In the NBA’s 75-year existence, there have been a number of excellent power forwards. To mention a few: LeBron James (of Cleveland), Kobe Bryant (of Los Angeles), and the Curry brothers.
Due to their exceptional performance and accomplishments while on the field, a few players have risen to the top of the heap.
This list of the top ten best NBA power forwards ever is based on research conducted by reputable and well-known web sources including as ESPN, Clutch Points, and the NBA.
Let’s have a look at the guys who were immediately included to our shortlist.
- St. Louis Hawks
- 1x NBA championship / 2x NBA MVP
In his 60s, centers and guards were the team’s primary scorers, while the power forward was the team’s primary rebounder.
Bob Pettit, on the other hand, was a player who excelled on both ends of the field.
Pettit never averaged less than 24.6 points per game and 12.4 rebounds per game during his career. He averaged a double-double in every season.
That’s why Pettit won every power forward battle he faced in his career.
Achieve a total of 20,000 points first.
Pettit scored a playoff-high 50 points against the Celtics in Game 6 of the NBA Finals in 1958 to earn his first championship.
And Bob Pettit became the first player to win the NBA MVP award in 1956, when he took home the trophy. The next year, in 1959, he received his second MVP award.
Additionally, Pettit was an NBA All-Star in each of his 11 seasons in the league, collecting four All-Star MVP awards. He’s been selected to the NBA All-First Team a total of ten times.
Similarly, Bob Pettit is the first NBA player to reach the milestone of scoring more than 20,000 points in a season. His career averages of 26.4 points per game and 16.2 rebounds per game rank eighth and third, respectively, in NBA history.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame enshrined him in 1970. As a result, Bob is unquestionably one of the greatest power forwards in NBA history.
- New Orleans Pelicans, Los Angeles Lakers
- 1x NBA championship
Davis, despite his size, is a dangerous offensive player who can score from a variety of spots, including the midrange, three-point range, and the paint.
He’s also a superb rebounder and rim protector, making him an important part of the team’s defense.
Davis has been named an NBA All-Star eight times, missing out only once in his debut season.
Furthermore, he has been named to the All-NBA First Team four times and to the All-Defensive First Team twice, indicating that he is a well-rounded player.
In 2020, only a few months after joining the Lakers, Davis won his first NBA title. For the United States, he has already won two Olympic gold medals and a World Cup championship in 2012.
Although much remains to be done, Even at the age of 28, Anthony Davis still has a long way to go in his career.
- Washinton Bullets, Houston Rockets
- 1x NBA Championship
For some, Elvin Hayes is the best power forward in basketball history. Even though he played in the era of Kareem Abdul Jabbar, the Big E made his imprint in the NBA.
He averaged 28.4 points per game as a rookie, which set an NBA record for the youngest player to win the scoring title.
Even more remarkable, he never missed more than two games in any season during his 12-year professional career.
The Washington Wizards’ all-time leading scorer is also Hayes, with 27,313 points.
Hayes’ career was marked by a lack of league honors despite his MVP performances. In 1978, Elvin, on the other hand, won his lone NBA championship.
Elvin Hayes, a 12-time All-Star and three-time member of the NBA’s All-Fast Team, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1990.
- Boston Celtics
- 3 NBA Championship
However, Kevin McHale is one of the greatest power forwards of all time, even though he spent most of his career on the bench.
Only 400 of his 971 NBA games saw him get the start, but it is his willingness to put the good of the team ahead of his own career stats that should be admired.
Celtics won three NBA titles in five finals with the help of Mc Hale, Bird, and Parish.
Charles Barkley referred to Mc Hale as the toughest opponent he had ever faced in his entire career.
Unstoppable footwork and post moves made him nearly impossible to guard. In addition, he was a solid defender who was selected to the All-Time Defensive First Team three times in his career.
Kevin McHale, who was just inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, spent his entire 13-year professional career with the Boston Celtics.
In his first five seasons, Hayes played primarily as a reserve and was twice named the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year.
In addition, he was a member of the All-NBA First Team once and was selected to the NBA All-Star team seven times.
- Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets
- 1x NBA MVP
Charles Barkley, at 6 feet 5 inches, is the NBA’s best undersized big man.
Throughout his career, he was the undisputed king of the low post, thanks to his superior strength and agility, as well as his aggressiveness and quickness.
After dominating the interior, he would slam a huge dunk after going coast to coast with anyone.
Barkey, the 1993 NBA Most Valuable Player, has a career total of 23,757 points, 12,546 rebounds, and 4,215 assists.
Eleven NBA All-Star appearances and five first-team All-NBA selections round out his resume. As a member of the Dream Team, Barley has been inducted into the Hall of Fame twice, the first time in 2006 for his solo career and the second time in 2010.
The sole blemish on his illustrious career, like that of many other great players from the 1990s, is the absence of an NBA championship ring.
Aside from his playing career, Barkley was well-known in his 80s and 90s for his controversies and battles.
