Best Power Forwards by Tony Mejia - CBS SportsLine

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 12:57 am
Positional Rankings: Power forwards



At power forward, three of the NBA's greatest players ever loom. That's right, ever. There's Tim Duncan, the machine-like, fundamentally perfect, silent assassin. He came into the league winning and never stopped.

There's Kevin Garnett, who changed how the position is viewed and may be the most gifted power forward in history. Lastly, there's Dirk Nowitzki, the best foreign product to date, 7 feet tall with a Larry Bird-like jumper.

Ranking them entering 2006-07 is impossible, but my job is to try. Yours, likely, is to disagree. Here's how I see the present best at this deep position, from top to bottom:

1. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas: To be fair, this is his moment, having finally vanquished the Spurs last May and leading his team to its first NBA Finals appearance. At 28, he's in his prime, likely to contend for league MVP for the next few seasons while his team competes perennially for championships. He has changed the game, dominating from the perimeter in a way no 7-footer ever has. As for his defense, he's no longer "Irk" (no D). He's also become more of a leader, though he's still in the feeling-out process with that. There's not enough on his résumé to top either Garnett or Duncan as far as careers are concerned, but he is currently enjoying the better time of it.

2. Kevin Garnett, Minnesota: I can only defend placing Garnett anywhere but first on this list with the standard "his excellence hasn't delivered a Finals" response. The Timberwolves are likely to be mediocre again this coming year, though K.G. will have more help. It's a shame his career is shaping up this way, because his legacy deserves better. Garnett has consistently excelled defensively as well as offensively throughout his career, but he has only a few years left at his peak.

3. Tim Duncan, San Antonio: Last year's playoff run showed he can still bring it at a tremendous level, but that can't altogether overshadow his injury-related slippage. Duncan nursed a nasty case of plantar fasciitis, so it's a testament to his greatness that he averaged 18.6 points and 11.0 rebounds. If I was certain his well-rested foot will be healthy all season, he'd still be at the top of this list. He has proven he's the best of the best by collecting three rings. Unfortunately, there's no way to predict a clean bill of health. Because Duncan is the type who would start thinking about walking away if he can't perform to the best of his abilities, this season will be a big one for him. Hopefully, he tips off his 30s with a resurgence.

4. Elton Brand, L.A. Clippers: He crossed over to elite status last season by elevating his team to an unprecedented level. His MVP-caliber year could be the start of a renaissance for the hapless Clippers organization, which used his sturdy 25-point, 10-rebound averages as the backbone of their improvement. I'll say it here first: If he leads the Clips to the Pacific Division title, give him the MVP.

5. Chris Bosh, Toronto: Don't be surprised if he benefits greatly from his stint on the U.S. national team. After a rocky start, he worked hard and really contributed defense and rebounding. Expect him to be more well-rounded in his fourth NBA season, now that he has grown comfortable with being the franchise player. Playing with buddy T.J. Ford, a pass-first point guard, won't hurt, either. Remember, Bosh is just 22 years old.

6. Jermaine O'Neal, Indiana: Still among the most gifted low-post scorers in the league, O'Neal has fallen victim to nagging injuries that have cut his past two seasons practically in half. If he's absent again this coming season, the Pacers are likely to miss the playoffs. The hope is that he'll grab the reins of a young, revamped Indiana squad and, together with good friend Al Harrington, steer it in the right direction.

7. Pau Gasol, Memphis: If he weren't out until after New Year's, he would have received heavy consideration to move up on this list. He earned that right, blossoming into one of the NBA's best 7-footers. But that broken foot really casts a shadow over the upcoming season, considering the uncertainty over his projected recovery period.

8. Rasheed Wallace, Detroit: Now more than ever, the Pistons will need 'Sheed to assert himself as the team's best player. There are times where he can take over a game, but because he's so unselfish, he has a tendency to disappear. That can't happen with Big Ben gone, because the remaining Wallace must now key the team's defense as well as pick it up on the boards. Offensively, he's still among the NBA's most versatile big men.

9. Antawn Jamison, Washington: He comes off his most productive season as a Wizard, but ranks this far down the list because he doesn't have the size to muscle up and defend his bigger peers. That makes his improved rebounding figures from 2005-06 (a career-high 9.3 rpg) impressive, but still lacking behind the game's truly dominant fours. Jamison is a combo forward who is great at what he does, but due to his stature, faces a ceiling.

