As a guest writer for Bust a Bucket, I thought I'd take my first opportunity to stir up some controversy and make my Top 10 lists for active players at each position. Well, some might not be so controversial, but everyone has their own opinions. These lists are based on the players as of right now, at this point in their career. Feel free to share your own opinions and agree or disagree with the lists, varied opinions are welcome! Today we start with my list of top Power Forwards, with the other positions coming later in the week.
10. Josh Smith - Maybe the dark horse of the list, but I consider Josh Smith one of the more underrated big men in the league. He's on a team full of talent, so his numbers aren't as gaudy as they could be if he was the main guy somewhere. He can score from pretty much anywhere on the court, and he has a much better outside touch than people think. His wingspan is ridiculously long, which makes him a tough player to score on and also means he is able to guard players that are bigger than he is, making him very versatile.
9. David West - It's hard to tell if West is really good, or if Chris Paul just makes him look like an all-star. It's probably a little bit of both, but either way he can score the rock. He's got a solid post game to compliment his deadly 15-footer. He's not much of a defender, but he's a capable rebounder and he gives Chris Paul and the Hornets a nice post presence.
8. Carlos Boozer - If this list were based on sheer production, Boozer would be higher on the list. He's one of those 20 and 10 guys that is coveted around the league, but...coincidentally (actually it's no coincidence) there seems to be drama where ever Boozer goes. He's becoming one of those players that comes with baggage, kind of like Allen Iverson or Zach Randolph. Boozer has a reputation as someone who has no loyalty to his team, which doesn't bode well for chemistry and makes it hard to win. Also, as I'm sure the folks in Utah will tell you, he doesn't care too much about contributing on the defensive end of the floor. All that said, he is still a hell of a player that can get the job done.
7. LaMarcus Aldridge - Aldridge is a budding star in the league, and he has some God-given abilities that nobody else in the league does. The ultra-high release on his shot makes him difficult to defend in the post, and not many big men in the league are as good with the mid-range jumper. The criticism of Aldridge thus far has been that he is soft. It may be true to an extent, but I don't think he is any more "soft" than other finesse players in the league. He just plays a finesse game, not a power game. He could stand to improve as a rebounder, and let's all hope he doesn't keep drifting more and more to the outside, like Rasheed Wallace started doing throughout his career.
6. Amare Stoudemire - One of the most athletic big men in the league, Stoudemire has provided some awesome facials (the dunking type) to opponents throughout his career. He's fun to watch, that's for sure. He's another one of those guys that makes me wonder how good he would be if he didn't play with Steve Nash. Nash might make him look better than he is, but all I know is that they work well together and Stoudemire fits their system great. Like others on this list, his defense and rebounding keep him from being truly elite, but still easily one of the best PF's in the game.
5. Chris Bosh - He will be a highly sought-after free agent next season, and for good reason. Chris Bosh can take over games offensively like few other big men can. He is very quick in the post and has a variety of moves to throw at defenders. He's also got a nice touch outside the lane that makes him even more difficult to guard.
4. Pau Gasol - Pau is one of those guys that is super annoying in a Euro sort of way, but I'd love to have him on my team. He is absolutely perfect as a No. 2 option to Mr. Bryant and he plays both ends of the floor extremely well. The great thing about Pau Gasol is not just his scoring or defense, but his ability to pass the ball and find open teammates at the right time. So many post players in the game today are so-called black holes. Once they get the ball, they don't give it back. Pau Gasol always does what is best for the team and makes the correct basketball play. Thank you, Memphis, for making our life hell.
3. Kevin Garnett - I can't say I'm the biggest fan of KG. I find his constant chest-pounding and taunting to get really old really fast. One of the things I loved most about Barry Sanders is how he never celebrated when he scored a TD, he always just handed the ball to the referee and jogged to the sideline. I've always been a fan of players acting like they've been there before. But, there is no denying KG's ability on the court and the intangibles he does for his team. He's in a perfect situation in Boston where he doesn't have to be "the man" offensively and he has Paul Pierce and Ray Allen to take the big shots down the stretch. He plays defense better than anyone at his position, he is very unselfish, and he's a good leader. Those are all elements that lead to winning, and KG is doing just that.
2. Dirk Nowitzki - Every time I watch Dirk play, I shake my head with amazement. I don't know if people realize how unbelievable it is that a 7-footer can do the things that he does. His game is very unique, and fun to watch, in my opinion. He has improved in many areas since he came into the league, most notably defensively, where he is still not great, but better than he gets credit for. He is one of the best long-distance shooters in the league, but is probably even better from mid-range and in the post. Needless to say, when he's on his game there is nobody that can come close to stopping him. And, unlike many of his counterparts, he is among the league leaders from the free throw line. Deadly.
1. Tim Duncan - Is he a PF or Center? Doesn't really matter, I've always considered him a PF, but he would be at the top of either list. I don't care if he's nearing the end of his career, he's still the best in the league, and the best PF of all-time. He has the ability to dominate a game at both ends of the floor, he is a fantastic rebounder, and he can score in a variety of ways and do it extremely efficiently. Is he boring? I don't think so, I think he just plays the game the way it was meant to be played, and he never tries to draw attention to himself like some other players in the league. He is the ultimate symbol of professionalism one of the most complete players the game has ever seen.
Honorable Mention: David Lee, Jeff Green, Zach Randolph, Jermaine O'Neal