B/R NBA 200: Ranking the Top Power Forwards of 2013-14 Season

Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistMay 7, 2014

B/R NBA 200: Ranking the Top Power Forwards of 2013-14 Season

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    USA TODAY

    While power forward may not be as deep as some other positions—namely point guard and center—it's hard to argue with the depth of talent at the top. LaMarcus Aldridge, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, Dirk Nowitzki, Zach Randolph and a few more players who consistently line up at the 4 have all established themselves as household names. 

    And that's with some notable players like Anthony Davis qualifying as combo big men, not strict power forwards. 

    Aldridge, Griffin and Love have spent the year battling it out for positional supremacy, but which one finished the campaign on top? Could another standout power forward have broken into the elite trio?

    The NBA 200 metric identifies the players who performed best during the 2013-14 season. Potential doesn't matter, and neither does reputation. It's all about what happened this season and this season only. All positions are graded using the same criteria (though rim protection was added into the equation for bigger positions), but the categories are weighted differently to reflect changing roles, with max scores in parentheses: 

    • Scoring (20)
    • Non-Scoring Offense: Facilitating (5) and Off-Ball Offense (10)
    • Defense: On-Ball (15), Off-Ball (15) and Rim Protection (10)
    • Rebounding (15)
    • Intangibles: Conduct (5) and Durability (5)

    For a full explanation of how these scores were determined, go here. And do note these aren't your father's classification schemes for each position. Players' spots were determined not by playing style, but by how much time they spent at each position throughout the season, largely based on data from 82games.com, and we're expanding the traditional five to include four combo positions.

    In the case of ties, the order is determined in subjective fashion by ranking the more coveted player in the higher spot. That was done by a voting committee comprised of myself, NBA Lead Writer D.J. Foster, National NBA Featured Columnist Grant Hughes, NBA Lead Writer Josh Martin and Associate NBA Editor Ethan Norof

     

    Note: All statistics come from Basketball-Reference.comNBA.com's SportVU Databases and Synergy Sports (subscription required). They're current as of March 28. 

Coming Soon

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Below, you can find the publication schedule for the rest of the NBA 200 series. Remember that we're not using traditional positions, but rather subdividing those to account for the positionless schemes used by many NBA teams. 

    • Combo bigs: Monday, May 12
    • Centers: Wednesday, May 14
    • Combo forwards: Friday, May 16
    • Top 200 Players: Monday, May 19

     

20. Patrick Patterson, Toronto Raptors

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    Scoring

    10/20

    Even though his playing time dipped slightly, Patrick Patterson was more comfortable as a scorer with the Toronto Raptors. He showed off a workable three-point stroke that helped him stretch the court, and his mid-range game was on point. The combined efforts made him a fairly efficient shooter, even if he wasn't a reliable source of volume scoring. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    8/15

    Patterson isn't a liability with the ball in his hands. He can successfully swing the ball around the court and pass out of double-teams, even though he isn't a dynamic creator for his teammates. Additionally, the constant threat of a jumper does a nice job spacing the court when he's heating up. 

    Defense

    28/40

    Pulling the Kentucky product out to the perimeter is just fine. He has the lateral quickness and instincts to hang with more versatile forwards, but asking him to protect the rim isn't usually going to result in a rebound opportunity. 

    Rebounding

    9/15

    Speaking of rebounding, Patterson's effectiveness on the glass declined once he moved north of the border. He's still a solid per-minute rebounder, but he doesn't tend to do anything that other 6'9" power forwards couldn't. 

    Intangibles

    9/10

    Though he does tend to play through minor injuries when doctors will let him do so, Patterson has had to deal with the ill effects of quite a few blows in 2013-14. A bruised left knee and a broken nose were more minor, but a sprained UCL in his right elbow did knock him out of the lineup for a fairly lengthy stretch. 

    Overall

    64/100

    Patterson is by no means a glamorous player, but he's a workhorse who plays within his own limitations. The development of a more potent three-point stroke in Toronto helped turn his 2013-14 campaign around, and defenses have to pay attention to him when his jumper is starting to heat up. 

19. Andrew Nicholson, Orlando Magic

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    John Raoux

    Scoring

    11/20

    Andrew Nicholson has largely been used as a secondary option for the Orlando Magic when he's on the court. He rolls to the basket after setting screens, spots up to wait for mid-range kick-outs and posts up only when every other option has been exhausted. Efficiency is still a work in progress, but Nicholson has shown a wide range of skills when he's called upon, especially because he can create for himself in the post. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    5/15

    The second-year big man only makes minor contributions when he's not scoring. His screens are solid—though sometimes lackluster—and he's a decent court-spacing option when he spots up from mid-range. Those looks don't typically go in, but he's good enough as a shooter that defenses at least have to contest them. 

    Defense

    31/40

    Nicholson can be tortured in one-on-one situations away from the basket, but he's actually been one of the better rim-protecting power forwards during his time in the Association. As a sophomore, he was only fairly involved around the tin, but he did a tremendous job holding opponents to a low shooting percentage in that area. 

    Rebounding

    8/15

    At 6'9", 250 pounds, Nicholson should be able to hold his box-outs better than he does. He can be bullied on the glass, though his size does help him pull down a solid number of rebounds each game. 

    Intangibles

    10/10

    Nicholson has remained healthy throughout the 2013-14 season, and he's kept his mouth shut if and when he's had any complaints about the Orlando organization. No negatives necessary in this section. 

    Overall

    65/100

    Even though he received slightly less playing time as a sophomore than he did during his rookie season, Nicholson seems to be thought of highly within the Magic offices. And for good reason, because he's shown off a well-rounded game that seems primed for a breakout if he's ever made into more of a featured player. 

18. Brandon Bass, Boston Celtics

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    Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    13/20

    Though Brandon Bass isn't typically going to threaten the 20-point plateau, he's still a valuable offensive player because of his most marketable skill. Few players in the NBA are better than this power forward at creating—and hitting—mid-range opportunities. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    7/15

    Bass may be quite adept at figuring out how to create space with the ball in his hands, but he's not a special distributor. The skills don't extend that far, as he's more of a black hole than anything else when he gains possession. 

    Defense

    27/40

    As a perimeter defender, Bass does a fine job. He's better off the ball than he is on it, but at least he's more than competent in both those situations. Protecting the rim is a different story, though, as the Boston Celtics can't afford to leave him as the lone defender in the painted area. 

    Rebounding

    9/15

    Though Bass doesn't pull down an inordinate number of rebounds during any given game, the ones he does come away with tend to be rather impressive. The stretch 4 does a great job working through contact on the glass, and well over 30 percent of his successful rebounding ventures come when another player is in the vicinity. 

    Intangibles

    10/10

    Even when Bass was a constant fixture in trade rumors right before the deadline, he kept playing hard and stayed out of trouble, both on and off the court. He's not the type of player who creates many distractions throughout the season. 

    Overall

    66/100

    Bass essentially revealed his ceiling during the 2013-14 season. Even with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce on the Brooklyn Nets, even with Rajon Rondo missing much of the year, he wasn't able to step up and become a key offensive contributor, instead filling the exact same role he'd taken in the past. 

17. Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    13/20

    Switching hands looked like it would help Tristan Thompson during preseason action, but he ended up regressing as a scorer. Instead of continuing to expand his range and shooting more from mid-range zones, the Texas product missed those looks and continued doing the bulk of his damage from right around the basket. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    6/15

    Even though he doesn't boast any semblance of a working jumper, Thompson is a dangerous roll man who complicates pick-and-roll sets because defenses have to worry about both options when he cuts to the hoop. If the finesse game ever catches up with that skill, he'll be even more dangerous. 

    Defense

    24/40

    Thompson is an adequate on-ball defender and a decent off-ball stopper. But when he's asked to protect the hoop from close quarters...uh oh. The Cleveland Cavaliers generally try to have him avoid doing so, but it's an unmitigated disaster when he's thrust into that situation. To put things in perspective, there are two other Thompsons (Jason and Klay) who hold opponents to a field-goal percentage over 10 percent lower.

    Rebounding

    14/15

    At least he's a marvelous rebounder, one who can play on the same team as Anderson Varejao and still pull down more than his fair share of boards. A 6'8" power forward who plays like he's much bigger, Thompson can generally be counted on for right around that double-digit mark. 

    Intangibles

    10/10

    Even though the Cavs were completely dysfunctional at times, the negative headlines never seemed to revolve around Thompson. Other players were at the center of the storm, not the power forward, who quietly went about his business while remaining healthy. 

    Overall

    67/100

    Based on his work ethic and the improvements he'd already shown during his first few seasons in the NBA, Thompson should've been right up there in the hunt for Most Improved Player. Instead, he regressed, failing to show any defensive development and doing nothing to prevent the screeching halt of his offensive improvement. 

