NBA / Nov 12, 2010 / 11:00 am

The NBA’s Top 10 Power Forwards

Chris Bosh (photo. David Alvarez)

Chris Bosh (photo. David Alvarez)

It was just one sequence of bricks and boards, but it adequately summed up Thursday night for the Miami Heat and the third part of their “Big Three.” As the Celtics played volleyball off the backboard with each other while going for a loose rebound, TNT’s Reggie Miller asked: “Where is Chris Bosh? Where is Chris Bosh in all this?”

For the second time, Bosh came up short against the one team for which these Heat absolutely need him to be tall. His 15 points (6-10 FG) and seven rebounds weren’t bad on paper, and in fact exceeded his season averages so far (14.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg). Bosh was better last night than he was on Opening Night against Boston, when he had eight points and eight boards on 3-for-11 shooting. But in terms of making an impact, Bosh was mostly silent. His most notable moment Thursday came in the first half, when he stood flat-footed and posed for YouTube while Rajon Rondo dunked on him.

Nine games into the season, when it’s become clear one of Miami’s biggest weaknesses is toughness and production in the paint, Bosh isn’t playing up to the All-Star standard he set in Toronto. He’s been conspicuous in his struggles against the Celtics, as well as in the Heat’s other two losses — Bosh totaled one rebound in the loss to New Orleans, and got dominated by Utah’s Paul Millsap to the tune of 46 points. It’s no surprise that Bosh’s stats have dipped in Miami, but the hype of the summer promised he would be better than this.

How has this stretch affected his standing in the hierarchy of the NBA’s top power forwards? With newcomers like Blake Griffin and J.J. Hickson rising in the ranks, and vets like Millsap and David Lee thriving in new roles with their teams, Bosh’s spot isn’t safe. My Top 10 power forwards in the League today:

1. DIRK NOWITZKI, Mavericks — Not the traditional four, but still the best in the game. Dirk (23.7 ppg, 8.9 rpg) destroyed KG down the stretch in Dallas’ win over Boston, and dumped 35 points on Denver in a win. Age (32) is nothing but a number; more like a nightly scoring goal for Nowitzki.

2. PAU GASOL, Lakers — During Lakers/Nuggets last night, Mike Fratello asked no one in particular if Gasol is the greatest “foreign player” of all-time. Steve Kerr quickly said “Yes,” before he remembered Hakeem Olajuwon was decent back in the back. But Gasol is up there. He’s playing center until Andrew Bynum gets back, but I’ve always seen him as a natural power forward.

3. AMAR’E STOUDEMIRE, Knicks — He’s playing center this week until Mike D’Antoni finds somebody who can play the five, but is penciled in as NY’s power forward. His field-goal shooting (45.7%) is a full 10 points down from last season, but Amar’e (21.1 ppg, 8.0 rpg) is showing more parts to his game that people didn’t give him credit for when he played with Steve Nash, like a three-point shot, ball-handling ability, and touch around the basket.

4. TIM DUNCAN, Spurs — Still the G.O.A.T. at the four, but his dominance is being doled out in shorter spurts now, like when he dusted off a vintage 25-point, 17-board, 11-for-13 performance to beat the Suns. Averaging 15.5 points, 10.0 rebounds and 2.1 blocks for the 6-1 Spurs.

5. KEVIN GARNETT, Celtics — Going into the season, everybody around Boston swore KG was in the best shape of his life and fully recovered from the knee problems. He’s lived up to those claims (15.1 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 1.7 spg) while being his same antagonistic self and QB’ing the C’s defense.

6. CHRIS BOSH, Heat — It’s not like he became less talented over the summer. The patient observer says “And Bosh” is still looking for his niche in a brand-new situation. Outside of All-Star/Olympic situations, I’m presuming he’s never been the third-best player on his team in his life. The short-sighted say he’s being exposed as not very good.

7. ZACH RANDOLPH, Grizzlies — You know it was tough for me to leave him out of the Top 5. I’ll blame it on his early-season tailbone injury. Z-Bo (16.4 ppg, 11.2 rpg) will climb back to his usual 20-and-10 when he gets healthy, and already has one 20-and-20 game under his belt this season.

