NBA Top 10: Power Forwards
The ideal NBA power forward would be have a solid post-up game, the ability to step out and hit shots from mid-range, and tenacity on both the boards and on defense. While no player in the league has every skill, there are a number of very talented power forwards playing today.
With almost 20 players having a strong case to make this list, it was very difficult to compile the top 10 power forwards in the NBA. But here, without further ado, is that list.
* (A quick note: espn.go.com position rankings were used, which list Al Jefferson, Al Horford, and Rasheed Wallace as centers).
10. Antawn Jamison (WAS)
Troy Murphy, Kenyon Martin, Zach Randolph, Rashard Lewis, and LaMarcus Aldridge all were also up for this spot, but Jamison gets it because of his versatility. At 6'9", the Wizards All-Star possesses the body of a forward but the game of a perimeter player.
Although he averages 9.6 rebounds per game and is very creative with his back to the basket, Jamison does much of his scoring either shooting from long range or attacking with his dribble.
He has made more than one three-pointer per game each of the last five seasons, and while his shooting percentage from deep leaves something to be desired, it is hard to argue against a player who has scored over 19 PPG every season since 1999-2000 except one, when he came off the bench for Dallas.
Jamison and teammate Caron Butler are two of the top forwards in the game, even if the Wizards are struggling.
9. David West (NOH)
West plays the role of silent assassin for the Hornets, allowing teammates to steal the headlines while he dominates teams from 15 feet and in. He has steadily improved every year, and finally displayed his true potential last season by averaging 20.6 PPG and 8.9 RPG.
His numbers are very similar this season while his efficiency has improved, shooting 50 percent from the field and 92 percent from the free-throw line. Expect the Hornets to be contenders every year that they are able to keep Chris Paul and West together and healthy.
8. Elton Brand (PHI)
Brand has been a slight disappointment since signing with Philadelphia, where his numbers have dipped for a sub .500 76ers squad. That being said, Brand is still one of the dominant forwards in the league, as evidenced by his career averages of 20.2 PPG, 10.2 RPG, and 2.1 blocks per game.
Brand is deadly from mid-range and with his back to the basket, and since his days at Duke has been solid on the boards at both ends of the court and on defense. He has to prove that he can be part of a championship contender, but it is hard to that Brand is one of the most talented power forwards in the NBA.
7. Pau Gasol (LAL)
Gasol's placement at number seven on this list speaks to the strength and depth of this class. At 7'0" feet tall Gasol has played center in the past, but with Andrew Bynum starting for the Lakers, the Spaniard has made a smooth transition to the power forward position for Los Angeles.
Gasol uses his size and quickness to exploit most match-ups, and has shot over 50 percent from the field every year but one in his career.
Pau is not as dominant a scorer as some of the other players on this list and has never averaged double-digit rebounds, but he does as good a job at his role as almost anyone on this list, and could easily win a championship with the Lakers within the next few years.
6. Carlos Boozer (UTH)
The 6-9 lefty, also out of Duke, has quickly become one of the most dominant big men in the NBA. After averaging 21.1 PPG and 10.4 RPG last season, Boozer is going for 20.5 and 11.7 this year, showing his ability to score inside and rebound the basketball.
He is an incredibly strong player and often establishes great position, which has led to his career shooting percentage of 54 percent.
If you are looking for flaws in his game, Boozer has struggled from the free throw line and passing the basketball, but these are not large contractors when looking at the beast from the Jazz.
5. Chris Bosh (TOR)
Bosh is skyrocketing up this list, as he in the midst of a career year for the Raptors. Sometimes forgotten as part of the spectacular 2003 Draft class, Bosh is third in the NBA at scoring with 26.1 PPG and is seventh in rebounding at 10.1 RPG.
He's exceptionally athletic for a 6'10" player, Bosh has good range, can finish at the basket with authority, and is always improving on defense.
Only 24 years old, Bosh is on a fast track towards NBA superstardom and a huge payday when he hits free agency in two seasons.
4. Dirk Nowitzki (DAL)
Ranking the top four players was very difficult, as all four have an argument to be number one. Nowitzki, the NBA MVP in 2006-2007, has an absolutely remarkable tool set at 7'0" feet tall.
The German star is a career 38 percent shooter from three point range, and uses his size to get off his shot over almost anybody. Nowitzki is a seven-time All-Star and was two games away from leading Dallas to an NBA championship.
Dirk has scored over 21 PPG every year since 2000-2001, and may be the most versatile power forward in the league, if not the best.
3. Kevin Garnett (BOS)
The 2003-2004 NBA MVP, Garnett has been one of the most physical, dominating forwards in the league ever since he was drafted straight out of high school in 1995. Garnett is a dominant inside scorer and rebounder and has career averages of 20.3 PPG and 11.2 RPG.
It is his intensity, however, that is his greatest attribute and has been prominently on display since arriving in Boston last season.
Garnett was the inspiration behind Boston's title run last season, willing his team and teammates to victory by giving his all every game and providing a number of clutch plays.
The only reason Garnett comes in at No. 3 is that, on the wrong side of 30, his most productive statistical days are behind him, and as his points and rebounds dwindle, so does his value.
However, as long as Boston is a title contender and Garnett continues to display his trademark intensity, he will be one of the best players in the league.
2. Amare Stoudemire (PHO)
The most exciting and physically gifted player on this list, Stoudemire is preposterously athletic considering he is 6'10" and 250 pounds. Stoudemire is a perfect fit for the Suns, where he is able to hit mid-range jumpers, blow by bigger defenders, and finish at the basket with powerful dunks as well as anyone in the league.
Stoudemire has had two seasons of over 25 PPG, and has lost little off his vertical leap or explosiveness despite knee problems throughout his career.
Still only 26 years old, Amare is improving, and should be good for 20 points, 10 rebounds, and at least a couple of plays that bring the fans to their feet every night for years to come.
His team might not have had the success yet as some other players on this list, but Amare will likely play in at least a couple of NBA Finals before his career is over.
1. Tim Duncan (SAS)
Although he may not be as exciting to watch as some of the other stars in the league, there is almost no denying that Duncan is the best power forward of this generation and possibly of all time. Methodical, consistent, and fundamentally sound, Duncan has a career track record that is nearly unparalleled by anyone who has played the game.
Using his size, intelligence, and bank shot, Duncan has won four NBA championships, three NBA Finals MVP Awards, the NBA MVP in 2002-2003, and has career averages of 21.6 PPG and 11.8 RPG. What's truly remarkable is that, after a decade in the league, Duncan is still a dominant force and should keep the Spurs title contenders for the foreseeable future.
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