After looking at rookies last week, we shift our focus back to position groups for our power rankings this week.
With centres and backcourts out of the way, all that's left are the 22 forward tandems that will be taking the floor in Orlando.
POWER RANKINGS: CENTRES | BACKCOURTS
This group of forwards is quite possibly the most intriguing to rank, as it contains three of the league's consensus top-five talents as well as a few somewhat unproven players who must step into larger roles due to circumstances surrounding the restart.
With that in mind, here are the best forward pairings, ranked ahead of the NBA's imminent restart.
22. Washington Wizards: Isaac Bonga, Rui Hachimura
As easy as it is to be high on Hachimura, there are some serious questions surrounding how good of a duo he and Bonga will be in Orlando.
MORE: It's Rui Hachimura's time to shine
Hachimura has been one of the best rookies in the league this season and will likely increase his production as the Wizards will be without Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans. On the other hand, Bonga's potential isn't quite enough to keep these guys from landing last.
21. Brooklyn Nets: Joe Harris, Rodions Kurucs
20. Portland Trail Blazers: Nassir Little, Carmelo Anthony
With Trevor Ariza opting out of the restart, rookie Nassir Little is a candidate to start in the frontcourt alongside Carmelo Anthony, who has started in each game with the Blazers at power forward.
MORE: Three he's still got it moments from Melo this year
Zach Collins and Jusuf Nurkic are back for Portland, providing a frontcourt boost but it is unclear what it will do for the team's rotation. Collins and Nurkic might not start, but it's fair to assume that each will find themselves in closing lineups.
19. Sacramento Kings: Harrison Barnes, Nemanja Bjelica
18. Phoenix Suns: Mikal Bridges, Dario Saric
17. Utah Jazz: Joe Ingles, Royce O'Neale
Utah's frontcourt took a hit when Bojan Bogdanovic elected to undergo surgery that would effectively end his season. Working in the Jazz's favour is the fact that Ingles performs well as a starter, making him an X-factor to the team's success at the restart.
16. Oklahoma City Thunder: Luguentz Dort, Danilo Gallinari
15. Houston Rockets: Danuel House Jr., Robert Covington
14. Memphis Grizzlies: Justise Winslow, Jaren Jackson Jr.
While Kyle Anderson was Memphis' starting small forward prior to the season coming to the halt, this is based on the assumption he'll return to the bench with deadline acquisition Justise Winslow getting healthy over the hiatus.
Had I seen this pairing play with one another, it could have landed higher on the list, as Jackson is a unique forward that has performed very well this season. The 20-year-old leads Memphis with 135 made triples this year (in 54 games), more than the likes of LeBron James, Khris Middleton and Marcus Morris Sr., to name a few.
MORE: Odds for the West's No. 8 seed
If they can hang on to the eighth seed, they'll be a big part of the Grizzlies being fun to watch. Along with Ja Morant, of course.
13. San Antonio Spurs: DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay
12. Orlando Magic: Jonathan Isaac, Aaron Gordon
If we're talking potential, this duo has just that, specifically the 22-year-old Isaac.
After missing 33 games during the regular season, Isaac was afforded the ability to get back to full strength ahead of the restart. The rangy, 6-foot-11 forward is the prototypical player of the future, with the ability to defend, rebound and score on multiple levels. Keep an eye on him and the Magic.
11. Dallas Mavericks: Dorian Finney-Smith, Kristaps Porzingis
10. Denver Nuggets: Will Barton, Paul Millsap
Solid. In one word, that's one of the best ways to describe the veteran duo of Barton and Millsap, who both provide much-needed consistency for a Nuggets team that has a tendency to be a bit up and down.
In his eighth season, Barton is averaging 15.1 points and a career-high 6.3 rebounds while shooting a career-best 37.5% from beyond the arc. Millsap, 35, is in the final year of his contract with the Nuggets and continues to produce, despite dealing with injuries and father time.
The Nuggets only go as far as Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray can lead them, but Barton and Millsap are both keys to Denver getting the most out of its stars because of their consistency and reliability.
9. Indiana Pacers: TJ Warren, Domantas Sabonis
If this were a ranking of slept-on frontcourts, this duo might have landed at No. 1.
Although he was an All-Star, it doesn't seem like Sabonis gets enough credit for averaging career-highs across the board with 18.5 points, 12.4 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game. The 24-year-old has recorded a double-double in 50 of the 62 games he played in and has recorded four triple-doubles.
With that being said, it's actually Warren that leads the Pacers with 18.7 points per game on efficient .529/.375/.812 shooting splits. The 26-year-old is one of the league's purest scorers, with the ability to explode for 30 points in a half, like he did earlier this season in a win over the Charlotte Hornets.
Plenty of the Pacers' potential success depends on health, but this duo makes them a sleeper team in Orlando.
8. Miami Heat: Jimmy Butler, Derrick Jones Jr.
To be clear, Jones is paired with Butler here because of his place in Miami's closing lineups and the fact that Meyers Leonard is more of a centre, despite the fact he starts alongside another centre in Bam Adebayo.
With that in mind, this is mostly about Butler, who has been a big key in the franchise's resurgence this season. The 30-year-old is averaging 20.2 points to go along with career-bests in 6.6 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game, seamlessly becoming one with the Heat culture that quite frankly, isn't for everyone.
