Power Forward is often the most overlooked position in the NBA. Generally, It lacks the superstar status that other positions more easily afford, but power forward is a position deep with talent. With Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, two of the best ever at the position, nearing the end of their careers, I’d like to examine the current elite at the position today.
Superstars: Are there any superstar power forwards? This is obviously subjective, but these are the elite at the position.
Kevin Love: His inability to stay healthy is my only concern with having Love listed as the best at his position in the game. he has played over 80 games just once, and over 70 twice in his first 5 seasons. While this is obviously a huge concern, especially for potential suitors if he opts out after this season (he will), his skills and stats speak for themselves. Love is the NBA’s best rebounder and tremendous offensive force from anywhere on the court. In 2010-2011, his breakout season, he averaged 20 and 15. In 2011-2012, while only playing 55 games, he averaged 26 and 13. Last year he only played in 18 injury plagued games, but this year he looks healthy again and has started strong with a line of 26.2 and 14.6 to go along with 4.4 dimes. He is the most dangerous power forward in the game.
LaMarcus Aldridge: I’m not sure most people realize just how great Aldridge is. Physically, Aldridge is as imposing at the position as there is. He stands an actual 6’11” with long arms and a powerful frame. The former second overall pick finally has excellent talent around him with young stars in Damian Lillard and Nicolas Batum. He has averaged at least 21 and 8 each of the past three seasons and seems to score effortlessly on the block. He is only a two time all star, but this guy is as good as it gets at the PF position.
Anthony Davis: My prediction is that next year, or even by mid season we will be saying Davis is the best power forward in the game and perhaps even a top 5 NBA player. Davis does everything well on the floor, but what really separates him from his fellow peers at the PF position is that Davis is a dominant defensive player. He not only blocks shots to the tune of 4 per game so far this young season but also has a nose for the ball in swiping 2 steals per game (these numbers should come down to 2.5 and 1.5). It looks like Davis has made a huge jump from his already great rookie season. I know it’s early to declare Davis a superstar, and while I know he isn’t there yet, he is on the doorstep of greatness. Through the first five games this season, he is averaging 21.2 pts, 11.4 boards, 4 blocks, and 2.2 steals.
Blake Griffin: Blake is close to superstardom. Certainly as well known to the public masses as any PF in the game, Blake have averaged at least 18 points and 8 rebounds on 50% shooting in each of his first three seasons. He saw a dip last year in his numbers as he adjusted to playing with Chris Paul, but he looks more comfortable so far this season. Blake gets so many easy buckets thanks to his elite athleticism, but he too often settles for mid-range jumpers which is exactly what the defense wants out of Blake, With better back to the basket moves and a concerted effort to stay in the paint, Blake could be a top tier NBA player.
Dirk Nowitski: Dirk was certainly once a superstar, but is no more. The one skill that never really leaves a player is shooting ability and Dirk is still a knockdown shooter but isn’t much of a threat rebounding or on the defensive end anymore. Dirk hasn’t averaged 8 rebounds a game or more since 2008-2009 and shockingly, has NEVER ONCE averaged a double double for a season. Despite eroding skills at age 35, If i needed a big shot from a player, Dirk is still near the top of the list.
Greg Monroe: Monroe is an offensive force who plays below the rim displaying soft touch from ten feet in. The crafty lefty has averaged right around 16 and 10 over the past two seasons on 50% shooting. He isn’t a rim protector but has quick hands on defense allowing him to average over one steal a game. Monroe is also an elite passing big. Last year, the Pistons would often run the offense through him in the high post. Monroe would benefit from having an elite PG, but he will settle for Brandon Jennings as an upgrade over Rodney Stuckey. He will never be a superstar, but should plateau around 18 and 10 for the next half decade at least.
Zach Randolph: Z-BO is among the best offensive rebounders in the game, with a great ability to find space to score below the rim. Last year, his offense dipped as the Grizzlies played at the second slowest pace in the NBA (91.3 possessions per 48 minute game), but Randlolph is a walking 20 and 10 if given 35 minutes a night.
It hurts me to leave a current KG off this list and Duncan is now firmly a center…