October 31, 2006

Elite forwards possess more than power

Analysts are beginning to claim that the position of power forward is a misnomer in today's game. Also known as the four man, these forwards are primarily face-up players with games that tend to be based more on finesse than power. Make no mistake about it, the three power forwards on the Rivals.com Elite Team have plenty of power to their game, but also a lot more.

J.J. Hickson

For Hickson, the term power forward fits perfectly. It is not that Hickson can't dribble or shoot the ball from the outside. It is more that Hickson's game is based on power. No matter where he catches or rebounds the ball, Hickson is attacking the rim.

Hickson is most dangerous when he catches the ball in the low post. He specializes in taking the ball one direction with a power dribble and then quickly spinning back with a forceful pivot to the basket. Whenever the spin is overplayed, he will fake the change of direction and finish with a smooth jump hook.

With range out to 17 feet, Hickson is capable of knocking down the jumper - but his first love is to slash to the rim.

As Hickson progresses, he will need to add a little more finesse to his game both as a perimeter player handling the ball and as a defender who is more aware of positioning. Hickson's competitive nature provides a great base with which to work.

Patrick Patterson

Capable of playing a power game around the basket, Patterson also has a smooth fluidity to his game. Besides being a terror around the basket and a productive offensive rebounder, Patterson runs the floor like a fleet-footed wing player.

With an old-school approach to the game, Patterson runs just as hard toward the defensive end as he runs to the offensive end. Defensively, he not only controls his man but does an excellent job contributing away from the ball as a helpside shot blocker.

Offensively, Patterson is a force in the high post. Not only does he shoot the ball extremely well from the 17-foot range, but he also has terrific instincts and touch as a passer. He knows how to make the high/low feed into the post and find the shooter spotting up on the opposite wing.

From that high post position, Patterson can also finish off the two-man game with the best of them. He can pop off the ball screen and knock down jumpers or roll to the basket and finish with authority in the paint.

In the end, Patterson very well might be that combo forward who is just as effective on the wing as he is in the high or low post.

Michael Beasley

Beasley's skill set offers the best of both worlds - a forward who can both overpower opponents in the lane and outmaneuver defenders with skill and quickness.

Not only does Beasley shoot the ball with range beyond the 3-point line, he also separates himself from Patterson and Hickson with his ballhandling skills. Beasley is not just a two dribble slasher to the basket. He is the type of player who can shake a defender with a crossover dribble and then hop back for a fadeaway jumper.

Whereas Patterson passes the ball with authority from the high post, Beasley is a threat to get an assist from anywhere on the court. Most impressive is his ability to shake and bake with the ball on the dribble and then suddenly find an open teammate with a pass.

Despite all the craftiness to his game, there is also the pure power and athleticism that can result in crushing dunks off drives to the basket. Beasley is also proficient at spinning to the baseline after sealing his man in the low post. As an opportunistic scorer, Beasley also makes a living crashing the offensive boards.

With the strength of a bull and the feet of a gazelle, Beasley is the type of offensive player who can take advantage of any type of matchup.




 

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