Ranking the Top 22 power forwards for the 2021-22 season

Ranking the Top 22 power forwards for the 2021-22 season

Ranking

Ranking the Top 22 power forwards for the 2021-22 season

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Power forward is a somewhat difficult position to break down in the modern NBA due to the versatility the players possess to play either one spot up or one spot down on the positional scale.

So many of the players in the ranking below could easily be considered centers and do spend a lot of their time on the floor as floor-spacing, quick-footed 5s.

Regardless, we did our best to only use players we consider to be power forwards in our rankings, and we believe the results reflect that.

In case you missed it, we’ve already ranked the Top 22 point guards, shooting guards and small forwards in basketball.

Now, it’s time for the Top 22 power forwards. Check it out below.

Just missed the cut: Kyle Kuzma, Patrick Williams, Blake Griffin, PJ Washington, Evan Mobley

22
Kelly Olynyk (Detroit)

2020-21 stats: 13.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.9 apg, 1.8 3PTM, 48.4 FG%

A big man capable of switching between playing power forward and center, Kelly Olynyk is an able outside shooter, even off the dribble, handles the rock at a high level for a front court player, is an underrated playmaker and savvy with his finishing down low.

His issues as a player lie more on the defensive end of the floor, but even there, he possesses some versatility thanks to his quick feet, so he doesn’t get totally exposed when forced to switch against pick-and-roll actions. Olynyk is not an elite athlete by any means, however, and he has T-Rex arms for a near-7-footer, so his rim-protecting abilities are nearly nonexistent.

Even so, Olynyk is so solid, albeit unspectacular, offensively that Win Shares per 48 Minutes (WS/48), Box Plus/Minus (BPM) and Value Over Replacement Player (VORP) all ranked him as a Top-70 player in the NBA in 2020-21, which might surprise some.

It shouldn’t, though, as the Canadian big man has proven throughout his eight-year career to be a very solid starting-caliber power forward.

For the latest Kelly Olynyk rumors, click here.

21
Rui Hachimura (Washington)

2020-21 stats: 13.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.4 apg, 0.8 spg, 47.8 FG%

On the other hand, unlike Olynyk, Rui Hachimura is more of a hybrid between a power forward and a small forward, as he possesses the ability to play some 3-man in bigger lineups for the Washington Wizards thanks to his ball-handling ability and awesome defensive versatility.

Hachimura didn’t make a huge leap between his rookie and sophomore campaigns, though it’s hard to blame him for that considering the near-total lack of an offseason between the two league years.

In fact, some of the advanced analytics actually indicate he might have regressed some in 2020-21, though those blips could have to do with the Japanese swingman being tasked with larger responsibilities last season. Still, the numbers haven’t been overall great for Hachimura quite yet, so a lot lies on his third year ahead.

Hachimura does hold a lot of promise defensively, where his sturdy frame, quick feet and long arms make him capable of guarding small forwards, power forwards and even some smaller centers.

It’s offensively where he’ll need to make strides, as Hachimura remains a poor outside shooter, isn’t a very natural scorer yet and tends to get tunnel vision when he gets the ball. Those are all things the former Gonzaga standout will have to work on to improve in 2021-22.

For the latest Rui Hachimura rumors, click here.

20
Bobby Portis (Milwaukee)

2020-21 stats: 11.4 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.1 apg, 1.1 3PTM, 47.1 3PT%

There’s no doubt Bobby Portis had his best campaign as a professional in 2020-21, even besides helping the Milwaukee Bucks take home the league championship to culminate the campaign.

Both BPM and WS/48 rank 2020-21 as Portis’ strongest season in the NBA, as his impact on both ends of the floor for one of the best teams in basketball throughout the league year was consistent and impressive.

Offensively, Portis was rated as an “excellent” player last season by Synergy Sports, ranking in the 84th percentile among all scorers and producing 1.099 points per possession (PPP) on scoring chances, the 36th-highest mark among players with at least 600 opportunities in 2020-21.

