The offensive game of Blake Griffin is ever evolving.
In the absence of Chris Paul last season, Griffin emerged as the facilitator of the most potent offense in the league.
During the regular season, the five-time All-Star dished out 10 or more assists just three times in 67 appearances.
The Clippers playoff run lasted 14 games, but Griffin managed to tally 10 or more assists on three occasions.
The inflated assist total, as Griffin dished out a career-high 5.3 per game, came at the cost of his rebounding. The 6-foot-10 forward pulled down 7.6 rebounds a night, the lowest of his five-year career.
Los Angeles has continually challenged Griffin to find new ways to contribute to the offense, and the past summer has been no different.
After honing in his mid-range jumper, as the 26-year-old connected on 40 percent of his attempts from 16-feet to the 3-point line, highest of his career, Griffin has developed other ways to connect on jumpers.
This summer Griffin has worked substantially on becoming a better shooter of the pick-and-roll along with the pick-and-pop.
Griffin remains one of the most astonishing finishes are the rim, he is also incorporating the running tear drop into his offensive repertoire.
By expanding the variety of ways he can score the ball, Griffin remains as one of the most sought after talents in fantasy basketball.
The 2015-16 season may go down as the one where Griffin puts everything together.
30. Derrick Williams– New York Knicks
The second overall pick of the 2011 NBA Draft has yet to carve out a home in the NBA, after he was dealt from Minnesota midway through his third year in the league then was allowed to sign with the Knicks in free agency this summer. Originally projected to be able to line up at either forward position, Williams doesn’t possess a potent enough outside shot to pull power forwards away from the rim or enough speed to stick with small forwards.
29. Brandon Bass– Los Angeles Lakers
To start the season, it is believed Bass will be the starting power forwards until Julius Randle displays enough promise to lock down the starting job. Throughout his 10-year career, Bass has shown flashes as a rebounder and a shot blocker, but hasn’t been able to produce enough to land a permanent job. Bass has only remained the starter in over half of his games just twice during his career and will likely surrender the job before the end of the calendar year.
28. Cody Zeller– Charlotte Hornets
The Hornets have a legitimate stretch-four in rookie Frank Kaminsky, it just remains to be seen how long it will take for him to supplant Zellar as the starting power forward. The primary issue in Charlotte’s offense for years was the teams’ inability to connect from 3-point range. Without any long range threats, defenses have been able to collapse into the paint and eliminate any size advantage the team possesses. If Kaminsky is able to jump into the starting lineup, look for Zeller to be available on the trade market.
27. Kevin Garnett– Minnesota Timberwolves
The starting job for Garnett is more of a ceremonial position than an endorsement of his abilities. The greatest player in franchise history returned last season to serve as a mentor and although he is slated to start, Garnett will likely spend less than 20 minutes a night on the floor. Minnesota is hoping the presence of Garnett will help shape Karl-Anthony Towns, the first overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft, and Gorgui Dieng into a devastating front court combination.
26. Patrick Patterson– Toronto Raptors
There is some appeal in Patterson’s game as he provides reliable 3-point shooting out of the power forward position. During his first full season in Toronto, the former Kentucky star connected 105 times from 3-point range and knocked down 37.1 percent of his attempts. The Raptors added Luis Scola in the off-season, a move intended to bring more rebounding to the position, perhaps cutting into his minutes next season.
25. Nene Hilario– Washington Wizards
The production simply isn’t there for Nene to be a viable fantasy option. Last season, the 6foot-11 forward tallied just two double-doubles, grabbed eight or more rebounds a total of just four times and logged just seven 20 point performances. The Wizards could be a player in the trade market next February, as a productive power forward is a necessity if the team wants to continue to elevate its status in the Eastern Conference.
24. Jordan Hill– Indiana Pacers
Last season, Hill quietly put together an effective fantasy basketball season. In 70 games for the Lakers, the 6-foot-10 forward averaged 12 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. His 174 offensive rebounds on the year surpassed the total Anthony Davis posted and the 22 double-doubles he managed equaled the figure LeBron James totaled last season. The Pacers are facing a lot of uncertainty in their front court rotation, but Hill is easily the most established player of the bunch.
23. Markieef Morris– Phoenix Suns
Phoenix anticipates Morris to be in the starting lineup on opening night, something that appeared to be impossible just a few weeks ago. Over the summer, Morris publicly stated his frustrations with the Suns front office for dealing his twin Marcus to the Pistons without consulting either player before the trade. Morris has showed the most promise of any power forward on the team, but Phoenix will likely continue to juggle its rotation heavily next season.