16. Josh McRoberts, Charlotte Bobcats

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    Brock Williams-Smith/Getty Images

    Scoring

    10/20

    Josh McRoberts is never going to stand out as a scorer, as he's primarily limited to spotting up for perimeter attempts with the occasional athletic finish at the rim. Given that he spends right around 30 minutes per game on the court, it's not exactly a positive that he routinely struggles to score more than 10 points. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    12/15

    This is where McRoberts' offensive value stems from, as he both stretches out the defense with his perimeter shooting ability and creates for his teammates as well as almost any power forward. Other 4s could learn a lot by watching the 27-year-old keep his head up and his eyes in constant motion. 

    Defense

    28/40

    Sometimes I wonder if McRoberts is aware that protecting the rim is part of his job. He doesn't spend much time there, preferring instead to patrol areas outside of the paint, but when he's guarding the basket, opponents barely shoot worse than the league average. And that league average includes uncontested shots in transition. 

    Rebounding

    7/15

    McRoberts really doesn't use brute strength in his game, instead relying on sneaky hops and a boatload of finesse skills. That applies to the boards as well, as it's rare to see him completing a physical box-out and coming away with a tough, contested rebound. 

    Intangibles

    10/10

    Healthy and enthusiastic throughout the year, McRoberts has given absolutely no reason to be docked even a single point in this category. 

    Overall

    67/100

    A veteran who knows his role, McRoberts has just about maximized his talent. He knows his game and he sticks to it, thriving when he's shooting from the outside and involving his more athletically inclined teammates on a regular basis. 

15. Ryan Anderson, New Orleans Pelicans

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    David Zalubowski

    Scoring

    17/20

    Ryan Anderson finished his shortened season averaging nearly 20 points per game, which is easy to forget about since he didn't qualify for the scoring title and wasn't able to suit up after Jan. 3. He can absolutely stroke the ball from the perimeter, and his only weakness from the outside is an inability to create his own shots. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    10/15

    Good luck finding a stretch 4 as potent as Anderson in the NBA. Few players force defenses to respect their shots more, which makes him the constant subject of attention when he's roaming the perimeter. Unfortunately, his score is tempered by the fact that he's a terrible distributor. 

    Defense

    26/40

    At least he has size. Though Anderson often plays flat-footed defense and conserves energy for his bursts around the perimeter while trying to establish positioning for a three-point attempt, he has a 6'10" frame that allows him to protect the rim and body up against back-to-the-basket players. 

    Rebounding

    9/15

    Anderson has never been a standout rebounder, especially given his size. But he's remained a serviceable one, especially because he grabs so many of his boards in contested fashion. This season, no player averaging more than six rebounds per game had a higher percentage come with another player in the vicinity. 

    Intangibles

    6/10

    If only he'd stayed healthy. Anderson missed the beginning of the season with a chip fracture in his right toe, and then he suffered a scary cervical stinger Jan. 3 against the Boston Celtics. The resulting neck surgery knocked him out for the year. 

    Overall

    68/100

    Had Anderson remained healthy throughout the season instead of suffering fluke injuries, he likely would've found himself ranked significantly higher. The scoring might have regressed slightly, but he'd be more effective on the boards and defensively. My best guess is that a 5-of-5 in durability—as opposed to the 1-of-5 he received—would've pushed his overall score to about 75, which would leave him just shy of the top 10 at his position. 

14. Terrence Jones, Houston Rockets

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    14/20

    By cutting back on his three-point rate and attacking the basket more often, Terrence Jones was able to parlay his physical advantages into a solid set of scoring numbers. The former Kentucky standout almost completely cut mid-range attempts out of his game, instead thriving right around the basket while usually serving as the No. 4 scoring option for the Houston Rockets. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    5/15

    Jones hasn't emerged as the floor-spacing player he showed signs of becoming during his days at Lexington. He's also been scarily unable to create for his teammates, although he did manage to generate a few more assists than turnovers in 2013-14. 

    Defense

    30/40

    While Jones is a solid defensive option, he can struggle when he's asked to guard a player without the ball for a lengthy stretch. It's easy to leave the power forward in the dust, especially because he's prone to mental lapses that leaving him grasping at straws in the passing lanes. 

    Rebounding

    13/15

    Jones is an extremely physical player who in no way eschews contact after a missed shot. Instead, he actively seeks it out, knowing full well that he's capable of bodying a player out and putting himself in prime position to corral the rebound. 

    Intangibles

    10/10

    Although he had a reputation for pouting and failing to play with 100 percent effort during his collegiate career, Jones has been fully invested and engaged with the Rockets. He's made the most of his opportunity in the starting lineup, playing his tail off while staying healthy for most of the season. 

