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dirt_dobber
09-08-2005, 02:34 PM
Ranking the game's best power forwards

by Mike Kahn / FOXSports.com

http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/story/4848202

It was just a few years ago that the NBA's power forward position was one of glamour. Oh sure, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Dirk Nowitzki are still three of the top 10 players in the league. And if Jermaine O'Neal bounces back healthy, he could fit into that category, too.

Is the four spot still the class of the league?

Well, maybe, but it isn't as certain as it was just two years ago.

Chris Webber has gone from All-NBA caliber with the Sacramento Kings to being traded to Philadelphia and still struggling from micro-fracture surgery.

Pau Gasol got a maximum contract and was the centerpiece in Memphis but it looks as if his game has maxed out long before his contract will reach its apex.

Then again, it wouldn't be a stretch to look at Chris Bosh as a superstar in the making; the Toronto Raptors sure need that to happen. The same can be said for the top two picks in the 2004 draft and their struggling teams Dwight Howard in Orlando and Charlotte's Emeka Okafor as their two teams battle to reach a state respectability.

But more than anything else, you look at Duncan, Garnett and Nowitzki and see such an uncommon blend of talent, size and leadership and it leaves you thinking perhaps the best players in the NBA still play at the big forward and make teams go.
Duncan again led the San Antonio Spurs to the NBA title, despite three ankle sprains that put a damper on a good portion of his regular season performance. Nonetheless, he didn't miss a beat in the playoffs and won his third finals Most Valuable Player award in seven years.

And then there was Garnett. The 2004 MVP had the first knee issues of his career, which didn't even compare to the chemistry issues that saddled the Minnesota Timberwolves as the most disappointing team in the league last season.

That leaves us with Nowitzki, the most incredible shooting 7-footer ever seen. He will enter this season for the first time in his career without either one of his two former partners Steve Nash enters his second season in Phoenix and Michael Finley is down the road in San Antonio.

All of it makes for interesting fodder as we watch how much the Western Conference will teeter this season based on the performances of these three guys. They aren't the end all, but chances are they will have a major say in who represents the West in the 2006 finals.

Taking it a step further, O'Neal and the Indiana Pacers will have a say in the East, as will Rasheed Wallace and the Detroit Pistons.

Actually, all of these calculations add up to just one thing the power forwards, generally speaking, still rule the league. There just happens to be a few more players these days who refuse to listen.

1. Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
Ht./Wt.: 6-11, 260
Numbers: 20.3 pts., 11.1 reb., 2.7 ast.
When he won his third NBA Finals MVP in seven years, Duncan joined Michael Jordan (six), Shaquille O'Neal (three) and Magic Johnson (three) as the only ones to have accomplished the trifecta. And you say Manu Ginobili should have gotten it? Would the Spurs have won without Duncan?

2. Kevin Garnett, Minnesota Timberwolves
Ht.Wt.: 6-11, 230
Numbers: 22.2 pts., 13.5 reb., 5.7 ast.
Two years ago, he won the MVP and the T-Wolves got to the conference finals. Instead of it being a breakout year for the team, it was an aberration and they're back to being a bunch of ordinary guys around the only player in history to average at least 20.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists in six consecutive seasons.

3. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
Ht./Wt.: 7-0, 250
Numbers: 26.1 pts., 9.7 reb., 3.1 ast.
He was playing at an extraordinary level through the All-Star break, but his body began to show some wear and tear, and he struggled shooting in the playoffs. He's another incredible talent with size, agility and shooting ability from everywhere. Better passing is the next phase.

4. Jermaine O'Neal, Indiana Pacers
Ht./Wt.: 6-11, 250
Numbers: 24.3 pts., 8.8 reb., 1.9 ast.
He remains right on the cusp of the top three, but injuries and erratic play against the other elite players still keeps him a cut below. Should he stay healthy, play stronger and the Pacers get back into the title chase as expected, maybe he will be included with the rest.

5. Elton Brand, Los Angeles Clippers
Ht./Wt.: 6-8, 270
Numbers: 20.0 pts., 9.5 reb., 2.6 ast.
Were he not playing for the Clippers, everyone would see what a consistently effective player Brand is. His freakish wing-span allows him to block shots; plus, his great hands and instincts have him in the right spot all the time. He doesn't have much range, but he's good enough considering where he is in the offense.

