The greatest power forwards of all-time were as talented and skilled as anyone else on the floor. They knew how to score when their team needed it, they rebounded the ball often, they defended the paint well, and they were generally known for making a lot of the hustle plays.
Let’s be honest, the power forward position has evolved greatly over time. What used to be a position that lived in the paint is now a position that can wreak havoc anywhere on the court — including mid-range and long range. It seems they’re becoming more versatile every single year.
It’s great for the game because it opens the floor up and keeps the opposing team honest — both on the offensive and defensive end of the floor. Of course, we have the greatest power forwards of all-time to thank for revolutionizing the PF position and paving the way for future generations.
Who Are the Greatest Power Forwards of All-Time?
The greatest power forwards of all-time were each unique in their own way. Some of them were dominant scorers, some were tenacious defenders, some were powerful rebounders, and others were a combination of all three. Either way, they all went on to have great careers.
Before we get to the greatest power forwards of all-time, there are a couple of names I’d like to highlight — Serge Ibaka, Kenyon Martin, Al Jefferson, Elton Brand, Zach Randolph, Jermaine O’Neal, David West, Carlos Boozer, Draymond Green, and Blake Griffin.
Each of those players was (or is)a great power forward and could easily be considered for the list of the greatest power forwards of all-time. With that said, they didn’t quite crack our list — which is a testament to how great these players were (or are), so let’s finally meet them!
25. LaMarcus Aldridge
Years: 2006-present (16 seasons)
Teams: Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, Brooklyn Nets
Career Stats: 1,049 games, 34.0 minutes, 19.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.7 steals, 1.1 blocks per game
LaMarcus Aldridge was originally drafted second overall by the Chicago Bulls in 2006, but had his rights traded to the Portland Trail Blazers on draft day. After largely playing off the bench his rookie season, Aldridge rewarded Portland with eight of the best years of his 16-year career.
In that eight-year span, Aldridge scored more than 20 points per game in five straight seasons and averaged a double-double twice. He then played more productive basketball with the San Antonio Spurs before a trade to the Nets, where he currently plays after a very brief retirement.
24. Shawn Kemp
Years: 1989-2003 (14 seasons)
Teams: Seattle Supersonics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Portland Trail Blazers, Orlando Magic
Career Stats: 1,051 games, 27.9 minutes, 14.6 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.1 steals, 1.2 blocks per game
Shawn Kemp was drafted 17th overall by the Seattle Supersonics in 1989. After averaging 6.5 points per game his rookie year, he broke out with a 15.0 points per game campaign in 1990. Kemp continued to improve until the 1995 season when he averaged 19.6 points per game.
He signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1997 and played another three productive seasons before his eventual decline from 2000-2003. He finished his career as a six-time All-Star and three-time All-NBA player. He posted a career-high 20.5 points per game in 1998 with the Cavs.
23. Amar’e Stoudemire
Years: 2002-2016 (14 seasons)
Teams: Phoenix Suns, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks
Career Stats: 846 games, 31.0 minutes, 18.9 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.8 steals, 1.2 blocks per game
Amar’e Stoudemire was drafted 9th overall by the Phoenix Suns in 2002 and was immediately named starter his rookie year. He then posted 20.6 points per game in 2003 and 26.0 points per game in 2004 before suffering an injury that cut his 2005 campaign short — just 3 games played.
Stoudemire returned to action in 2006 and scored more than 20 points per game in each of the next five seasons — including a career-high 25.3 points per game in his first season with the Knicks. His numbers and availability would slowly decline over the next six to seven years.
22. Tom Heinsohn
Years: 1956-1965 (9 seasons)
Teams: Boston Celtics
Career Stats: 654 games, 29.4 minutes, 18.6 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 41% field goal percentage
Tom Heinsohn was drafted sixth overall by the Boston Celtics in 1956 and averaged 16.2 points per game his rookie season. Over the next eight seasons, Heinsohn never averaged less than 13.6 points per game and scored north of 21 points per game in three straight seasons.
Oh, did we mention he also helped lead the Celtics to eight straight championships during that span? He did so alongside other Celtics’ greats such as Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Jim Loscutoff, Frank Ramsey, Sam Jones, K.C. Jones, and Bill Sharman. It was quite the storied career.
21. Rasheed Wallace
Years: 1995-2013 (16 seasons)
Teams: Portland Trail Blazers, Detroit Pistons, Boston Celtics, Washington Bullets, New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks
Career Stats: 1,109 games, 32.7 minutes, 14.4 ponts, 6.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.3 blocks per game
Rasheed Wallace was drafted fourth overall by the Washington Bullets in 1995 and started most of the games he played in his rookie season. Despite playing four four different teams over the next 13 seasons, he averaged more than 10 points and 4.9 rebounds per game in each season.
Wallace was known for many things over his career. He was a fierce defender, a consistent scorer, a ferocious rebounder, and was frequently called for technical fouls. He ended his 16-year career as a one-time champion, four-time All-Star, and one of the sport’s iconic players.