8. LUIS SCOLA, Rockets — Between his FIBA World Championship run with Argentina and the early stages of this season, you could argue no PF is playing better than Scola (22.7 ppg, 11.4 rpg) right now.

9. CARLOS BOOZER, Bulls — Floors … don’t hit back. Has yet to make his debut for the Bulls, but Booz will make Derrick Rose’s life easier the moment he steps on the floor.

10. JOSH SMITH, Hawks — In a perfect world, Smith would play small forward and challenge LeBron as the most athletic/explosive three in the world. But the Hawks and/or Smith insist on making him a four, where he’s still pretty good. Assuming voters don’t want to look lazy by handing Dwight Howard another Defensive Player of the Year award, Smith is the current front-runner, averaging 3.2 blocks, 1.2 steals and 9.4 rebounds to go with 13.7 points per game.

Honorable mentionDavid West, LaMarcus Aldridge, David Lee, Lamar Odom, Elton Brand, Blake Griffin

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  • CTP

    I would take Bosh behind everyone except Josh Smith on this list.

  • LMNOP

    you could argue that based simply on how well they are playing right now, Scola should be at no.3

  • Taylor

    Dirk Nowitzki is without a shadow of a doubt the best foreign player to ever enter the NBA. He’s doubled and literally triple teamed on a NIGHTLY basis with no robin by his side, and yet he’s had 10+ 50 win seasons, 3 60 win seasons, a Finals appearance, and multiple deep playoff runs ALL on his shoulders. Pau now has Kobe Bryant by his side to open up the court and didn’t accomplish anything as a #1 option in Memphis. Dirk lead his team to a FINALS appearance as a #1 while Pau was struggling to lead Memphis to a playoff berth.

    Lets not forget about Dirk’s MVP trophy, his 10 all-star appearances, and his 10+ All NBA selections (4 time first team). It’s not even a debate really… Don’t know how Kerr forgot this.

  • Taylor

    last night on TNT

  • DarkHorse

    Taylor, did you just Dream that Hakeem never existed? The Dream won an MVP, an NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Finals MVP, but most importantly, brought home two chips. Top ten in NBA history in blocks, scoring, rebounding and steals. Destroyed Hall of Fame level comp at his position. His hit list at center were all franchise players: a young Shaq, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson. Remember the way he just ripped David Robinson’s heart out during the playoffs the same season Robinson won the MVP? Dude even has a move named after him. Dirk owes half his paycheck to Hakeem for innovating the Dream Shake, because Dirk uses it every game!

  • yoda

    scola is better than bosh. maybe not be flashier, but he has all traits of good pf. he fights, he bangs, he rebounds… but he’s not american so he’s only no.8 on that list.

  • Notorious

    @Taylor, that is just crazy talk and a severe injustice to the Dream. Hakeem is still the very best foreign born player and it is not even close. No way in hell a ringless Dirk is better than the 2-time champion Hakeem. Dirk is a very talented player and its not a knock against him or his game, but he aint on and never will be on Dream’s level. It is that other side of the game that Hakeem dominated, the defensive end where Dirk will never be known as a great defender.

    In the immortal words of OchoCinco… Child please!

  • Notorious

    Give me Duncan and Garnett over Amare every day of the week and twice on Sundays. I want guys who play with heart and have a burning desire to WIN. Not a big fan of guys who play for “stats” and lack the desire to defend.

  • shuttles

    I like Dirk but I’d put Gasol number 1 if we are calling him a 4. Dirk is a better scorer but Pau is better in every other facet of the game. I think he’s the best big man in the game.

  • Hucklebuck

    I agree with Darkhorse, Hakeem is indeed the top foreign player ever in the NBA.
    I’m a big Dirk fan, but better than Hakeem? In the words of Ed Lover-COME ON SON!

    and WHYYY is Bosh ahead of Randolph and Scola? WHYYYY is Boozer even on this list right now?

    this list should is not on POTENTIAL, this list should be top forwards at this moment. Randolph and Scola, even though their numbers my fluctuate, they SHOULD BE AHEAD OF BOSH(a small forward who doesn’t rebound or play defense) and Boozer (who is not even playing).

