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  1. On Monday, I listed the composite projected WARP by base position. Power forwards came in a strong second to point guards (see chart). That this would be the case demonstrates just how much the NBA game has changed over the past 15 to 20 years.
  3. Composite value for 2013-14
  4. Position        WARP
  5. Point guard     254
  6. Power forward   242
  7. Center  178
  8. Small forward   138
  9. Shooting guard  135
  10. Power forwards, or 4s, used to be easy to pick out. They were big, only not as big as a center. They were much more rugged than 3s, or "quick forwards" as they used to be called. There were exceptions, of course, but the primary tasks of the traditional power forward were to rebound, set screens, hit midrange jumpers when left unguarded and serve as a secondary post option.
  12. These days, the 4 position defines the style of basketball a team plays. A point guard-dominated offense that uses a lot of drive-and-kick plays likely looks for a long 4 who can score from deep. The Heat and Knicks use their best players, who traditionally would be small forwards, at the 4 to create mismatches and open up the floor. Teams like Indiana and Chicago use more of a traditional 4, with David West and Carlos Boozer, respectively, serving as primary post-scoring options. That gives these rankings a lot of diversity because many of these guys can and have played other positions.
  14. Here's the series primer: As the depth charts have filled, so have the forecasts generated by ATH coalesced. ATH is the projection module of NBAPET, my system of integrated spreadsheets for tracking, evaluating and forecasting all things NBA. Players are ranked according to ATH's forecasted WARP, or wins above replacement level, which accounts for a player's efficiency, volume of production and team context.
  16. Here are the projected top 10 power forwards for the 2013-14 NBA season.
  18. PG | SG | SF | PF | C
  20. James
  21. 1. LeBron James, Miami Heat
  22. Projected 2013-14 WARP: 23.2
  23. Really, what can you say? The undisputed best player in the world has shown nothing resembling signs of slippage, and if you asked me who will win the MVP award in the coming season, I'd take James over the field.
  27. Griffin
  28. 2. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
  29. Projected 2013-14 WARP: 11.7
  30. ATH is forecasting a .633 winning percentage for Griffin, which would be the highest of his career, but would also be in roughly the same range of his last two campaigns. Griffin's skills have improved early in his NBA career even as his otherworldly athleticism dominates the highlight reels. He's coming off a career-best assist rate and his free throw shooting has gotten better. However, Griffin's rebounding has fallen off and, frankly, he's never been as dominant in that area as I thought he'd be coming out of Oklahoma. Griffin's established level of performance is so good that you don't want to nitpick, but a more sustained effort on defense and on the boards could propel Griffin toward MVP contention. New coach Doc Rivers might be just the guy to coax that out of him.
  33. Davis
  34. 3. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
  35. Projected 2013-14 WARP: 10.7
  37. Davis was as good as advertised. There have been just 23 first-year seasons in which a player has posted a .600 or better winning percentage in 1,800 or more minutes during the 3-point era. Davis was at .624, though injuries limited him to the fewest minutes of the players on the list, which is a who's who of eventual Hall of Famers like Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon and Charles Barkley. And here's the other standout number from the list: Davis was younger than any of the other 22 players.
  40. Love
  41. 4. Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
  42. Projected 2013-14 WARP: 10.6
  44. If healthy, Love will likely challenge Griffin and probably Tim Duncan for first on the list of non-LeBron power forwards. Health is his biggest issue, as he's missed at least nine games in each of the last four seasons. That limits his games forecast to 65 for the coming season, and you also have to wonder if all the maladies will have a cumulative effect. He's just 25, though, and chances are he'll be back in the 15-16 win range this season.
  47. Duncan
  48. 5. Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
  49. Projected 2013-14 WARP: 10.5
  51. It's hard to explain how a player can have a breakout season at age 37, but Duncan did it. The most amazing statistic of the entire NBA season was that Duncan blocked 6.4 percent of opponents' 2-point shots. His previous career best was 4.8 percent. ATH predictably sees a regression coming, but not much of one. The resurgence in athletic indicators tells me that Duncan is going to be Duncan until he decides to stop playing.
