This is arguably one of the toughest battles to evaluate in the Atlantic Division. With little talent at the power forward position, and a good amount of transformations in the depth chart, like Philadelphia 76ers Thaddeus Young switching his small forward position to playing his true power forward position.
1. Amar’e Stoudemire: New York Knicks
There is no doubt Stoudemire was a troubling member of the New York Knicks last season, but what may help him succeed and change his ways is the veteran presence of Jason Kidd. Additionally, with the presence brings a pick-and-roll scheme. Ideally, I think he would rather have “Canadien Bacon” Steve Nash distributing the ball, but the Kidd is not so bad.
The ten-year veteran has a strength that stands out from all the rest, anticipation. He has a knack of getting to the right spots on the basketball court whether it is on a pass or a put-back slam.
One of the most common themes throughout Stoudemire’s career has been the inability to stay healthy, pure inconsistency. But when healthy, he is arguably one, if not the best player on the floor.
Even though his 2011-12 season was a set back only averaging 17.4 points (the third lowest in his career) and 7.8 rebounds per game, injuries did not allow him to perform at a high level.
The most underrated attribute about the 29-year-old is his spacing on the floor. He provides real estate for the guards to evaluate their options, especially connecting with Stoudemire for the elbow jumper.
After working out with the great Hakeem Olajuwon on his post game, you have to expect an impact and big things out of the six-time All Star.
Projection: 22.7 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game
2. Brandon Bass: Boston Celtics
When the Boston Celtics acquired Brandon Bass from the Orlando Magic, eyebrows rose. After comprehending the fact that “Big Baby” was actually gone, the Celtic nation really lured Bass as a newcomer with a lot of potential.
Throughout his first year with the Celtics, Bass has established a Celtic mentality. He has become a workman, hustler, and hard-nosed basketball player.
Many would say how did Boston upgrade? He resembles what they traded away. And well they are correct besides the fact that Bass is bigger and stronger.
In Bass’ case bigger and stronger means bullying through defenders and putting his opponent into a posterize setting. Throughout his seven-year career, the former LSU Tiger has made his presence known in Beantown from follow up dunks and knocking down the 12-foot jumper.
His knack of scoring plays a huge role every game. Bass’ presence in the first quarter in mostly every game is incredible, he is the starter of the engine, once he starts going Rajon Rondo and company follow.
Projection: 14.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game
3. Andrea Bargnani: Toronto Raptors
Bargnani is a quiet player who posts enormous numbers. Toronto not known be the pinpoint team in the Atlantic Division does display a talented player in No. 7.
“II Mago” aka the Magician has developed his game into a Dirk Nowitzki style of play. Bargnani has improved at a high level against opponents in averaging over 18 points in the past three seasons.
Most of his scoring comes from downtown. If he sees daylight he will become a gun-slinger on your doorstep consecutively making threes. In his six-year career, the 26-year-old has established a foundation from downtown shooting 44%.
With newcomers now on the team, Bargnani might have to give up a little of his scoring because the team retrieved some talented scorers.
Projection: 17.8 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game
4. Kris Humphries: Brooklyn Nets
Look who it is. The most hated man in the NBA. Dislike Humphries all you want, because his game ultimately overshadows his little incident with Ms. Kardashian.
In the new look and deal with the Brooklyn Nets, expect no change from the 27-year-old, which is a positive. Throughout his stint with the Nets, Humphries has owned the rebounding category substantially averaging 11.0 rebounds per contest in the 2011-12 season.
The former Florida Gator has provided some leverage for Nets down-low whether it is offensive rebounding or filling in for big man Brook Lopez. During the 2011-12 season, Avery Johnson’s team ran into a number of injuries and really the only healthy one was the Minnesota native. Humphries in that specific year averaged 13.8 points per game.
His rebounding numbers may decrease due to the scoring presence around the perimeter with newly acquired Joe Johnson and elite point guard Deron Williams.
Projection: 9.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game
5. Thaddeus Young: Philadelphia 76ers
Young’s transformation from small forward to power forward position will be one of the spotlights to keep an eye on. The former member of the Georgia Tech Ramblinwreck has been successful in getting into the hoop. With that, clashing one on one with an opponent at the power forward position has an advantage at parting his way to the basket.
The 24-year-old’s impact will be assessed to what Andrew Bynum’s presence provides in the middle of the paint. Doug Collin’s team will lean on Young’s stature in rebounding and facing up rising for 10-foot jumper.
His role won’t be anything different with the team. He knows what he can do best, the five-year pro will just have to use his quickness against the oppositions toughness.