The power forward position in the NBA is crazy. Think about it: Sometimes you have seven-footers playing PF while guys who are 6-9 play center. There’s no other position where 20-and-10 is the standard, and there’s no other position as deep and talented. Power forwards win MVPs and championships – it’s that simple. Malone. Barkley. McHale. Rodman. In the modern era, these guys redefined the game. And the scary thing is, the players carrying the torch today are doing everything they can to make us forget them.
After reading our lists of the top 10 point guards and top 10 centers in the game today, you realize how hard it is to put something like this together. Everyone’s an expert and has an opinion of their own, so no matter what combination of 10 NBA players you assemble, even if they’re all All-Stars, you’re bound to leave off a former All-Star or up-and-coming talent.
With that, here are the top 10 power forwards in the NBA right now:
10. Tim Duncan & Kevin Garnett
We start off with a tie. And before we get into it, take a second to think how crazy it is that these two are at the end of the list. That’s right folks, the Duncan and Garnett era is coming to a close. But despite some great ballplayers on the outside of this list looking in, there’s no way you can count TD and KG outside of the top 10. Between them they have five NBA championships, three MVP awards and 13 appearances on the All-NBA First Team. And even at 35 years old, each of them are ready to make a push for a title this season. You might hate Duncan’s style or Garnett’s screaming, but you can’t deny their place as two of the greatest power forwards to ever play the game. Even today.
9. Luis Scola
Scola is one of the most offensively-talented power forwards in the game. And he keeps getting better and better every season. Honestly, I’m just pissed it took him this long to join the NBA and for the Rockets to pair him with a legit center. (Sorry, Chuck Hayes.) If Houston is able to sign someone taller than 6-6, we’ll finally be able to see what Scola is truly capable of. And if you need a reminder, just ask anyone in Argentina.
8. Chris Bosh
You can hate on Bosh all you’d like, but that’s not going to change the fact that he’s really good. It was expected that his numbers would dip during his first season in Miami last year, and they did. But he was just as important as LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in getting to the Finals. It will be interesting to see who Miami is able to sign to play center this season, and how that affects Bosh and his game. At the end of the day, if Miami is going to win it all, they need him to be a factor.
7. Kevin Love
If you go by PER (Player Efficiency Rating), Love is the best power forward in the NBA. Hands down. And while he did have a ridiculous season last year averaging 20.2 points and 15.2 rebounds per game, you have to look at his value more than just by the numbers. The NBA’s Most Improved Player finally got his shot to perform and did just that. (Trust me, a double-double in 53 consecutive games is not that easy.) And to make this list after just three short years in the NBA is impressive. But the one thing Love hasn’t been able to do just yet is turn his numbers into wins for the team. Once he does that, it’s safe to say he’ll be moving up this list.
6. LaMarcus Aldridge
Without a doubt, Aldridge was the biggest All-Star snub last year. And while it was nice to see Blake Griffin and Kevin Love make it, Aldridge also deserved to be there. Playing without injured Brandon Roy, the Blazers became his team. And this season – whether Roy is there or not – should be no different. At 26 years old, Aldridge has all the pieces to dominate for the next 10 years.
5. Blake Griffin
Griffin’s placement on this list was the hardest to figure out. After all, he’s only played one year in the league. But 22.5 points, 12.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists at 22 years old is just ridiculous. Griffin is a monster. It’s that simple. And he’ll go as far as his body will allow him. Just as we’ve seen players before him come and go, time will only tell his ultimate fate, but things sure look promising. And in a year or so, he could be knocking guys out of his way to climb this list.
4. Zach Randolph
It’s rare that NBA players have a renaissance, but that’s exactly what happened to Randolph last season. A perennial Mr. 20-and-10 on a bad team, Z-Bo took the Grizzlies on his back and made a playoff push. Honestly, other than perhaps Dirk Nowitzki, there wasn’t an NBA player more popular than Randolph in the postseason. And it’s scary to think that after 10 years he’s just coming into his own. Hours after he helped Memphis win their first-ever playoff game, the Grizzlies rewarded him with a four-year, $71 million contract extension. Will this take away his hunger to prove the haters wrong? We doubt it.
3. Pau Gasol
Much like Chris Bosh, fans have a love-hate relationship with Gasol. But his body of work speaks for itself. Akin to Tim Duncan, he’s the model of consistency. He’s hovered around his career averages of 18.8 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.7 blocks per game almost every season of his career. And he proved to be the missing piece for Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, winning back-to-back championships along the way. This season is a critical one for Gasol in terms of his placement on this list. With a lot of guys vying for his spot, how will he respond?