    Overall

    72/100

    Going into the 2013-14 season, power forward was viewed as a huge weakness for the Rockets. But thanks to the emergence of Jones, who provided them with solid defense, great rebounding and efficient offense, the hole was filled, thereby alleviating one of the roster's main worries. 

13. Markieff Morris, Phoenix Suns

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    Scoring

    17/20

    Apparently, a featured role suited Markieff Morris well, as he took his opportunity to thrive as a scorer and ran with it. No longer as dependent on a lackluster three-point stroke, Morris excelled from nearly every mid-range area, and he proved particularly adept at creating his own looks in isolation settings.  

    Non-Scoring Offense

    9/15

    Morris was an adequate facilitator who turned the ball over too frequently, but he did manage to stretch out defenses by virtue of those aforementioned mid-range skills. Whether he was spotting up or abusing a one-on-one situation and forcing weak-side help to come over, he wreaked havoc on defensive schemes. 

    Defense

    29/40

    A solid defender out on the perimeter and when faced with post-up situations from the blocks, Morris' biggest weakness on this end of the court comes when he's asked to play help defense and stop attempts right around the rim. He has the size to do so, but the instincts just aren't there yet. 

    Rebounding

    10/15

    Morris is a good rebounder, but he spends too much time away from the basket to post numbers that stand out against the backdrop of other power forwards. Putting him in the paint and in the vicinity of more missed shots would be taking away from his primary skills, and that's not what the Phoenix Suns want to do. 

    Intangibles

    10/10

    Even though he missed the season opener because he was suspended for throwing an elbow during a preseason game, Morris didn't exactly make many negative headlines. He was happy and healthy from start to finish—or at least it seemed that way. 

    Overall

    75/100

    It's not often that a single player puts himself in contention for two major awards (Most Improved Player and Sixth Man of the Year), but that's exactly what this Morris twin did during his breakout season with the Suns. Not only did he grow leaps and bounds on offense, but he provided some of the league's most valuable contributions off the bench. 

12. Taj Gibson, Chicago Bulls

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    Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

    Scoring

    14/20

    Taj Gibson has finally discovered his confidence on offense. Even though he's shooting about the same percentage from the field that he has in the past, he's attacked the basket and gotten to the charity stripe more frequently, and he's converting those looks at a higher rate than ever before. No longer is Gibson a defensive specialist. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    6/15

    While he's still not much of a spot-up threat, Gibson is an athletic roller with decent hands who forces defenses to collapse when he's heading toward the hoop. That said, he still needs a lot of improvement as a distributor, as he turns the ball over via a bad pass far too often for someone who doesn't actively create opportunities for the other members of the Chicago Bulls. 

    Defense

    33/40

    The Bulls are only slightly better on defense when Gibson plays, but that's largely due to who he spends time on the court with (e.g. not always Joakim Noah). He's as good a rim protector as you'll find at the position, and it's incredibly difficult to beat him while rolling to the basket or trying to post him up. 

    Rebounding

    12/15

    Extremely aggressive on the glass, Gibson does everything in his power to collect each and every missed shot. Sometimes, though, he's a little too aggressive, fighting for rebounds he's not going to end up with and wasting energy that would be better conserved for other situations. 

    Intangibles

    10/10

    A passionate player, Gibson is always going to give his team everything that he has in the tank. If he doesn't, Noah would probably have his head. On top of that, the power forward and ace sixth man has been remarkably healthy throughout the 2013-14 campaign. 

    Overall

    75/100

    In the past, Gibson was a high-upside player who specialized at defense. But this season, he developed quite a few offensive skills, showing both that his ceiling may ultimately be even higher than previously thought and that he's starting to get within reaching distance of it. 

11. Thaddeus Young, Philadelphia 76ers

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    Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    16/20

    Even though defenses were able to key in on him significantly more often in 2013-14, Thaddeus Young's three-point shot allowed him to remain a valuable scorer. There's still plenty of work to be done on that front, but the ability to knock down over one triple per game made the athletic forward into far more than a homing missile with sights set on the rim. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    11/15

    Between his aggressive cuts and willingness to fire away from downtown, Young emerged as a big-time off-ball threat for the reeling Philadelphia 76ers. He wasn't particularly effective night in and night out, but defenses were forced to pay him mind out of fear that he could explode and cement an embarrassing fate that night. 

    Defense

    29/40

    Young might have been overmatched against bigger power forwards, but his quickness and anticipation allowed him to look like a solid off-ball defender. Of course, the fact that Philly let him be overly aggressive and basically forget about playing defense at the rim helped as well. 

    Rebounding

    10/15

    Aggression seems to apply to every facet of Young's game. The glass was no exception, as he often went through other bodies en route to where a missed shot would end up, and he did everything in his power to create as many rebounding opportunities as possible. 

    Intangibles

    10/10

    There were rumors early in the year that Young wanted out of Philadelphia. Then there were rumors that he felt left behind when Spencer Hawes and Evan Turner were traded away at the deadline. But through it all, Young kept playing hard and staying healthy. 

    Overall

    76/100

    Though the Georgia Tech product couldn't lead his team to victory after victory as a featured option, he proved that he was more than a transition/cutting threat who played lackluster defense. His offensive repertoire expanded in 2013-14, and he proved that he's valuable enough to remain a part of what should be a quicker-than-expected rebuild in the City of Brotherly Love. 

10. Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets

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    Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images

    Scoring

    16/20

    Kenneth Faried occasionally fancies himself a mid-range shooter, but he's at his best when fully committed to an unrelenting assault on the basket. During the second half of the season, the long-haired power forward suddenly had all the pieces click, and he became a valuable and efficient scorer for the Denver Nuggets, one who could get to the rim at will and finish a surprising number of post moves. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    10/15

    Faried is only an adequate passer, and calling him a stretch 4 would be a laughable statement. But he still has value when he's not scoring because he sets good, hard, solid screens while forcing defenses to account for his whereabouts at all times. Lose sight of Faried for even a split second, and you'll easily find him again. He'll just be hanging on the rim and getting ready to run back to the other end of the court. 

    Defense

    27/40

    This is still a work in progress for the Morehead State product, as he often seems disengaged when he's not guarding a man with his back to the basket or working in isolation. Faried is also a bit too aggressive when trying to block shots. He has some fantastic results (am I right, Dion Waiters?), but he also gets caught out of position and fouls too often when trying to protect the hoop. 

    Rebounding

    14/15

    Of course college basketball's leading rebounder over the past 40 years is going to be a quality player on the boards in the Association. His slightly undersized frame (6'8", 228 pounds) can prevent him from recording gaudy totals against bigger matchups, but he can generally be relied upon for right around eight or nine boards any given night. 

    Intangibles

    9/10

    Faried wasn't pleased with Brian Shaw's schemes early in the season, sometimes clashing internally with the first-year head coach. But he controlled himself, keeping that omnipresent smile plastered across his face, and eventually came around to his coach's teachings before creating any sort of actual problems. 

    Overall

    76/100

    After stagnating early in the year and making it seem as though he wasn't a part of Denver's future, Faried exploded after the All-Star break. It was perfect timing, as he's up for an extension soon and will presumably get a big one after flashing extremely high potential quite often down the stretch. If his defense can improve in 2014-15, you're looking at a guy who will rank far higher next year. 

9. David Lee, Golden State Warriors

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    Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    18/20

    David Lee has always been a great scorer out of the frontcourt, and that narrative rang true once more during his latest season with the Golden State Warriors. A crafty player with excellent footwork and phenomenal touch, Lee isn't exactly easy to contain when he gets the ball in a one-on-one situation. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    11/15

    That one-on-one ability makes it awfully difficult for defenses to throw double-teams at Stephen Curry or attempt to trap him. Schemes still have to prevent Lee from catching the ball on the elbow or one of the blocks, and they also have to make sure the power forward doesn't wreak havoc with his passing, limited as it may be this year. 

    Defense

    26/40

    Lee has been lambasted for his defensive efforts, and for good reason. He's a liability, one that must be hidden almost all the time, with the exception of one-on-one situations against less talented players. Sometimes he lucks into the right positioning, but Lee's sole defensive contributions come from his 6'9", 249-pound frame that can get in the way of a player trying to finish a close-range attempt. 

    Rebounding

    14/15

    Few players are better at using their bodies to hold position after a missed shot. Lee might not be able to sky over other rebound-seeking hands, but he always seems to come down with the boards. This was his worst rebounding season in years, and he was still one of the best out there. 

    Intangibles

    9/10

    Lee hasn't been able to stay healthy over the last few years, and at some point a series of fluke injuries needs to be considered something more than bad luck. Did we reach the tipping point when nerve inflammation in his right hamstring took him out of the Dubs lineup down the stretch? 

    Overall

    78/100

    If you're looking for a speciality star, Lee would qualify. He's a fantastic offensive commodity who excels on the boards, but he's absolutely awful when asked to play defense. Lee wouldn't thrive on just any team, because he needs to be played situationally while surrounded by the right teammates, ones who can cover up for his weaknesses. 

8. Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Layne Murdoch Jr./Getty Images

    Scoring

    14/20

    It's time that we stop expecting Serge Ibaka to develop into anything more than a good, but not great, scorer. Even though Russell Westbrook's prolonged absence gave him a chance to emerge as a terrific complementary option, Ibaka only slightly increased his output while coupling that with a corresponding decrease in efficiency. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    7/15

    Ibaka isn't a true stretch 4, but he's one of the more dangerous pick-and-pop threats in the Association, which always makes defenses think just a bit more. If only he could couple that with some advanced passing skills, as he's most certainly not one of the better playmakers on the Oklahoma City Thunder. 

    Defense

    33/40

    In terms of rim protection, Ibaka is fantastic. He rejects a lot of shots and does a tremendous job altering quite a few more. However, he's still learning how to rotate properly, and he can often be caught out of position or forced into biting for a fake, leaving him susceptible to a quick counter move. 

    Rebounding

    14/15

    For whatever reason, Ibaka doesn't get noticed for his rebounding. It's easier to focus on his jumper and shot-blocking prowess. Nonetheless, the Congolese power forward produces exceptional rebounding totals night in and night out, a statement that applies to both ends of the court. 

    Intangibles

    10/10

    A rather understated player who leaves his passion on the court, Ibaka rarely generates headlines, much less negative ones. He hasn't created any distractions for OKC, and he's stayed quite healthy throughout the 2013-14 season. 

    Overall

    78/100

    Ibaka still hasn't developed into a superstar, even though Westbrook's knees have given him chances to do so, but he's an extremely solid player on both ends of the court. The power forward knows his role, and he excels in it while making marginal improvements each and every year. 2013-14 was no exception. 

7. David West, Indiana Pacers

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    13/20

    If you watch enough Indiana Pacers games, you start to get the sense that David West doesn't really care about scoring. He does it because the team needs him to put up efficient points, but that's by no means his priority when he's out on the hardwood. And even still, West is able to catch everyone by surprise with a few crucially timed mid-range jumpers. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    9/15

    Few players set better screens than West. He's a physical behemoth, and he's going to deliver at least one bone-crunching pick each game that frees a ball-handler for so long he could take a quick nap before driving or pulling up. Though West's off-ball scoring isn't enough for him to crack double-digits in this category, he's a consummate professional who does all the little things on offense. 

    Defense

    35/40

    Whether he's getting into his defensive stance and moving sideways to stay in front of a smaller player or bodying up and taking the brunt of a post-up situation, to the extent that his chest is probably bruised after a game from the constant shouldering, West is a defensive asset. Age has sapped some of his athleticism and quickness, but his only true weakness comes when he's left alone in the paint and asked to protect the rim. 

    Rebounding

    12/15

    West is a solid rebounder. Nothing less, and nothing more. He doesn't go out of his way to make an impact on the boards, but he's a physical player who can work through contact quite nicely. 

    Intangibles

    10/10

    A leader through and through, this particular power forward has a no-nonsense attitude both on and off the court. He demands excellence from himself, and it's easy to get the feeling that the rest of his teammates are scared to give anything less than their best. 

    Overall

    79/100

    West doesn't care about statistics; he just concerns himself with wins. And that shows in his play, as he's one of the most likely players in the Association to remain perfectly content while doing all the little things on both ends of the court. Even if he's not the best player on the Pacers, he's the heart and soul of that team. 

6. Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies

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    Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    18/20

    Who says old-school, back-to-the-basket players are all gone? Zach Randolph spits on that notion, as he thrives when he's able to use his post moves and below-the-rim offense to put up points in bunches. Fantastic footwork, strength and touch allow Z-Bo to torture opposing defenses with regularity. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    7/15

    Randolph knows how to use his size, as he can set screens that give his teammates plenty of space. But he's not a stretch 4, and his passing is rather limited. Z-Bo does generate a couple of assists every game, but he's prone to making bad-pass turnovers and just losing his handle on the rock. 

    Defense

    29/40

    There are three main flaws in Randolph's defensive game: He doesn't show discipline on the blocks, he's not athletic enough to protect the rim adequately and he's too slow to close out on perimeter shooters when that situation arises. 

    Rebounding

    15/15

    Z-Bo was a dominant rebounder during the 2013-14 season, just as he's been throughout his prime. It's particularly difficult to keep him off the offensive glass, as he has a knack for darting in and gaining quick position after a shot goes up. 

    Intangibles

    10/10

    Not only has Randolph stayed out of trouble during his latest season with the Memphis Grizzlies, but he's even provided us with one of the best moments of the year—literally giving the shirt off his back to a young fan with special needs. If it were possible to earn bonus points, Z-Bo would get them. 