    And WHYYY isn’t Odom on this list! why is he on the Honorable Mention! This list is saying BOOZER is better than ODOM? COME ON SON!

  • Dangertronix

    Jazz homerism aside; how are you going to put Scola above Paul Millsap. Or Bosh Spice? Or Booz?

    Exhibit A has won 1 game all season. Exhibit B just got destroyed by Millsap this week to the tune of 46 and hasn’t done shit all season. And exhibit C hasn’t played a game all season and will be lucky to get 50 in this year if he’s lucky. Really? Not even an honorable mention for a dude putting up 23 and 10 so far?

  • b

    @ #3 you can’t be serious.

    dream is top 10 in points, rebounds, steals, and blocks all time in the nba. only player to win defensive player of the yr, league mvp, and finals mvp in the same season.

    what did dirk do in the playoffs the year he won mvp? what did dream do?

    i’d still take dirk over pau. even though i think pau works better with kobe than dirk ever could.

  • JBaller

    I’m with 9…

    Dirk is one of the top 2 or 3 foreign players ever to play in th NBA, but Pau is a 4 who plays at the highest level both ways. Dirk plays more like a wing, and can’t guard other bigs. He’s more like a 7′ swingman with unstoppable offense and minimal D.

  • http://www.mmajunkie.com rangerjohn

    ok so david robinson got punked by hakeem in a playoff series. houston rockets fans are living by that on a damn near daily basis. what they fail to see is that david robinson lead spurs teams (before tim duncan) held a 30-12 mark against the hakeem lead houston rockets.

    david and hakeem had/have nearly identical career stat lines even though hakeem played longer. (18 seasons vs 14) if you take away the last 3 seasons of hakeems career where he was very limited then he averaged 37.5 minutes to robinsons 34.7.

    so considering DR and HO had very similar career numbers, taking into acount the additional minutes and the fact that DRs spurs where clearly dominant over the long haul (30-12) you have to say DR was better head to head.

    but hey rockets fans will always have that video of that single playoff series to hold onto.

  • Hucklebuck

    and WHYYYY is Bosh’s picture on this article?

  • b

    rangerjohn,

    and you will always have admiral’s bs scoring title

  • Hydro

    Bosh stock has gotta be dropping fast

    Hes not a banger at all and the heat really have a weak inside presence…Hes a finesse, face up player. Not extremely physical like the heat need.

  • derik

    i remember a month ago Dime is comparing Amare with Bosh, i said Amare is way better, some disagree, now, i wonder where did those Bosh supporters go?

  • Nyeme

    Superstar bigs that don’t average 20 & 10 is disrespectful and sheer laziness.

    1. Pau – and I hate him
    2. Dirk – you kinda have to rank him high because of the scoring but he can still be pushed off the block by Gs
    3. Scola – Been baalin out of his midn
    4. Duncan
    5. Millsap
    6. KG
    7. David Lee

    8.
    9.
    10.

    The rest don’t even need to be mentioned. Amare is stinking it up, Bish is invisible and Zach needs a couple of more games to get healthy

  • JAY

    @rangerjohn
    I don’t care what the numbers indicate. When they played against eachother Hakeem outplayed the Admiral. Even when Mr. Robinson was named the MVP of the league, Hakeem came out and thoroughly dominated THE MVP OF THE LEAGUE. The numbers, in your opinion, may show they are equal. If you watched them matched-up against eachother, Hakeem was the better player. Greatest Center to ever play.

  • control

    Wow, these lists are usually pretty decent, but this one just stank. Zach Randolph is a mancrush pick…but Bosh is playing like the 15-18th best PF “today” as the article states. Scola is beasting shit, he might even be 3. Boozer has the weakest ability to play through injuries in the NBA, so he ain’t even going to be playing anytime soon…yet he’s 9th? The guy ain’t even 9th once he gets back to full health.

