A power outage at the four

Updated: June 18, 2004, 11:29 AM ET
By Chad Ford | ESPN Insider
What do Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett, Chris Webber, Ben Wallace, Karl Malone, Jermaine O'Neal, Kenyon Martin, and Pau Gasol have in common?

It just so happens that this year, the top-nine teams in the league (according to record) also have, arguably, the top-nine power forwards in the league. What a coincidence. The big guys matter, folks.

That's why teams go nuts over power players in the draft. In 2002, six power forwards were drafted in the lottery. In 2001, the first three picks were power forwards, and nine overall were taken in the first round. Last year was a major aberration. Only four players in the lottery were power forwards, and only six power forwards, overall, were drafted in the first round.

That, however, was because of a lack of talent, not a lack of need. The good news is that this is a decent draft at the power forward position. As many as eight power players have a shot at getting drafted in the first round. However, only three are locks for the lottery. Given the obsession with size in the league, read into that what you will.

Chad Ford

ESPN Senior Writer