Portis was particularly effective as a spot-up shooter (75th percentile, 1.121 PPP) and transition scorer (92nd percentile, 1.396 PPP) last year, though he also did well in other areas like scoring out of the post (57th percentile, 0.971 PPP) and as the pick-and-roll roller (51st percentile, 1.123 PPP).

It was defensively where Portis showed the most improvement in his first season with the Bucks, however, as his energy and switching ability on the less glamorous end of the floor were noteworthy and impactful compared to his efforts in previous campaigns.

In all, Portis and Milwaukee have looked like a perfect fit so far, and next season should be more of the same for the reigning champions and its high-energy big man.

For the latest Bobby Portis rumors, click here.

19
Marcus Morris (LA Clippers)

2020-21 stats: 13.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.0 apg, 2.5 3PTM, 47.3 3PT%

The advanced analytics may not think too highly of his average contributions (heck, BPM ranked him as a net-negative overall in 2020-21 at -0.2), but there’s no question Marcus Morris has established himself as an above-average power forward over recent years.

In particular, Morris has become a deadly outside shooter since 2018-19, a three-season stretch in which the former Kansas standout has knocked down 41.1 percent of his three-point chances, the third-highest mark of any power forward behind just Davis Bertans and a player coming up on this list.

What’s more, in 2020-21, Morris made a legitimate claim to be considered the best spot-up shooter in the NBA, ranking in the 99th percentile, per Synergy Sports, producing 1.426 PPP on spot-up shot attempts. Among players with 250 such opportunities, that was the highest mark, showing how outrageously good the Los Angeles Clippers’ power forward was a shooter last season.

And then there’s also the matter of Morris’ defense, which is tough and versatile, as Morris can defend 3s, 4s and even some smaller 5s, making him a very effective weapon on the point-stopping end on the floor.

So although the advanced stats don’t rate him all that highly, likely due to his one-dimensional style of offense, lack of passing and an inability to measure defensive effectiveness, Morris is undoubtedly a very good power forward, one who would start on most teams but comes off the bench in Los Angeles.

For the latest Marcus Morris rumors, click here.

18
Lauri Markkanen (Cleveland)

2020-21 stats: 13.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 0.9 apg, 2.3 3PTM, 40.2 3PT%

To this point, new Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Lauri Markkanen hasn’t quite lit the world ablaze with his outside shooting or lived up to his draft billing as the No. 7 pick of the 2017 draft.

The one thing Cavaliers fans can lay their hats on is the fact Markkanen is coming off his best campaign as a three-point shooter, as after being a career 35.6 percent outside marksman through his first three seasons, the Finnish big man hit just over 40 percent of his triples in 2020-21.

Synergy Sports ranked Markkanen as a “very good” spot-up shooter last season, in the 81st percentile and scoring 1.162 PPP on those possessions, as well as an “excellent” point producer out of the post. Markkanen had just 30 of the latter such possessions last year, but perhaps that’s an element of his game Cleveland can help him build on.

Markkanen still holds promise thanks to his appealing jump shot and overall scoring potential, and it’ll be up to the player as well as up to the Cavaliers if he can start to reach a higher ceiling over the coming campaigns.

For the latest Lauri Markkanen rumors, click here.

17
Robert Covington (Portland)

2020-21 stats: 8.5 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 1.4 spg, 1.2 bpg, 37.9 3PT%

It speaks to Robert Covington’s brilliance as a defender that he can rank so highly on this list of the top power forwards in the NBA while averaging fewer than nine points and seven rebounds per game.

But even before joining the Portland Trail Blazers and through last season, Covington has become one of the most disruptive defenders in basketball, a savant in picking pockets, jumping passing lanes and protecting the rim, attributes which more than make up for his just so-so one-on-one perimeter defending prowess.

Covington is one of the six players in league history to post a campaign with at least 135 three-pointers, 84 blocks and 101 steals – joining Kevin DurantDanny GreenRobert HorryShawn Marion and Paul Pierce.

Covington is the only player to have done that in two separate seasons, speaking to his very unique game which fits perfectly in the scope of modern basketball.

So although he’s not a high-level scorer, Covington – who made the Blazers 7.0 points per 100 possessions better with his presence last season – is an extremely effective power forward in his role as one of the most versatile defenders in basketball.

For the latest Robert Covington rumors, click here.

16
Chris Boucher (Toronto)

2020-21 stats: 13.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 1.1 apg, 1.9 bpg, 38.3 3PT%

Big man Chris Boucher was another fantastic development job by the Toronto Raptors, which they’ve become renowned for over the past half-decade-plus, as he went from a very raw, gangly power forward to an excellent rim-protecting, three-point-making player for the Canadian franchise.

Boucher fits a pivotal modern archetype, that of a mobile big man who can blocks shots and spot up from three on offense, one which is still extremely unique but just as impactful.

Last season, Boucher became one of just 14 players ever to post a campaign with at least 90 three-pointers and 111 blocks, joining a list of Durant, Karl-Anthony Towns and Brook Lopez, among others, and proving what a unicorn-type season the Saint Lucia native had.

And considering the major leap Boucher had between his third and fourth seasons, who knows what he might look like in 2021-22?

On our end, we expect the 6-foot-9 forward to take another step in his development, which is why we have ranked where we do.

He was that impressive last season.

For the latest Chris Boucher rumors, click here.

15
Miles Bridges (Charlotte)

2020-21 stats: 12.7 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.2 apg, 0.8 bpg, 40.0 3PT%

Known for his high-flying, powerful dunks more than anything else, Miles Bridges’ game progressed a lot in 2020-21 as he turned in by far his best season as a professional.

Bridges had the best BPM, VORP and WS/48 of his career by a wide margin despite his points per game actually dropping from his sophomore to his third-year campaign. That was in large part thanks to Bridges scoring much more efficiently than ever, as his true shooting percentage shot up from 53.1 percent over his first two seasons to 62.5 last year, a huge leap that Charlotte Hornets brass has to be hoping will be sustainable.

According to Synergy Sports, Bridges was a “very good” offensive player last season, scoring 1.08 per overall scoring possessions which put him in the NBA’s 81st percentile.

Shockingly, however, Bridges’ best play-types weren’t in transition (53rd percentile) or as a slasher (78th percentile), where you’d expect his athletic gifts to shine, but actually out of the pick-and-roll, as both a ball-handler (89th percentile) and as the roll man (87th percentile), where the former Michigan State standout flashed his much-improved skill in 2020-21.

Considering Bridges is still just 23, it would not be surprising to see the defensively versatile 3/4 hybrid take another big leap next season as his skill level as a ball-handler, shooter and playmaker continue to develop.

For the latest Miles Bridges rumors, click here.

14
Jonathan Isaac (Orlando)

Although it’s not exactly clear when Orlando Magic power forward Jonathan Isaac will be returning, the expectation is that it will be at some point in 2021-22, perhaps even by Christmas, which is why we allowed his inclusion in our rankings.

The last time Isaac was fully healthy, the former Florida State Seminole was putting together an All-Defensive-Team type of campaign before injuring his knee, making a ridiculous impact on the hardnosed end of the floor.

Isaac not only possesses great length and quick feet that aid him in slowing down opposing ball-handlers, but his shot-blocking instincts are also flat-out great, especially for a player who was just 22 the last time he was playing.

Over 34 games in 2019-20, Isaac was averaging 11.9 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 2.3 blocks per contest while shooting a so-so 34.0 percent from beyond the arc.

Offensively, Isaac was still quite raw when last we saw him, and all this time off won’t help him much in that department, though perhaps doing a lot of stand-still, spot-up shooting while rehabbing could improve his three-point marks.

Either way, as long as he’s healthy, Isaac projects to return as one of the top defensive power forwards in the game based on what we saw in his junior campaign – his disruptiveness on that end of the floor was that shockingly eyebrow-raising in 2019-20.

For the latest Jonathan Isaac rumors, click here.

13
Danilo Gallinari (Atlanta)

2020-21 stats: 13.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.5 apg, 2.0 3PTM, 40.6 3PT%

Despite a more limited role with the Atlanta Hawks last season than he’d had in years prior, Danilo Gallinari was rocksteady in 2020-21, doing his job without complaining about touches or usage rate.

