NBA’s best – Part 4 Power Forwards
This may be the deepest most talented position in the NBA (or shooting guard). Led by the best player in the NBA for 2 years running, this group has not only dominating players of today, but also guys who will be ruling NBA paints for years to come. (included are the player points, rebounds, and assists per game for the 2002-03 season)
Reserved for only one man, Tim Duncan (23.3-12.9-3.9). The 2-time NBA MVP and reigning NBA Finals MVP. Duncan has been one of the best players in the game since being drafted #1 by the Spurs in 97-98. He has led San Antonio to 2 NBA titles and makes the Spurs a threat to win it all anytime he steps on the court.
BEST OF THE REST
No offence to these players, because they are part of the NBA elite, but their not Duncan.Chris Webber (23.0-10.5-5.4), may have had a big showdown with Duncan in last years Western Conference Finals if not for an injury against Dallas. Webber has always had the knock on him of not wanting it enough, we’ll see if he can lead this years loaded Sacramento roster to the Finals. Jermaine O’Neal (20.8-10.3-2.0) has emerged the last couple seasons in Indiana as one of the NBA’s best. Being drafted out of high school to Portland, O’Neal struggled there, but once he was given a change of scenery, he has displayed his full array of interior scoring and superior shot blocking (2.3 BPG). Germans’ best Dirk Nowitski (25.1-9.9-3.0), is so versatile he could have been listed on about 3 other positions. Nowitski at 7 foot is one of the hardest players to guard in the NBA, with his precision outside shooting or using his size inside Dirk can score just about at will. Many have knocked his defensive game, but he has improved that and his rebounding, if his passing skills grow as well, Duncan may get some company up top.
YOUNG AND TALENTED
The up and comers among the talented young forwards. Elton Brand (18.5-11.3-2.5) has played on some lousy teams, but he continues to put up solid numbers. Another good example of good player-lousy team, Shareef Abdur-Rahim (19.9-8.4-3.0). Not winning in Vancouver and now not winning in Atlanta has hurt Reefs’ exposure. Rookie of the Year Amare Stoudamire (13.5-8.8-1.0) meanwhile is on a young and up-and coming type team in Phoenix. The Suns boast three of the better young stars in Amare, Marbury, and Shawn Marion. The Nets Kenyon Martin (16.7-8.3-2.4) may be asking to be paid like one of the best, but as of right now is not quite there. If K-Mart continues his yearly improvement then yes he will be one of the elite power forwards in the game. Last years (2002) rookie of the year Pau Gasol (19.0-8.8-2.8) continues to put up good numbers in relative obscurity. Despite the ROY award Gasol plays in Memphis and is not all to flashy which will get you overlooked in this league.
Rasheed Wallace (18.1-7.4-2.1) has had a long list of problems in Portland, from his technical foul frequency to his drug related problems. Few though can deny he is one of the more talented players at this position and if he would just focus more on his game many believe he could be one of the best. Wallace is a fierce rebounder, good defender, and a pretty good 3-point shooter (35%). Not to mention one of the better high flying big men in the game.
One of the new high profile Lakers Karl Malone (20.6-7.8-4.7), has had one of the better careers in NBA history. The one thing missing from Malones’ resume of MVP awards, scoring titles, and All-Star appearances is the one thing he thinks he can get in LA….a ring. This Knick may lack size but Kurt Thomas(14.0-7.9-2.0) is one of the most tenacious and hardest working players under the boards. Having to play center allot of the time this undersized forward, held his own last year, and hopefully with a healthy Antonio McDyess, Thomas can get some help underneath. Brian Grant (10.3-10.2-1.3) also played center a bit for the Heat. The dreadlocked Grant continues his prowess as one of the best rebounders in the league, and shot a very nice 50% from the field.
Brazilian born Nene Hilario (10.5-6.1-1.9) came on strong at the end of last season, proving to the Nuggets he’s part of their future. Hilario also showed a knack for stealing the ball (1.6 SPG) which is not often a trait found in bigger forwards. Eddy Curry (10.5-4.4-0.5) led the NBA in field goal percentage (58%) in his second year in the league. After a unimpressive rookie year, Curry came on last season with teammate Tyson Chandler to give Bulls fans hope in their future. Curry though for his size and strength has to be able to get more then 4 rebounds per game. Playing in Seattle and being a foreign player not many people have heard of or paid much attention to, Vladimir Radmanovic (10.1-4.5-1.4). But listen up because Radmanovic with some increased playing time, and more natural NBA development could become one of the next complete game big forwards. After improving all his numbers from his rookie season, Radmanovic has also proven to be a solid free throw (70%) and 3-point shooter (35%) for a guy his size.