The Pac-12 has produced some phenomenal power forwards of late. From Kevin Love to Nikola Vucevic, Derrick Williams and Taj Gibson, the Pac is putting big boys in the league. The current crop ain’t half bad either. With producers like Harper Kamp, Jessie Perry, and half of UCLA’s lineup, there are a number PFs that can hoop. The best of which may very well be Dwight Powell.
The wiry Stanford forward has NBA written all over him. He is the fourth best NBA prospect in the conference per Draft Express and with good reason; he’s long, athletic, and has a lot of frame left to grow in to. He reminds me a lot of Jordan Hill who arrived in Arizona extremely raw. Like Hill, Powell didn’t pick up basketball until he was a teen and has a lot to learn about the game. As a freshman, Hill averaged 4 points and 4 boards before blowing up into a lottery pick as he gained strength and basketball awareness over the next two seasons. In his own freshman year, Powell averaged 8 points and 5 rebounds, playing most comfortably on the perimeter and flashing athletic brilliance.
As he continues to develop, Powell’s perimeter play should move from comfort zone to asset. His size and developing strength can make him a matchup nightmare; if he can develop the threat of a post game, who guards him? He can take fours on the perimeter and smalls to the post. The sky is ultimately the limit for any athlete, particularly skilled 6’9” ones.
Heading into this season, Powell will be looked to score more as the Cardinal lose last year’s leading scorer, Jeremy Green. However, Powell finds himself in a good situation with Josh Owens and Anthony Brown returning and capable of shouldering some of the scoring pressure. Owens brings a similar skill set to Powell’s and the two could form a formidable two-headed post monster; allowing Powell to flourish without being the primary focus of an opponent’s defense.
Needless to say, to watch Powell is to see pure potential; no doubt a frustrating but encouraging site for Cardinal fans. As he develops his strength and general basketball skill set, Powell will cause fits. A player no team will want to face, joining the litany (hyperbole?) of dominant Pac-12 power forwards.
And if none of this pans out for young Dwight, it appears he may have a future in acting: