After ranking the point guards, shooting guards and small forwards, we’re now on to the power forwards.

Following a rather controversial ranking of the shooting guards, there was a lot less debate about the rankings of the small forwards.

I had a conversation with some friends a while back, bemoaning the lack of quality, two-way power forwards in the NBA. In fact, I challenged them to name one very good two-way center under the age of 30 (they had to be very good on both ends of the court). They couldn’t. The power forward position seems to have been separated into those who score, but don’t defend much, and those who defend, but don’t score much.

Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and even Pau Gasol seem to be the last of a dying breed of power forwards who are game changers on both ends of the floor.

Now, Al Horford probably would have fit that description if he played his natural position of power forward, but he’s been the Hawks starting center since he was drafted, so he wasn’t included in either that argument or my rankings.

The two young power forwards of the future, Blake Griffin and Kevin Love, both leave defense to their teammates, which is probably okay because when they do play it they aren’t very good.

For the rankings, I included some players who have played center last season, but have been considered power forwards for most of their careers, like Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire and Kevin Garnett.

I have included Kevin Love’s stats from 2012 (other than his individual defensive stats, which I don’t have access to) since he only played 18 games last season.

Player
PER
Rank
WS
Rank
WS48
Rank
WP48
Rank
WP
Rank
Kevin Love*
25.4
1
10.0
2
0.223
1
0.226
3
10.1
4
Tim Duncan
24.4
2
8.3
7
0.191
3
0.230
1
10.0
5
Blake Griffin
22.4
3
10.6
1
0.196
2
0.178
8
9.7
6
Amare Stoudemire
22.1
4
2.7
30
0.191
3
0.108
19
1.5
29
Anthony Davis
21.7
5
6.1
17
0.167
8
0.174
9
6.7
15
LaMarcus Aldridge
20.4
6
7.2
13
0.124
21
0.081
24
4.7
19
David West
20.1
7
9.1
4
0.179
6
0.154
15
7.8
12
Chris Bosh
20.0
8
9.0
6
0.175
7
0.104
21
5.3
18
Dirk Nowitzki
19.8
9
5.0
22
0.145
16
0.108
19
3.7
22
Paul Millsap
19.8
9
7.6
9
0.154
13
0.150
16
7.4
13
Serge Ibaka
19.4
11
9.4
3
0.181
5
0.222
4
11.5
1
Kevin Garnett
19.2
12
5.6
19
0.133
19
0.090
22
3.8
20
David Lee
19.2
12
9.1
4
0.150
15
0.156
13
9.4
7
Kenneth Faried
18.5
14
7.8
9
0.167
8
0.228
2
10.7
2
Ersan Ilyasova
18.3
15
6.7
14
0.159
10
0.216
6
9.1
8
Thaddeus Young
18.2
16
7.4
11
0.136
18
0.149
17
8.1
11
Ryan Anderson
18.1
17
6.5
15
0.125
20
0.065
28
3.4
24
Zach Randolph
17.9
18
7.9
8
0.145
16
0.161
11
8.8
9
Ed Davis
17.8
19
5.4
20
0.159
10
0.217
5
7.3
14
Josh Smith
17.7
20
4.2
25
0.075
29
0.053
29
2.9
26
Carl Landry
17.6
21
6.2
16
0.159
10
0.162
10
6.3
16
Derrick Favors
17.5
22
4.4
23
0.117
22
0.155
14
5.8
17
Amir Johnson
17.3
23
7.3
12
0.151
14
0.216
6
10.5
3
Carlos Boozer
17.1
24
5.7
18
0.108
24
0.067
26
3.6
23
Pau Gasol
16.7
25
3.7
26
0.107
25
0.111
18
3.8
20
Luis Scola
16.7
25
4.4
23
0.096
28
0.007
30
0.3
30
Tristan Thompson
16.1
27
5.2
21
0.098
27
0.159
12
8.5
10
Elton Brand
15.2
28
3.4
28
0.107
25
0.084
23
2.7
27
Jason Thompson
14.6
29
3.6
27
0.075
29
0.067
26
3.2
25
Taj Gibson
14.4
30
3.3
29
0.109
23
0.072
25
2.2
28

For the most part, there probably aren’t a whole lost of surprises here, but there might be a few.