22. Willie Cauley-Stein– Sacramento Kings
Sacramento hasn’t blocked more than 4.2 shots per game in each of the past three seasons. To remedy the lack of shot blocking, the team passed on a potential franchise point guard in Emmanual Mudiay to select Cauley-Stein, the SEC Defensive Player of the Year. After declaring for the NBA draft following his junior season, Cauley-Stein became the first Kentucky player to ever accumulate more than 200 blocks and 100 steals in their career.
21. Terrence Jones– Houston Rockets
A fluke nerve injury to his legs limited Jones to just 33 appearances, but he was a huge difference maker for the Rockets. With Jones in the lineup, Houston posted a record of 24-9 and at times, he was simply dominant. Perhaps his finest effort of the year came against the Kings, as he scored 16 points on just 10 shots from the field to go along with seven rebounds, seven blocks, three assists and a steal in just 31 minutes.
20. Aaron Gordon– Orlando Magic
The message from Gordon was clear during the Magic’s media day, as he proclaimed “He was sick of potential. Now is the time, I’m tired of waiting.” Gordon’s mentality was on full display during the 2015 NBA Summer League in Orlando, showcasing his improved jump shot as he dominated. In his three appearances, Gordon averaged 21.7 points, 11.7 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc.
19. Thaddeus Young– Brooklyn Nets
Once Young was dealt to the Nets at midseason, his efficiency from beyond the arc was restored. In 28 games with Brooklyn, Young connected on 38 percent of his 3-pointers, up from the 29.2 percent he managed during his time with the Timberwolves. For a two year period, Young emerged as an elite steals threat, topped with his career-high 167 steals to end the 2013-14 campaign. Last season, that figure slipped to 1.6 per game, but if Young can continue to force turnovers, he could be a viable final round selection.
18. Ed Davis– Portland Trail Blazers
Throughout his career, Davis has been exceptionally productive in short bursts. His per-36 minutes averages of 12.8 points, 11.7 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game would be enough to make him an elite fantasy performer at the power forward position, but with the Trail Blazers looking for consistent production, he will likely be on the floor for the most minutes of his career next season. Davis has yet to average 25 minutes a game during any of his five seasons in the NBA, so conditioning will be key.
17. David Lee– Boston Celtics
The Warriors won their first championship in 4o years as Lee essentially fell out of the rotation. Just three weeks after outlasting Cleveland in the 2015 NBA Finals, Lee was dealt to Boston, providing him an opportunity for plenty of minutes. The Celtics have numerous options at the power forward position, but none with the pedigree of Lee, as he has averaged 14.7 points and 9.5 rebounds per game during his 10-year career.
16. Ersan Ilyasova– Detroit Pistons
Fantasy owners are banking on coach Stan Van Gundy to restore the fantasy value of Ilyasova. Three years ago, the forward out of Turkey was a breakout star, as he averaged 13 points, 8.8 rebounds and knocked down 95 shots from beyond the arc. He was immediately rewarded with a five-year, $40 million extension. Ever since, injuries and a lack of productivity have plagued Ilyasova, prompting his trade to Detroit.
15. Zach Randolph– Memphis Grizzlies
The 38 double-doubles Randolph posted last season matched the output of Kevin Love during his first season in Cleveland. The moves are so predictable at this point, as he backs down defenders with two dribbles then lofts a lefty hook through the net, or his series of jab steps that creates just enough space to bury a jumper from the elbow. Even as defenders know what is coming, they have yet to find a way to consistently stop it, as Randolph averaged 16.1 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.
14. Jabari Parker– Milwaukee Bucks
A torn ACL ended Parker’s promising rookie season after just 25 games. The second overall pick of the 2014 NBA Draft was able to score effectively and often, as he posted 12.3 points per game on 49 percent shooting from the field. The biggest surprise of his game was his effectiveness as an offensive rebounder, as he managed to grab 2.0 offensive rebounds per game to go along with 3.5 defensive rebounds a night.
13. Chris Bosh– Miami Heat
Luckily doctors were able to discover blood clots in Bosh’s lungs during the All-Star break, catching the issue in time before any serious health problems were inflicted on the 10-time All-Star. Bosh has been cleared to resume all basketball activities, a much better prognosis after he was left wondering if he would live after the discovery. Miami is poised to make a run in the Eastern Conference and the return to Bosh is vital.
12. Dirk Nowitzki– Dallas Mavericks
If his new teammate’s perspective is accurate, Nowitzki has another 13 years remaining in his career. Maybe Nowitzki won’t be on the floor until the age of 50, but his production has only dipped slightly after 17 years in the league. For the seventh time in his career, the 7-footer managed to convert at least 100 shots from 3-point range and his accuracy hasn’t waned, as the former MVP buried 38 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.
