No position better indicates the evolving nature of NBA basketball than the power forward position. It’s an interesting blend of more traditional bigs and what are essentially jumbo-sized (or even regular-sized) wings. Some power forwards dominate in the post, while others skirt around the 3-point line and defend in space.
With the offseason upon us, it’s time to rank the 30 best players at the power forward position. You can read our mid-season rankings here, but this list is different. Rather than focus only on starters, the list will encompass the 30 best players at the position regardless of rotational status. That means some teams are represented more than once.
Let’s get the ball rolling…
Top 30 NBA power forwards — 30. Royce O’Neale, Nets
The Jazz continue to flunk out of the playoffs, so change feels inevitable. Is Royce O’Neale the long-term answer next to Bojan Bogdanovic on the wing? Does Bogie even stick around? Who knows. That said, Utah has also been consistently great in the regular season, and O’Neale has been a real part of that success. He’s the most reliable perimeter defender on the team (if not big enough and versatile enough to plug every hole) and he’s a useful complementary piece on offense.
Top 30 NBA power forwards — 29. P.J. Washington, Hornets
P.J. Washington consistently fills up the stat sheet for Charlotte off the bench. He can toggle between small-ball five or wing, with enough mobility to guard wings and enough offensive punch to fit into any number of lineup configurations. He hasn’t quite had the breakout many people expected, but his two-way output is essential to Charlotte’s team — especially when you consider the dearth of quality defenders around him on that roster.
Top 30 NBA power forwards — 28. Nicolas Batum, Clippers
The 33-year-old Nicolas Batum has aged out of his borderline stardom, but he remains one of the absolute best complementary pieces in the NBA. Batum is so smart and selfless, with a skill set designed to get the most out of the players around him. Smart playmaking, reliable perimeter defense, excellent communication skills — Batum does the dirty work and has the veteran savvy to elevate his younger teammates. He also hits 40 percent of his 3s.