Position Breakdown: Power Forwards

by Joe Gabriele
Cavs.com Beat Writer

With less than a fortnight before the Wine and Gold are officially on the clock in the 2014 NBA Draft, Cavs.com continues to break down some of this June’s top prospects.

Today, we looks at some of this year’s top power forwards – including a pair of accomplished seniors and a trio of diverse freshman who’ve had front offices salivating over their unlimited upside.

With that in mind, here’s what the scouts have said about some of the top power forwards in this year’s Draft …


Aaron Gordon6-9, 220 – Born: September 26, 1995 – (San Jose, CA) – College: Arizona – Declared for the Draft after a highly-successful single season at Arizona; a supreme athlete loaded with intangibles but lacking polish offensively; one of the youngest players in this year’s Draft who doesn’t turn 20 until after his rookie season; relentless motor, fluid, elite athleticism, a team-first attitude and high basketball IQ; not a pure back-to-the-basket post player, but an excellent finisher around the rim; very good offensive rebounder; quick leaping ability and moves well around the hoop without the ball; decent ball-handler and solid passer who’s willing to get his teammates involved; impressive defensive skillset – having defended all three frontcourt positions in his single season at Arizona; very good rebounder with a real nose for the ball and a solid-but-not-spectacular shot-blocker; extremely well-conditioned, always goes hard and never takes plays off; offensive game – especially from the perimeter and the stripe – is still a work in progress. - Read Full Profile

Doug McDermott6-7, 220 – Born: January 3, 1992 – (Ames, IA) – College: Creighton – The most individually-decorated player in this year’s Draft class, McDermott was college hoops’ 2014 Consensus National Player of the Year who finished his career at Creighton as one of only three players in NCAAM history to finish career with 3,000 points and 1,000 boards; McDermott earned three straight First Team AP All-America honors and led Creighton to three straight NCAA Tourney appearances; his offensive instincts, footwork and fundamentals as a scorer are elite – a superb outside shooter with quick release; has a good nose for the ball and is the son of a head coach with an exceptional basketball IQ; career 50-40 percent guy from the field and three-point arc respectively; not a particularly quick or explosive player; concerns whether his game will translate to the NBA level; makes very little impact on the defensive side of the ball and posted low steal and block numbers throughout his career; more athletic than he appears, had a 36.5 max vertical at the NBA combine.

Adreian Payne6-10, 240 – Born: February 19, 1991 – (Dayton, OH) – College: Michigan State – As accomplished on the floor as off of it, Payne is one of nine players in MSU history with 1,200 career points and 700 rebounds and is the Spartans all-time leader in career blocks (141); scored an MSU Tournament record 41 points against Delaware as a senior; earned Second Team All-Big Ten honors as a senior and was a two-time recipient of MSU’s Scholar-Athlete award as well as winning the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award as a junior; limited ball-handling skills; long and athletic and shoots with range out to the three-point arc – shooting 42 percent from three-point range as a senior, a solid rebounder and defender; Rebounding numbers dropped slightly despite increased minutes from junior to senior season; should be a nice pick-and-pop player at the next level because of his toughness and shooting stroke; willing to bang on the block, solid post game; great intangibles – a hard worker and team leader; came to East Lansing with a skinny frame but filled out well; really showed off his athleticism in college slam dunk contest; good size – 6-9 with a 7-0 wingspan.

Julius Randle6-9, 250 – Born: November 29, 1994 – (Plano, TX) – College: Kentucky – The skilled lefty from Kentucky isn’t an overly-explosive athlete, but makes up for it with his strong upper body, solid footwork and high motor; polished face-up game and a reliable mid-range game; beast on the boards – both offensive and defensive – with an instinctive nose for the ball; despite concerns over right foot that might require surgery, most feel he can make an immediate impact for the team who drafts him, based on his offensive skill-set and physical maturity; rare balance of finesse and power; solid work ethic and coachability – leaving it all on the floor in both games and practice; defensively, he’s not a rim-protector, but does use his strength to keep opponents away from the basket; excels in transition and can finish in traffic – getting to the free throw line prolifically; can play with his back to the basket, but prefers the face-up game; seen as a bit of a “tweener” as a power forward, with an average wingspan and whose physical strength won’t be as great an advantage on the next level. - Read Full Profile

Noah Vonleh6-9, 247 – Born: August 24, 1995 – (Haverhill, MA) – College: Indiana – One of the fastest risers as we approach the Draft, the intriguing former wing player has the shooting stroke to stretch the defense but also possesses a rapidly developing post game; runs the floor very well for a player his size and has very good footwork; solid, muscular lower body; gets to the stripe regularly and shot 71 percent when he did; shows good shot selection and hits on a high percentage; can put the ball on the floor – has good mobility – but also can hit shots out to the three-point line; passionate about the game, a cerebral kid who’s not afraid to put in the work, described as a gym rat; though not an explosive leaper, his length and quickness help him block or at least alter shots around the rim; needs to work on low post work, often reverts to his high school habits as a wing player; confidence is still an issue – concerns about a “killer instinct”; court awareness on both ends of the floor is still a work in progress; can be foul-prone, needs to play more with his feet than his arms; measured 6-9 in shoes with a 7-3 wingspan; has huge upside with All-Star potential, but still growing into the power forward position, named 2014 Big Ten Freshman of the Year and Third Team All-Big Ten