- Milwaukee Bucks
- 2x NBA MVP
The achievements of Giannis Antetokounmpo in the NBA are enough to place him among the greatest power forwards of all time.
As of 2020, the Greek Freak will join the likes of Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon in being named NBA MVP and Defensive Player of the Year.
After winning the NBA’s MVP award twice in a row, Giannis has cemented his place among the game’s greatest ever.
In addition, Antetokounmpo is the youngest player in NBA history to win two MVP awards before the age of 26.
However, Antetokounpo is an all-around player who can play in any of the five positions on the court.
Because of his stature, speed, and athleticism, he’s been dubbed the “Greek Freak” by the media. His physical attributes allow him to slash for a dunk and get by defenders.
His career is far from over, but Giannis is still in his prime and has plenty of time to win the NBA championship.
As a result, he has been a member of the NBA All-Star team five times, twice as captain and once as MVP.
In addition, Giannis Antetokounpo has been named to the NBA All-First and All-Second Teams thrice.
- Minnesota Timberwolves, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets
- 1x NBA championship/ 1x NBA MVP
Kevin Garnett, a 15-time All-Star, is one of the best players in NBA history when it comes to intensity, versatility, athleticism, and defense.
The Minnesota Timberwolves became title contenders after drafting KG in the NBA draft out of high school in 1995.
There had never been a season in which the Wolves made the playoffs or won more than 29 games prior to Garnett’s arrival.
In spite of this, “The Big Ticket” Kevin Garnett led the team to the top, becoming their leading scorer, rebounder, playmaker, and superb defender.
From 1997 until 2004, the Wolves earned eight consecutive playoff berths under Garnett’s leadership. The Celtics won the NBA championship later that year. Garnett’s postseason record was shattered by his superb leadership.
The NBA MVP and Defensive Player of the Year award given to Garnett shows that he is a two-way player.
His outstanding résumé also includes four All-NBA First Team honors and nine All-Defensive First Team honors.
It wasn’t until 2021 that KG was officially recognized as one of the all-time great power forwards, and he was enshrined into the Hall of Fame.
- Dallas Mavericks
- 1x NBA championship, 1x NBA MVP
The power forward position was revolutionized by Dirk Nowitzki, and he deserves all the credit. He turned the number 4 into a skillful big man who could shoot, dribble, and dish.
The great German basketball player is without a doubt the best European to ever play in the NBA.
His famous one-legged fadeaway is one of the most difficult techniques to defend and is one of his most well-known moves for both scoring and variety.
Another notable fact about Dirk: he’s the first and only NBA player to spend a total of twenty-one seasons with one team.
In 2007, Nowitzki received the NBA’s lone MVP award. He led Dallas to their first NBA championship in the 2010-11 season.
The Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Miami Heat Big 3 were all defeated in the finals by LeBron James.
A career total of 31,560 points places him 6th in NBA history. Nowitzki is also the first foreign player and second power forward to achieve more than 30 thousand points in a career.
Mavericks Nowitzki is a 14-time NBA All-Star and a four-time All-NBA First Team selection.
- Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers
- 2x NBA MVP
Player with a record of 14 All-Star appearances Karl Malone is one of the best power forwards in the NBA, but his illustrious career is incomplete because he has yet to win an NBA championship.
Mailman” was the nickname given to Malone by teammates because of his consistent play. With 36,928 points, he is the NBA’s second-leading scorer all-time.
Like Malone, he’s the all-time record holder for free throw attempts.
Additionally, Malone was a tough defender and rebounder. To date, he is the oldest NBA Finals starter with a triple-double at the age of 40.
Additionally, Malone is the only NBA player to have been named to the All-NBA first team in each of the last 11 seasons.
A part of the 1992 Dream Team, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.
- San Antonio Spurs
- 5x NBA championship/ 3x NBA MVP
The throne of the greatest power forwards of all time belongs to Tim Duncan alone. Furthermore, he would be considered one of the greatest NBA players ever.
Duncan is the epitome of a franchise player, having spent two decades with the Spurs and helped them win five NBA championships during that time. In addition to his three championship MVP trophies, he has also won two league MVP awards.
His textbook talents earned him the moniker “The Big Fundamental,” and he was a force on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor.
His career total of 26,496 points ranks him 14th on the NBA’s all-time points list. Furthermore, his trademark bank shot was unbeatable.
He was a reliable scorer, rebounder, and rim protector throughout his career. The reason he has been named to the All-NBA First Team and All-Defensive First Team is because of this.
Duncan is also a 15-time NBA All-Star, as well as a one-time MVP of the All-Star Game.
Tim Duncan was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame with Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant in 2021.
There are no more power forwards to add to our list of all-time greats.
Their achievements, records and stats were used to rate the players.
Let’s look at the quick summary.
- Tim Duncan
- Karl Malone
- Dirk Nowitzki
- Kevin Garnett
- Giannis Antetokounpo
- Charles Barkley
- Kevin McHale
- Elvin Hayes
- Anthony Davis
- Bob Pettit