The Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love has virtually been unstoppable this season, so it’s no surprise he is No. 1 in my latest power forward rankings. The big man is averaging an outstanding 25.1 points, 13 rebounds and 2.4 treys per game, giving him around the same numbers he accomplished two seasons ago before last year’s injury-shortened campaign. His field goal percentage is actually .011 percent better than in ’11-12, as is his three-point shooting. But enough about Love — his status as atop the power forward rankings, and as one of the best fantasy basketball options around, isn’t likely to change any time soon. Some newcomers have made it into the top 20 of this week’s rankings and deserve some praise.
Jared Sullinger has had a few ups and downs this season — mainly to a nagging injury and a few games where Celtics’ coach Brad Stevens gave him “a little time to reflect” — but overall he is proving to be one of the steals of the 2012 NBA draft, and likely your fantasy team as well. After putting up a 17.5-point, 9.2-rebound year at Ohio State, he slid to 21st in the draft amid injury concerns. Following offseason back surgery, Sullinger has come back with a vengeance this year, posting 13.1 points and 7.8 boards in 40 games for the C’s. His demotion to the bench may have lit a fire under his behind, because he absolutely blew up vs. Toronto this past Wednesday, scoring 25 points and hauling in a career-high 20 rebounds. He’s been playing just 26.5 minutes per game, but expect that number to increase as the rebuilding Celtics start to give their young players more burn. He clocks in as my 18th-ranked power forward, but he could keep rising if he continues to post numbers like he had against the Raptors.
The rotation is a mess in Milwaukee. Coach Larry Drew doesn’t seem to have any sense of how to run a team and not much has changed in his methods since his time in Atlanta. Fantasy owners have been left puzzled all season as to why certain Bucks players get adequate minutes one night, but find themselves riding the bench the next. Even shooting guard O.J. Mayo expressed his concern with the situation telling the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, ”It’s hard to get a rhythm when you don’t know what’s going to happen for you night in and night out. You may get 6 minutes, 30 minutes.” One of the few players who has seemed impervious to Drew’s mix-and-match lineups is PF/C John Henson. And, yes, you may be saying Henson should be listed under the “center” designation, but since he came back from his ankle injury, Drew has been using both he and Larry Sanders alongside one another quite a bit, with Sanders assuming the role of center. In fact, during Saturday’s loss to Houston, Henson and Sanders were both on the floor for the final 10:27 of the fourth quarter, according to PopcornMachine.net. Henson has been one of those under-the-radar guys all season, but 12.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocks are hard to ignore. His 19.4 usage rate qualifies for 17th among centers, which is darn good for a guy who’s come off the bench in 18 of 32 games. He’s my No. 17 power forward this week, but like Sullinger, Henson could see his minutes increase as the Bucks become more and more likely to finish with the league’s worst record
Each week I will be publishing my player rankings from the point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward and center positions, as well as an overall rankings piece. These are “rest of season” rankings and express my feelings towards each player going forward. A player’s ranking can change at any moment — whether it be due to ineffectiveness, an injury or even a trade. Since each fantasy league has different scoring, these rankings will try to encompass all formats and give a general overall assessment of each player.
Without any more delay, here are my fantasy basketball power forward rankings for this week: