The NBA has been an evolving league ever since its inception. Players have changed the game thanks to their growing skillsets, bigger bodies, and commitment to becoming the best of all time. Today we are going to look at the power forward position. The power forward has evolved over time from a low-post banger into one of the most dynamic players on the NBA court. We’ll look at the best power forwards to EVER play for each team in the NBA!
Larry Nance – Cleveland Cavaliers
We are going to kick off our list with some real NBA royalty. Larry Nance is one of the greatest power forwards of all time and he was a source for male balding in opposing players during his time in the league. Nance played with the Cavs for seven years, making two All Star teams, and going to the post season five times. Nance averaged 17 points, 8 boards, and 3 assists per game.
Antawn Jamison – Golden State
No love for Draymond, not yet, anyways. Antawn Jamison played with the Dubs for five seasons, averaging 20 points, 8 boards, and 2 assists per game. Jamison scored a pair of All Star nods and was criminally underlooked in several other seasons.
Kevin McHale- Boston Celtics
There were two Kevin’s that played for Boston who probably sent many young NBA players to getting hair replacement due to trying to guard them. Kevin McHale had one of the most prolific post games in the NBA and he scored 7x All Star nods as a result. McHale is one of the greatest to ever play the position. Was it worth going bald at 20 trying to guard the guy? Probably not.
Tim Duncan – San Antonio Spurs
Mr. Fundamentals makes it on our list with ease. Tim Duncan landed in San Antonio out of the lottery and the Spurs have never gone back since. Underrated by his contemporary peers due to his quiet nature, Tim Duncan is probably the best power forward of all time. Duncan averaged 19 points and 11 boards over 19 years of elite play – all with the Spurs.
Elvin Hayes – Washington Wizards
Hayes played for the Wizards for 9 seasons, dominating the ’70s as a result. He’s one of the best power forwards of all time thanks to his huge numbers. Hayes averaged 21 PPG, 13 RPG, and a pair of blocks with the Wiz.
Chris Bosh – Toronto Raptors
It’s easy to forget that Chris Bosh is one of the better big men in the NBA. His time in Miami as a third wheel overshadowed his dominant run with Toronto. Bosh was a nightly 20 and 10 player for Toronto and he was the lone star on the team for the majority of his time. with the Raps. Whenever Toronto would come down to play the Bulls he’d send them running for the kinda hair restoration Chicago could offer. Trying to defend Bosh in the post and at the elbow had you ripping your hair out!
Bob Pettit – Milwaukee (Atlanta) Hawks
Pettit played 11 years with the Milwaukee Hawks, averaging 26 PPG and 16 boards during that time. He was the last star player to bring a championship to the Hawks franchise. Paul Millsap gets an honorary mention on this list.
Antonio Davis – Indiana Pacers
Antonio Davis could be listed with Toronto too, but we think he fits better here. AD was a huge part of the Pacer’s ‘Bad Boy’ defense during the ’90s. He never was much of a scoring threat but Davis was one of the elite defensive forwards in the game.
Dennis Rodman – Detroit Pistons
Did we mention ‘Bad Boys’? Dennis Rodman came to Detroit out of the second round. He was a rough player to watch due to his unpolished game but Rodman became one of the best defenders and rebounders the game has ever seen.
Fred Roberts – Milwaukee Bucks
A career journeyman, Roberts brought consistency to the Bucks during his five year tenure. Roberts only scored around 10 or 11 points per game but he brought it in the postseason — a place Milwaukee went consistently while he was with the team.
Dennis Rodman – Chicago Bulls
Dennis Rodman is so good he made our list twice! Michael Jordan never asked for help on the free agent market but he didn’t mind when the team enlisted Dennis Rodman to add toughness down low. Rodman won three ‘chips with the Bulls, leading the league in rebounding, while becoming a defensive force.
PJ Brown – Miami Heat
We could go Chris Bosh here but the truth is that PJ Brown might have had a bigger impact during his run. Brown, alongside Alonzo Mourning, helped to turn the Eastern Conference into a cluster of defensive minded teams.
Larry Johnson – Charlotte Hornets/Bobcats
Charlotte doesn’t have a ton of history to pull from but it’s easy to see why Larry Johnson is so highly revered. Johnson was a tweener who averaged 16 PPG and 8 boards during his career, spending the first five with Charlotte.
