Dominance in the paint and defensive presence.
Power forwards are primarily known for these skills.
But there are some players that revolutionized this position with their athleticism, unlimited range and leadership.
Without further ado, here are Sports Blog Catalog’s Top 5 Best Power Forwards of all time.
Top 5 NBA Power Forwards of All Time
Our first player on the list is primarily known for his inside presence and dominance in the rebound department.
Career Average: 22.1 ppg, 11.7 rpg, 3.9 apg.
Sir Charles, also known as “The Round Mound of Rebound”.
One word can only describe this guy. Beast.
He’s so dominant on the low post that NBA changed their rules because of that.
He has the tendency to post up his opponents for a long time. Driving them nearer to the basket each time he puts on a move.
The commissioners thought it was unfair to bump your defender for 23 seconds then shoot the ball, so they implemented the rule, “5 seconds back to the basket”.
In this rule, an offensive player cannot post up his opponent for more than 5 seconds. This rule greatly changed the face of basketball.
It’s all because of one guy.
That feat is more than enough to include him in the list of the top 5 power forwards.
He’s also a gold medalist and a part of the “Dream Team“.
Cons, he doesn’t have a championship ring. That’s all. But he achieved the MVP award and sunk a game winner right in the Admiral’s face in his MVP year.
Don’t forget about his trashtalking skills.
For a 6’6 Power Forward, he’s certainly an achiever.
- NBA Most Valuable Player (1993)
- 11× NBA All-Star (1987–1997)
- NBA All-Star Game MVP (1991)
- 5× All-NBA First Team (1988–1991, 1993)
- 5× All-NBA Second Team (1986, 1987, 1992, 1994, 1995)
Our next guy on the list, probably the greatest foreign player that ever played in the NBA.
Career Average: 21.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2.5 apg
Personally one of my favorite players.
Nowitzki revolutionized the Power Forward position with his trademark “Flamingo shot” and deadly three point accuracy.
The Mavericks’ greatest player ever even won the Three Point Shooting contest going head to head with the greatest three pointer of all time, Ray Allen.
His Finals performance back in the first year of the “Miami Big Three” is simply golden. That last-second layup right in the face of Chris Bosh is the main reasons why the Mavs got their first and only championship ring.
He’s currently sitting on the number 6 spot on the all-time scoring list. Not bad for a foreign player that nobody would thought that will succeed.
- NBA champion (2011)
- NBA Finals MVP (2011)
- NBA Most Valuable Player (2007)
- 13× NBA All-Star (2002–2012, 2014–2015)
- 4× All-NBA First Team (2005–2007, 2009)
- 5× All-NBA Second Team (2002, 2003, 2008, 2010, 2011)
- 3× All-NBA Third Team (2001, 2004, 2012)
- 50–40–90 club (2007)
- NBA Three-Point Shootout champion (2006)
Next on our list, probably the best scoring Power Forward of the 90’s.
Career Average: 25.0 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 3.5 apg
I might get some beef because of this.
“Malone is the top 2 scorer in NBA history!”
But did he win a ring? That’s the main problem in this one.
Is it the ring? Or is it the scoring?
There is no doubt, “The Mailman” is one of the most famous players back in the 90’s.
He and his buddy Stockton managed to get their Utah Jazz team to the Finals, twice.
In the end, they lost to the dominant Bulls with Michael Jordan.
The Stock/Malone combo is one of the best in history. Their pick and roll play is simply astounding.
The caveat, both Stockton and Malone has the most turnovers in NBA history. Number 1 and 2 respectively.
This means that their main play style is too predictable. A defender can anticipate their pick and roll and steal the ball.
He’s eventually traded to the Los Angeles Lakers and reach the NBA Finals again back in 2004 with Gary Payton, Shaq and Kobe alongside. No rings still.
This doesn’t stop Malone from getting our number 3 spot of course. His dominance in the paint and unstoppable scoring is more than enough to put him on the 3rd spot of our countdown.