Kenneth Faried does well in WS, but is absolutely LOVED by WP, in large part because it favours defensive rebounding so much. To me this is an example of the flaws of this system, as WP considers Faried an elite player. In fact, he has the 6th highest WP in the entire league. I like Faried. But he’s not that good.

Pau Gasol had a horrible year, last season, and while it’s likely won’t be as bad this season, there’s a good chance last year wasn’t a blip but rather an indication of a dropoff in play.

Raptor fans might look longingly at Ed Davis’ numbers, since, per 48 minutes, he did well in both WS and WP, as did Amir Johnson.

Player
TS%
Rank
TRB%
Rank
OR%
Rank
DRR%
Rank
Stl Rate
Rank
Blk Rate
Rank
Amare Stoudemire
63.7
1
12.4
27
10
11
15.1
30
0.8
28
2.7
12
Serge Ibaka
61.2
2
14.2
15
11.1
7
17
28
0.6
30
7.4
1
Carl Landry
60.5
3
14.2
15
10.9
8
17.3
26
0.9
26
1.3
24
Chris Bosh
59.2
4
12.6
26
7
26
17.6
24
1.4
14
3.4
10
Amir Johnson
58.7
5
15.6
12
11.4
6
20
20
1.8
7
3.8
9
Kenneth Faried
57.3
6
18.3
4
13.2
2
23.2
9
1.8
7
2.9
11
Blake Griffin
57.2
7
15.2
14
8.7
15
21.5
12
2
4
1.6
22
Kevin Love*
56.8
8
19.0
3
11.6
5
26.4
3
1.1
23
0.9
28
Dirk Nowitzki
56.5
9
12.2
30
2.5
30
21.5
12
1.2
17
1.7
20
David Lee
56.1
10
16.8
8
8.5
17
24.5
6
1.2
17
0.6
30
Ed Davis
56.1
10
16.7
10
10.9
8
22.8
10
1.2
17
4.2
7
Anthony Davis
55.6
12
16.8
8
10.5
10
23.5
8
2.2
3
5.1
4
Tim Duncan
55.5
13
19.3
2
7.3
24
29.6
1
1.2
17
6.4
2
Ersan Ilyasova
55.2
14
13.9
19
7.9
20
20.3
18
1.7
10
1.3
24
Ryan Anderson
55.1
15
12.4
27
8.9
14
15.9
29
0.9
26
1
27
Paul Millsap
54.9
16
13.6
21
8.6
16
18.8
22
2.3
2
2.7
12
David West
54.4
17
13.0
25
6.8
27
18.8
22
1.6
12
2.1
18
Thaddeus Young
53.9
18
12.3
29
7.6
22
17.2
27
2.7
1
1.6
21
Kevin Garnett
53.5
19
15.5
13
4.5
29
25.8
4
2
4
2.4
16
Jason Thompson
53.3
20
13.6
21
8.4
18
19.5
21
1.1
23
2.1
18
Derrick Favors
53.2
21
17.8
5
11.9
4
24
7
2
4
5.7
3
LaMarcus Aldridge
52.7
22
13.9
19
7.2
25
20.9
16
1.2
17
2.5
15
Taj Gibson
51.8
23
13.6
21
9.7
12
17.5
25
1
25
4.7
5
Luis Scola
51.6
24
14.1
17
8.1
19
20.4
17
1.6
12
1.2
26
Carlos Boozer
51.2
25
17.4
6
7.8
21
27.2
2
1.4
14
0.8
29
Tristan Thompson
51.2
25
17.3
7
13.2
2
22.1
11
1.2
17
2.2
17
Pau Gasol
51.0
27
14.0
18
7.6
22
20.1
19
0.7
29
2.7
12
Zach Randolph
50.7
28
19.5
1
13.8
1
25.1
5
1.3
16
1
27
Josh Smith
50.1
29
13.6
21
5.8
28
21.3
15
1.8
7
3.9
8
Elton Brand
49.9
30
15.7
10
9.7
12
21.5
12
1.7
10
4.6
6

What’s important to note here is that no one in the top 6 were either the first or second option on the team, and in many cases not even the third or fourth one. It’s easier to shoot a higher percentage when you the defenses aren’t keyed on you. Of course, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love and Dirk Nowitzki took more shots than anyone else on their team, and they all finished in the top 10 in True Shooting Percentage, thanks to a lot of foul shots and close shots for Griffin and a combination of  a lot of three point shots and foul shots for Love and Nowitzki.

