Amar'e or Pau? Power Ranking the NBA's Top 10 Power Forwards

Matt RavidaCorrespondent IAugust 25, 2010

This is the fourth edition of ranking the Top 10 players for each position. You can find the other three articles here.

This article is ranking the Top 10 power forwards. As well as ones to watch out for next season and an honorable mention, because some of the rankings were to close.


Ones to Watch for Next Season

Andray Blatche, Washington Wizards

Blatche is a terrific athlete, especially for a player that plays the power forward position. Blatche is an explosive player that has great hands and does have the ability to knock down shots.

He plays and runs the floor like a guard in a forward's body, which sometimes can be his down fall. He is a player that would rather play on the perimeter and not use his size down low. 

Blatche possesses freak athleticism, blocks a lot of shots, grabs rebounds, and can elevate over defenders on the offensive side.

His weaknesses are that his offensive game is still very raw for a forward. Since he'd rather play on the perimeter than in the post, that means that he still needs to improve his post game. Additionally, Blatche is on and off, meaning that one night he can score 25 points, making it look easy, but then another night, he could look very raw, and score four points.


Jeff Green, Oklahoma City Thunder

Jeff Green is an all-around player and can play multiple positions on both sides of the ball. He is a great player at attacking the boards on the defensive and offensive side.

Green has the ability to create off the wing for himself and others, he has the ability to hit a 10-15 foot jump shot, and he is able to score with his back to the basket.

He just needs to work on his three point consistency.

LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers

This list just has so many players who are very close when it came to ranking them. I just had to mention Aldridge, because he eventually will be a top five or seven power forward.

Aldridge has the length of a center and has the quickness to play the small forward position.

He is very athletic and has a body that is not afraid to knocked around in the paint on both sides of the ball.

Moreover, he has a good shooting touch from both mid-range and the free throw line.

Aldridge's weaknesses are that he is not as dominating as McMillan would like him to be, as well as the fact that he is not always the biggest factor when it comes to grabbing rebounds and blocking shots.


Derrick Favors, New Jersey Nets (Rookie)

Favors is a bit of a wildcard because he is still very raw and still very young.

Favors does possess eye-popping athleticism. He is very quick, has great coordination, and is active on both sides of the ball, whether blocking shots on the defensive side or being active on the offensive boards.

He runs the floor very well like a guard and has a terrific wingspan.

But Favors does need to add some bulk to his frame, develop his overall offensive game, add some poor post moves to his repertoire, and add a consistent jump shot.

Honorable Mention

Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks

Everyone knows that Smith is a great player, but just not in my top 10 yet! And I know he is not a "One to Watch for Next Season" player because he has already established himself as a good power forward. But I needed to give him some credit.

Smith is an elite athlete; no one can even argue that. He is by far one of the league's top shot blockers. Even at his size, weight/frame, and position. He can out-run the smaller guards.

He is an elite defender, and is a solid offensive player who does have a decent repertoire. But his offensive game still might be his weak part and the part he needs to develop the most.


Just Missed the Cut

Luis Scola, Al Jefferson, Carl Landry


The Top 10

No. 10: David West, New Orleans Hornets

West is a do-it-all type player who can power opponents in the low post with his large frame, long arms, and great footwork around the rim.

But, West is also a great passer and shooter for a big man, and he uses that to his advantage when defenders choose to back off of him. He will then knock down the 12-15 foot jump shot.

Once the defenders realize he can shoot, West will blow by defenders, as you see in this picture, for the easy two. 

West is a good defensive player and uses his body to out-power defenders, and uses his long arms to block shots.

His downfall is he can be injury prone, and he is not the most athletic player in the league, which leads to West making stupid fouls at times.


No. 9: Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies

Randolph revitalized his career coming over to the Grizzlies. He always had the talent, but with his attitude on the Jail Blazers, it just did not work out. Then both the Clippers and Knicks never worked out as well, though he did put up All-Star numbers.

He then came over to the Grizz, flourished in his first season in Memphis, and even made it to the All-Star game.

Randolph is one of the top scoring and rebounding power forwards in the NBA. He has a huge frame, and possesses long arms and soft hands around the basket. You may not think he is a finesse player around the basket do to his size, but when he gets good position down low, it is almost certain to be a basket.  

With that being said, Randolph still does use his big frame to body his way through defenders for easy baskets or rebounds.

He does have a good short-game jumper, as well as a decent mid-range jumper. If you were to leave him open, he can knock down the shot.

As many do know, Randolph is not the best defensive player out there. He does not have the greatest lateral quickness, so he does get beat off the dribble.

No. 8: Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics

In my opinion, Garnett is one of the greatest power forwards to ever play the game. But with his career starting to come towards an end, he sadly is not able to do the things he once was.

However this is with no disrespect to Garnett, who is one of my favorite players to watch because of how intense he is when it comes to playing. 

He is an all-around great player. Garnett is one of the NBA's best rebounders, as well as defenders, making ten All-Defensive teams, and even as winning Defensive Player of the Year in 2008.

Garnett, even at his increasing age, has great quickness and length to allow him to guard smaller defenders.

His few downfalls are that he is not as selfish as you may want a player his caliber to be. As well, his shooting range and consistency has decreased with his age.


No. 7: Carlos Boozer, Chicago Bulls

Boozer will look to make be the difference maker that the Bulls desperately need; that second option that can minimize the stress that Rose deals with every game.

Booz is an elite rebounder and low post scorer. He is very explosive in the low block, and has good enough foot work to finesse his way around defenders. But he also possesses that physical build to plow defenders over as well.

He has great hands around the rim, and he is improving his overall jump shot, but with Korver on the perimeter, the Bulls just need Boozer to score around the rim and grab rebounds.