    People bang on Nash’s defense when it comes to being a top 3 point guard in the league, yet Amare gets a free pass to be top 3 power forward on this list…? Amare’s defense is made worse just by the fact that he could actually be a BEAST on defense if he weren’t so lazy.

    Lamar and Brand have been playing out their god damn minds…yet they ain’t listed higher than a guy who hasn’t even play?

    This list needs to be rethought with some consistent metrics being used.

  • jay

    i am not here to bas on bosh but he is a good complimentry player. when the 3 got together i thought it was kinda a joke..big 3..more like big 2 plus 1. he is a glamorized version of john salley. i would take aldridge over him period!

  • Now

    Pau is slowly creeping up into the overrated territory. 3 years ago, he was putting up numbers quietly in memphis, while struggling to carry his team to the playoffs, and he was underrated. Now, all of the sudden he wins two championships as a 2nd option to Kobe and all of the sudden is a top 2 international player of all time.

    Get outta here. Thats just disrespectful to Hakeem, and Dirk. We live in a what have you done for me these past few days society now, and we tend to hop on things way quicker than we should. If we are using the same critera for Pau, its only right you put Tony Parker ahead of him who has 3 championships, and 1 finals MVP, along with multiple all star games and alot of playoff success.

    And some would even argue Tim Duncan is an international player since he didn’t really hone is game on American soil. Pau’s career isnt even done yet so lets not rush to judgment.

  • http://getyourishbusted.net Chicagorilla

    Apprently Dirk is the greatest thing since the Blowjob.

    Wasn’t
    Patrick Ewing
    Hakeem
    Duncan
    Kobe
    Yao
    all born or lived an extended time overseas. Or are we only counting the white players from overseas.
    and what about Manu? Since it’s all about the chips on this board (the reason why Duncan is ahead of KG, Barkley, Malone even though they are more talented and better numbers wise) Manu has about 2-3 himself right? What about Tony Parker, he’s a finals MVP and has a couple rings. Steve Nash is a two time MVP and has more Double double seasons than dirk ever will/has.

  • Mtx

    Paul Millsap ain’t even on the honorable mention list?

  • Bob sealy

    LMAO Dime !

    Dirk and Amare better than Duncan?

    Are you freaking kidding me?

    Amare can’t defend to save his life, and Dirk is a major choker

    DIME = ZERO basketball knowleedge

  • http://www.mmajunkie.com rangerjohn

    ok so here are the robinson vs hakeem head to head stats . they are from 1989-90 through 1997-98 (before tim duncan took over the spurs)
    hakeem 24ppg, 11.80 rb, 3.25 as, 3.58 bl, 2.89 to, 4.2 fouls
    robinson 22ppg, 11.82 rb, 3.24 as, 3.63 bl, 3.63 to, 3.42 fouls.

    looks pretty even to me, and again the spurs where actually 22-16 in that time period over the rockets. im going with the winners as the H2H numbers are nearly identical.

  • Chris

    PAUL MILLSAP!!!!!!!
    He has been the best PF in the league so far… Not even honorable mention? Austin Burton either royally screwed up and forgot him or has zero credibility. I’m leaning towards the latter.

  • http://getyourishbusted.net Chicagorilla

    @Rangerjohn

    I agree that DRob is closer than many people think to Hakeem, but the thing is Hakeem had more talent. DROb was more of a faceup center with power forward athleticism and skills in a 7-1 250lb frame. Hakeem (while possessing a nice faceup game) was a dominant back to the basket scorer and demostrated more talent as a center than DRob. I would take Hakeem over Robinson, but I wouldn’t mind getting DRob 2nd either. Oh and that playoff series mattered a lot more because DROB was in the Prime of his career and MVP that year, while Hakeem was being overlooked after just winning MVP. So it was a matter of who would step up and win, and Hakeem did that. the season series matter but they don’t matter.

  • Yucca Man

    Perhaps the stupidest list of the year.

    No Millsap? Seriously? 24 & 10, 62% shooting, winning team — and he’s not even on the list?

