• Joe Keller

Top 5 Power Forwards in the NBA Draft

Portis ap.jpg

*Photo via AP

1.Kristaps Porzingis (19, 6’11, 220lbs, Latvia, Projected 5-8)

The Latvian power forward thought he was ready for the NBA last season entering into the 2014 draft as an 18 year old, and was projected to go 15th overall. He received interest from the Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia 76er’s (according to draftexpress.com.) He pulled out of the draft and has seen his stock rise to a potential lottery pick in this year’s draft, thanks to his solid play over in Spain, averaging 11 points and four and a half rebounds. He has tools NBA executives want, with his ability to hit jumpers coming off screens and spaces the floor as a big man. He has the ability to be a knockdown catch and shoot player, and defensively he is an asset being able to step out and guard smaller players on the pick and roll while also defending the paint. At his size, he has a lot of versatility both offensively and defensively that translates well into the new NBA style. Some flaws are his awareness, he is not a great passer, he is still learning the game and he does not have prototypical size for an NBA big man. Yes he is almost 7 feet but he is to light to bang around in the post which is why he takes more mid-range shots and avoids contact down low.

2.Bobby Portis (20, 6’11, 246, Arkansas, Sophomore, Projected 12-16)

Last year’s SEC Player of the Year averaged 17.5 points and nearly nine rebounds per game this season for the Razorbacks. Bobby Portis is a high motor guy who isn’t the most athletic but can run the floor effectively, and rolls to the hoop well off pick and rolls. He is also a beast on the offensive boards, half of his rebound totals from last season were on the offensive glass. He uses his high energy to get to the rim but lacks the touch or ability to finish there consistently and doesn’t have a great back to the basket game, but does have a solid jump-shot for a big man. Defensively he has the drive and ability to guard big men down low and also step up on guards without being a liability. He will have to get stronger and work on his post-game, but he should be able to contribute at the next level.

3.Trey Lyles (19, 6’10, 242lbs, Kentucky, Freshman, Projected 12-17)

Scouts and executives are basing Lyles on physical talent, he was subject to the platoon system at Kentucky, and a part of one of the deepest frontcourts seen in some time. He had limited playing time and was also playing out of position at small forward most of the year with the depth of the Wild Cat front court, which led to inconsistent play at times and just eight points and five rebounds per game this season. He doesn’t have elite athleticism and has had problems staying in shape, but has great size and skill for the position. He plays a more old school power forward making plays in the post, with great finishing ability and gets fouled a high percent of his drives. He has the ability to take his defender to the hoop off the dribble and finish. He is not a good jump shooter but continues to work on it. He has the size and strength to be a solid force down low on both ends of the floor.

4.Kevon Looney (19, 6’9, 222lbs, UCLA, Freshman, projected 16-19)

Looney averaged 11.4 points and nine rebounds per game in his only season with a Bruins team that didn’t have many other players besides himself. Scouts got a good look at Looney this year as UCLA ran most of their offense through him. He was the most talented player on a team without much talent who made a surprising run to the Sweet 16. He isn’t a great athlete, not quick or explosive, he has an awkward body type for the NBA, but good size. However, there is no doubt this kid will give an NBA team is all at the next level. He is a monster on the glass and a majority of his points come from offensive put backs. He can spot up, finish in the pick and roll and runs the floor well for a big man. His heart and hustle will give him a chance to make an impact at the next level, along with being a floor spacer.( hitting 41 percent of his threes this season) He lacks the frame to be an ideal post defender, and for whatever reason isn’t as good a rebounder on the defensive end as the offensive, which makes me think he has a lack of defensive awareness. He will work his tail off to fix his weaknesses, although they might not be fixable, he has a shot to be a solid contributor at the next level.

5.Montrezl Harrell (21, 6’8, 253, Louisville, Junior, Projected 19-24)

The Elder of the group, Harrell decided to forgo his senior year after three years at Louisville, he averaged 15.7 points and nine rebounds per game this past year. He doesn’t have great size for an NBA big man at 6’8, but he is strong and explosive and runs the floor very well. He improved his jump shot while at Louisville making it a part of his game, but it will need work to be effective at the next level. His game is based of driving and his athleticism. He will be a solid NBA defender making up for his lack of height with strength and high energy. He is not afraid to take on a bigger players than himself. He is projected to be a late first rounder, because of three years at Louisville with pretty much the same amount of production each year. at this point you know what you are getting with Harrell, and it should result into a high energy guy off the bench.



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