Arizona Power Forward Overview

Arizona is deceptively talented at power forward. Read on for a preview at the position.

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When looking at Arizona’s roster, power forward is a deceptively talented position for the Wildcats with the potential of adding more.

The starting job will likely be between Ray Smith and Lauri Markkanen, two players we really don’t know a whole lot about right now.

Smith is the type of player that has basically become the prototypical college four. Ryan Anderson h ad a solid season statistically, but struggled with the same athletic forwards that Smith will have success guarding.

In addition to defensive improvement, Smith also adds some offensive versatility as well. He can step out and hit the three while also having success around the basket.

The biggest question with Smith is probably surrounding his knee injury and it’s probably not as big of a question as some may think.

He has looked great in practice and doesn’t seem to have lost much of the athleticism that made him such a highly regarded prospect.

Remember, numerous NBA scouts said in last year’s pre-season that Smith was the best NBA prospect on the team.

If he shows to be healthy, that is likely still the case because he has a rare combination of strength, skills, and athleticism.

In addition to Smith, Arizona got a steal in Markkanen if he proves to be as good as we have heard. There is always some skepticism with European players and rightfully so, but Markkanen is a five-star for a reason.

He can play both the four and the five, though Arizona presents major matchup problems with him at power forward.

Markkanen is a prototypical European player in that he is highly skilled, but likely needs to get a bit stronger.

Guys like Markkanen are often more prepared to make an immediate impact because they are so highly skilled, thus he has a legitimate chance to start and at the very least contribute quite a bit.

Jonathan Givony of Draft Express has scouted Markkanen and writes, “If he was here in high school he would be recruited at a McDonald's All-American level.

“I think he's going to have to fill into his body. He's grown in the last year is my understanding and I think he's still developing from a physical standpoint."

The wildcard in all of this is Ben carter, who is looking to transfer from UNLV. We don’t think Carter is necessarily good enough to start on Arizona, but he is certainly good enough to play.

When you have two guys that have yet to play a minute of college ball, it makes sense to add Carter to the rotation in order to not only help those two develop, but give solid minutes as well.

Carter definitely won’t make or break the position, but he would improve Arizona’s roster and add a talented player to a position in which Arizona needs one.


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