    Overall

    79/100

    Randolph's offensive role increased when Memphis was plagued by injuries, but the big man still had a season pretty comparable to his last few healthy go-rounds. He remains a dominant rebounder who can beat anyone on the blocks with his arsenal of post moves. 

5. Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks

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    Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

    Scoring

    17/20

    Going into the 2013-14 season, Paul Millsap had never even taken 40 three-point attempts in a single season, and his career-high in makes was just 13. But during his first year with the Atlanta Hawks, the power forward more than quintupled both of those numbers, and the development of his perimeter game opened up a whole new world of possibilities when he attacked the basket. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    9/15

    Millsap is a great passer at the 4, especially because he spends so much time with the ball in his hands. He's one of the few players at this position who can drive from the perimeter and keep his head up, seeking out open shooters as he attacks the basket. 

    Defense

    33/40

    Even though he's undersized at 6'8", 245 pounds, Millsap has a ginormous wingspan that allows him to insert himself in plays from behind and when moving laterally. He's an underrated defensive stopper, one who thrives on the ball, off the ball and at the rim. He doesn't stand out in any one area, but the combined product is rather impressive. 

    Rebounding

    13/15

    Those long arms help on the boards as well. Millsap is an aggressive player on the glass, though he's not as good at boxing out offensive rebounds as many of the other power forwards receiving impressive scores in this category. However, he's so involved after a missed shot that his numbers are still noteworthy. 

    Intangibles

    10/10

    A right elbow injury and a sore knee did keep Millsap out of the Hawks lineup for a handful of games in 2013-14, but he didn't miss enough action to be docked a point here. After all, he missed only single-digit outings and did what he could to fight through injury and lead a team in desperate need of, well, a leader. 

    Overall

    82/100

    Millsap was never granted an opportunity to be the man with the Utah Jazz, but he was in Atlanta as soon as Al Horford went down with a torn pectoral muscle. Granted every opportunity he asked for, the power forward showed off his versatile game and established himself as both a legitimate All-Star and one of the best bargains in the NBA. 

4. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks

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    Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    20/20

    Please, point out the weakness in Dirk Nowitzki's scoring game now that the 35-year-old power forward is averaging well over 20 points per game and showing off a true mastery of that one-footed flamingo fadeaway. He's an elite mid-range shooter, a deadly perimeter marksman and almost a sure thing at the charity stripe. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    13/15

    Do you actually think opposing coaches fail to mention Dirk when drawing up the pregame schemes before a matchup with the Dallas Mavericks? Of course not, as his off-ball work makes him one of the focal points for any defense. He's also an adept passer, though he doesn't stand out in that area. 

    Defense

    31/40

    With Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon running the show for Dallas, Nowitzki can no longer act like yet another liability. He's not being hidden as often, and being forced into playing defense has been good for his level of performance. Though he doesn't protect the rim well, Dirk has veteran savvy in off-ball situations and a distinct size advantage when being worked against in the post. 

    Rebounding

    9/15

    There's nothing to complain about when a player grabs over six rebounds per game...unless he's a 7-footer. Dirk hasn't been a rebounding standout in about half a decade, and he's only getting worse as age continues to drain away his already limited athleticism. 

    Intangibles

    10/10

    If you look up the term "consummate professional" in the dictionary, you might see the German big man's face staring right back at you. And unlike last season, when the first surgery of his career knocked him out of action at the beginning of the year, Nowitzki stayed healthy this year. 

    Overall

    83/100

    Nowitzki looked like he was entering into a state of decline during the 2012-13 season, but it's abundantly clear that was the result of an injury recovery. Throughout the follow-up campaign, the Dallas superstar has bounced back in stellar fashion, regaining every bit of offensive prowess he's boasted in years past. 

3. LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers

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    Dave Tulis

    Scoring

    19/20

    LaMarcus Aldridge is a scoring stud, especially with that turnaround, fadeaway mid-range jumper that only Anthony Davis can block. But while he puts up volume numbers that make other power forwards green with envy, he's not always the most efficient shooter, as his field-goal percentage hovers in the mid-40s and isn't aided by three-point shooting or anything special from the charity stripe. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    11/15

    Leaving Aldridge open in-between the paint and the three-point arc is just dumb. Defenses have to account for his mid-range game, even if they do so at the expense of some other facet within the Portland Trail Blazers' deadly offense. Additionally, the big man is a solid distributor, particularly because he's such a turnover-averse player. 

