I saved the best for last, I guess. You can check out my top-10 at the other positions here, here, here and here. I plan on posting a top-50 NBA player list sometime this weekend, or today. There’s so many good power forwards, so this list was the most challenging. Seven power forwards posted a PER 20 or higher. The Spurs have had a player on each list, but sadly they will not have a power forward on this one.
Here’s my best effort at determining the best power forwards:
10. Greg Monroe – Detroit Pistons
Although Monroe played a little bit more at center last year, I’ll label him a power forward, especially if he stays in Detroit with Andre Drummond. The whole Pistons/Monroe situation is weird. You know if SVG had the team last summer he never signs Josh Smith, or trades for Brandon Jennings. If Brandon Knight wasn’t the answer at point guard, they could’ve drafted Michael Carter-Williams, and saved the cash. But that’s in hindsight, so SVG has to work with what he was given. Detroit was an absolute mess last year, and Monroe suffered because of it. In 2012-2013, Monroe had 218 assists in 81 games. Last year, he had 171 in 82. Just by those numbers you could tell spacing wasn’t Detroit’s biggest strengthen, and that’s why SVG was hired. Detroit added shooters in free agency, and drafted Spencer Dinwiddie, who has so much potential, but is rehabbing a knee injury. Monroe has missed three games in his four-year career (only DeAndre Jordan has played more regular season games since Monroe has entered the NBA). Hopefully Detroit can work Monroe’s contract situation, and find a solution for Josh Smith, because a front court of Monroe and Drummond is terrifying.
9. Zach Randolph – Memphis Grizzlies
Randolph generated 446 points by assists last season. Two years ago Randolph generated 242 in three fewer games. Memphis might have finally solved their small forward issue when they added Vince Carter this summer. A Carter/Lee/Prince rotation should really help out Memphis, and take pressure off of the big men. Randolph remains one of the more physical big guys, and he makes his living wearing down opponents on the blocks.
8. Pau Gasol – Chicago Bulls
A Chicago/Cleveland conference championship is the only thing I want from basketball this year. Gasol had issues with coaching and management in Los Angeles, and now he’ll get the fresh slate to finish his career with a contender. Gasol struggled on defense (posted a 108 rating), but can you really blame him playing with Swaggy P and that Laker squad. Chicago is the perfect situation for Gasol. He’ll be able to deliver on offense, while Noah and Gibson patrol the paint on defense.
7. Paul Millsap – Atlanta Hawks
Millsap made his first All-Star game last year. For some reason Team USA cut him when they made first cuts earlier this week. Millsap’s first seven years in the NBA: 113 3-pointers attempted. Millsap last year: 212 3-pointers attempted. Atlanta is really pushing the 3-point shot style, and Millsap’s the right power forward for the job. He made 35.8 percent of them last year, which is good considering he’s only made 32 percent for his career. Millsap will be a free agent after next season, so expect big things out of Millsap and the Atlanta Hawks
6. Serge Ibaka – Oklahoma City Thunder
Only five players in NBA history have had a season with 200 blocks and 20 3-pointers. Ibaka has done it the last two seasons. I called Ibaka overrated two years ago. I thought he over-helped on defense too often, which created so many of his block opportunities, but Ibaka proved me wrong, and the scary thing is he’s still improving. Ibaka is the third option on Oklahoma City. Durant led the league in usage rate, and Westbrook had a 34.4 usage percentage. But Ibaka still puts up solid offensive numbers in limited touches, and he’s always creating chaos on defense.
5. Anthony Davis – New Orleans Pelicans
Davis made the All-Star team before his 21st birthday. He’s already a star, and will only get better. Lots of franchise-altering transactions happened this off-season, but one of the biggest had to be the Pelicans trading for Omer Asik. Davis will be a power forward next year! Great news for Davis, just terrible news for the West. Last year I hoped Davis did well, but that his team didn’t. But now that Philly no longer has a protected Pelicans’ pick, I’m all in for New Orleans.
4. LaMarcus Aldridge – Portland Trail Blazers
3. Dirk Nowitzki – Dallas Mavericks
This is for my brother who convinces me that LaMarcus Aldridge had a better year than Dirk Nowitzki.
Per game totals:
If you go by averages, Aldridge had the better year.
But, there’s more to it than that.
Aldridge needed 20.6 shots to score 23 points a game. Nowitzki needed 15.9 to score 21.7
Aldridge had a 29.8 usage percentage, while Nowitzki had a 26.9. Aldridge had a 108 offensive rating, while Nowitzki had a 120.
Aldridge posted a better defensive rating 104-108, but Nowitzki doubled Aldridges’ offensive win shares.
Nowitzki posted a higher PER, true shooting percentage and total win shares.
I’m siding with Dirk.
2. Blake Griffin – Los Angeles Clippers
1. Kevin Love – Cleveland Cavaliers
I’ll do the same thing I did for LMA/Dirk for Griffin/Love
Per game averages:
Love: PER (26.9) TS% (59.1) offensive rating (120) defensive rating (104) offensive win shares (10.6) total win shares (14.3)
Griffin:PER (23.9) TS% (58.3) offensive rating (114) defensive rating (103) offensive win shares (8.1) total win shares (12.2)
It’s close. Griffin had one helluva season, but Love remains the best power forward in the NBA.