conference teams.

Meyers Leonard has proved himself as a force in this league. While his numbers aren’t pretty, his presence on the court seemingly sparks the Blazers, and his defensive efforts will accompany Aminu at the PF position.

3. Denver | Millsap’s production dropped after his first season in Denver, but he is still a productive PF and will return to the lineup for the upcoming season. In his last year in ATL, two seasons ago, he averaged 18.1 PPG with 7.7 RPG. In his campaign with Denver a year ago, he saw a drop in scoring with 14.5 PPG and rebounding with 6.0 RPG.

Trey Lyles still needs to prove himself in this league, but he has shown flashes of potential, and he can progress his game under Milsap.

4. Utah | Derrick Favors and the Utah Jazz find themselves at number four on my list, but my mind certainly be changed as the season progresses. Derrick Favors had himself a productive year at PF for Utah after averaging 12 PPG and 7 RPG.

The return of Jae Crowder brings depth to the PF position, as Crowder’s outside shooting abilities bring an upside to his game for Utah. The depth at PF for Utah could potentially bring them back to a deep playoff run this upcoming season.

5. Minnesota | Tom Thibodeau’s reformed Bulls team sees a familiar face in Taj Gibson at PF. Since his small tenure in OKC, Gibson’s value has seemingly dropped in production. At this point in his career, he would be a better fit coming off the bench. Although his production has dropped, his veteran presence around a young Minnesota team will certainly be valued.

Minnesota brought in another veteran alongside Gibson in Anthony Tolliver, who has scored a career 6.5 PPG.

Zack

1. Utah |  The Jazz have one of the best big men in the division in Rudy Gobert, but they’re not too shabby at the power forward position either. Derrick Favors is a guy who many have questioned whether or not he can co-exist with Gobert, but he’s been a solid contributor on both ends of the floor.

Backing up Favors is Jae Crowder, who we saw dip in production after leaving Boston. Crowder is still a viable option, especially when you need stops on the defensive end.

2. Denver | Paul Millsap is arguably the best power forward in the division. The four-time NBA All-Star missed much of the season with a wrist injury, but in his return, he was able to produce. He might not be at the level that he once was, but he is still able to perform at a high level.

Trey Lyles will serve as a solid backup who has plenty to learn from Millsap. Lyles averaged 9.9 PPG and 4.8 RPG a season ago, and if he can continue to produce like that off the bench, he will find himself on the court plenty.

3. Oklahoma City | Patrick Patterson and Jerami Grant are both in the conversation to be the staring power forward for the Thunder, and while they both offer different sets of skills, either one will be a positive impact wherever he plays.

Patterson is a seasoned veteran who is a solid shooter from deep, and he is capable of defending multiple positions, while Grant is the younger, more athletic of the two. Patterson may earn the start due to his experience, but Grant will likely find himself on the court more often in crunch time.

4. Portland | The Blazers come in fourth for me, but that’s no slam on their big men. Al-Farouq Aminu is a solid contributor playing alongside one of the best guard duos in the league, and he saw a major boom in his production in the first round of the playoffs last season.

Meyers Leonard is nothing special as a backup, but he gets the job done, so he finds himself with a fair amount of playing time.

5. Minnesota | Taj Gibson is still one of the more consistent power forwards in the league, but as he begins his tenth season, it’s fair to question how long he can continue at the same rate. He played in all 82 games for the Timberwolves a year ago, and Tom Thibodeau doesn’t exactly let his players rest, so health could become an issue.

Behind Gibson is Anthony Tolliver, who has been in the league even longer than Gibson, which gives Minnesota a lot of experience at power forward, but not much youth.

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