This is the second of a five part series in which I analyze the 2016 NBA Draft by position. As a source I used DraftExpress's mock draft and for statistics I used both DraftExpress and Sports-Reference. All statistics used are for the prior college basketball season. Because of the lack of advanced statistic information and difference in playstyle for international leagues, I have only included NCAA players in this analysis. For information such as player position, school, height, etc. please click on the player's name and it will take you to their DraftExpress page with all that information.
The position of Power Forward is becoming more and more nebulous in today's NBA. The traditional PF of year's past is more like what some would consider a Center today, with PFs today being asked to play more and more on the perimeter. Take Kings' forward Quincy Acy for example. If he had entered the NBA back in the 90s, he would be asked to focus on rebounds and scoring near the basket. Now though, while Acy still brings that frenetic energy and defense, he's also expanded his game to include a reliable three point shot, something that will make him immensely more valuable to teams in a league that has become all about spacing.
Versatility is key in today's Power Forwards. Guys like Draymond Green, the Morris twins, Serge Ibaka, Paul Millsap, etc. are able to provide a little bit of everything and can guard multiple positions to boot. Willie Cauley-Stein was drafted in part for his versatility and ability to fit with DeMarcus Cousins.
In this year's draft class, there aren't a ton of stellar PF prospects, but the highest rated ones are the ones that provide the broadest skillsets and room for growth.
|Marquese Chriss||Fr.||24.9||13.8||.530||.350 (21/60)||.685||5.4||0.8||0.9||1.6||2.0||4.1|
|Henry Ellenson||Fr.||33.5||17.0||.446||.288 (30/104)||.749||9.7||1.8||0.8||1.5||2.4||2.5|
|Domantas Sabonis||So.||31.9||17.6||.611||.357 (5/14)||.769||11.8||1.8||0.6||0.9||2.6||3.2|
|Robert Carter||Jr.||26.4||12.3||.554||.333 (26/78)||.740||6.9||1.9||0.8||1.3||2.2||2.8|
|Ben Bentil||So.||34.2||21.1||.462||.329 (52/158)||.782||7.7||1.1||0.9||1.0||1.9||2.8|
|Pascal Siakam||So.||34.6||20.2||.538||.200 (3/15)||.678||11.6||1.7||1.0||2.2||2.0||2.7|
|Joel Bolomboy||Sr.||31.5||17.1||.573||.364 (20/55)||.697||12.6||1.1||0.7||1.2||2.4||2.2|
|Perry Ellis||Sr.||30.3||16.9||.531||.438 (28/64)||.785||5.8||1.3||0.5||0.5||1.5||1.7|
|Kyle Wiltjer||Sr.||33.6||20.4||.491||.437 (90/206)||.857||6.3||1.5||0.4||0.8||2.1||1.8|
I debated on whether or not to include Marquese Chriss and Ben Simmons as Power Forwards or not. In the end I decided to put Simmons as a wing player and Chriss as a Power Forward since Simmons spent so much of his time handling the ball and acting as a playmaker, something that's unusual for a Power Forward to do. That doesn't mean Simmons can't or won't play that position in the NBA, but it's like calling LeBron James a Power Forward when he's really a Point Guard in a Power Forward's body.
Chriss on the other hand, doesn't have near the playmaking ability you'd like to see out of a wing. Part of that is due to Chriss' unusual development; He's only played basketball competitively for a few years now, including his lone year at Washington. Still, for someone so inexperienced it's easy to see why there's some hype around him. He's incredibly athletic, and uses that athleticism to create space for himself on offense and to block shots at a high rate for a forward. He also showed that he has some shooting range too although he didn't shoot all that many threes last season, but it's a promising sign going forward.
Chriss is a horrific defensive rebounder for his position though, with his defensive rebound rate more like that of a Point Guard than a Power Forward. His offensive rebound rate is ok, so what this seems to indicate to me is a lack of strength and a lack of boxing out. He also fouled at an extremely high rate, which to me seems to indicate using his hands to defend rather than his feet, and his inexperience could prove costly on that end of the floor. Another bad sign is his low Free Throw Rate. Someone as athletic as Chriss should be attacking the basket and getting to the line, and I'm not seeing that in the numbers. Chriss could be a fantastic player with the proper development, but he's going to need a few more years of seasoning and the right environment to get there. I'm not sure Sacramento's the place for that.
Henry Ellenson is more of a stretch four that we see in today's NBA but for a player that shoots as many threes as he does, it's a little disappointing that he only hit about 29% of them. It will be harder for him to get his shot off in the NBA and the distance is longer, so he'll definitely have to keep working at it before he can become a reliable option from outside. He'll also have to make do with a much lower usage rate in the NBA and be more efficient as a result.
Domantas Sabonis is more of an old-school Power Forward and really would play more like an undersized Center in the NBA. He's a fantastic rebounder and also one of the better passing big men in this group. I think he'd be rated much higher if the NBA wasn't starting to faze out back to the basket operators like Sabonis. It's not like Sabonis doesn't have any range as he hit a respectable amount of jumpers in his sophomore season and even some college threes, but he's going to have to do some more work to hit the NBA three. It's on the other end of the floor that Sabonis will likely need to improve the most in order to become more than a rotational player in the league. His block rate isn't good and he'll likely need to play next to a rim protector to be most effective. Still, for a team that wants a good low post option with room to grow, Sabonis would be a good pick up.
Cheick Diallo is all about potential since we didn't see much of him in Kansas last year. He's too small to play Center, but he's athletic enough that he still does very well on the boards and has easily the highest block rate among his peers (and even compares well in that category to most Centers in this year's draft). Another project player, Diallo would be a good pickup for a veteran team in need of some defense from their big men.
Brice Johnson is the best of the rest, an efficient scorer and solid rebounder who handled a lot of the offense for a North Carolina team that saw some tough competition. The fact that Johnson was able to score so well against that competition bodes well for his potential in the NBA, although like Chriss I would have liked to see him get to the line a bit more, especially since he's such a good Free Throw shooter. Johnson has the highest steal rate in this group, signaling active hands on defense, and he's athletic enough to hold his own in the NBA. I could see him being one of the better rookies next year if he's on a team that gives him some opportunity.
Nobody else really stands out too much for me. Joel Bolomboy is the best rebounder of the group, and Robert Careter is the best passer, although he has a high turnover rate as well. Kyle Wiltjer and Perry Ellis are both stretch fours that might be worth a look at with the 59th pick in the draft, as both have shown they can reliably hit the outside shot. They're essentially better versions of Duje Dukan.
Coming Tomorrow: Small Forwards