The power forward position is probably my favorite position in this year's draft. I expect great things from both candidates below, as well as Greg Monroe, Patrick Patterson, and Hassan Whiteside. The only power forward who I think might be a true bust is Ed Davis, who only looked softer after a second season at UNC (somehow NBA scouts ignored his season, or, like most UNC fans, blamed Larry Drew II). Davis is projected to go top ten, but he lacked any true offensive weapons and wasn't ever a dominant defensive presence either. Drafting Davis is a mistake that someone will have to make; it's rolling the dice with someone this unproven (and odds aren't necessarily in your favor).
Derrick Favors (Freshman, Georgia Tech): Favors is probably the reason Paul Hewitt still has his job (or it could be the large buyout...OK, it's both). Favors was considered a top five recruit coming out of high school, but he had a pretty disappointing freshman season for the Yellow Jackets. I attribute his limited to success to his young age (Favors, at 18, is the youngest player in the draft this year), his team makeup (he had to share the frontcourt with fellow first rounder Gani Lawal, which limited his possessions significantly), and the Yellow Jackets' hideous half-court play (they lacked a consistent point guard, which caused half-court sets to suffer throughout the season, leading to Favors and Lawal often going unnoticed for minutes at a time). Favors has an absurd upside, with his best-case scenario being described by Rob Dauster as Amare Stoudemire with Dwight Howard's measurements. Read that last sentence again... Assuming he can develop reliable post moves, Favors could be a Dwight Howard rebounder and defender with the midrange game and post moves of Stoudemire: that's outrageous.
I don't think it's very likely that he'll achieve those expectations, but it could still happen. Favors' measurements are comparable to Howard's coming into the draft, and it's likely he will bulk up the same way too. Favors needs to develop reliable low-post moves and overall polish, but he's got a great shot to do both considering his age. I hope he ends up going to the Nets because a Brook Lopez / Derrick Favors (Amare-Dwight hybrid) frontcourt would be incredible. Prokhorov might have to pull some strings, but I hear he has a 200-foot yacht that he doesn't use much (it makes him seasick according to Bill Simmons), which could definitely com in handy. I also think Favors would be ready for his breakout year just around the same time the Nets move to Brooklyn...just some food for thought. I think Favors will be average around a double double (12 points and 9 boards) next season, and the points will increase exponentially over the next couple of seasons.
Ekpe Udoh (Junior, Baylor): Udoh had an incredible season culminating in his 18 point, 10 rebound, 6 assist, 5 block performance against Duke in the Elite Eight. He was a little inconsistent, but he averaged 14 points, 10 rebounds, almost 3 assists and almost 4 blocks a game. Udoh proved to be a great passer from the post, a stupendous shot blocker, a solid rebounder (especially on the offensive end), and a talented finisher (the man can dunk). NBA scouts are a little concerned with Udoh's age (he's 23), so not many will take him as a project. Luckily, Udoh's shot-blocking and passing abilities should transfer right away, and, assuming he can bulk up a little, his rebounding and finishing should remain at a high level. Personally, I think Udoh still has a few years of major improvement in him, and I think whoever drafts him will be pleasantly surprised by his performance. While he could definitely use some more strength to help hold his own, that should come with working out more for the NBA.
He got while the going is good: Udoh's draft stock would probably never be higher than this, and between his age and the uber-talented Baylor frontcourt this year (Perry Jones is supposed to be phenomenal and Quincy Acy took huge strides last season), Udoh might have seen a decline in his performance during his senior campaign. I like Udoh to go late in the lottery. Assuming he gets decent minutes, I see Udoh as a 8 point, 8 rebound, and 2 block player next season.
Note: Thanks to the writers of DraftExpress for publishing all of the Pre-Draft Measurements.
Submitted by Matt Patton, Special to Big 12 Hoops