    Defense

    33/40

    Aldridge's defense allowed Portland to focus on shutting down the perimeter, leaving him and Robin Lopez in one-on-one situations. It kept him involved, but Rip City also did so knowing full well that he was only an adequate defensive player, not a true standout on the ball or when protecting the rim. 

    Rebounding

    15/15

    This was an intriguing development for the big man from Texas. His career high was 9.1 rebounds per game, set in 2012-13, but he spent much of the season averaging more than 11 boards per contest, even though his playing time actually decreased. 

    Intangibles

    9/10

    Only health came into play here. Aldridge was just trucking along until a lower back contusion knocked him out of the lineup for a significant period of the closing stretch. But other than that, he was a model citizen in Portland, putting all the trade rumors from this past offseason well behind him. 

    Overall

    87/100

    If a superstar-caliber player can break out, then that's what Aldridge did in 2013-14. Defensive improvements, shouldering more of a scoring burden and crashing the boards like it was his No. 1 job all played into his fantastic campaign, one that actually had him in the MVP discussion when the red-hot Blazers were at the top of the Western Conference standings. 

2. Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    20/20

    In 2012-13, hand injuries derailed Kevin Love's season, forcing him to shoot ridiculously low percentages from the field in general and especially beyond the arc. But the big man stayed healthy this year, and his contributions from downtown helped make his high-scoring exploits especially valuable for the Minnesota Timberwolves. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    15/15

    Everything Love does in this category is stellar. He's the league's best stretch 4, dominating defenses through intimidation when he stands out on the perimeter, and his passing is just spectacular. He's a phenomenal distributor, and his outlet passes are the best we've seen in decades

    Defense

    27/40

    Love is a huge liability on defense, to the point that Rick Adelman constantly had to figure out ways to hide him on the less glamorous side of the court. Though he's fairly decent at working in on-ball situations, he really struggles when chasing other men around the perimeter and through mid-range zones. On top of that, he's a non-factor when trying to defend the hoop from inside the paint. 

    Rebounding

    15/15

    Although he was a bit shy of the league leaders in rebounds per game, Love remained one of the premier players in this category, regardless of said player's spot in the lineup. His lower body is so strong, and it's nearly impossible to knock him out of position.

    Intangibles

    10/10

    Throw aside the omnipresent rumors that Love isn't long for Minnesota; he's staunchly denied every single one of them, supporting his team and giving it his all each and every night he's able to suit up. And unlike last year, that's been the vast majority of the season. 

    Overall

    87/100

    Another year, another regular-season exit for Love, who continues to be an unquestioned superstar surrounded by pieces that don't complement him. Don't knock this power forward for his efforts, because not a single player at his position could've replaced him and steered Minnesota into the promised land. It's also notable that Love only lost points in the defense section of this breakdown. 

1. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    20/20

    Buoyed by a more confident stroke from the elbows and a set of effective—though ugly—post moves, Blake Griffin has developed into one of the top scorers in all of basketball. Not only does he put up nearly 25 points per game, but he does so while making over half his shots from the field in almost every game and over 70 percent of his freebies, which just continues the trend he's established throughout the last few seasons. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    14/15

    Griffin doesn't throw outlet passes like Kevin Love, but he's such a good distributor that Doc Rivers feels confident having the Los Angeles Clippers run the offense through the power forward. Even when Chris Paul is on the court, things sometimes flow through Griffin on the elbow and block. On top of that, he's such an athletic and aggressive finisher that looking away from him for even one second can result in a Mozgovization

    Defense

    30/40

    Is he a good defender? No, not really. But under the tutelage of Rivers, Griffin developed his instincts to the point that he is no longer a liability, particularly when guarding players rolling to the basket, working in the post and trying to beat him in isolation. His T-Rex arms will probably prevent him from ever protecting the rim well, but everything else is developing nicely. 

    Rebounding

    14/15

    Griffin was blasted for his lack of effort on the glass last season, but he fixed all those problems in 2013-14. He's not quite on the same level as the truly elite rebounders, but he's not far from that status either. 

    Intangibles

    10/10

    His flopping and complaining might grate on the nerves of some fans, but it's not like they take away from the Clippers' efforts. He's a passionate, hard-working player who stayed mostly healthy throughout the year. 

    Overall

    88/100

    Griffin showcased some incredible improvement on both ends of the ball, allowing him to complete the transition from dunking machine to all-around superstar. His post moves and jumper gave new elements to his offensive game, and he was no longer a liability on the other end of the court. There's a reason he basically led the MVP charge among players not named LeBron James or Kevin Durant

     

    Don't forget to check back here for the latest updates to the NBA 200 series, but in the meantime, feel free to discuss any or all of these rankings with me on Twitter.