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Ranking the Top 10 Best Power Forwards of All Time

Ranking the Top 10 Best Power Forwards of All Time

If you search throughout the entire NBA history, you’ll notice that there is no shortage of great power forwards, even though the game and position have been changed over the years.

During the early days of the NBA, power forwards were the only ones to dominate the game of hoops. But over the decade, they metamorphosed into more multipurpose players. Some power forwards had impressive mid-range shots; on the other hand, some had a unique ability to dunk shots. So, it’s a little challenging to create a list of the top 10 best power forwards of all time. 

However, we successfully shortlisted 10 best of the best power forwards who had a brilliant performance and changed the whole scenario of NBA games. So, who is the best power forward in the NBA? Let’s start the countdown.

#10. Dennis Rodman

Dennis Rodman

Chicago Bulls Dennis Rodman plays in a NBA game against the Miami Heat on May 26,1997 at Miami Arena in Miami, Florida.
(AP Photo/Tom DiPace)

Career Summary

G: 911

FG3%: 23.1

eFG%: 52.9

We start the countdown of the best power forwards with Dennis Rodman. His defensive and rebounding abilities were also great. The 6’7” giant played for many major NBA clubs such as Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks. 

Dennis played 911 games during his career, where he achieved an overall 7.3 points, 4.8 offensive rebounds per game, and 8.4 defensive rebounds per game out of total rebounds of 13.1 per game. Dennis had 3.0 field goals per game with 52 field goal percentage and 58 free throws percentage, as well as 1.8 assists.

He has shown his best performance in 1988, where he scored 3.9 field goals per game, 59 field goal percentage, and a total of 9.4 rebounds per game.

Dennis won 5 NBA Championships, including 2 NBA All-Star games (1990, 1992), 7 consecutive NBA Rebounding Championships (1992-1998), and ABA Championship (2004). He was also awarded twice NBA Defensive Player of the Year (1990, 1991). Apart from his 7 NBA All-Defensive First Team honors, Dennis was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011.

#09. Chris Webber

Chris Webber

Getty Images

Career Summary

G: 831

FG3%: 29.9

eFG%: 48.7

Mayce Edward Christopher Weber III is a retired basketball player who played 20 NBA seasons for Golden State Warriors, Washington Wizards, Sacramento Kings, Philadelphia 76ers, Detroit Pistons, Phoenix Suns and, Golden State Warriors. His number 4 jersey has been retired by the Sacramento Kings. 

Webber played 1207 games throughout his entire NBA career, where he achieved 23.7 points with 3.5 offensive rebounds per game and 7.4 defensive rebounds per game out of a total of 10.9 rebounds. He also had 2.5 assists per game, including 9.4 field goals per game, 58 field goals percentage, and 52 free throws percentage. 

During his time with the Phoenix Suns in 2011, Webber played 75 games where he maintained 6.8 field goals per game, 60.9 field goals percentage, and 8.4 total rebounds per game. His era with the Phoenix Suns placed him among the top power forwards of all time.

However, Webber couldn’t win any NBA Championships. But, he was 5 NBA All-Star games winner (1997, 2000-2003). He was awarded All-NBA Rookie of the Year (1994), NBA Rebounding Leader (1999), Naismith Prep Player of the Year (1991), and USBWA National Freshman of the Year (1992). He received one All-NBA First Team honor (2001) and 3 All-NBA Second Team honors (1999, 2002, and 2003).

#08. Elvin Hayes

Elvin Hayes

Photo: CNN

Career Summary

G: 1303

FG3%: 14.7

eFG%: 45.2

Elvin made his debut in 1968, where he played for San Diego Rockets. Later he changed his team to the Washington Wizards and Houston Rockets. Despite the power forward position, Elvin also played as a center forward. 

In his 16 years of NBA career, Elvin played 1303 games where he secured 21.0 points as well as 3.1 offensive rebounds per game and 7.8 defensive rebounds per game out of a total of 12.5 rebounds per game. He also scored 8.4 field goals per game with 45.2 field goals percentage, 67 free throws percentage, and 1.8 assists per game.

At the start of his career in 1969, Elvin had 11.1 field goals per game with 45.2 field goals percentage and 2.0 assists per game. He also achieved 16.9 total rebounds per game in that particular season.

 He won the NBA Championship in 1978 including 12 NBA All-Star games. Elvin received the UPI Player of the Year award in 1968 and the Associated Press Player of the Year award in 1968. He was NBA Scoring Champion in 1969 and his number 11 jersey has been retired by Washington Wizards. Along with these achievements and awards, he received 2 All-NBA First Team honors (1975, 1977, and 1979) and 2 NBA All-Defensive Second Team honors (1974, 1975). Elvin was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1990.