- 2× NBA Most Valuable Player (1997, 1999)
- 14× NBA All-Star (1988–1998, 2000–2002)
- 2× NBA All-Star Game MVP (1989, 1993)
- 11× All-NBA First Team (1989–1999)
- 2× All-NBA Second Team (1988, 2000)
- All-NBA Third Team (2001)
- 3× NBA All-Defensive First Team (1997–1999)
- NBA All-Defensive Second Team (1988)
- NBA All-Rookie Team (1986)
- NBA all-time career free throws made leader
- NBA all-time career free throws attempted leader
- NBA all-time career turnovers leader
On our number 2 spot, the Timberwolves’ all-time leader in all aspects.
Career Average: 17.8 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 3.7 apg
His career average might surprise you that we have put him on the number 2 spot, but I’m telling you, the Big Ticket is someone that you can’t mess around.
KG is born a competitor. Trashtalking is just a norm when he’s around. He’s known for his intensity and fervor in the court.
He’s banging his head in the ring every game. If that’s not enough for you to say that he’s intense, I don’t know what will.
He’s called as “The Big Ticket” because he revitalized the Minnesota Timberwolves franchise in a cool fashion. Nobody bats an eye to this franchise back in the days, but when he got drafted by Kevin McHale, everything changed.
The Kid, as they call him back in the day, revolutionized the Power Forward position with his defensive presence and mid-to-long-range shooting. His fade-away move is just simply unguardable.
He’s one of the most loved and the most hated player back in the days. There’s an interview with Kenyon Martin that talks about his most hated players. There’s no surprise that KG is his top pick on his list of his most hated players to play with.
His career stats may have plummeted due to injuries and age, but his leadership and competitiveness is still there in his later years in the NBA.
He deserved the number 2 spot on the list because of his tenacity, defensive awareness and offensive skillset.
- NBA champion (2008)
- NBA Most Valuable Player (2004)
- 15× NBA All-Star (1997, 1998, 2000–2011, 2013)
- NBA All-Star Game MVP (2003)
- 4× All-NBA First Team (2000, 2003, 2004, 2008)
- 3× All-NBA Second Team (2001, 2002, 2005)
- 2× All-NBA Third Team (1999, 2007)
- NBA Defensive Player of the Year (2008)
- 9× NBA All-Defensive First Team (2000–2005, 2008, 2009, 2011)
- 3× NBA All-Defensive Second Team (2006, 2007, 2012)
Before we go to the number 1 player on the list, here are some honorable mentions.
Finally, the best Power Forward of all time is:
Career Average: 19.0 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 3.0 apg
Tim Duncan was the centerpiece of the best team in the modern era of the NBA. Alongside with Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, they managed to win 5 NBA championships in a highly competitive league.
His playstyle may not be flashy, but it’s sure was effective. That’s why he earned the nickname “The Big Fundamentals”, because he just sticked to the basics.
Scoring for him was effortless due to his sheer size and low post skills. He can shoot over right in the defender’s face without much difficulty.
He’s also known for his rebounding and defensive skills. With an average of 2.2 bpg, there’s no surprise that he is considered as one of the best defensive big man of his era.
Duncan deserved to be the number 1 Power Forward because of his 5 championship rings, 2 MVP awards and 3 Finals MVP awards.
- 5× NBA champion (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2014)
- 3× NBA Finals MVP (1999, 2003, 2005)
- 2× NBA Most Valuable Player (2002, 2003)
- 15× NBA All-Star (1998, 2000–2011, 2013, 2015)
- NBA All-Star Game MVP (2000)
- 10× All-NBA First Team (1998–2005, 2007, 2013)
- 3× All-NBA Second Team (2006, 2008, 2009)
- 2× All-NBA Third Team (2010, 2015)
- 8× NBA All-Defensive First Team (1999–2003, 2005, 2007, 2008)
- 7× NBA All-Defensive Second Team (1998, 2004, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2015)
- NBA Rookie of the Year (1998)
Do you agree with this list? Join us again next time when we cover the best Centers in NBA History. Don’t forget to like and share!