Clearly, you can shoot efficiently while still being your team’s main scorer, something players like Josh Smith and Zach Randolph should take note of.

While Stoudemire was an efficient scorer, off the bench last season, he was awful in the other above categories.

Like Stoudemire, some of the older power forwards, like Chris Bosh, Pau Gasol and Nowitzki struggled on the boards, probably caused by a lack of mobility that seems to happen when you get older (something I can attest to). Rebounds they would have gotten five years ago are out of range today.

While Amir is an efficient scorer, and good on the offensive boards, he is only average overall, partially because he is a below average defensive rebounder at his position.

Player
PPP
Rank
Post up
Rank
P&R
Rank
Spot up
Rank
DRating
Rank
DWS
Rank
 xRAPM
Rank
Zach Randolph
0.75
1
0.76
8
0.83
13
0.83
6
99
2
4.7
2
1.0
23
Kevin Garnett
0.76
2
0.64
1
0.81
10
0.88
10
99
2
3.8
8
5.9
2
Taj Gibson
0.76
2
0.75
5
0.96
23
0.84
7
101
6
2.3
19
2.6
8
Dirk Nowitzki
0.8
4
0.73
4
0.8
7
0.79
2
106
22
1.8
26
1.3
17
David Lee
0.81
5
0.84
15
0.6
1
0.82
4
104
16
3.7
9
1.1
19
Josh Smith
0.81
5
0.71
2
0.92
20
0.93
15
101
6
4.5
4
3.3
6
David West
0.81
5
0.89
21
0.97
24
0.81
3
99
2
4.7
2
2.3
10
Pau Gasol
0.82
8
0.75
5
0.87
15
0.88
10
106
22
1.7
27
1.6
14
Chris Bosh
0.82
8
0.81
13
0.72
4
0.85
8
103
14
3.4
11
2.0
12
Blake Griffin
0.83
10
0.88
20
0.61
2
0.95
18
102
10
3.9
7
1.4
16
Carlos Boozer
0.84
11
0.9
24
0.95
21
0.72
1
100
5
4.3
5
1.1
19
Tristan Thompson
0.84
11
0.79
9
0.91
18
1.01
24
108
27
2.0
23
1.0
23
Derrick Favors
0.86
13
0.92
26
0.81
10
0.87
9
101
6
2.9
13
3.1
7
LaMarcus Aldridge
0.86
13
0.71
2
0.98
25
0.91
14
107
25
2.3
29
2.1
11
Thaddeus Young
0.86
13
0.89
21
0.68
3
0.94
16
103
14
3.7
9
1.7
13
Elton Brand
0.87
16
0.8
11
0.88
16
0.96
21
102
10
2.2
22
2.6
8
Paul Millsap
0.87
16
0.8
11
0.8
7
1.01
24
104
16
2.9
13
3.4
5
Tim Duncan
0.88
18
0.75
5
1.12
30
0.95
18
95
1
4.9
1
6.3
1
Amir Johnson
0.88
18
0.84
15
0.73
5
0.94
16
104
16
2.9
13
3.6
3
Luis Scola
0.88
18
0.83
14
1.04
28
0.82
4
107
25
1.9
24
0.7
25
Jason Thompson
0.88
18
0.79
9
0.98
25
0.9
13
111
29
0.9
28
0.6
26
Serge Ibaka
0.89
22
0.84
15
0.91
18
1.03
26
101
6
4.1
6
3.5
4
Ryan Anderson
0.9
23
0.86
18
0.81
10
0.99
22
112
30
0.8
29
-2.9
30
Ersan Ilyasova
0.94
24
1.02
28
0.76
6
0.99
22
104
16
2.5
16
0.1
27
Kenneth Faried
0.95
25
0.89
21
0.95
21
1.15
29
102
10
3.4
11
1.1
19
Ed Davis
0.95
25
0.96
27
0.9
17
0.95
18
102
10
2.4
17
1.2
18
Anthony Davis
0.97
27
0.9
24
1
27
1.11
27
104
16
2.4
17
1.1
19
Amare Stoudemire
0.97
27
1.08
30
1.06
29
1.11
27
108
27
0.6
30
-1.3
29
Carl Landry
0.98
29
0.86
18
0.85
14
1.26
30
106
22
1.9
24
-1.2
28
Kevin Love*
1.03
30
1.03
29
0.8
7
0.88
10
104
16
2.3
29
1.5
15

