Top 30 NBA power forwards — 6. Jaren Jackson Jr., Grizzlies
Jaren Jackson Jr. had one of the more credible cases for Defensive Player of the Year. His per-minute numbers are insane, from simple blocked shots all the way through his advanced analytics. Jackson completely changes the shape of the game with his defensive activity, flying around the court and forcing guards to think twice before hoisting shots at the rim. On offense, he’s an absolute bomber from 3-point range who is slowly but surely becoming more adept at punishing errant closeouts.
Top 30 NBA power forwards — 5. Ben Simmons, Nets
Let’s just assume Ben Simmons is still Ben Simmons when he returns: supremely gifted and unbearably flawed. Even if he doesn’t get the 3-pointer going, even if he doesn’t ratchet up the aggressiveness in the halfcourt, and even if he remains completely helpless at the free throw line, Simmons projects as a game-changing star presence for the wayward Nets. Lest we forget, he was many people’s choice for Defensive Player of the Year not long ago — almost beating Marcus Smart to the honor of first guard to win in decades. He’s listed as a “forward” in these rankings for obvious reasons, but Simmons will still defend the perimeter and spend a lot of time playmaking for Brooklyn. He’s a special talent, albeit quite flawed.
Top 30 NBA power forwards — 4. Draymond Green, Warriors
Draymond Green (much like the Warriors) reminded folks of his greatness this season. He rocketed right back to the top of the hierarchy of great defenders. He continued to playmaking barrage, but this time in the context of the league’s deadliest offense. He is the true heart and soul of that Golden State team, tethered to Stephen Curry as half of one of the most unique and deadly star duos in modern NBA history. No player plays like Draymond. A lot of teams wish players could play like Draymond, but no one has fully pulled it off.