    Here’s the true top-5:

    Pau
    Nowitzki
    Duncan
    Millsap
    Garnett

    Bosh and Amare are total frauds. Always have been. Always will be.

    Seriously, does any publication worship stat-mongers the way DIME does?

  • http://getyourishbusted.net Chicagorilla

    Oh yeah and I’m not sure what the basis of the list is, if we are talking about past stats and accomplishments or are we talking about the 8-10 games so far this year?

    If we talking past then the list is ok. If we talking current year, then the list is severly flawed.

    No way in hell Millsap isn’t top 5, considering his team wins, stats, and big game.

  • Dave

    Paul Milsap just made Bosh look stupid and should be at least 5 on your list. Boozer is a joke, he’ll be a cancer on the bulls just like he’s been the past 5 years with the Jazz if he ever plays.
    Part of your criteria should be how they play in crunchtime……….and Milsap is as good as anyone when there is pressure.

  • brado

    No mention of Paul Milsap? WTF!

  • Krespino

    Bosh’s stats from previous years are deceiving, they were made in a small team where he was able to play very selfishly to inflate his stats. Per his real capacity that is displayed this year he would not make the top ten list.

  • TheBestPG

    First and farmost,

    Milsap >is greater than> Boozer.

    Only guy besides Pau in the top ten in rebounding and scoring, doesn’t even get honorable mention?

    WOW.

  • MAX

    Millsap!!!!!!

  • the cynic

    anyone that doesn’t think Gasol is the best 4-man in the league doesn’t understand basketball

  • sh!tfaced

    gotta go with control here, he got the shit right. just add a little milsap and kick bosh out and its a good “today” list

  • MadSammyboy

    Right now, any ‘Top 10′ list that includes Chris Bosh is a joke of a list… unless, of course, the list is ‘Top 10 most un-tradable player’ or ‘Biggest wastes of $116,000,000′ or something.

  • MadSammyboy

    Right now, any ‘Top 10′ list that includes Chris Bosh is a joke of a list… unless, of course, the list is ‘Top 10 most un-tradable players’ or ‘Biggest wastes of $116,000,000′ or something.

  • MadSammyboy

    Sorry for the double post… stupid internet.

  • bookkwormmaster

    Dirk Nowitzki and Pau Gasol are interchangeable at 1 and 2 right now. They both goin hard for they squads.

    Luis Scola SHOULD be #3. He shouldn’t be penalized because of Houston’s poor start.

    KG and TD are interchangeable at 4 and 5. They’re not the focal points they once were but are still making MAJOR contributions.

    Carlos Boozer shouldn’t even be on this list as he has yet to play this season.

    Josh Smith plays the 4 but he is DEF NOT a 4 so he shouldn’t be on the list either (although he does get my vote for DPOY)

    Chris Bosh should be ashamed of himself the way he has played. Boot his ass off the list

    Lamar Odom should be at LEAST 6. He’s played very well.

    Amare has been up and down but he’s still played solid overall. Stick him at 7.

    Paul Millsap, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Elton Brand round out the rest of the list in no particular order.

    Honorable Mention goes to David West, Z-Bo, David Lee, J.J. Hickson, and Blake Griffin

  • Stunnaboy2K11

    If this is all time, why isn’t Duncan number 1?

    right now bosh has no business being in any top 10, Hickson is out playing his ass. Speaking of which, where are Blatche, Milsap Hickson, Lee, Odom, Griffin and Aldridge? DIME please.

    Right now Dirk vs Pau is debatable. I personally would go with Dirk due to him being a badass clutch mofo but that’s another story. Over their careers, NO QUESTION its the Diggler. A team built around Dirk could make a run at the playoffs while Pau has shown not so much.

    @Hakeem vs DRob

    Regular season don’t mean shit. Hakeem was routinely doubled and tripled team and took a bunch of scrubs to an NBA championship. No one else can say they were the only All-Star to win a ‘chip but he was. Robinson needed Duncan to get him over the hump, Hakeem climbed ht mountain by himself. Look at their playoff stats, D-Rob always regressed while Hakeem always shined.

    Did someone argue Manu over Dirk? Child please.

