Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Best Power Forwards in College Basketball This Season

 In Value Add Basketball we consider the team's "power forward" the player who behind the team's "center" has some combination of the most defensive rebounds, blocked shots and height, but typically the fewest assists and steals. A great center or power forward will typically have even better raw numbers than a great point guard, because the guards typically need to get the ball to a power forward or center close to the basket for a closer shot.  (for a summary of the top players at each position, click here).

Because calculates how many points per game a player improves his team compared to if a typical replacement player took his place, the raw value add is adjusted by position since the replacement player would be at the same position. Therefore, once the formulas are run, and power forward's raw value add is lowered by multiplying it by 0.95 to get the result you see below and at

In general, freshmen make so many mistakes (turnovers, bad shots etc.) the first half of the season that they do not rank nearly as high as more experienced players. However, they tend to improve more at the end of the season, so we watch for breakout freshmen first when looking at brackets. Therefore we start with the 10 most valuable freshmen centers in college basketball, starting with the most talented future NBA prospect, Auburn's Jabari Smith, who improves Auburn by 7.14 points per game - meaning there is a better than 50/50 chance Auburn would have LOST any game that they won by fewer than seven points. This calculations were run before Auburn's win against Vanderbilt Wednesday, during which Smith had his first 30-point game, so he is gaining value. 

In his case, he improves the Auburn offense by 4.44 points per game, while his defensive rating of -2.70 indicates he takes three to four points more away from the opposing team then a typical replacement power forward. Here are the most valuable 10 freshmen power forwards through games of February 15.

RnkTop Freshmen Power ForwardsTeamVA5ConfHtTextCl
7Jabari Smith #10Auburn7.14SEC6'10"Fr
11Paolo Banchero #5Duke6.69ACC6'10"Fr
18Justin Lewis #10Marquette6.28BE6'7"Fr
23Tyson Degenhart #2Boise St.6.13MWC6'7"Fr
27Azuolas Tubelis #10Arizona5.9P126'11"Fr
39Dillon Jones #2Weber St.5.35BSky6'6"Fr
44Sadaidriene Hall #3Stephen F. Austin5.12WAC6'5"Fr
46Aboubacar Traore #25Long Beach St.4.96BW6'5"Fr
51Jalen Wilson #10Kansas4.77B126'8"So
52Keshad Johnson #0San Diego St.4.68MWC6'7"Jr

Top Overall Power Forwards (4)

A voter would certainly be justified in placing Smith, likely the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, as the 1st Team All-American Power Forward. However, if the entire season including early games were rated evenly, the 1st and 2nd Team All-American should really go to two Big Ten stars. Ohio State's EJ Liddell may have been the most valuable player over the course of the last two seasons, while Keegan Murray of Iowa has been able to explode now that his teammate and National Player of the Year Luka Garza has graduated.

RnkTop Freshmen Power ForwardsTeamVA5ConfHtTextCl
1Keegan Murray #15Iowa10.86B106'8"So
2EJ Liddell #32Ohio St.9.93B106'7"Jr
3Justin Bean #34Utah St.9.69MWC6'7"Sr
4Tari Eason #13LSU9.25SEC6'8"So
5David Roddy #21Colorado St.8.84MWC6'6"Jr
6Christian Braun #2Kansas7.54B126'6"Jr
7Jabari Smith #10Auburn7.14SEC6'10"Fr
8Vince Williams #10VCU6.9A106'6"Sr
9Jaime Jaquez #24UCLA6.81P126'7"Jr
10Jake LaRavia #0Wake Forest6.77ACC6'8"Jr
11Paolo Banchero #5Duke6.69ACC6'10"Fr
12Race Thompson #25Indiana6.49B106'8"Jr
13Dane Goodwin #23Notre Dame6.49ACC6'6"Jr
14Paul Atkinson #20Notre Dame6.45ACC6'9"Sr
15Timmy Allen #0Texas6.44B126'6"Sr
16Drew Timme #2Gonzaga6.41WCC6'10"Jr
17Fabian White #35Houston6.36Amer6'8"Sr
18Justin Lewis #10Marquette6.28BE6'7"Fr
19Alex Morales #2Wagner6.28NEC6'6"Sr
20Dereon Seabron #1N.C. State6.25ACC6'7"So
21Ryan Hawkins #44Creighton6.24BE6'7"Sr
22Justyn Mutts #25Virginia Tech6.17ACC6'7"Sr
23Tyson Degenhart #2Boise St.6.13MWC6'7"Fr
24Bryce Hamilton #13UNLV6.13MWC6'4"Sr
25Aher Uguak #30Loyola Chicago6.07MVC6'7"Sr
26Abu Kigab #24Boise St.5.96MWC6'7"Sr
27Azuolas Tubelis #10Arizona5.9P126'11"Fr
28Anthony Holland #25Fresno St.5.9MWC6'5"Jr
29Collin Welp #40UC Irvine5.88BW6'9"Sr
30Ron Harper #24Rutgers5.81B106'6"Sr
31Jeriah Horne #41Tulsa5.81Amer6'7"Sr
32Keshawn Justice #14Santa Clara5.76WCC6'7"Sr
33Jalen Hill #1Oklahoma5.62B126'6"Jr
34Anton Watson #22Gonzaga5.6WCC6'8"Jr
35Jayden Gardner #1Virginia5.6ACC6'6"Sr
36Noah Horchler #14Providence5.59BE6'8"Sr
37Marcus Weathers #50SMU5.49Amer6'5"Sr
38Ben Vander Plas #5Ohio5.46MAC6'8"Sr
39Dillon Jones #2Weber St.5.35BSky6'6"Fr
40Taylor Funk #33Saint Joseph's5.28A106'8"Sr
41Brady Manek #45North Carolina5.27ACC6'9"Sr
42Jalen Bridges #11West Virginia5.26B126'7"So
43Isaac Mushila #10Texas A&M Corpus Chris5.14Slnd6'5"Jr
44Sadaidriene Hall #3Stephen F. Austin5.12WAC6'5"Fr
45Jermaine Samuels #23Villanova5.08BE6'7"Sr
46Aboubacar Traore #25Long Beach St.4.96BW6'5"Fr
47Julian Champagnie #2St. John's4.93BE6'8"Jr
48Jabari Walker #12Colorado4.89P126'9"So
49Kris Murray #24Iowa4.8B106'8"So
50Jalen Adaway #33St. Bonaventure4.79A106'5"Sr

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