#07. Kevin McHale

Kevin McHale

Image: NBA

Career Summary

G: 971

FG3%: 26.1

eFG%: 55.5

Kevin Edwards McHale is a retired NBA Basketball player who played under Boston Celtics throughout his entire professional basketball career. His jersey number 32 has been retired by the Boston Celtics.

This power forward played only 13 seasons in the NBA but succeeded in maintaining marvelous statistics. He played a total of 971 games with 17.9 points along with 2.4 offensive rebounds per game and 4.9 defensive rebounds per game. He had 7.0 field goals per game and a 55.4 field goals percentage. Kevin maintained an average of 1.7 assists per game and a 79.8 free throws percentage.   

However, he never ceased to amaze his fans. In 1986, Kevin scored 10.3 field goals per game with 60.4 field goals percentage and total rebounds of 9.9 per game. He also achieved 2.6 assists per game.

Kevin won the NBA Championships three times (1981, 1984, and 1986) and NBA All-Star games 7 times. He won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year twice in a row (1984, 1985) and the Minnesota Mr. Basketball award in 1976. Kevin received 3 NBA All-Defensive First Team honors (1983, 1989, and 1990) and NBA All-Rookie First Team honors in 1981.

#06. Dolph Schayes

Dolph Schayes

Getty Images

Career Summary

G: 996

FG3%: Not Available

eFG%: Not Available

Adolph Schayes was a professional basketball player in NBA who played his entire career with the Philadelphia 76ers. 

Dolph played a total of 996 games for the Philadelphia 76ers, where he scored 18.5 points as well as 5.9 field goals per game and 38.0 field goals percentage. He also achieved an average of 3.1 assists per game and an 84.9 free throws percentage. Dolph successfully maintained 12.1 total rebounds per game.

In 1959, Dolph scored 7.7 field goals per game including 40.1 field goals percentage, 89.3 free throws percentage, and 3.4 assists. 

Dolph won the NBA Championship in 1955 as well as 12 times NBA All-Star games winner. He was awarded NBA Rebounding Leader in 1951, NBL Rookie of the Year in 1949, and Haggerty Award in 1948. Not to mention he received both All-NBA First Team honor and All-NBA Second Team honor 6 times and inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1973.

#05. Bob Pettit

Bob Pettit

Getty Images

Career Summary

G: 792

FG3%: N/A

eFG%: N/A

Before the arrival of legends like Wilt Chamberlain and Russell, Bob Pettit was the man who used to dominate. No one was able to beat his points during his 11 years of professional career. He was also the first-ever basketball player in history to win the MVP in the NBA. 

Bob played for Atlanta Hawks throughout his entire career where he played 792 games with 9.3 field goals per game and 43.6 field goals percentage. He also achieved a 76.1 free throws percentage, 26.4 points, 3.0 assists per game, and a total of 16.2 rebounds per game.

His best performance came in 1963, where he played 80 games and scored 9.9 field goals per game along with 46.3 field goals percentage and 3.2 assists per game. 

Bob won the NBA Championship once in 1958 as well as 11 NBA All-Star games, 4 NBA All-Star Games MVP (1956, 1958, 1959 and 1962), and 2 NBA Scoring Championships (1986, 1959). He won NBA Rookie of the Year (1955) and NBA Rebounding Leader award in 1956. Bob was honored with 10 All-NBA First Team and one All-NBA Second Team and inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1970.

#04. Karl Malone

Karl Malone

Getty Images

Career Summary

G: 1476

FG3%: 27.4

eFG%: 51.8

Karl Anthony Malone, also known by his nickname “The Mailman,” was a player of production and longevity. His power was so astonishing that very few players were a match for him. As a player, Karl played for Utah Jazz, and at the end of his career, he transferred to Los Angeles Lakers. His jersey number 32 has been retired by Utah Jazz. 

If we look at his 19 years of professional career, then we’ll notice that he played 1476 games with securing 25.0 points, 9.2 field goals per game, and 51.6 field goals percentage. He also achieved 2.4 offensive rebounds per game and 7.7 defensive rebounds per game out of a total of 10.1 rebounds per game. During his entire career, Malone scored 3.6 average assists per game and 74.2 free throws percentage.

Malone gave his best performance in 1989, where he played 82 games and scored 11.1 field goals per game, 56.2 field goals percentage, and 2.8 average assists per game.

Despite his failure to win the NBA Championship, Malone won 14 NBA All-Star games (1988-1998, 2000-2002). He won the NBA Most Valuable Player award twice (1997, 1999), 2 times NBA All-Star Game MVP award (1989, 1993), and the Southland Player of the Year in 1983. He also achieved 11 All-NBA First Team honors (1989-1999), 2 All-NBA Second Team honors (1988, 2000) and 3 NBA All-Defensive First team honors (1997-1999). 

#03. Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley

Getty Images

Career Summary

G: 1073

FG3%: 25.6

eFG%: 55.8

Charles Wade Barley, also known as “The Round Mound of Rebound,” comes 3rd in our list of greatest power forwards of all time. During his professional career, Barkley played for the Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, and Houston Rockets. His jersey number 34 has been retired by both Philadelphia 76ers and Auburn Tigers.

The Chuckster participated in 16 NBA seasons, where he played 1073 games with 7.9 field goals per game and 54.1 field goals percentage. He achieved 4 offensive rebounds per game and 7.7 defensive rebounds per game out of a total of 11.7 rebounds. With an average assist of 3.9 per game and 22.1 points, Barkley is one of the NBA best power forwards of all time.

However, his statistics in 1986 is considered as his best performance. He played only 68 games that season but achieved 8.2 field goals per game, 59.4 field goals percentage as well as 4.9 assists per game.

Sir Charles won the NBA Most Valuable Player award in 1993 and 11 NBA All-Star games from 1987-1997 as well as NBA All-Star Game MVP in 1991. He was awarded SEC Player of the Year in 1984. Charles received 5 All-NBA First Team honors (1998-1991, 1993) and 5 All-NBA Second Team honors (1986, 1987, 1992, 1994, and 1995).

#02. Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki

Getty Images

Career Summary

G: 1522

FG3%: 38

eFG%: 51.2

Dirk Nowitzki is a German retired player who made his debut at DJK Wurzburg in 1994. Then he transferred to the Dallas Mavericks in 1998, where he played before retiring in 2019. Dirk was one of the main causes of the basketball revolution. 

In his 21 years of professional career, Dirk played 1522 games in which he scored 7.9 field goals per game, 20.7 points, and 47.1 field goals percentage. Despite his low offensive rebounds per game (1.0), he had 6.6 defensive rebounds per game out of a total of 7.5 rebounds per game. His 87.9 free throws percentage, 2.4 assists per game, and defensive attitude towards opponent offenses made him one of the iconic power forwards in NBA history.

His mind-blowing performance came in 2005, where Dirk scored 9.3 field goals per game and 48.0 field goals percentage out of only 81 games. He also had total rebounds of 9.0 per game in that season.

The awards and achievements list of Dirk is very long. He won the NBA Championship (2011), NBA Three-Point Contest Championship (2006), and 14 NBA All-Star games. Nowitzki was awarded NBA Finals MVP (2011), NBA Most Valuable Player (2007), and NBA Teammate of the Year (2017). He received honorary All-NBA First Team 4 times, 5 All-NBA Second Team honors, and 3 All-NBA Third Team honors. 

#01. Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett

Getty Images

Career Summary:

G: 1462

FG3%: 27.5

eFG%: 50.1

Before Charles Barkley and Karl Malone changed the perception of the game, Kevin Garnett helps to lay the entire foundation of today’s NBA matches. If we consider Career Defensive Rebounds, then Kevin is still at the top of the pyramid as well as 18th in career steals and 18th in career blocks. The all-time legendary player made his professional baseball career debut from Minnesota Timberwolves and then found his way to Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets.

During his 22 years of professional career, Kevin played 1462 games with 7.2 field goals per game and 49.7 field goals percentage. He also secured 17.8 points along with 2.2 offensive rebounds per game and 7.8 defensive rebounds per game. His average assists of 3.7 per game and 78.9 free throws percentage made him the best PF in NBA history.

During his first season in Boston Celtics in 2007, KG scored 7.6 field goals per game as well as 53.9 field goals percentage and 3.4 average assists per game. He also had total rebounds of 9.2 per game.

Apart from tremendous statistics, Kevin won the NBA Championship (2008), 15 NBA All-Star games, and 4 NBA Rebounding Championships (2004-2007). He won NBA Most Valuable Player award in 2004, NBA All-Star Game MVP (2003), NBA Defensive Player of the Year (2008), and Mr Basketball USA award (1995). He also received 4 All-NBA First Team honors, 3 All-NBA Second Team honors, 9 NBA All-Defensive First Team honors, and 3 NBA All-Defensive Second Team honors.

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