    Overall Foreign Players:
    Hakeem
    Dirk
    Gasol
    Manu
    Yao

  • Cearism

    Seems like everybody forgot Tim Duncan is also a foreign player. Dirk’s accomplishments is nothing compared to Timmy’s.

  • hooper5013

    Hakeem
    Dirk
    Pau
    Nash

    Dirk is way better than Pau…he can carry the shit out of a team. Pau I don’t believe can be the guy all the time. Physical athletic none of that bothers dirk on the offensive end he is a MONSTER…

    If this list is based on this season eliminate zbo josh (he’s a 3 i dont care what yall say) bosh (although he hasn’t been as bad as everyone is making him out to be, he is just getting acquainted with this team of selfish perimeter players who haven’t learned how to use him) and lose boozer. Throw in Aldridge, Milsap, Blake, and LO

  • Dayinho

    Pau can’t score more than 15 pts/game if teams defend on him like they did against Dirk.

  • bookkwormmaster

    I have a question. Why is EVERYONE shitting on Pau Gasol like he hasn’t always been this talented? Yea playing in L.A. and alongside Kobe has made him even better and gave the world more attention to who he is and what he can can do but he played in Memphis. Does anyone remember the teams he played for? He played with guys like Stromile Swift, Bonzi Wells, Shane Battier, a younger Jason Williams…all talented ROLE PLAYERS! His best teammate was his coach Hubie Brown who maximized the hell out of the players I just mentioned (especially White Chocolate). He NEVER played with another all-star talent next to him and yet they still made the playoffs (although they were swept both times) in a conference that has ALWAYS been loaded

  • Taylor

    I’ll be as narrow minded as others have been here.

    If you think Pau Gasol is a better basketball player than Dirk Nowitzki, you have a poor understanding of the game. Pau’s user rating is not off the charts, Pau is not double and literally triple teamed on a NIGHTLY basis next to Kobe, Pau does not have the responsibility of actually CARRYING a team. Being a #1 option with almost double the user % that teams game plan for is different than a second banana to Kobe Bryant. There’s a HUGE difference.

    Around the same age and point in their careers, they were BOTH #1 options. Dirk lead his team to a finals appearance, Gasol lead his team to a first round sweep. Dirk dominates a basketball game by requiring the entire defenses attention, that’s why he’s an MVP.

  • DVS

    What??? No Charlie V?? hahahaha

  • Kyle

    David Lee and Millsap belong on this list over Randolph, Bosh and Boozer(he’s freaking been hurt all year.)

    Dirk is easily the best power forward in the game, because unlike Pau, he doesn’t play beside Kobe, Odom, Artest, etc… Pau was weak(and far softer than Dirk has been called)when he was a Grizzly, and got destroyed every time playing Dirk. After Minnesota’s game tonight, something tells me Kevin Love will be on this list soon. 31 and 31? That’s just videogame retarded. Beasley has been better than Bosh this season. The mere fact that they have Brand on honorable mention is odd. He’s horrible.

    Amar’e is the third best? He goes to New York, they are just as bad. Lee goes to Golden State(and now they’re winning.) Last year, I’d have picked him over Pau, but the Nash effect is killing him(unlike Dirk who got better) And anyone who thinks Pau is better than Dirk, really has no knowledge of basketball. Duncan should be number 2, his numbers may be in decline, but he gets it done still. Duncan still demands a double team unlike Gasol.

    Bosh, Randolph, and Boozer aren’t those guys. In Utah, you worried about Deron Williams. When he plays finally in Chicago, teams will worry about Rose. Fact.

    Good call about Luis Scola… he has to watch Martin and Brooks jack up 3′s when he should be the go-to guy now.

  • johnsacrimoni

    In Taylor’s defense (post #2), some don’t consider Hakeem (or Tim D) “Foreign players” since they not only played college ball in the states, but also played for Team USA.

  • dawut

    Austin Burton, if the purpose of this list was to make readers go LMAO, then you did a good job

  • Shaun

    I’m a spurs guy all the way, so Hakeem was a better player on the block than the admiral was.