As I’ve said previously, all of these defensive ratings are fairly flawed. Zach Randolph is NOT a very good defender, but because he plays beside one of the best in the league, and because Memphis is a very good defensive team, he does very well in all but the XRAPM rating.

Serge Ibaka, one of the better defenders in the league, at the power forward position, fairs poorly in the situational defensive stats, but not in the ratings.

And then there is Stoudemire, who is probably very appropriately ranked in all but the XRAPM rating.

Amir does pretty well across the board, which is probably where he should be. Amir has shown to be a good, but not great, overall defender.

Faried, despite his favourable WS and WP rankings, doesn’t not fair well in most of the defensive categories.

Player
Rank Avg
Tim Duncan
7.95
Blake Griffin
9.32
Zach Randolph
10.26
Amir Johnson
10.68
Serge Ibaka
10.74
David Lee
10.95
Kenneth Faried
11.05
Kevin Garnett
11.16
Kevin Love*
11.42
Derrick Favors
11.89
David West
12.21
Chris Bosh
12.32
Paul Millsap
12.68
Anthony Davis
13.47
Ed Davis
13.79
Thaddeus Young
14.74
Dirk Nowitzki
15.16
Josh Smith
15.53
Ersan Ilyasova
15.63
Carlos Boozer
15.68
Tristan Thompson
16.37
Elton Brand
16.58
Taj Gibson
16.63
LaMarcus Aldridge
16.63
Carl Landry
17.89
Pau Gasol
18.00
Luis Scola
20.47
Amare Stoudemire
20.68
Ryan Anderson
21.26
Jason Thompson
21.32

If you’re a Raptor fan, you have to like the ranking average for all the power forwards, which favours Amir’s overall positive finish in most categories.

On the other hand, one of the best young power forwards in the league, LaMarcus Aldridge, finishes horribly close to the bottom, maybe hinting he might be a tad overrated.

Rank
Player
1
Tim Duncan
2
Kevin Love*
3
Blake Griffin
4
LaMarcus Aldridge
5
Serge Ibaka
6
Chris Bosh
7
Kevin Garnett
8
Dirk Nowitzki
9
David West
10
David Lee
11
Paul Millsap
12
Ersan Ilyasova
13
Zach Randolph
14
Amir Johnson
15
Kenneth Faried
16
Thaddeus Young
17
Josh Smith
18
Pau Gasol
19
Anthony Davis
20
Derrick Favors
21
Carlos Boozer
22
Tristan Thompson
23
Ed Davis
24
Ryan Anderson
25
Carl Landry
26
Amare Stoudemire
27
Taj Gibson
28
Luis Scola
29
Elton Brand
30
Jason Thompson

While he can’t play 35 minutes per game, anymore, I had to put Tim Duncan at the top. There isn’t another power forward in the league who can play at both ends as well as Duncan, even at his advanced age.

While Love and Griffin are not good defensive player, they both are so productive, they almost make up for their weakness on the defensive end. I say almost because their respective teams will probably struggle with those two should they go deep into the playoffs.

Those who believe the Hawks are worse because Josh Smith is no longer with the team might want to take a closer look at Paul Millsap, who seems to be a better player than Smith.

Ersan Ilyasova played a lot of small forward last season, which probably negatively affected his stats, but he might be one of the most underrated power forwards in the league, right now. He scores efficiently from inside and out, is a very good rebounder and a decent defender. And he probably he one of the better contracts in the league, right now.

While Faried is loved by some advanced stats, the fact that he’s undersized, and thus struggles on defense, makes it difficult to rank him very high.

While Amir Johnson will never make an All Star team, Raptor fans should be very pleased to have such a good, all around power forward. I would say that position is the least of their worries, especially considering how few good two-way power forwards there are in the league.