The power forward position is without a doubt the most reliable position in the NBA. Most teams are going to struggle without a quality power forward to rely on when the going gets tough. When shots aren’t falling for the guards, power forwards are the guys to turn to. While centers primary focuses are rebounding and blocking shots, power forwards are relied on to do those things, and score in addition to that. Guys like Reggie Evans and Kenneth Faried prove that you don’t have to be a great scorer to be a great power forward, but with the way guard play has taken over the NBA, having a quality power forward to get high percentage shots is a necessity.
Kevin Love has been the best power forward in the league for the past few seasons, but he missed the majority of the season this year with multiple injuries. It’s time for a new standard to be set at the four-spot. Read on to find out who I think has set the bar. Here are my top 10 power forwards in the NBA this season.
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Paul Millsap: 14.6 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.0 bpg
Kenneth Faried: 11.5 ppg, 9.2 rpg. 1.0 apg
Jeff Green: 12.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.6 apg
10. TRISTAN THOMPSON: 11.7 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 0.9 bpg
Tristan Thompson is growing into a nice young player for the Cavaliers. If he keeps improving at the rate he is now, it won’t be long before he becomes one of the best power forwards in the East. Thompson has what you call the complete package for a traditional power forward. He has the back-to-the-basket game, he has the face-up game, and he has the range out to 15 feet. Most importantly, he’s becoming a great rebounder as well.
It was an unfortunate season for the Cavaliers this year. First they lost Anderson Varejao, and then after that it seemed like they could never get all their key players healthy at the same time. Dion Waiters and Kyrie Irving both suffered injuries, but Thompson was solid for them all year long. He’s becoming a nice complement to Irving and they’ll continue to grow together. If the Cavs can stay healthy and continue to build around those two guys, they’ll be a playoff team next season, especially if they can get a coach who can build a system and help Thompson take his game to the next level. Playing alongside Varejao and Kyrie Irving is going to do a lot for him as well.
9. RYAN ANDERSON: 16.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.2 apg
Anderson is the best shooter in the league at his position. Nobody at this spot has the kind of range that Anderson has on his shot. He’s proven in the past that when he gets hot there’s no stopping him. Between his height and his lightning-quick release, it’s hard to defend Anderson when he finds his groove. The problem is he doesn’t find that groove often enough. To his defense, he only started 22 of the 81 games he played in this season, with Anthony Davis and Robin Lopez as the starting frontcourt, so he never really had a chance to get in the groove he’s capable of getting in.
Ryan Anderson’s biggest knock thus far has been his rebounding ability, a huge part of any power forward’s responsibility. That’s the one facet of his game that holds him back. He doesn’t have the aggressive mentality you need to be a premier rebounder in the league. For Anderson to fulfill his potential and get back to getting those starters minutes, he’ll either have to become a more physical rebounder or get better guard skills and find a way to start at that small forward position over Al-Farouq Aminu. Right now he’s too much of a tweener to start for the Pelicans next year.