6. Rasheed Wallace, Detroit Pistons
Ht./Wt.: 6-11, 240
Numbers: 14.5 pts., 8.2 reb., 1.8 ast.
On a pure talent and unselfish scale, he's right there with Garnett. But he doesn't have the motivation or mental consistency to play at the same level every game or even throughout the game. But he's a terrific shooter from any angle out to 3-point range, underrated passer and one of the best team defenders of any big man in the game.

7. Chris Bosh, Toronto Raptors
Ht./Wt.: 6-10, 235
Numbers: 16.8 pts, 8.9 reb., 1.9 ast.
Even before the Raptors traded Vince Carter to the Nets, Bosh was clearly the most valuable player on the team. He has great explosiveness to the rim, quickness out on the floor and surprising touch from a variety of angles. And he's still only 21.

8. Chris Webber, Philadelphia 76ers
Ht./Wt.: 6-10, 250
Numbers: 19.5 pts., 9.1 reb., 4.7 ast.
Now we'll find out precisely what Webber has left. He's had another full season to recover from the micro-fracture knee surgery, and he'll have all of training camp to get more accustomed to the Sixers and Allen Iverson. Most of all, he'll have a sincere coach in Mo Cheeks to work with him. Webber's star is flickering, and this is the season it will either rekindle or go dark.

9. Antawn Jamison, Washington Wizards
Ht.?Wt.: 6-9, 240
Numbers: 19.6 pts., 7.6 reb., 2.3 ast.
Although Jamison is better suited physically to play small forward, his skills work better from the power forward position. Besides, they traded power forward Kwame Brown, with small forward Caron Butler coming in return. Young Jarvis Hayes is another talented small forward they're developing. So expect bigger numbers from Jamison this season.

10. Zach Randolph, Portland Trail Blazers
Ht./Wt.: 6-9, 255
Numbers: 18.9 pts., 9.6 reb., 1.9 ast.
Zach had a rough season with the turnover on the team, the coaching staff and more serious knee surgery than anyone imagined. But the word is that he's bounced back strong and is likely to get back on the 20/10 track. Keep in mind, he's still only 24, and new coach Nate McMillan will be very adept at creating space and shots for his gifted low-post scorer.

Also given consideration were: Pau Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies; Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Sacramento Kings; Carlos Boozer, Utah Jazz; Emeka Okafor, Charlotte Bobcats; Kenyon Martin, Denver Nuggets; Kurt Thomas, Phoenix Suns; Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic; Troy Murphy, Golden State Warriors; Udonis Haslem, Miami Heat.

Veteran NBA writer Mike Kahn is a frequent contributor to FOXSports.com.

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DevinHarriswillstart
09-08-2005, 03:19 PM
During the regular season, Dirk had the best year of any of them. Since we're adding past performances and playoffs and such, you can't argue with these rankings.

madape
09-08-2005, 03:32 PM
Noticably absent is Amare Stoudemire. Did Kahn forget about him? I'd classify him more as a PF than a center, especially considering that's the position he'll play with Kurt Thomas on the team (who received consideration for top 10 power forward in this article).

I'd put Stoudemire right up there at the top, probably behind Duncan and Garnett, but standing right beside Dirk at #3.

Five-ofan
09-08-2005, 04:03 PM
He will have amare as a 5 and dirk is better than amare jo probably is to. Amare is as bad on d as everyone acts like dirk is. JO is not close to amare offensively but much much better defensively. On second thought amare is better than JO. Its just closer than most would think.

Thespiralgoeson
09-08-2005, 06:24 PM
Amare most definitely is a 4. Really, he doesn't even come close to resembling a center. Amare is a center like Yao is a power forward.


Originally posted by: madape
I'd put Stoudemire right up there at the top, probably behind Duncan and Garnett, but standing right beside Dirk at #3.

Sorry, Ape, but Amare's got a bit to go before he's in Dirk's class IMO. Just like Dirk had to improve his defense, and passing before he could be considered int he same class as Duncan and KG, Amare must do the same. Really, at this point, I'd rank Amare right below Jermaine O'Neal. Amare's an absolutely incredible athlete, and is phenominal off the pick and roll, but that's about it. He's still gotta learn how to vaguely grasp the concept of defense, pass, dribble, and keep developing that midrange shot.