As expected, the Italian forward was at his best last year as a spot-up shooter, where he poured in 1.214 PPP, per Synergy Sports, placing him in the league’s 88th percentile.

Gallinari also ranked as an “excellent” scorer in transition (1.403 PPP, 94th percentile) and as the pick-and-roll roll man (1,442 PPP, 94th percentile), as well as an “excellent” scorer overall (1.144, 91st percentile), according to Synergy Sports.

Gallinari also possesses some defensive versatility, as although he’s not some elite ball-stopper, he has the size and acceptable enough quickness to guard multiple positions on the other end of the floor.

Overall, the 13-year NBA veteran still has plenty of juice left in the tank and has proven to be one of the more reliable role-playing power forwards in the league.

For the latest Danilo Gallinari rumors, click here.

12
Aaron Gordon (Denver)

2020-21 stats: 12.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.2 3PTM, 33.5 3PT%

Mediocre outside shooting and robotic ball-handling aside, Aaron Gordon is a very versatile power forward who can play some small forward or even small-ball center in certain lineups, though probably not with his new team, the Denver Nuggets, considering they have a certain reigning league MVP manning the 5.

Still, having Gordon in your lineup gives you options, as he can handle the rock and despite not having super-advanced moves as a dribbler, he has the quickness and athleticism to blow by many opposing 4s, as well as the strength to body smaller forwards near the paint.

Defensively is particularly where Gordon shines, as that’s where his versatility shines best. Gordon’s quick feet, long arms and sturdy frame often make him a nightmare to score on, which is the biggest reason why the Nuggets decided to pick him up at last year’s trade deadline.

Offensively, he’ll never be anything particularly special, but Gordon as a two-way player is one of the NBA’s most effective power forwards.

For the latest Aaron Gordon rumors, click here.

11
Jaren Jackson Jr (Memphis)

2020-21 stats (11 games): 14.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.1 apg, 1.6 bpg, 42.4 FG%

2020-21 was a tough campaign for Jaren Jackson Jr., but that was due to injury more than anything, as the multi-talented big man was out until late April due to recovery from meniscus surgery.

When Jackson Jr. did return, he was understandably rusty and couldn’t be thrust back into a major role right away with the Memphis Grizzlies in the thick of a heated playoff race prior to qualifying as the No. 8 seed in the West.

Even so, there’s no denying Jackson Jr. was a negative during his time on the floor in 2020-21, as the Grizzlies were 14.7 points per 100 possessions worse with the former Michigan State standout on the floor in the regular season and 13.7 points per 100 possessions worse with him in the playoffs.

Making that even more concerning is the fact that in three NBA seasons, Jackson Jr. has never had a positive swing rating with Memphis, something that has to change in 2021-22 for the versatile big man to live up to this preseason ranking.

In fairness, Jackson Jr. is a flexible player fit to excel in the modern league thanks to his shooting and ball-handling chops at 6-foot-11, but his rebounding needs to improve, as does his toughness down low.

We expect with a full offseason of training, Jackson Jr. to have his best NBA campaign in 2021-22, the question is: Just how good will that version of the big man be?

For the latest Jaren Jackson Jr. rumors, click here.

10
Kristaps Porzingis (Dallas)

2020-21 stats: 20.1 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.3 bpg, 37.6 3PT%

Although his role as a lead player has greatly diminished since his arrival to the Dallas Mavericks, Kristaps Porzingis is still a 20-plus-point-per-game scorer and an absolute unicorn for his ability to protect the paint and hit three-pointers.

To this point, Porzingis remains the only player in NBA history with career averages of at least 1.8 blocks and 1.8 three-pointers per game, proving just how unique his game is.

Porzingis isn’t perfect, of course, as his defensive impact has waned over recent years, which can be proven by the fact that with the big Latvian on the floor last year, Dallas was 4.9 points per 100 possessions worse than when was on the bench.

That led to a lot of speculation about Porzingis’ happiness with the Mavericks and to rumors regarding his future with the Texan franchise, but those seem to have quieted… for now.

Either way, first-year head coach Jason Kidd’s first task with Dallas should be to help Porzingis find his form of prior years back when he was an elite shot-blocker, as, without that skill, Porzingis’ impact isn’t anywhere near where it once was.

For the latest Kristaps Porzingis rumors, click here.

9
Pascal Siakam (Toronto)

2020-21 stats: 21.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 4.5 apg, 1.1 spg, 45.5 FG%

Another disgruntled power forward from last season who had trade rumors surrounding his name for a while, Pascal Siakam and the Toronto Raptors also appear to be on steadier waters now, meaning the 2019-20 All-Star should get right back to being one of the top power forwards in the game.

Siakam’s game is quite versatile for a power forward, with the ability to legitimately guard just about every opposing position, as well as the ball-handling and playmaking prowess more becoming of natural swingmen.

There’s no question, however, that for whatever reason – perhaps having to deal with a far-expanded role had something to do with it – Siakam struggled in 2020-21, especially in comparison with the season prior.

Synergy Sports ranked Siakam as just an average offensive player last campaign, producing 0.979 PPP on scoring chances, placing him in the league’s 48th percentile. Siakam’s advanced analytics also took a nosedive, including his VORP (2.0 to 1.2), BPM (+1.8 to +0.4) and WS/48 (0.123 to 0.101).

So 2021-22 will be about Siakam regaining his All-Star form, something that could be aided by his apparnet reconciliation with head coach Nick Nurse, because the 2020-21 version of Siakam was nowhere near the caliber of player that the 2019-20 guy was.

For the latest Pascal Siakam rumors, click here.

8
Draymond Green (Golden State)

2020-21 stats: 7.0 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 8.9 apg, 1.7 spg, 44.7 FG%

That Draymond Green can rank this highly on a list of the league’s top power forwards while averaging 7.0 points per game speaks to his brilliance in the other facets of the game, primarily as a creator on offense and an absolute destroyer defensively.

Last season, Green was the only player in the NBA to average at least 8.8 assists and 1.6 steals per contest, and he put up those top-notch-point-guard-like numbers while manning a pivotal spot in the Golden State Warriors’ frontcourt, not while playing lead guard, which makes it even more impressive.

Green remains a subpar scorer and three-point shooter (he hit a paltry27.0 percent of his threes last season), and he is way too eager to pass up point-blank opportunities at the cup to set up more difficult looks from teammates, but overall, whenever Green is on the floor, he makes a hugely positive impact.

With Green in the game in 2020-21, the Warriors were an astounding 9.6 points per 100 possessions better than when he was on the bench, proving that, even despite his flaws, Green remains one of the most impactful power forwards in the NBA.

For the latest Draymond Green rumors, click here.

7
Tobias Harris (Philadelphia)

2020-21 stats: 19.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.3 3PTM, 39.4 3PT%

Scoring specialist Tobias Harris is one of the smoothest bucket-getters we have on this list, possessing a face-up game somewhat reminiscent of a younger Carmelo Anthony, with a lot of face-up, jab-step and pull-up sauce in his repertoire.

Synergy Sports ranked Harris in the NBA’s 81st percentile as an overall scorer, scoring 1.081 PPP on offensive chances last season, with the deadliest part of his game being as an isolation scorer (1.075 PPP, 86th percentile), where he uses his unusually high skill level to confidently score on slower-footed frontcourt foes.

Harris is also a versatile defender, though not a dominant one, one who can aptly switch when guarding pick-and-rolls and comfortably stick to opposing swingmen when the situations call for it.

Overall, Harris’ nightly impact on both ends of the floor is very high, and despite last year being his age-28 season, he’s still showing signs of improvement, as it was his best campaign according to VORP, BPM and WS/48.

If the Philadelphia 76ers get an even more improved version of Harris in 2021-22, there’s no doubt he’ll live up to this ranking, and perhaps even outpace it.

For the latest Tobias Harris rumors, click here.

6
John Collins (Atlanta)

2020-21 stats: 17.6 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.2 apg, 1.3 3PTM, 39.9 3PT%

We didn’t see a huge leap between his third and fourth seasons, but considering Collins is only just now about to turn 24 years old, that tells us his leap could occur this offseason, which explains his positioning this high on our ranking.

Collins has all of the tools to be an elite power forward: He’s strong, he’s outrageously athletic and he can knock down threes with his feet set while providing great impact as a rebounder. Collins has also got a solid face-up and low-post game, though his defense could still use some work, as his fluid feet get a bit stiffer when asked to guard ball-handlers.

Synergy Sports ranked the Hawks big man as a “very good” player scoring out of the post, and as an “excellent” one in transition and on the offensive glass. Overall, the play-tracking website ranked Collins as an “excellent” offensive player overall in 2020-21, shockingly in the NBA’s 96th percentile scoring 1.177 PPP on scoring chances, an outrageously efficient mark.

So even despite his scoring numbers going down by-product of Atlanta picking up so many strong offensive players prior to the campaign, Collins was perhaps even more effective in his slightly more limited role last year.

And with another offseason of training and development, the sky could be the limit for Collins in 2021-22 as part of a Hawks lineup that could be downright scary next season.

For the latest John Collins rumors, click here.

5
Domantas Sabonis (Indiana)

2020-21 stats: 20.3 ppg, 12.0 rpg, 6.7 apg, 1.2 spg, 53.5 FG%

Indiana Pacers big man Domantas Sabonis might be best-suited to play center in the modern game, but the fact that he’s spent the (slight) majority of his time on the floor at the 4 over the past two seasons and because his frontcourt partner, Myles Turner, is a stronger outside shooter, we decided to list him with the power forwards for this exercise.

Either way, Sabonis has blossomed into one of the top big men in basketball over recent seasons, one who can give you 20 and 12 per night and also distribute and create for others at high levels.

Sabonis’ bruising, effective post-game makes him a load to slow down in the paint, and his high skill level – as a passer, dribbler and shooter – give him a very effective face-up game as well.

In 2020-21, Sabonis became just the fourth player ever to put up a 20.0/11.9/6.0 campaign, joining a ridiculously loaded list featuring Wilt Chamberlain (who did it twice), Kevin Garnett and Oscar Robertson, and although part of that has to do with the pace and effectiveness of the modern game, it also speaks to Sabonis’ mastery of his position since joining the Pacers.

Sabonis is lacking in some areas, primarily defensively where he isn’t much of a rim-protector and lacks the foot speed to switch with much effectiveness, but overall, he’s coming off back-to-back All-Star campaigns for a reason, as his high skill level, great nose for rebounding and throwback post-up toughness have turned him into a top-notch big man.

For the latest Domantas Sabonis rumors, click here.

4
Julius Randle (New York)

2020-21 stats: 24.1 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 6.0 apg, 2.3 3PTM, 41.1 3PT%

The primary reason why the New York Knicks shocked the world last season and had the campaign they did, reaching the playoffs as a No. 5 seed when very few expected them to, was due to the explosive growth of power forward Julius Randle.

Randle was so impressive in 2020-21 that he became just the second player ever to post a 20/10/5 campaign while shooting north of 40 percent from beyond the arc (minimum: 100 three-point attempts), joining the immortal Larry Bird on the illustrious list.

Rightfully so, Randle was named an All-Star last season for his contributions while earning 2nd Team All-NBA honors, both career firsts for the former Kentucky standout. The advanced analytics also highly rated Randle, as the southpaw forward ranked 10th in VORP in 2020-21 and 20th in BPM.

The fact that Randle still has room to grow, too, as a one-on-one scorer, in particular, is scary, as with another year in the same system under head coach Tom Thibodeau, 2021-22 could be an even stronger campaign by the athletic 26-year-old.

That’s exactly the reason why we have him projected as the No. 4 power in the NBA for next season.

For the latest Julius Randle rumors, click here.

3
Zion Williamson (New Orleans)

2020-21 stats: 27.0 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 3.7 apg, 0.9 spg, 61.1 FG%

New Orleans Pelicans big man Zion Williamson is so dominant already and improving so quickly that there’s a very real chance he outpaces this ranking for next season, even despite us having him projected this highly, at No. 3.

