As we continue our series looking at where the Mavericks fall at each position relative to the rest of the West, we finally get to the alpha and omega of the Mavericks: Dirk Nowitzki.
Power forward is such a weird spot to grade at this point in the season for the West. You still have the normal guys, in Dirk and LaMarcus Aldridge and Anthony Davis on this list, who vault their teams into the top 10 just by virtue of showing up every day. You have some teams with good depth and youth, the combination of which puts them surprisingly high in some cases. And you have some significant injuries or trades, most notably Blake Griffin, that caused me to move teams lower than I might have otherwise.
So, at the end of the day, the greats are still great and keep their teams, at least at their respective positions, near the top of the conference. Here's where I shook out on the teams. Reminder that I hate stats, so I'm mostly using eye tests here. If you want to go argue stats in the comments, go right ahead!
The Spurs keep Spurs'ing every damn year. They were already a great team, then they went out and got LaMarcus Aldridge, they got David West (for the minimum!) and still have Matt Bonner. Two legit starters and a good backup means they have both quality AND depth, and putting them first was an easy decision.
Hey, Ryan Anderson still somehow plays for the Pelicans! Also, they have some guy named Anthony Davis who I hear is pretty good. (Sorry you're stuck on the Pels, buddy, I want a better team for you.) Rounding out the group is Luke Babbit, so again we have a situation with quality and depth. Shame the rest of the team isn't great/is always injured.
Continuing the theme of quality + depth, obviously Draymond Green is destroying worlds this year, and Speights is great off the bench. They also have Jason Thompson and something called a James Michael McAdoo.
This may be where I get the most argument, but in Noah Vonleh, Meyers Leonard and Cliff Alexander, the Blazers have put together a young, talented and fun group. They moved on from LaMarcus Aldridge in a pretty admirable fashion with some good depth.
Ibaka has turned himself into a stretch-four to help OKC keep up with the Joneses. Enes Kanter can, despite everything, score like crazy and Mitch McGary is crazy depth to have behind him.
6. Dallas Mavericks
Dirk is obviously the best player to ever live and of course he's #1 in our hearts. I don't really think Dwight Powell and Charlie Villanueva count for much in the way of depth, but Powell has shown good potential in flashes, and Charlie V. is somewhat valuable in that he serves as the heat-check guy at the end of the bench.
7. Utah Jazz
Favors is finally living up to his potential and carries this group. There's an argument that he might be the best player on the team, honestly, although that seems a bit much.
Zach Randolph is still Zach Randolph. Not much depth behind him, but hey. I may have moved them up a bit if there was some though.
The weirdest group, by far. Larry Nance Jr. and Julius Randle have tons of promise. But, the depth behind them is Brandon Bass, who is past his prime. Beyond that, Metta World Peace shouldn't be in the league, and Ryan Kelly is like Ryan Anderson without a jump shot.
10. Denver Nuggets
Faried would be a great piece on a better team. He's still really good. Darrell Arthur is fine, but J.J. Hickson is moving onto better things with a buyout.
11. Houston Rockets
Between Clint Capela, Terrence Jones and Josh Smith, the Rockets have a collection of solid bench players but not a quality starter. Man, does Josh Smith know how to get up when they play the Mavericks, though.
12. Sacramento Kings
Willie Cauley-Stein has shined doing the dirty work for the Kings. Backing him up is Omri Casspi, who is serviceable.
Who knows when Blake Griffin will be back, which is a shame because behind him are Luc Mbah a Moute and Jeff Ayres, who, I'll be honest, I didn't know they played for the Clippers til researching this article.
14. Phoenix Suns
Not much left after Markeiff Morris was traded, between Jon Leuer and Mirza Teletovic. Teletovic would be more valuable if he played any defense at all.
Garnett is still a lot of fun, but not because of what he's doing on the court. This group stinks.