10. Chris Webber, Philadelphia: He has two years left on his contract at a rate of more than $40 million dollars combined. That's frightening, but it's at least good to see that the 33-year-old isn't mailing it in. Last season was his best individual campaign in years, and he played in 75 or more games for the first time since 2000 and only the third time in his career. He's not who he was in his prime, back in those first few years with the Kings, but he's still a headache for defenses.

11. Zach Randolph, Portland: If he can ever lose the off-court baggage and discipline his on-court game, he'd be held in higher regard. He's undeniably talented on offense, unstoppable in the post and solid from the perimeter, with range out to about 18 feet. He has become increasingly reliant on his jumper, though, and still has issues with turnovers. Randolph doesn't give you much defensively or on the boards, and needs to commit himself to improving in those areas. He's only 25, so he can still maximize his potential. To his credit, he has been able to make a strong return from the same knee microfracture surgery that has substantially limited Kenyon Martin.

12. Emeka Okafor, Charlotte: The 2005 Rookie of the Year will look to bounce back from a sophomore season compromised by ankle injuries. He doesn't have to be the focal point of the offense, but he does have to be more assertive and competent in the post, so any progress he would've made last year in that area was lost. Defensively, he's a beast when healthy, able to control the boards and alter shots.

13. Boris Diaw, Phoenix: His play once arriving in Phoenix was a revelation. While there's no better place for him, you get the feeling he would've started asserting himself anywhere, given the opportunity. Diaw's passing is on C-Webb's level, combining his European influence with a deft feel for the game. It's going to be fun watching Diaw operate with a year of the Suns system under his belt and a healthy Amare Stoudemire alongside him.

14. Carlos Boozer, Utah: After nearly two full seasons of inactivity, Boozer showed flashes of getting back to his old self. It had been a while since we've seen the traits that once made him so promising, mainly a hard-nosed style and savvy play around the basket. He rarely takes a bad shot and is always active. This ranking might seem generous given his propensity for injury, but he has proven to be a significant asset capable of making a major impact when he's out there. The Jazz are still waiting on some return on the $68 million investment they made a few years back.

15. Troy Murphy, Golden State: He has averaged a double-double in consecutive years, but his numbers declined in 2005-06 and there wasn't as much interest in him on the market this past offseason as the Warriors would've anticipated. Murph doesn't give you much defensively and is a career 43 percent shooter, but he plays hard and can add a wrinkle offensively when he's feeling it from the perimeter.

16. Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Sacramento: After making a career of being the best player on a bad team, 'Reef finally got to the postseason last year and made the most of it, playing inspired basketball. Maybe Abdur-Rahim has been mired without a steady role for too long, but Eric Musselman will find a way to get healthy production from him. Still just 29, Shareef is more than capable of duplicating his career averages of 19 points and seven boards if he gets consistent minutes.

17. David West, New Orleans/Oklahoma City: Coming off his best season as a pro, West finally found his niche playing the pick-and-roll game with brilliant rookie Chris Paul. West is in the mold of an Abdur-Rahim or Jamison in that he's smaller, but that doesn't stop him from mixing it up. As long as his knee holds up, he should continue making steady improvement.

18. Charlie Villanueva, Milwaukee: That 48-point outburst late last season offers a tantalizing view of what could be for Villanueva if he sheds some of his inconsistency. The Bucks believed enough in his promise to part ways with T.J. Ford, so Villanueva will get every opportunity to blossom. With Michael Redd and No. 1 pick Andrew Bogut in place, Milwaukee has the makings of an explosive offense down the road.

19. Chris Wilcox, Seattle: He averaged more than 14 points and eight rebounds in his brief stint with the Sonics after coming over from the Clippers, showing enough to land a new contract. The athletic Wilcox has the physical gifts to be an explosive finisher, rebounder and shot blocker, but has to prove he can be a consistent contributor. He's not stuck behind Brand anymore, so this is his big chance.

20. Channing Frye, New York: One of the few bright spots during the Knicks' season-long nightmare was this rookie's play. He needs to be on the court gaining experience in Year 2 and should benefit from having a more clearly defined role under Isiah Thomas than he did under Larry Brown. Frye has great size, solid post moves and a nice shooting touch, so there's plenty to work with.

