NBA Power Rankings: Kevin Love and the Top 10 Power Forwards in the Association
This season, so many power forwards have emerged to become the best.
LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Love are two of these prime examples. Both of them have boosted their numbers, and in turn both of their franchises are in a better place than they were last year at the same point of the season.
As hard as it was to select only 10 players for this list, it ultimately came down to performance rather than image. Some of you may be upset that an up-and-comer like Aldridge or Love might be ahead of a legend, but understand where I am coming from before you disagree.
With all that in mind, I hope you all enjoy.
Thanks for reading!
10. Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
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The greatest power forward in the history of the NBA, Tim Duncan narrowly makes a spot on this list.
However, the Wake Forest product is currently having the worst season of his illustrious professional career, averaging 13.3 points and 9.2 rebounds, a steep decline from his career averages of 20.6 and 11.4.
"The Big Fundamental" will no doubt be a top 20 player when all is said and done, but for now he just is a tertiary option of a championship caliber team.
A fifth ring might just boost him a bit in the all-time ranks.
9. Chris Bosh, Miami Heat
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Chris Bosh's inaugural season in South Beach can be summed up in just one word: disappointing.
The Heat are not doing as well as predicted, and Bosh should ultimately be the scapegoat of the situation. He is averaging 18.2 points and 8.1 rebounds, his worst numbers since the earliest parts of his tenure in the Great North that is Toronto.
He hasn't been clutch in big games (ahem, one-for-18) but is still a top 10 power forward. His gritty play will be necessary for the Heat come crunch time.
For now he just has to accept the third wheel role in south Florida.
8. Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics
The most hated player in the league, Kevin Garnett's reign as a top three power forward is long gone, but he still makes this list for several reasons.
For one, his determination is still as good as it has ever been. He really wants to win another title, and he will do whatever it takes to attain his goal.
Secondly, he still produces. Averaging 15.2 points and 9.2 rebounds in just under 32 minutes per game isn't something to be shy about, especially when your club has guys like Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo on it.
Lastly, his defense is still spectacular. From the time the Big Ticket donned the blue, green, and black of the Timberwolves to his time now, it has been the most consistent aspect of his game.
7. Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies
Zach Randolph is one of the more under appreciated players in all of the league.
"Z-Bo" has been shipped all around the league, and for what? He has put up great numbers every season.
In the 2006-07 season, he put 23.6 points on the scoreboard and 10 rebounds for the Blazers, then was promptly packaged and sent to the Big Apple, where he once again put up big numbers for the Knicks.
He was then thrown on a bus to LA after two solid seasons in our nation's largest city, then last season headed back east to Memphis.
He has done a fabulous job for the Grizz this year and is a main reason that they are in the playoffs as of right now.
Some said that his 20.2 points and 12.8 rebounds per game averages were All-Star worthy, and I honestly can't disagree with them.
6. LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers
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You have to feel bad for LaMarcus Aldridge, you really have to.
First he didn't make the All-Star Game and was considered by many, including myself, to be the biggest snub, and more importantly (just kidding) now he doesn't make the top five of this list.
Still, the second overall pick of the 2006 draft is having a truly spectacular season in the City of Roses for the Blazers. He is fourth on this list with 22.3 points per game to go with 8.4 rebounds.
His decent defense and blocking abilities often go unnoticed outside of Portland as well. He swats more than one ball every night for the Blazers.
The former Texas Longhorn looks like he will be the X-factor come crunch time for the very talented Trail Blazers. Guys like Aldridge, Wesley Matthews, Andre Miller, and the newly acquired Gerald Wallace will ultimately determine how far this club can go.
5. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
Blake Griffin has been taking the league by storm during his first season as a player in the NBA.
He has produced one of the best "rookie" seasons ever, and shades of Shaquille O'Neal 20 years ago are in Griffin's game.
He is third among power forwards with a 22.5 scoring average to go with a spectacular 12.4 rebounding average, something that a rookie hasn't done since the Diesel himself. These statistics, along with his electrifying slams, helped him make the All-Star Game, and the only rookie this year to do so.
The former Oklahoma Sooner, at age 22, has already established a future for Los Angeles' other team and has fans at the Staples Center excited.
His dunking ability has been more documented than anyone in recent history, and he predictably won the Dunk Contest by jumping over the hood of a car.
He undoubtedly will move up this list as the years go on.
4. Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers
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Surprised to see him so "low" on this list? Don't be.