  54. Anderson
  55. 6. Ryan Anderson, New Orleans Pelicans
  56. Projected 2013-14 WARP: 10.4
  58. Last season, the big question for Anderson was how much of his efficiency was tethered to Dwight Howard when they teamed up in Orlando. In his first season with New Orleans, Anderson's game changed, but he was still really good. He used more possessions, and his shooting efficiency inside the arc dipped under the weight of the added volume. Anderson's rebound rate declined as well as he shared the boards with Robin Lopez and Anthony Davis. ATH sees Anderson moving back toward his Orlando level of efficiency, but I'd be surprised if that happened. Nevertheless, he's an immensely valuable player.
  61. Faried
  62. 7. Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets
  63. Projected 2013-14 WARP: 10.3
  65. Because they're so dissimilar stylistically, you'd never equate Anderson with Faried, but they had somewhat similar stories in 2012-13. Like Anderson, Faried's efficiency fell off, though his increase in volume wasn't usage-related, as it was instead due to playing more than twice as many minutes as he did as a rookie. ATH sees Faried stepping up on defense and recovering the loss in true shooting percentage, a combination which would give him his first double-digit WARP season. A caveat: Faried needs to stay out of foul trouble.
  68. Smith
  69. 8. Josh Smith, Detroit Pistons
  70. Projected 2013-14 WARP: 9.7
  72. I was tempted to put Smith with the small forwards, though he's played the 3 position in only short stints in recent seasons. Detroit's grand plan isn't quite clear, so I thought it best to leave Smith where he's been. We've long known Smith's game is undermined by his inability to avoid or make long jumpers, and it's hard to see how a change in base position will help him in that regard.
  75. Ibaka
  76. 9. Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City Thunder
  77. Projected 2013-14 WARP: 9.6
  79. Ibaka's game evolved as he spent more time on the perimeter on offense, using possessions 2.5 percent more often with a career-best true shooting percentage of .611. He knocked down an unreal 59 percent of his 2-point shots, a rate that isn't likely to be repeated. Also, Ibaka's overall rebound rate has declined in every season of his career. Nevertheless, he's a fine player with an established WARP level of around 10 per season and a perfect complement to the star duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
  82. Anthony
  83. 10. Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks
  84. Projected 2013-14 WARP: 9.2
  86. Anthony hit 11 WARP last season, the first double-digit season of his career. His offensive efficiency spiked with his position shift, and his acceptance of the move. The downside of the tweak is Anthony's lack of defensive acumen. His defensive rebounding was fine when he was a 3, but one position over, it doesn't look too good. Anthony does, without a doubt, score a lot of points. Make of that what you will.
  88. Next five: LaMarcus Aldridge, Paul Millsap, Dirk Nowitzki, Zach Randolph, David Lee
  90. The power forward position is loaded right now, so you have an awfully impressive "next five" at this position. Aldridge is coming off a down season on the offensive end, with drops in 2-point percentage and foul-drawing. ATH sees a recovery in both instances. Millsap is steady and his shift to Atlanta is predicted to impact his value one way or another. Nowitzki is five years past his peak levels of 17-19 WARP per season. If healthy, he can still push double digits, which is nothing to cry about. ATH, however, sees age taking a further toll on Nowitzki's production.
  92. Randolph has been off his game the past two seasons. His team has done so well that we've hardly noticed. As for Lee, his team's success without him in last season's playoffs tells me it's time for him to return to the lower-usage, uber-efficient style of play he had in his early days with the Knicks.
  94. Also notable: Derrick Favors, Kevin Garnett, David West
  96. Favors' winning percentage jumped from .532 to .561 in his age-22 season, and with the depth chart in Utah now wide open, he might be poised to establish himself as a foundation player. He's going to have to cut his foul rate, but that often comes when a player moves from a part-time role into the starting lineup.
  98. Garnett is still an effective player and a defensive anchor, but he's facing a likely cut in minutes and a diminished offensive role in Brooklyn. West had his best season in 2012-13 and is a big part of the equation in Indiana. He turns 33 before the season, and ATH is seeing a pretty alarming degree of regression.
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