Others considered: P.J. Brown, Chicago, Drew Gooden, Cleveland; Anderson Varejao, Cleveland; Maurice Taylor, New York; Darko Milicic, Orlando; Al Jefferson, Boston; Udonis Haslem, Miami; Marvin Williams, Atlanta; Kenyon Martin, Denver; Joe Smith, Denver; Nene, Denver; Kenny Thomas, Sacramento; Kurt Thomas, Phoenix; Tim Thomas, L.A. Clippers; Hakim Warrick, Memphis; Juwan Howard, Houston; Vladimir Radmanovic, L.A. Lakers.













I personally would rank Tim duncan #1, Garnett #2 and Nowitzki #3 because Duncan does what he has to do to win and has very little flaws in his game. Dirk just doesn't do as much as the other two and shouldn't be considered as good, at least individually. KG I feel sorry for because his team has never done him justice
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 2:22 am
I would rank KG as #1, Duncan #2 and Dirk #3, but the distance is too close between Duncan and KG. Dirk is a distant #3, tho.

Although, if I gotta rank them as the players I like the most (no the best player), it would be something like this:

#1 Rasheed
#2 Brand
#3 Bosh


btw, Villanueva is better than several players ranked above him. And how can a cancer like Randolph be ranked as the #11 best pf of the league?
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 7:44 am
Villaneuva will get his chance to show how good he is this season as starting PF for the Bucks. Jermaine was the one that has fallen pretty far but he is better than most above him, ranked with Bosh and Brand I reckon.

Like to see Diogu get among that list and it could happen soon
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 9:34 am
migya wrote:Villaneuva will get his chance to show how good he is this season as starting PF for the Bucks. Jermaine was the one that has fallen pretty far but he is better than most above him, ranked with Bosh and Brand I reckon.


I wouldn't put Jermaine above those two. I think he's right where he should.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 3:28 pm
What are you guys TALKING about!?!......

... after next year, Mike Dunleavy Jr will be the #1 Power Forward in the league. :mrgreen:
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:20 pm
#32 wrote:What are you guys TALKING about!?!......

... after next year, Mike Dunleavy Jr will be the #1 Power Forward in the league. :mrgreen:



I'm all for "Forwarding Power" to remove his shameless arse out of the team! :mrgreen:
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2006 2:02 am
#32 wrote:What are you guys TALKING about!?!......

... after next year, Mike Dunleavy Jr will be the #1 Power Forward in the league. :mrgreen:


Yeah, and we will have a 55-27 record by the end of the season :wink:
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2006 2:03 pm
And BD will play 82 games.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2006 8:50 pm
#32 wrote:What are you guys TALKING about!?!......

... after next year, Mike Dunleavy Jr will be the #1 Power Forward in the league. :mrgreen:
Heck ya! :mrgreen: if dont believe me check out his moves...
One F'ing year and thats it. F*ck!
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 9:40 pm
#32 wrote:What are you guys TALKING about!?!......

... after next year, Mike Dunleavy Jr will be the #1 Power Forward in the league. :mrgreen:


dunleavy is a beast coming out of its cage in the 06-07 campaign.

I JUST KNOW IT! :roll:
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 9:48 pm
If Dunleavy averages 16 PPG, 7 RPG, and 5 APG, I'll be happy.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 10:21 pm
#32 wrote:If Dunleavy averages 16 PPG, 7 RPG, and 5 APG, I'll be happy.



I'll tell you right no - He will not average that this season! Perhaps never! Especially with Baron. JRich and Murphy being the top three scorers
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 10:32 pm
Nelly will make the team score more. They scored an average of 98.5 PPG last year. I don't think 105.0 team PPG is too big of a stretch. Dunleavy could hit 14-16 if the team REALLY explodes.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 11:08 pm
#32 wrote:Nelly will make the team score more. They scored an average of 98.5 PPG last year. I don't think 105.0 team PPG is too big of a stretch. Dunleavy could hit 14-16 if the team REALLY explodes.



The athletes might score a heap but i'm not so sure abour dunnyboy :mrgreen:
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 2:18 am
#32 wrote:If Dunleavy averages 16 PPG, 7 RPG, and 5 APG, I'll be happy.


I can see the 16 ppg, but not more than 5 rpg and 4 apg...
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