Boozer's downfalls are he has been injury prone throughout his career, as well as that he is not a great defender and he's a player who does not block many shots.


No. 6: David Lee, Golden State Warriors

Lee is one of the most  hard-nosed workers in the NBA. He is always hustling and always risking his body for the better of the team. He will do whatever it takes to win.

He is Mr. Double-Double, as he has averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds for a few seasons now.

Lee is a fierce and nasty rebounder who is not afraid to bang elbows or get dirty when going for the boards.

He is a good athlete for a white guy, and has a big and powerful frame which he uses to his advantage on the offensive side, especially with his soft hands that he uses to score with ease around the basket.

Lee is a great passer for a big man, he runs the floor very well, and is always out in front.

Though Lee does work hard on the defensive side, he is not the best defender. He gets posted up very easily when playing bigger and quicker players. Also, he is not an intimidating shot-blocker.

No. 5: Chris Bosh, Miami Heat

Bosh is going into the Heat as the third wheel type player. It will be very interesting to see how he takes to that role.

Bosh is a long, athletic, and skilled player, who can take you to the hole, step back, and hit the foul line extended jump shot.

He does have a great drive for the game, and always seems to have a chip on his shoulder, regardless of the situation.

Bosh is a very tenacious defender, and rarely loses the ball when coming down with a rebound. 

Additionally, Bosh works extremely hard on both ends of the floor and is always looking to make his presence felt.

His weaknesses are his ability to guard and play against bigger players, due to the lack of meat on his body.

Bosh is a wildcard, and it all depends on how he produces in Miami, because we know he will not get the stats he did while playing in Toronto.


No. 4: Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs 

Though Duncan is aging, and is not the player he once was, he is still a top power forward in this game, who will always find a way to get the job done.

Duncan is a proven winner and will carry that with him for the rest of his career, and even his life.

He is a great scorer, though it may not be pretty with his backboard bank shots, although they do, indeed, go in. If Duncan gets great post position under the basket, you're dead in the water. He will burn by you or hit you with the baby sky hook.

Duncan has always had a consistent 15-17 foot jump shot, and he uses that ability to catch defenders off guard if they back up off of him. He has one of the highest basketball IQ's, and you rarely ever see Duncan make a stupid mistake.

Duncan is a clutch player and a classy team leader. If you were to pick out any of Duncan's weaknesses, it would have to be his free-throw shooting or fatigue, from playing so many minutes over his long career.

People may think this is too high for Duncan, but you have to realize what he is still doing, even at this stage in his career. He just came off a 18 and 10 season, in only 31 minutes. Compare that to a player like Gasol averaging 18 and 11 in 37 minutes. 


No. 3: Pau Gasol, Los Angeles 

Pau Gasol has filled the role of the missing puzzle piece for Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, since the days of the Kobe and Shaq era ended.

He has been a great player who has helped the Lakers to two rings in his two and half seasons as a Laker. 

Gasol brings great height, mixed with athleticism. He passes very well from the post for a big man and plays a finesse game, but he does rebound with toughness and block a lot of shots. 

Pau has a great array of offensive moves, as he can back his defender down to the basket, he can knock down the jump hook, and he can step back and hit the 12 footer.

And he has been a clutch leader over his career.

Gasol does struggle in the turnover department, and additionally, he is a player who you can leave open beyond 12-15 feet.

No. 2: Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks

Dirk is a prolific shooter who knocks down big shot after big shot. He can shoot the three, the mid-range jumper, as well being able to knock down his patented move, the turn around fade-away jumper.

Dirk is a very talented player, as one of the few 7'0" footers who can shoot the three and knock down shots on a regular basis, with Andrea Bargnani and  Mehmet Okur being the other two.

He is a natural elite scorer, but is mainly known as the shooting type. He does not have the great post game that someone his height should, and although he does get a good amount of rebounds, he is not always the toughest on the boards.

Dirk's weaknesses are that he is not a great athlete, and is not the quickest player in the NBA. He is an average defender and relies heavily on his height, rather than good defense, to force up bad shots.

Furthermore, he does force up shots when he does not need to, and although he has hit some big shots in his career, he is not known as a clutch player, like the Kobes in the league.


No. 1: Amar'e Stoudemire, New York Knicks

This may come by a surprise to many for two reasons. First, he is a centerno, he played center for the Suns these past few seasons because the Suns had no other option at the center position. His first five or so seasons he was the team's starting power forward.

The second reason is many think that Gasol should be No. 1. Well if I had to choose between the two, Amar'e is my clear cut favorite. Sure, Gasol has to two rings. But you're going to tell me that if Amar'e was on the Lakers they would have not done the same thing? Maybe they would have even have beaten the Celtics in '08.

Anyways, Stoudemire is a top tier scoring big man. He is extremely athletic for his size. If you do not believe me, watch what he did in his Slam Dunk appearance in 2003.

Amar'e has one of the best first steps for a big man. When Amar'e is able to get one dribble off and put his shoulders to the ground, there is no stopping him.

He is very explosive and is extremely quick, especially in the pick-and-roll offense, as we have seen him do many times with Nash up in Phoenix.

Amar'e is a good rebounder, though his stats can be a bit deceiving. He does not get the high rebounds like the players such as Gasol and Duncan, but he does have the ability to grab big rebounds. And he is an underrated defender, although it is not the strongest part of his game.

His shot has steadily improved over the years, and he can knock down 10-15 footers, but his shot is still not a guarantee. He is a player you can take a risk and dare him to shoot the shot.

Overall, Amar'e is the power forward, who I would rather have on my team than Gasol. Gasol does have the rings over Amar'e, but like I said, you put Amar'e on the Lakers and they would have the same amount.

Again, this is my list, and I would love to hear yours!


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