11. Derrick Favors– Utah Jazz
Favors revealed a goal he set for himself entering the season: become an All-Star. The Jazz hasn’t sent a representative to All-Star weekend since 2011 and for Favors to garner a selection,he will need to improve upon the 16 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game he posted a year ago. Favors has registered at least 100 blocks in each of the past three years, but his path to All-Star weekend will be paved if he can become a truly dominant rim protector.
10. Kenneth Faried– Denver Nuggets
The carry-over effect from his breakout performance at the 2014 World Cup of Basketball was non existent for Faried. After emerging as a featured player among the top rising stars in the league, he managed just a slight increase in rebounding, while his scoring, block and steal figures all declined. Faried is the most intriguing piece for new coach Mike Malone to work with next season as Denver transitions away from the Ty Lawson era. Faried will need to produce more than 26 double-doubles to warrant his mid-round pick status in fantasy basketball.
9. Nerlens Noel– Philadelphia 76ers
In his rookie year, Noel managed to join elite company, as he became just the 16th different player in league history to total at least 130 blocks and 130 steals in the same season. The only other player to ever accomplish the feat in their rookie campaign was David Robinson. The defensive output has been accomplished just seven times since the year 2000. The summer, Noel has worked diligently on his offensive game, but he has already shown enough promise to elicit a selection to the All-Defensive Team next season.
8. Draymond Green– Golden State Warriors
The NBA’s most versatile defender — as Green is truly capable of guarding all five positions on the floor — fell just one block shy of joining Nerlens Noel and Anthony Davis as the only players in the league to total at least 100 steals and 100 blocks last season. Next season, Green is hoping to become just the fifth player in league history to ever accumulate 100 blocks, 100 steals and 100 made 3-point field goals in the same season, joining Robert Horry, Rasheed Wallace, Shawn Marion and Kevin Durant.
7. Paul Millsap– Atlanta Hawks
Few players have been able to capitalize on the pace-and-space revolution sweeping the NBA better than Millsap. After joining Atlanta by signing a two-year, $19 million contract, Millsap established himself as an NBA All-Star, a true 3-point shooting threat, a defender that thrives on forcing turnovers and an exceptional passer on the perimeter. The Hawks rewarded his improved play, signing him to a three-year, $59 million extension.
6. Serge Ibaka– Oklahoma City Thunder
Although he has been fully cleared for training camp, the knees of Ibaka are a major concern heading into the season. Lingering knee issues forced Ibaka to miss the final 18 games of the regular season, then he informed team officials there was some discomfort during the summer. The pain in his legs resulted in a bit of a drop off from Ibaka’s stellar shot blocking, as he swatted away 2.4 attempts per game, marking a decline in blocks for the fourth consecutive year.
5. Pau Gasol– Chicago Bulls
Gasol simply couldn’t stop putting up double-doubles during his first season in Chicago. The 35-year-old posted 54 double-doubles, the most of any player during the 2014-15 campaign, as he ended a three-year All-Star absence by averaging 18.5 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. Any time an opponent missed a shot, Gasol was the first one there, as he totaled 699 defensive rebounds, second only to DeAndre Jordan a year ago.
4. Kevin Love– Cleveland Cavaliers
The primary question facing Love as he entered his first season with the Cavaliers was if he could put up superstar numbers on a playoff team. While Love was a solid fantasy option, posting 16.4 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game, it wasn’t enough to solidify a spot on the Eastern Conference All-Star team. Love has the opportunity to propel himself back to All-Star status next season, as he needs a fast start as point guard Kyrie Irving recovers from knee surgery.
3. LaMarcus Aldridge– San Antonio Spurs
Mixing in Aldridge with San Antonio’s offensive machine will be an interesting dynamic. For each of the past two seasons, Aldridge has launched at least 1,400 shots during the regular season, but no player on the Spurs attempted more than 832 a year ago. The transition into becoming part of the Spurs perennial contender is to make sacrifices, and just how much Aldridge makes will determine his value in fantasy basketball.
2. Blake Griffin– Los Angeles Clippers
Griffin has spent his summer trying to obtain any advantage he can on the basketball court. To deal with the physical play of his opponents, the 6-foot-10 forward even enlisted the help of a UFC fighter to help with his footwork, agility and explosiveness to the rim. All of those traits are necessary for Griffin to return as an elite offensive rebounder, as his production slipped to a career-low 1.9 offensive rebounds per game, nearly a full rebound less than his career average.
1. Anthony Davis– New Orleans Pelicans
On any list, Davis is clearly the one. He is the undisputed first selection in fantasy drafts, the clear-cut top shot blocker in the league and the most promising player in the league. Seemingly anything is within his reach. Davis has averaged double-doubels each of the past two years, while leading the NBA in blocks per game and playing near flawless basketball. Last season, Davis and Jimmy Butler were the only All-Stars to log at least 2,000 minutes on the floor while committing less than 100 turnovers.