10 Greatest Power Forwards of All Time…

You know the drill by now.  Jeff Fox of Hoops Manifesto sets the gig: this week it’s our Top Ten Power Forwards.  Before doing this, it’s probably important to share my opinion on Tim Duncan.  If I had to categorize him into a particular role, it would be at center, not as a power forward.  But Jeff sets the rules, and for the intents and purposes of this list, Timmy’ll be a #4.

  • for an LA Lakers blog, it never ceases to amaze me the lack of depth LA’ve had at this spot.  Amazing to think that Pau Gasol may well be the best power forward to don the uniform…
  • This list is FULL of guys I despised, or at the very least disliked… or still do.  Amazing.

Ever onward…

10. Dennis Rodman – No player before or after played the position of power forward quite like Dennis Rodman.  Both as far as actual “playing” goes, and the way he went about being an NBA player.  The guy was OUT there.  Way out there.  But damn, he sure took the pressure off the Bulls having a bit of a weak spot at center…
9. Dave DeBusschere – Actually a Major League pitcher for a few seasons with the White Sox.  Once pitched a shut-out.  But basketball, the guy was physical: tough as nails and a phenomenal defender. 
8. Dirk Nowitzki – Before last season, it’s questionable as to whether I’d even have Dirk on this list.  Don’t get me wrong: very few players at this position are as offensively talented as Dirk… but prior to the 2011 Finals, there were times when he was found wanting.  2011 wasn’t one of them.  He flat-out put the Mavs on his back, and they rode him to a championship.  Simply awe-inspiring.
7. Bob Pettit – One could argue that Pettit was the first ever power forward.  A beast of a player – the guy was the first to get 20,000 points, and his average of 16.2 rpg is behind only Chamberlain and Russell.  Beat Russell for a championship, and scored 50 in game six.  
How you like THEM apples (said in my best Matt Damon Boston accent)?
6. Kevin McHale – This, was tough.  Who here?  Garnett, or McHale?  Went with McHale, but it was close.  McHale was a key member of the Bird Celtics… but they were the BIRD Celtics, and in the end, that wins Garnett #5.
5. Kevin GarnettKevin Garnett will probably go to the Hall of Fame as a Celtic, which when you consider his career in full, and where he was at his best – it’s kind of a pity.  He was a much better player as a Timber Wolf, but it was as a Celtic that he came into his own.  
My opinion is that Ray Allen was the best player of the 2008 Finals, Pierce a close second.  But KG was the most important player on that team, and it’s not even close.  I scoff at anyone who tells me that Boston is “Paul Pierce‘s team”.
4. Elvin Hayes – The Big E.  Quite possibly the most talented scorer on this list.  The Big E took the NBA by storm as a rookie, and was the last rook to top the scoring average list.  In his first season, he lead the NBA with 28.4 points per game, and averaged 17.1 rebounds per game.  As a rookie.  Yet, he didn’t win the Rookie of the Year: future team-mate Wes Unseld did.
3. Charles Barkley – No title to his name, but is there anyone who’d deny that the Round Mound of Rebound deserves his spot here?  Forget that: Sir Charles was a player who played far, far larger than his listed 6′ 6″.  He was Shaq-like in his presence. Speaking of which, I look forward to those two being on set together!
2. Karl Malone – But for a knee injury, Malone may have gotten that elusive ring in 2004.  But history’s done, and we’ll remember him as one of the best players to never win a championship.  
1. Tim Duncan – There, happy?