While Kobe Bryant has been the heart and soul of the Los Angeles Lakers in recent memory, Pau Gasol has been the anchor of the frontcourt.
He excels at nearly every aspect of the power forward game, and the 30-year-old Spaniard is a huge reason that the Lakers have a decent chance for a three-peat.
Gasol shoots nearly 53 percent while averaging 18.6 points and 10.4 rebounds in the City of Angels. He also is putting up 1.6 blocks per game, and grabbing more than three offensive boards per.
It will be interesting to see how he changes up his game as the Lakers go for their sixth title in the last 12 seasons. Talk about a dynasty; the Lake show is almost there.
3. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
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Dirk Nowitzki, the greatest European to ever play basketball on American hardwood, wins the bronze medal in this slideshow.
One of the favorites to win the NBA's Most Valuable Player award this season, Dirk is having yet another fantastic season in Big D for the Mavericks.
He is shooting a career-high 52.8 percent and 42.6 percent from three-point land for the third-place Mavs. He is also first place among power forwards with an 88 percent clip, something that has been a hot commodity of his game ever since he crossed the Atlantic Ocean permanently a decade ago.
Additionally, the German is scoring well as usual, with a 23 point per game average this year.
Dirk is still in search of that first title, and once (or if) he snags it he will cement his status as one of the best power forwards ever. He will also solidify himself as the best Dallas Maverick ever, although at this point no can really doubt that.
2. Amar'e Stoudemire, New York Knicks
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The New York Knicks have recently become the league's most talked about team, and it isn't all revolving around the Carmelo Anthony saga.
Amar'e Stoudemire has found himself a home in the Big Apple, and he is averaging 26.4 points per game for the Knickerbockers this season, a number that is good for second in the league. He is shooting a spectacular 51 percent from the field, and 80 percent from the charity stripe.
He is also grabbing 8.3 rebounds in his first season since coming from Phoenix, a place where he was the co-franchise face with the legendary Steve Nash.
One thing that puts Stoudemire at No. 2 on this list is his presence while on the court. His intensity is matched by no one on this list, and his improved offensive post play is one reason for his spectacular play this season.
He has helped bring the fire back to the Knicks that hasn't been seen in a decade. Fans around the league are excited for this postseason, and it is in part due to what Stoudemire and the boys have done in NYC.
How interesting is it going to be in the next few years to see Amar'e, 'Melo, and Big Shot Billups team it up? Will they win any titles? Only time, and Stoudemire's play, will tell.
1. Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
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Before you all go ahead and ask for the offing of my head, take a seat and listen to why Kevin Love is the best power forward in the league.
In all honesty, the guy has everything you want in a forward.
He has an incredible rebounding ability, something that we haven't seen since the likes of Ben Wallace, or maybe even Dennis Rodman. In a remarkably unbelievable season, Love is averaging 15.8 rebounds per game. In fact, the only team he has failed to record a 10 rebound performance against is the Miami Heat. In all, he only has missed double digit boards in a handful of games.
He is also fifth among power forwards in scoring with 20.9 points per contest. This is a very telling statistic because it proves he can shoot. Another stat that will do the same is his amazing 42.9 percentage from beyond the arc, the best number out of anybody at the four spot and trailing only Caron Butler among forwards. His free throw percentage of 85.2 is second among power forwards, trailing only Dirk Nowitzki.
One thing that is misconstrued about Love is that he is a terrible defender. While he certainly is not a top notch guy on D, he only gives up .88 points per possession, an improvement over guys like Amar'e Stoudemire, who gives up a mediocre .99 points per.
Please don't give me this garbage that he would have worse numbers on a championship caliber team. Rebounds are rebounds, and on a team like the Lakers he would still be able to grab as many rebounds if given Pau Gasol's place. He still would shoot often, and drain often as well.
What else can I say about Love? He's the best rebounder in the game, he's a top 20 scorer, and he's the best three-point shooter among any power forward (sorry, Dirk).
Oh yeah, and he has 53 consecutive double-doubles, the post-merger record.
About the Author
Joseph Fafinski is a 19-year old who is originally from Chaska, Minnesota.
He is currently a freshman at the University of Missouri pursuing a career in journalism.
He is a huge fan of basketball, football, baseball, and golf, and is a Featured Columnist on Bleacher Report for the Minnesota Timberwolves. He also loves the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Twins.
You can follow Joseph on Twitter at @JosephFafinski.