From Deep Positional Recap: PF Jalen Johnson has the game to fly to new heights next season

While Jalen Johnson's fantasy basketball stock is trending up, John Collins' future is uncertain heading into the offseason. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
While Jalen Johnson's fantasy basketball stock is trending up, John Collins' future is uncertain heading into the offseason. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The 2023-24 NBA season continues to be a roller coaster of highs and lows even in the playoffs, bringing with it an array of hits, misses and unexpected breakout stars across all positions. From point guards (PG) who defied expectations to centers (C) who dominated the paint like never before, we learned a lot to take into next year.

In this five-part series within From Deep, we'll dissect each position — PG, SG, SF, PF and C — sharing insights into the players who made waves, those who fell short, and the newcomers who burst onto the scene.

Next up, the power forwards.

The PF position was weak in terms of hits, so you'll see two names (Herbert Jones and John Collins) who played most of their minutes at another position but have PF eligibility. OK, let's get to it.

Herbert Jones became one of the best defenders in the league quicker than most predicted. After earning a well-deserved All-Defensive first-team nod, the defensive specialist performed better in categories leagues than most power forwards relative to his ADP and outcome. On top of averaging over two stocks per game, his 50/42/86 shooting splits took his game to top 70 status despite going in the 11th round (132nd) in drafts.

The efficiency came off low volume (only seven FG attempts and two FTs per game), but if Brandon Ingram gets moved in the offseason, we could see more offensive production from Jones heading into next season.

I'm on record for hating Tobias Harris' real-life value regarding his salary versus performance, but once again, he was a cheap and dependable fantasy player. Harris is a boring pick in the eighth round of drafts but needs to be recognized for finishing within the top 50 in category and top 70 in points leagues. He's an unrestricted free agent this summer, so his fantasy value hinges on his role and the team he decides to ink his next deal with. Wherever that destination is, please don't let it be a re-up in Philly.

John Collins let down fantasy managers last season but enjoyed a resurgence in Utah. It won't last long because of the young talent waiting in the wings, but the seven-year forward outperformed his ADP by two rounds in category leagues. The most notable shift came on the glass, where Collins averaged the most rebounds per game in four seasons while registering 24 double-doubles compared to just 11 the previous year.

Since the Walker Kessler-John Collins frontcourt didn't work out in most instances, Collins is likely the "old" man out. So, I'll reserve projecting Collins' fantasy outlook until we get more clarity on how Utah's roster will look after what appears to be changes on the way.

The Grizzlies were an infirmary, but somehow Jackson Jr. lasted 66 games despite Desmond Bane (missed 40 games), Marcus Smart (missed 62) and Ja Morant (missed 73) all being huge chunks of the season. His blocks regressed to 1.6 per game, a significant decline from what was tracked in his last two seasons — one of which he won Defensive Player of the Year.

He fell a few rounds short of his second-round grade, placing him in the miss category. JJJ's uptick in scoring was nice, but it came at the cost of his efficiency, shooting 44% from the field this season. Remember, his scoring will likely fall when the Grizzlies' potent supporting cast returns to full strength next year. Jackson's top-60 finish at fifth-round value is an accurate expectation for next season, assuming we don't see another outlier block party campaign.

Jerami Grant should never be on your roster after the trade deadline. Thanks to injuries and tank jobs, he's been unavailable for fantasy managers over the last four seasons. Availability concerns aside, his contributions only extend a little beyond scoring.

His defensive stats, which were previously a selling point, were mid. And if he's not cashing in on both ends like in years past, it limits his fantasy appeal.

Dropping to 11th-round production is troubling when considering Grant's seventh-round draft price. The Blazers' contractual investment and 25% usage rate suggest he's a key element to their franchise, but the numbers show a declining player who won't sniff his '23-24 ADP.

What opened as a starting gig with the Pistons ended in a seventh-man type of role with the Knicks — not ideal for fantasy. His playing time and numbers were nearly halved after the deadline, driving down his ranking into the 220's this season.

As a 35-year-old on a playoff-contending team in 7-of-his-10 NBA seasons, it's hard to envision a better alternative than playing in Detroit for fantasy basketball. Bogdanović played 30 minutes a night on a losing team and was a focal point on offense. Being buried on New York's bench effectively ended Bogie's season with limited hope of regaining his 10th-round ADP.

Johnson was one of my sleepers in the preseason, and it paid off (for the most part). The injuries suppressed what could've been a Most Improved Player type of season, but fantasy managers still experienced what Johnson's upside looks like in the future.

He's a playmaking 3&D wing who happens to be a freak athlete — the future looks bright, and he'll be selected in the early rounds because of it.

Johnson's preseason ADP was 144, and after closing 44th in category and 55th in points leagues, it will cost at least a third-rounder next year. Johnson checks all the boxes for a fantasy star; now, he has to stay healthy.

Reid was 81st in category leagues in the final two months of the season. That late-season surge propelled him ahead of Malik Monk to win Sixth Man of the Year.

He played 81 games and posted career-bests in points, 3s made, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks, making Reid a reliable contributor in fantasy. Ultimately, he bested his ADP by almost a round and a half. Reid's breakout season has put him on the radar, and it'll be interesting to see how Minnesota moves.

Karl-Anthony Towns has been rumored to be a potential trade candidate, which would do wonders for Naz's fantasy outlook. However, a deep playoff run that took the Wolves to their first Western Conference finals appearance in 20 years may have slowed down that conversation.

Like Reid, Kuminga's potential came into focus as the season progressed. He should've been a full-time starter for the Warriors well before late January. But, better late than never.

From that point onward, Kuminga was 118th in category and 120th in points leagues, respectively. He averaged 18.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.5 stocks on 53% shooting from the field over that 33-game span. While the 10th-round value doesn't appear to be much, he went undrafted in 69% of Yahoo leagues this season.

He closed the season nearly 18 spots better than his ADP, so by all accounts, his third NBA season was a success. The Warriors roster will indeed undergo a makeover this summer, and Kuminga's leap from nine to 16 points per game represents what's to come for the young forward.