Top 7 Best Power Forwards in NBA History

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Power forward isn’t the most glamorous playing position in a basketball game, yet players in this position have proven to be critical to the success of their teams. Over the years, we have watched countless, but who are the best power forwards in NBA history? 

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Anthony Davis

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Anthony Davis playing for the New Orleans. Source: Wikimedia licensed by CC-BY-SA-2.0

He joined Los Angeles Lakers in 2019 and his partnership with LeBron James helped the team to win the NBA, his first, the following year. So far in his career, he’s scored an average of 23.8 points with a mean of 2.3 assists per game. 

Davis is still active and has a long way to go which only means that he has the opportunity to improve his numbers and improve his ranking on this list.

Charles Barkley

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Former Philadelphia 76ers Charles Barkley. Source: Wikimedia licensed by CC-BY-3.0

He might not have won the NBA but Barkley’s ability to score earned him respect amongst his peers. His presence on the court was also not something opposition players would scoff at. He averaged a score of 22.1 points per game, 11.7 rebounds per game and 3.9 assists per game. 

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Elvin Hayes

Elvin Hayes’ career highlights. Video Credit: Back Rim Basketball

Hayes played for the Houston Rockets and Washington Wizards. He won the NBA with the team in 1978. Hayes was referred to as the Bionic Man because he rarely missed a game. 

Some of his biggest achievements include being named the NBA scoring champion in 1969, being the NBA rebounding leader in 1970 and 1974 and being featured in the All-Star team 12 times. 

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Giannis Antetokounmpo

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Giannis Antetokounmpo in the game. Source: Wikimedia licensed by CC-BY-2.0

His name is a mouthful and he made sure we’d remember it. Well, here we are but we’ll go with Giannis. He’s one of the best power forwards in the NBA right now, playing for the Milwaukee Bucks. 

On his way to winning the NBA with the Bucks in 2021, he averaged 29.9 points per game, 29.3 3-point percentage, 11.6 rebounds per game and 5.8 assists per game. 

The Greek international has been named MVP two times (2019 & 2020) and was the Defensive Player of the Year in 2020. He is still active and has a chance to record even better stats and challenge the guys up top.

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Karl Malone

Highlights of Karl Malone’s career. Video Credit: NBATop10

We are used to basketballers being 6 foot 9 inches tall but to those watching from outside, it looks unusual. Add that to the fact that Karl Malone came up against defenders who were smaller than him and you understand why he is one of the best power forwards in the NBA. 

The ex-Los Angeles Lakers power forward was named NBA Most Valuable Player twice, made it into the All-Star team 14 times, and was in the NBA All-Defensive first team three times.

He scored 36,928 points averaging 25 points per game, scored 14,968 rebounds which translates into 10.1 rebounds per game and made 5,238 assists which translates to 3.6 assists per game.  

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Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett’s highlights. Video Credit: MaxaMillion711

Garnett played for the Minnesota Timberwolves and registered some impressive numbers. He scored 26,071 points, an average of 17.8, made 14,662 rebounds, which is an average of 10 per game and totalled 5,445 assists which are 3.7 assists per game. 

In comparison to other players in the league, he ranks 9th in rebounds, 52nd in assists and 18th in scoring. Garnett won the NBA in 2008, was named the Defensive Player of the Year in the same year and was named the league’s Most Valuable Player in 2004.   

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Tim Duncan

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Tim Duncan is on court with the San Antonio Spurs. Source: Wikimedia licensed by CC-BY-SA-2.0

Numbers don’t lie and that’s why Tim Duncan ranks first in our top 10 best power forwards in the NBA. He won five NBA titles and was selected eight times in the all-defenses list which makes the fact that he was never named Defense Player of the Year a joke, made the first team selection ten times and won the MVP two times.

Perhaps what made the former San Antonio Spurs man do under the radar was his dull personality off the court. He was a star who went about his duties quietly. What do his numbers look like? 

Well, he won 71% of the games he played, made the 5th highest number of blocks, and 6th highest number of rebounds, ranked 15th in the scorers’ list and 102nd in the assists chart.

These players rank among the best power forwards in the NBA. They’ve demonstrated time and again how their performance adds to the team. It’s not about the glamour but helping the team win. Who’s a great power forward you think we should have listed?  

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