In 2020-21, his age-20 campaign, Williamson was already the NBA’s eighth leading scorer at 27.0 points per game, 0.1 more than Durant and 0.6 more than fellow Duke superstar Jayson Tatum, and did so while shooting a monstrous 61.1 percent from the floor.

Sure, that’s partly a product of Williamson just 0.6 three-pointers nightly, but the uber-explosive lefty was still the NBA’s leading player in field-goal percentage among players with at least 15 field-goal attempts per contest, outpacing the likes of the player coming up at No. 1 on our list, as well as Nikola Jokic, who was third on that list.

Already, Williamson has become the best under-21 scorer the league has ever seen, as the Pelicans power forward was the first player ever to average at least 25.0 points for his career prior to being old enough to drink in the United States, and he managed that that without having to launch seven threes every night.

VORP had Williamson as the league’s ninth-most impactful player last season, BPM had him at No.  11 and WS/48 had him at 13th while Synergy Sports rated Williamson as an “excellent” scorer in his sophomore campaign, in the 92nd percentile league-wide and producing 1.153 PPP on all scoring opportunities.

That’s all to say, the absurdly strong, skilled and athletic Williamson is developing at a terrifying pace, and in a league so perimeter-oriented where size has started to matter less and less, Williamson is absolutely battering opponents on a nightly basis.

The sky is truly the limit for the monstrous power forward down in New Orleans.

For the latest Zion Williamson rumors, click here.

2
Anthony Davis (LA Lakers)

2020-21 stats: 21.8 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 3.1 apg, 1.6 bpg, 49.1 FG%

There’s no denying that by his illustrious standards, 2020-21 was a very down year for Los Angeles Lakers superstar Anthony Davis, who averaged the third-lowest point-per-game total and the lowest rebound mark, as well as the lowest field-goal percentage, of his nine-year NBA career.

The advanced metrics weren’t much kinder to Davis, whose 1.9 VORP was likewise the lowest clip of his career, as was his 0.152 WS/48.

Obviously, the major reason for Davis’ lackluster play last season was because the third straight Kentucky Wildcat on this list had to deal with so many injury issues last season due to the absurd nature of the 2019-20 campaign, which ended in a bubble barely a month-and-a-half before the tip of the 2020-21 league year.

Now with a regular, full offseason to recover and get back to his prime self, we fully expect to see the elite version of Davis back on the floor for the Lakers in 2021-22, the long-armed, insanely quick freak of a player who had become arguably the top two-way player in the NBA.

The only player with an argument better than Davis to be considered the NBA’s top two-way guy is actually the player coming up next on our ranking.

For the latest Anthony Davis rumors, click here.

1
Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee)

2020-21 stats: 28.1 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 5.9 apg, 1.2 bpg, 56.9 FG%

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo took a step back last season, dropping the league MVP award for the first time since 2017-18, but more than made up for it by winning the first NBA championship of his career and taking home Finals MVP honors instead.

Sarcasm aside, Antetokounmpo has been arguably the NBA’s best player over recent seasons, blending freakish physical abilities – outrageous length, enormous strides and great strength – with still-improving skill as a ball-handler, playmaker and even shooter to create a package unlike anything the league has ever seen.

The fact that Antetokounmpo plays with max effort every single second he’s on the floor, too, on top of all that makes him borderline unstoppable, as even a broken three-point stroke can’t slow down the Greek Freak from being as impactful as anyone in recent league history.

Antetokounmpo ranked second in VORP last season, trailing just the newly minted MVP Jokic, second in BPM and fifth in WS/48, proving that although he didn’t win MVP or even finish Top 3 in the voting last season, that had to do with voter fatigue more than anything – Antetokounmpo is still an annual frontrunner for the award, and that won’t be changing any time soon.

Now with a championship on his resume and a Finals MVP award sitting on his mantle at home, it’ll be beyond exciting to see where the next few seasons take Antetokounmpo, the best power forward in the game right now.

For the latest Giannis Antetokounmpo rumors, click here. Picture: Coley Cleary / USA TODAY Sports Media Group illustration

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