The power forward position in the NBA is a mixture of all sorts of shapes, sizes and skills. Think back to the days of the “Round Mound of Rebound,” Charles Barkley, who dominated the boards at 6’6″. Kevin McHale, who left defenders dazed and confused with a flurry of post moves, and of course the bruiser that was the Mailman, Karl Malone, who’s second all-time in points scored. Today the game is blessed to have just as much if not more variety at the position, such as the introduction of “tweeners,” Players who do an excellent job despite their skill set not necessarily suiting the position.
Without further ado, let’s get to the top 10 power forwards playing in the NBA today:
10. Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets
Tenacious. That’s the best way to describe Kenneth Faried.
At 6’8” and 228 lbs, the Manimal isn’t exactly big enough to physically compete with the bruising 4s in the NBA, but he sure does outwork them, as illustrated by his 9.6 rebounds per game.
But then again, hard work doesn’t always cut it and that’s where Faried’s athleticism and long 7’ wing span comes into play.
Not only is the second-year man from Morehead State perfect for Denver’s up-tempo offensive style with his high motor, he also utilizes his athleticism, active hands and great timing to be a disruptive force defensively with at least one steal and block per game this season.
The great thing for Denver is that he does all that in just 28 minutes of play.
9. Amare Stoudemire, New York Knicks
Amare Stoudemire is another that’s been struggling with injury and was never really 100 percent healthy this year and his most recent arthroscopic surgery has probably ended his season.
2012-13 wasn’t the best for the 11th-year veteran as his role diminished to coming off the bench in his 29 appearances, mainly due to injuries and team chemistry.
However when healthy, Amare is as dominant as any other power forward out there. The New York Knicks star is like a more athletic Karl Malone in the sense that he seems to look for contact at every opportunity and he’s a great pick-and-roll partner.
To top it all off, rather going around defenders, Stoudemire looks to posterize anyone one between him and the basket.
Talk about “Standing Tall and Talented”.
8. David Lee, Golden State Warriors
Of all the questionable moves made by the New York Knicks general managers over the years, David Lee is by far one of the best. They arguably should have held on to him rather than offer Amare Stoudemire that huge contract. I mean, imagine what the NBA would be like today had the Amare gone to Miami back in 2010 and there probably was no “Big Three?” Anyway that’s one for a different day.
David Lee isn’t exactly known for his defensive prowess, but he’s one hell of a post scorer. While in California, he’s been very productive, scoring and rebounding at an impressive rate for Golden State, amassing 18.4 ppg and 10.2 rpg during his three-year tenure with 3.7 assists this season.
This year Lee’s efforts were rewarded with his first All-Star Game appearance and he’s also headed for his first playoff appearance.
7. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
The 2012-13 season has also been a rough one for the Dallas Mavericks, partly because their plan to go after the bevy of stars last season didn’t exactly pan out, but mainly because Dirk Nowitzki has been either injured or trying to shake off the rust from a knee surgery.
Although he’s only started 39 games so far and his scoring numbers haven’t been this bad since he was a rookie, the 2011 Finals Most Valuable Player is starting to look like his old self again with his high looping shots and awkward fade aways.
The German over the years earned himself the title of best shooting big man and this season, despite the struggles, is a career high for him, shooting 43 percent from deep.
6. Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzles
Quite a few people weren’t sure whether Zach Randolph was worth it following his trade to Memphis before the start of the 2009-10 season, as there were questions regarding his attitude and work ethic.
However, right from the get-go he exhibited strong leadership and improved the Grizzles’ record, but unfortunately the team didn’t make the playoffs.
Nonetheless, it was clear to see that Randolph meant business, averaging 20 points and 12 rebounds in his first two seasons in Memphis. His efforts were rewarded with a postseason appearance and they knocked off the No. 1-seeded San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the 2010-11 playoffs as the eighth seed.
With Rudy Gay’s trade to the Toronto Raptors, many (including me) thought the Grizzles’ playoff chances were all but dead. Yet with the Mike Conley’s continued development and Randolph’s consistency, the Tennessee club has continued to prove they are still a threat in the Western Conference, surpassing their previous franchise record of 50 wins.
5. Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City Thunder
As you can tell by his nicknames, Ibaka protects the basket with the best of them and his league-leading 3.1 blocks per game this season is exactly why he is one of the NBA’s most feared defenders. In a way this is a good thing, but then again shot blockers are more susceptible to being posterized because of their nature to go after every shot attempt.
With that said, the Congolese-born power forward isn’t a one trick pony though as he’s got a pretty reliable baseline jumper resulting in 13 ppg–although it’s worth noting that the bulk of his shot attempts are mainly dunks, thus explaining his 55 percent career shooting average.
If he develops a dependable post game then who knows, Serge Ibaka could very well be the sitting atop this list in a few years.
4. Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks
There’s a lot of uncertainty as to where Josh Smith will end up next season, but wherever it is, that team (and city) will be welcome this athletic freak with open arms.
J-Smoove has been known as a tweener, but he’s played enough at the 4 spot for me count him as such and he’s a match up nightmare offensively. Prototypical 4s can’t keep up with him because he’s too quick and he simply overpowers most 3s, thus the nightmare.
The good thing (for the opposition) is that he doesn’t possess the most consistent of jumpers, but then again he can just dunk on you, just ask Ibaka.
He scores, he rebounds, he assists, he steals and man does he block shots. Simply put, he does it all.
3. LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers
LaMarcus Aldridge is as tough an assignment as anyone at the 4 spot and when his shot is falling (which is most of the time) you might as well not guard him.
The Texas alum also has a plethora of post moves that compete with The Dream, Hakeem Olajuwon. And at 6’11” with a high release, there’s no way you can block his jump shot. Your best bet is to crowd him and cover his line of sight but that doesn’t really work since he scores 21 ppg on 48 percent shooting.
Either that or foul him but that wouldn’t really help much since he’s a career 78 percent free throw shooter.
Long story short, play him as best you can and just pray that he misses.
2. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
It wasn’t exactly the best of starts for the Clippers power forward. Blake Griffin had to miss a year of basketball after injuring his knee in just his first taste of NBA action against their L.A. rivals, the Lakers. To rub salt into the wound, he actually injured himself dunking during a preseason game. Talk about bad karma.
Then his official rookie season, the 2010-11 season, came and all was forgotten. Mr. Posterizer was dunking on everyone’s heads and went on to become the NBA Rookie of the Year.
After the controversial introduction of Chris Paul last season gave birth to Lob City, Blake Griffin’s rise to stardom has hit another level.
Granted his numbers have been dropping since his rookie season, in which he was the Rookie of the Year and an All-Star, but it’s undeniable his one of the best at the position. Besides, 18 ppg and 8.4 rpg ain’t too shabby.
1. Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
The 2012-13 season hasn’t been too kind to Kevin Love and his Minnesota Timberwolves. He’s been marred by a hand injury which has led to him participating in only 18 games this season.
Nevertheless, Love has developed into one the NBA’s best players and last year was his coming-out party scoring 26 points per game, six points higher than his previous best.
The 24-year-old also rebounds with the best of them, racking up 12.2 rebounds a game for his career. He’s also a monster on the offensive boards with 3.9 offensive rebounds. All this while shooting the ball with exceptional range and accuracy, especially for a big man, shooting a career 35 percent from 3-point range on 710 attempts.
Not since back in the Kevin Garnett days has Minnesota’s future seemed so bright and Ricky Rubio isn’t a bad running mate at all.
Topics: Amare Stoudemire, Blake Griffin, Charles Barkley, Chris Bosh, Chris Paul, David Lee, David West, Dirk Nowitzki, Hakeem Olajuwon, Josh Smith, Karl Malone, Kenneth Faried, Kevin Garnett, Kevin Love, Kevin McHale, Lamarcus Aldridge, Mike Conley, Pau Gasol, Paul Millsap, Ricky Rubio, Rudy Gay, Serge Ibaka, Tim Duncan, Zach Randolph