Five-ofan
09-08-2005, 07:59 PM
he does it by what position people play and amare plays the 5 or at least he did last year

Thespiralgoeson
09-08-2005, 08:44 PM
Originally posted by: Five-ofan
he does it by what position people play and amare plays the 5 or at least he did last year

If that's the case, then why the hell isn't Shawn Marion on the list? Marion played most of his time at 4 last year, and at this point is a much better player than Jamison, Randolph, Sheed, or even Webber.

alby
09-08-2005, 09:23 PM
and does that mean dirk will be listed at center too i/expressions/anim_laugh.gif

birdsanctuary
09-09-2005, 07:47 PM
Dirk's #3 until he wins a championship and then he's ahead of Garnett!

Nash13
09-09-2005, 08:21 PM
To add on to what Spiral said, no analyst made mention last year of what limited skills Amare has. Teams had no other choice but to put a slower guy on him.

Murphy3
09-09-2005, 08:23 PM
Originally posted by: birdsanctuary
Dirk's #3 until he wins a championship and then he's ahead of Garnett!

I'd still like to see KG do a little bit when it counts.

Thespiralgoeson
09-11-2005, 12:47 AM
Originally posted by: dirt_dobber

1. Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
Ht./Wt.: 6-11, 260
Numbers: 20.3 pts., 11.1 reb., 2.7 ast.
When he won his third NBA Finals MVP in seven years, Duncan joined Michael Jordan (six), Shaquille O'Neal (three) and Magic Johnson (three) as the only ones to have accomplished the trifecta. you say Manu Ginobili should have gotten it? Would the Spurs have won without Duncan?

Duncan had one good game in that entire series. Of course they wouldn't have won without Duncan, but it was Manu, not Duncan who the Pistons couldn't keep up with. Sure, Duncan's their star, and he got them there in the first place, but Manu was the hero of that series. The Lakers wouldn't have won the championship in 1988 without Magic either, but Worthy was the man in that series, and was rightfully awarded Finals MVP.

Hitman
09-11-2005, 08:03 AM
Crazy thing about Duncan -- I mean, how disspointed would we all be if Dirk averaged 20 points, 11 rebounds and 2.7 assists this year?

TDunc is great, the best in the world, IMO. But those numbers tell you that the Spurs are all about TEAM.
But...in a way, they also say that Duncan is not as dominant as some would have you believe.

alby
09-11-2005, 11:25 AM
those spurs make their living off what duncan gives you, no question he is the mvp

#1MavsFan
09-11-2005, 11:47 AM
Originally posted by: Hitman
Crazy thing about Duncan -- I mean, how disspointed would we all be if Dirk averaged 20 points, 11 rebounds and 2.7 assists this year?

TDunc is great, the best in the world, IMO. But those numbers tell you that the Spurs are all about TEAM.
But...in a way, they also say that Duncan is not as dominant as some would have you believe.

Yeah but... Duncan opens everything up for the Spurs unlike any other player in the league can for his team and is Dirk even close to sniffing Duncan on D?

Thespiralgoeson
09-11-2005, 02:52 PM
Originally posted by: alby
those spurs make their living off what duncan gives you, no question he is the mvp

Alby, of course he's the Spurs MVP, but he wasn't the MVP of the Detroit series. Manu carried the load in that series, in the same way that Terry, not Dirk, carried the load in the Houston series. Again, I point to 1988. Of course, the Lakers made their living off what Magic gave them... but Worthy was the man in the Finals, and he was the MVP of the series.

alby
09-11-2005, 03:12 PM
but because manu had tim duncan, the mvp, he had mvp-like production. the fact is, tim duncan is still the mvp.

Thespiralgoeson
09-11-2005, 03:38 PM
Originally posted by: alby
but because manu had tim duncan, the mvp, he had mvp-like production. the fact is, tim duncan is still the mvp.

Not of that series, he wasn't.

#1MavsFan
09-11-2005, 09:56 PM
Without Manu the Spurs still had a chance to beat Detroit but without Duncan they don't even come close to making the finals.

