Friday, October 7, 2022

Fantasy Basketball: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Domantas Sabonis sit atop 2022-23 power forward rankings

Giannis Antetkounmpo has reigned as the public’s favorite preseason fantasy power forward for the better part of the last five years. Don’t expect that to change this season. The Greek Freak has averaged at least 27.0 points, 11.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, a block, and a steal for fourth consecutive seasons and seems likely to put up similar numbers in 2022-23. There haven’t been any clear signs that someone is ready to take Antetokounmpo’s throne, but the battle for the top this season should be more competitive than last year’s. 

Which players are the best first-round options at power forward? What players seem likely to rebound from injuries? And players could fall short of expectations? Check out the rankings below for some brief explanations for the top five power forwards and a comprehensive top 50 list:

The Top Five

Antetokounmpo has played less than 70 games in three consecutive seasons but remains the most lethal power forward in fantasy basketball. He’s always a lock among the cream of the crop as a scorer and rebounder, and his defensive excellence puts him in a class of his own. The Milwaukee Bucks star does everything fantasy managers could ask for except convert shots from long range efficiently. He’s one of the few players you can count on to finish as a top-five performer every year. Don’t think twice about selecting him with a top-three pick come draft time.

Sabonis is somewhat of a tweener who’ll likely start at center for the Sacramento Kings. He posted ridiculous numbers following his departure from the Indiana Pacers last season and I expect more of the same in 2022-23. He averaged 18.9 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 5.8 assists through 15 appearances with the Kings. While he doesn’t boast Anthony Davis’s defensive upside, he’s been a better rebounder and passer in recent years. I’m not convinced that Davis will log enough minutes to claim a top-two spot.

Williamson missed all of the 2021-22 season after blossoming into an All-Star in his second professional season. The Duke product scored with ease around the rim rebounded well, and showed growth as a playmaker so far in his young NBA career. While I expect the New Orleans Pelicans to be cautious with him, he’s had an entire year to get back in basketball shape. I can’t turn down a player who’s averaging 29.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per 36 minutes through 85 games. 

Davis has played in less than half of the Los Angeles Lakers’ games over the last two seasons. He didn’t look like himself for a significant chunk of the games he did play last year. Especially when shooting jump shots. However, he still totaled 23.2 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game. He has the career averages of a surefire first-round pick, but his availability issues raise some major red flags. I still think Davis could finish second or third on this list by the end of the regular season, but only if he plays more than 60 games. He’ll be playing a lot of center unless the Lakers plan on rolling out Thomas Bryant at the five as a long-term solution.

Siakam was often deployed as a small-ball center throughout his last run with the Toronto Raptors and posted a career-high 8.5 rebounds per game because of it. Operating in the post didn’t limit his playmaking, though, as he also tallied a career-high 5.3 assists per game in 2021-22. Fred VanVleet’s monopoly of the point guard position and Scottie Barnes’s versatile skill set won’t slow down Siakam, who seems set to finish among the league leaders in minutes per game after playing nearly 38 minutes a night last season. He could jump past Davis and Williamson in the season-long standings if their coaching staffs manage their loads too much. Siakam will be suiting up whenever he can and fills up the box score every time he laces up.

Power forward rankings

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL

2. Domantas Sabonis, SAC

3. Zion Williamson, NOP

4. Anthony Davis, LAL

5. Pascal Siakam, TOR

6. Kristaps Porzingis, WAS

7. Julius Randle, NYK

8. Christian Wood, DAL

9. Jerami Grant, POR

10. Scottie Barnes, TOR

11. Evan Mobley, CLE

12. Paolo Banchero, ORL

13. Kyle Kuzma, WAS

14. John Collins, ATL

15. Jaren Jackson, MEM

16. Lauri Markkanen, UTH

17. Marvin Bagley, DET

18. Kevin Love, CLE

19. Draymond Green, GSW

20. Aaron Gordon, DEN

21. Al Horford, BOS

22. P.J. Washington, CHA

23. Keegan Murray, SAC

24. Jabari Smith, HOU

25. Darius Bazley, OKC

26. Patrick Williams, CHI

27. Brandon Clarke, MEM

28. Jae Crowder, PHO

29. Chris Boucher, TOR 

30. Obi Toppin, NYK

31. Kelly Olynyk, DET

32. Larry Nance Jr., NOP

33. Maxi Kleber, DAL

34. Precious Achiuwa, TOR

35.Rui Hachimura, WAS

36. PJ Tucker, PHI

37. Robert Covington, LAC

38. Nic Batum, LAC

39. Marcus Morris, LAC

40. Daniel Theis, IND

41. Dario Saric, PHO

42. Jarred Vanderbilt, UTH

43. Serge Ibaka, MIL

44. Jalen McDaniels, CHA

45. Grant Williams, BOS

46. Zach Collins, SAS

47. Trendon Watford, POR

48. Jake LaRavia, MEM

49. Trey Lyles, SAC

50. Jonathan Isaac, ORL

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