Best and worst power-forward signings

Originally Published: August 18, 2010
ESPN.com

Chris BoshAP Photo/J Pat CarterWas the Heat's landing of Chris Bosh the best power-foward signing of the summer? Survey says ...

The Summer of LeBron wasn't all about LeBron. The 2010 free-agent class also boasted five All-Star power forwards still in their prime -- Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire, Dirk Nowitzki, Carlos Boozer and David Lee -- who all received big-time contracts and, except for Dirk, all signed with new squads.

So which team won the power-forward sweepstakes?

Factoring in money, talent, fit, and other circumstances, we asked our 93 NBA panelists for their take on the best and worst PF signings of the bunch.

Here are the results (plus some analysis below from the TrueHoop Network):

2010-11 Forecast: Best power-forward signing

2010-11 Forecast: Worst power-forward signing

What's the best-case scenario for the team you cover?


Matt McHale, Bulls By The Horn (Chicago): In a best-case scenario, Boozer will provide the Bulls with the inside scorer they've needed since Elton Brand was (rather foolishly) traded away in 2001. (No, I don't count Eddy Curry as an inside scorer.)

If Boozer becomes a safety valve in the half-court offense, it benefits everybody. Derrick Rose won't have to create everything himself. Joakim Noah will be able to concentrate on defense and rebounding. Double-teams will free Rose, Luol Deng, Kyle Korver and C.J. Watson for drives and/or open shots. And Taj Gibson gets a mentor. In short, the Bulls will be a complete team.


Rob Mahoney, The Two-Man Game (Dallas): Certainty separates the Nowitzki signing from the other notable power forward acquisitions this summer. While the Knicks, Warriors, Bulls and Heat are all shooting for the moon (and heading into the great unknown in the process) with their respective moves, the Mavericks already know exactly what Nowitzki brings to the table. They know how he works with the current core, where they can go with him, and more importantly, how far they would fall without him.

With that in mind, the best-case scenario for the Mavs really has more to do with every other member of the team than it does Nowitzki. If the rest of Dallas' roster can live up to its pedigree and reputation, the Mavs really could improve enough to become quasi-contenders, along with the best of the West's second tier.


Rasheed Malek, Warriors World (Golden State): The Warriors have been longing for a skilled power forward since they traded away Chris Webber, and now with the acquisition of David Lee they've fulfilled their desire. Lee's ability to play off Stephen Curry will mean an abundance of scoring opportunities for Lee as he'll be able to dominate in the pick-and-roll as well as get open looks to knock down his jump shot.

Lee's ability to secure rebounds will also allow the Warriors to get out in transition more often and do what they do best: Score the basketball. No longer having to rely on playing "small ball" will translate into more victories for the Warriors.


Surya Fernandez, Hot Hot Hoops (Miami): Pat Riley has coveted Chris Bosh since the 2003 draft and surely was thrilled to replace talented, but inconsistent, Michael Beasley with the all-time Raptors leader in almost every major statistical category.

Bosh gives the Heat a true post presence in his prime (something not seen in South Florida since Alonzo Mourning's peak years) instead of a couple of fading O'Neals. Dwyane Wade alone would have already been a perfect complement to Bosh, but the Heat have another in LeBron James. With those three on the floor, Bosh will have free rein inside to do damage.


Kevin McElroy, Knickerblogger (New York): Chris Paul talks his way out of New Orleans and the Knicks grab a pick-and-roll partner for Amare Stoudemire on par with that Canadian dude he played with in Phoenix. The Knicks spend the summers of 2011 and 2012 surrounding the two with long-range bombers and find the athletic shot-blocker to pair with Amare that Mike D'Antoni never had the first time around.

The knees hold up, the offensive efficiency remains his trademark, and Stoudemire enjoys a three-year run as the top scorer on a division champ and chief challenger to Miami's Eastern supremacy. The draft lottery ceases to be the most exciting day in June for Knicks fans.


What's the worst-case scenario for the team you cover?


McHale (Chicago): In a worst-case scenario, Boozer will get hurt and/or be revealed as a "fraud" -- by which I mean the Bulls will discover (to their deep regret) that his gaudy offensive production relied too heavily on both the playmaking skills of Deron Williams and Jerry Sloan's deliberate offense.

If Boozer is unavailable or can't produce sufficient -- and efficient -- inside scoring, the Bulls' offense could revert to what it has been for several years: an endless series of low-percentage contested long-range jump shots. And, based on the raised expectations, that would be a disaster.


Mahoney (Dallas): Since his rookie year, Nowitzki has played 873 out of a possible 902 regular-season games (an insane 96.8 percent). His physical preparation is impeccable, and as a result, he's never suffered a single significant injury over the course of his career.

Some might argue he's overdue. Nowitzki turned 32 in June, and the bottom would really fall out for Dallas should the injury bug finally catch up to him. Even worse, a lingering injury could potentially speed up Nowitzki's decline, particularly on the defensive end. While his offensive excellence has never been heavily predicated on athleticism, Nowitzki's defense really can't afford a dramatic drop-off. He may top 20 points per game well into the twilight of his career, but by the end, a less mobile Nowitzki may be giving up too much on the other end of the court for the Mavs to stay afloat.


Malek (Golden State): Not even a month after coming to the Warriors, David Lee found himself inflicted with the injury curse that's plagued the Warriors for quite some time now (he dislocated his finger at Team USA camp). Lee's health will be paramount for the Warriors, as they invested significant money and gave up talented players to bring him to the Bay Area.

Lee missing any significant time during the season will squash any playoff aspirations the Warriors may have. The pressure is on Lee to produce from day one and similarly to his 20-10 average from last season. The most loyal fans in the NBA will not stand for mediocrity from their highest-paid player.


Fernandez (Miami): Bosh will have to significantly alter his game from being a focal point of a team's offense and the face of a franchise to the reality that he is the third-best player on this team. How this plays on him throughout the long grind of an NBA season, not just from a basketball viewpoint but mentally, should be something to keep tabs on. Also, does Bosh have what it takes to step up when the games truly matter deep in the playoffs? He's never been put in such a situation in the NBA, so it remains to be seen.


McElroy (New York): Antonio McDyess redux: Stoudemire reinjures his knee in the preseason. Amare takes his talents to Dr. James Andrews, leaving the Knicks with a salary-cap albatross, no franchise player and no lottery picks until 2013.

Second-worst-case scenario: Knicks fail to pry Paul or Carmelo free from their current teams, Amare's production drops without Steve Nash supplying him, and the Knicks stagnate in the 38-42-win range for the next five years -- too good to get an impact draft pick, but not good enough to threaten the big boys. Added bonus of this scenario: plenty of first-round beatings at the hands of The Ones Who Got Away.

Click here for the complete list of voters.