As for Jones, the dunk champ is much more than a dunker, as he uses his athleticism on both ends of the floor and is averaging a career-high 8.9 points per game this season. Butler will look to lead this Heat team to a deep playoff run and believe me, they won't be an easy out.
7. Toronto Raptors: OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam
Being the No. 1 option looks good on the first-time All-Star in Siakam, who's averaging a career-best 23.6 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists just one season after winning the league's Most Improved Player award. On the defensive end, Siakam will be in consideration for an All-Defensive team selection, which is a testament to his play on both ends of the floor.
Because of the play of this frontcourt duo, the void made by Kawhi Leonard's departure via free agency hasn't felt as big as many feared it would. In addition to Siakam emerging as an All-Star, Anunoby has made strides in his game as a scorer, shooter and defender this season.
Toronto is a deep team and its title defence depends on a number of positional groups, but it won't get very far without solid play from this duo.
6. Philadelphia 76ers: Tobias Harris, Ben Simmons
For transparency purposes, Simmons did land on our list of backcourt rankings, which were published before Brett Brown's decision to move the former Rookie of the Year to the starting power forward position.
Simmons is one of the most unique players in the league as he handles and passes the ball like a point guard with a 6-foot-10 frame that allows him to guard any position. A Defensive Player of the Year candidate who is also an elite playmaker deserves plenty of praise.
Pair him with Harris, who is averaging 19.4 points and 6.8 rebounds in his first full year as a Sixer, and you've got a forward pairing that falls right outside of the top five.
5. Boston Celtics: Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward
Tatum has been on a mission this season, establishing himself as the new face of the Celtics franchise and New England sports as a whole, earning his first All-Star appearance and making major strides in his game.
The 22-year-old is having his impact felt on both ends of the floor, averaging a career-best 23.6 points per game while emerging as a staunch perimeter defender. He's not there just yet, but Tatum has shown some promising signs that he can make his way into the conversation of being one of the best in the league.
Despite dealing with injuries this year, Hayward is inching back to his peak level of performance, which is to be expected given his setbacks in the past few seasons. Hayward's 17.3 points and 6.5 rebounds are nothing to scoff at, and he's been a key cog for a Celtics team that holds one of the league's top five records.
As Tatum continues to grow and Hayward continues to get back to his old form, this is a duo that will only get better with time.
4. New Orleans Pelicans: Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson
Four might seem high for this duo but man, it was hard to place anyone higher.
In Ingram, you have an All-Star and candidate to win Most Improved Player who's averaging an efficient 24.3 points to go along with 6.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists this season. In Williamson, you have one of the league's brightest young stars, who's taken the league by storm by averaging 23.6 points and 6.8 rebounds through the first 19 games of his career.
While there are individuals ranked lower that I could make a case for over one of Ingram or Williamson, there's no other tandem that matches their combined level of talent. And we are talking tandems, after all.
When play resumes the duo will look to propel their team to the playoffs in their first year together.
3. LA Clippers: Kawhi Leonard, Marcus Morris Sr.
To be honest, this ranking is more about Kawhi than anything else.
When you mention the top three talents in the league, three forwards come to mind, though the way in which they're ordered may vary. Kawhi, who is in the midst of one of - if not the best - regular-season of his career, definitely has the argument for being the best player in the league.
Working against Leonard is the fact that the other two members of that top three - see below - have All-Star teammates to round out their forward tandem, tipping the scales in their favour.
It's no knock on Morris, either - he's only 12 games in with the Clippers and will continue to find his footing with the team at the restart. Prior to joining LA, Morris was a certified bucket in New York, averaging a hair under 20 points per game. Expect a few big games in the near future as he looks to play a big role in a title run.
2. Milwaukee Bucks: Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo
The reigning MVP gets plenty of recognition, and rightly so, but this is a reminder that his All-Star counterpart is deserving of a little more recognition.
In short, Giannis has been Giannis this season, averaging 29.6 points, 13.7 rebounds and 5.8 assists in just over 30 minutes per game; fair or not, it's come to be expected from The Greek Freak but it shouldn't overshadow Middleton, who is in the midst of a potentially historic season.
Middleton is averaging 21.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists on .499/.418/.908 shooting splits for the team with the league's best record and, with a few efficient shooting performances in Orlando, could join Larry Bird, Dirk Nowitzki, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant as the fifth player in league history to post a 50/40/90 season while averaging 20 points per game. Oh, and he'll likely earn All-Defensive recognition.
Pair him with the likely back-to-back MVP and Defensive Player of the Year frontrunner, and you've got a scary, scary duo.
1. Los Angeles Lakers: LeBron James, Anthony Davis
While there were some hard decisions to make throughout this list, this was by far the easiest.
Two top-five talents in the same frontcourt? It's a no-brainer. In their first season as teammates, James and Davis have brought the absolute best out of one another, with the 35-year-old James re-emerging as an MVP candidate in his 17th season and Davis getting buzz as a Defensive Player of the Year candidate.
James has never played with a player like Davis and vice versa, resulting in a pairing that should only get better with time. It's a big reason why LeBron leads the league with 10.6 assists per game; he's assisted AD 172 times this season, which is more than three times more than the next Laker has assisted the big man.
Their blend of talent and chemistry is too much to ignore and, could very well result in a title.
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