Dave DeBusschere – New York Knicks
This is the guy that Knicks fans hope Kristaps Porzingis grows into. DeBusschere is a Hall of Famer who scored 5x All Star nods in his first five seasons in the league — all with NY. DeBusschere also won a pair of titles with the Knicks.
Horace Grant – Orlando Magic
Grant earned his fame in Chicago but he was a force with Orlando after. Horace Grant would play seven seasons with the Magic, bringing his trademark toughness and scoring abilities.
Dolph Schayes – Philadelphia 76ers
Philly doesn’t have much of a history of elite play at the position, but Schayes is as good as anyone. Schayes played for 15 years, into the mid ’60s, and turned into a HoF level player. Schayes scored 12 straight All Star nominations while averaging 19 PPG and 12 RPG.
Buck Williams – Brooklyn (New Jersey) Nets
Williams played with NJ for eight years, averaging 16 PPG and 12 RPG. He’s a 3x All Star and the ’82 Rookie of the Year. Yeah, he’s good.
Ralph Sampson – Houston Rockets
Rookie of the year and 1984, MVP in 1985, there was nothing not to like about Sampson. Unfortunately the man became plagued with injuries and would eventually cede his star status to Hakeem Olajuwon.
Karl Malone – Utah Jazz
Karl Malone, a Hall of Famer, played 17 seasons in Utah while putting in a Hall of Fame career alongside John Stockton. Malone and the Jazz unfortunately never got over the Championship hump. Still, The Mailman averaged 25 points, 10 boards, and 4 dimes through his career. (Pictured right below.)
Blake Griffin – Los Angeles Clippers
Though the Clips haven’t scored a championship, it isn’t for lack of trying from Blake Griffin. The Clippers have turned into annual contenders thanks to the work of Blake and CP3. Griffin is one of the most dynamic scoring forwards in the game.
Shawn Kemp – Oklahoma City/Seattle Supersonics
Kemp led the Sonics to the ’96 Finals, averaged 16 PPG and 10 boards, and in general made Seattle a must-watch team when they made it to the TV. He was a Top 10 finisher in the MVP race three separate times.
Zach Randolph – Memphis Grizzlies
Before becoming one of the best 6th Men in the NBA, Z-Bo was a franchise center piece for Memphis. Randolph was shipped to Memphis after his tenure with Portland ended unhappily. He’s one of the roughest, most physical power forwards in the NBA. Nobody likes guarding Randolph.
Kiki Vandeweghe – Denver Nuggets
Giving rising star Nikola Jokic just a couple more years and he’ll take this spot. Vandewegh was an elite scorer with the Nuggets, averaging 20 PPG during his career.
LaMarcus Aldridge – Portland Trail Blazers
Aldridge put in almost 10 years as Portland’s center piece. Aldridge averaged 19 points and 8 boards during his tenure with the team. Aldridge will probably get his first ‘chip as a member of the Spurs, though.
Dirk Nowitzki – Dallas Mavericks
Dirk has spent his entire career with Dallas and Mavs fans couldn’t be happier. He’s the 6th highest scoring player of all time and a sure fire Hall of Famer when he chooses to retire.
Chris Webber – Sacramento Kings
Webber was with Sacramento from ’98 to ’05, providing elite scoring for a Kings team that probably should have won a couple of championships. Webber – Bibby – Peja were one of the most exciting ‘Big 3s’ of the early aughts.
Kevin Love – Minnesota Timberwolves
Before Love went to Cleveland he was a nightly 20/20 threat from the power forward position in Minnesota. Love has developed into a third fiddle, much like Chris Bosh did, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t elite. Love is one of the best spot up shooters in the game and still a dominant rebounder.
Anthony Davis – New Orleans Pelicans
If ‘The Brow’ can stay healthy then he has potential to be the best player in the NBA by 2020 — no debates. Anthony Davis is only 23 years old but he is averaging 28 points, 12 boards, and 2 blocks per game with the Pels in just his 4th year of professional ball.
Amare Stoudemire – Phoenix Suns
In his prime Amare Stoudemire was one of the most effective forwards in the NBA. Stoudemire came to Phoenix in ’02 and he would play 8 years with the team, scoring five All Star nods.
Pau Gasol – Los Angeles Lakers
Pau Gasol rolled into Los Angeles in time to save Kobe Bryant from a mediocre end to his career. Gasol helped Kobe win a championship and the two will be enshrined in Purple & Gold forever. Gasol played in LA for six and a half seasons, averaging 18 points, 10 boards, and 4 assists.