A great power forward is something every NBA team wants to have. Although the Cleveland Cavaliers have reached the NBA Finals with Tristan Thompson locking down the four spot, you would probably have a hard time finding a Cavs fan that isn’t pining for a healthy Kevin Love.
Over the course of league history, there have been some incredible power forwards. Some changed the way the game is played, others were statistical monsters. Here is TickPick’s list of the top five power forwards ever to grace an NBA court.
5.) Dirk Nowitzki
Before he led the Dallas Mavericks to the NBA championship in 2011, there were some that would write off Mark Cuban’s star player when looking at the best big men to play the game. Nevermind the fact that he changed that game with his ability to stretch opposing defenses as a near seven-footer.
The 2007 NBA MVP has connected on more than 1500 three-point attempts over the course of his 17-year career and currently ranks seventh on the Association’s all-time scoring list.
4.) Charles Barkley
The “Round Mound of Rebound” was one of the most tenacious players on both ends of the floor ever to play his position. Although he was undersized at six-foot-five, he had the power to hang with the NBA’s best big men, as well as the speed to match pace with guards.
Despite never winning a title, Sir Charles was a ten-time All-NBA player and the 1993 NBA MVP with the Phoenix Suns. Not too shabby for a “short” guy.
3.) Bob Pettit
It’s difficult to compare players from different generations and St. Louis Hawks forward Bob Pettit hit his basketball prime in the late 50s/early 60s. Still, old No. 9 remains one of the most dominant players of his or any other era.
Pettit led the Hawks to 1958 NBA championship, won multiple regular season and All-Star Game MVPs and boasts career averages of over 26 points and 16 rebounds per game. Say what you will about the level of competition, that still makes for one incredible career as a basketball player.
2.) Karl Malone
Utah Jazz legend “The Mailman” Karl Malone is one of the most impressive physical specimens in NBA history. At six-foot-nine and nearly 260 pounds of pure muscle, his very visage struck fear into the hearts of the opposition. Combine that size with unnatural big man speed and a ceaseless drive to be the best and you have one special player.
Like Barkley, Malone was foiled in his title aspirations by Michael Jordan. Nonetheless, Malone was a multiple-time league MVP, All-Star MVP, Olympic gold medalist and the second-highest scorer in NBA history behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He joined with John Stockton to form arguably the best one-two punch in basketball history.
1.) Tim Duncan
What can one say about Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs? To put it simply, no power forward in recent history has won at the same level. His stoic demeanor, his all-around skills and status as one of best teammates in basketball make TD the greatest competitor ever to play the position in the minds of most people.
The five championships, multiple MVPs and All-Star appearances alone paint the picture of a cornerstone of the sport. His late-career Renaissance and continued ability to be a game-changer on both ends of the court at an advanced age push him over the top as the best power forward ever to hit the NBA hardwood.