Thespiralgoeson
09-12-2005, 01:00 AM
Originally posted by: #1MavsFan
Without Manu the Spurs still had a chance to beat Detroit but without Duncan they don't even come close to making the finals.

And without Magic, the Lakers never do jack shit. But Worthy was the finals MVP in 88, just as Manu should've been in the finals last year. Wow, this debate is getting really stale.

FilthyFinMavs
09-12-2005, 10:59 AM
Pretty accurate list. The only things that stands in front of Dirk being the best power foward in the game is his passing and defense. He doesn't touch Duncan nor Garnett in those categories. He made a huge improvement last season in both departments but he's still not the all around player that they are.

Five-ofan
09-12-2005, 12:05 PM
He doesnt touch duncan as a passer? That is one of the biggest misconceptions in the nba. They are pretty damn close. Dirk gets almost the same amount of assist and this year had more. He has traditionally turned the ball over less with them having almsot identical assist/to ratios. Btw Duncan is not primarily a post player. That is the other huge misconception of Duncan. He like dirk lives off of midrange jumpers. He posts more than dirk dont get me wrong but he is not PRIMARILY a post player. Just think about it what is his signature move? That bank shot and thats not a post move. Dirk opens things up every bit as much as duncan does. Was ginobili the mvp of the finals? I dont know i hate ginobili so im probably not the best judge but I think i woulda given it to duncan. However i think its odd that the same people who think duncan was the mvp in the finals bitch and moan about dirks performance in the first round. They were very similar. The defense keyed on them which let a perimeter player go off. However dirk was ridiculed as being horrible and just generally maligned. Whereas duncan won finals mvp. In that one series dirk was every bit the defensive player duncan is.

alby
09-13-2005, 10:10 AM
duncan is an overrated passer, a very overrated one on one defender, and a terrible free throw shooter who can not be counted on in the clutch.

but he plays a great team game (probably one of the best ever), every aspect of his game is revolved around the team and around winning and i think thats where the media gives him credit.

he has the individual and the team accolades to back it up, so you really cant argue against him.

Five-ofan
09-13-2005, 12:47 PM
Im not arguing against him. He is the best pf in the game. That is not in question. I was just responding to a message that dirk cant touch him or garnett as a passer. Garnett no but Duncan? Yeah, that doesnt mean duncans not the best pf in the game even though hes about 4th stats wise. He is still the best pf in the game because he wins.

jayC
09-13-2005, 01:28 PM
I can't really argue with the rankings. Dirk will probably benefit from decreased minutes because of the addition of Van Horn. The lane will shut down a little for stevie and amare. It will be interesting to see how many dunks amare gets in the lane. They lost their two best three point shooters.

Duncan to me is a center. He plays almost strictly in the post and is the spurs last stop on Defense. Robert Horry is at the 4 when the spurs are at their best.

alby
09-13-2005, 03:25 PM
agreed.

Thespiralgoeson
09-13-2005, 06:30 PM
He doesnt touch duncan as a passer? That is one of the biggest misconceptions in the nba. They are pretty damn close. Dirk gets almost the same amount of assist and this year had more.

Actually, until this year, Duncan has always put up better assist numbers, but I think that may partly be because Nash always did all the ball-handling here; our offense didn't flow through Dirk like theirs does Duncan until Nash left. I believe Dirk is actually a very underrated passer, as well as a defender. However, I will say that Duncan has shown flashes of being a great passer, and his assist numbers usually go up in the playoffs, particularly in the 03 playoffs where he put up incredible, CWebb-like assist totals (I think he averaged 5.3 apg in the WCF) Duncan is very good at passing out of a double team, which is something Dirk sometimes has trouble with. On the other hand, Dirk's pass off the dribble is really a thing of remarkable beauty. Duncan and Dirk are about equal passers, and neither of them sniff Garnett in that department.

Thespiralgoeson
09-20-2005, 05:55 PM
I just now noticed that AK47 isn't on this list. I guess they must consider him a 3, because there's no way Randolph, Jamison and Webber are better players at this point.

snoop
09-20-2005, 11:37 PM
decent rankings but i think sheed is over valued at six i think many gmsd would take many four over him