20. Horace Grant
Years: 1987-2004 (17 seasons)
Teams: Chicago Bulls, Orlando Magic, Seattle Supersonics, Los Angeles Lakers
Career Stats: 1,165 games, 33.2 minutes, 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.0 steal, 1.0 block per game
Horace Grant, also known as ‘The General,’ was drafted 10th overall by the Chicago Bulls in 1987 and became a regular starter in 1988. Over the next six years, Grant averaged more than 12.0 points per game in each season and was an integral part of the Bulls’ first three-peat.
He then enjoyed a productive five-year career in Orlando before gradually declining over the next five seasons. While his numbers declined, he managed to win his fourth championship in 2001 as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. He started in all 77 games he played in that year.
19. Bobby Jones
Years: 1974-1986 (12 seasons)
Teams: Denver Nuggets, Philadelphia 76ers
Career Stats: 941 games, 27.3 minutes, 12.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.4 blocks per game
Bobby Jones, also known as ‘The Secretary of Defense,’ was drafted fifth overall by the Houston Rockets. His rights were eventually given to the Denver Nuggets, who outbid the Rockets with a larger contract. He scored an impressive 14.8 points per game his rookie year.
He scored more than 12 points per game in each of his first eight seasons in the league — four with Denver and four with Philadelphia. Although he started to decline during the 1982 season, he was still heavily relied on for defense and won his first championship in 1983 with the 76ers.
18. Vern Mikkelson
Years: 1949-1959 (10 seasons)
Teams: Minneapolis Lakers
Career Stats: 699 games, 32.5 minutes, 14.4 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 40% field goal percentage
Vern Mikkelson, also known as ‘The Great Dane,’ was drafted by the defending BAA champion Minneapolis Lakers with the 11th pick in the 1949 draft. He would help the team win four of the first five NBA championships — including the inaugural one in 1950, Mikkelson’s rookie season.
Over his 10-year career with the Lakers, Mikkelson never averaged less than 11.1 points per game in any one season. He averaged four double-doubles in his career and averaged a career best 18.7 points per game in 1954. He was a six-time All-Star and is a current Hall-of-Famer.
17. Chris Bosh
Years: 2003-2016 (13 seasons)
Teams: Toronto Raptors, Miami Heat
Career Stats: 893 games, 35.8 minutes, 19.2 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.8 steals, 1.0 block per game
Chris Bosh was drafted fourth overall by the Toronto Raptors in one of the most star-studded drafts in NBA history. He spent the first seven years with Toronto, averaging north of 22 points per game in his final five seasons with the team and averaging a double-double three times.
He then took his talents to South Beach, joining LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. He spent the final six years of his career with the Heat, winning two championships and never averaging less than 16.2 points per game. He would’ve continued playing if health issues didn’t get in the way.
16. Anthony Davis
Years: 2012-present (10 seasons)
Teams: New Orleans Hornets, New Orleans Pelicans, Los Angeles Lakers
Career Stats: 586 games, 34.4 minutes, 23.9 points, 10.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.4 steals, 2.3 blocks per game
Anthony Davis, also known as ‘AD,’ was drafted first overall by the New Orleans Hornets in 2012. He spent his first seven seasons in the NBA with the franchise as they transitioned to the Pelicans, averaging more than 20 points and 10 rebounds per game in six straight seasons.
He then took his talents to the Los Angeles Lakers, joining LeBron James and winning an NBA Championship in their first year together. Davis has averaged more than 21.8 points per game in each of his first three seasons with the Lakers and continues to dominate in 2021 and beyond.
15. Jerry Lucas
Years: 1963-1974 (11 seasons)
Teams: Cincinnati Royals, New York Knicks, San Francisco Warriors
Career Stats: 829 games, 38.8 minutes, 17.0 points, 15.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 50% field goal percentage
Jerry Lucas, also known as ‘Dr. Memory,’ was drafted by the Cincinnati Royals with the sixth overall pick in 1962. He didn’t make his debut until 1963 due to contract issues, but he was worth the wait with 17.7 points and 17.4 rebounds per game his rookie year — and ROY honors.
He averaged at least 15 points per game in each of the next eight seasons — including at least 21 points and 20 rebounds in 1964 and 1965. He won his first ring in 1973, despite his numbers declining over his final two years. He averaged a double-double nine times in his career.
14. Pau Gasol
Years: 2001-2019 (18 seasons)
Teams: Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, Milwaukee Bucks
Career Stats: 1,226 games, 33.4 minutes, 17.0 points, 9.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 0.5 steals, 1.6 blocks per game
Pau Gasol, also known as ‘Meal Ticket,’ was drafted third overall by the Atlanta Hawks in 2001, but his rights were eventually given to the Memphis Grizzlies. He played his first six and a half seasons with the team before being traded to the Lakers and teaming up with Kobe Bryant.
Gasol spent six and a half seasons with LA and won two rings in that time. He averaged at least 17.4 points per game in each of his first 11 seasons and at least 10 points per game in each of his first 17 seasons. He didn’t play in 2019 due to an injured foot and hasn’t played since.
13. Dolph Schayes
Years: 1949-1964 (15 seasons)
Teams: Syracuse Nationals, Philadelphia 76ers
Career Stats: 996 games, 34.4 minutes, 18.5 points, 12.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 38% field goal percentage
Dolph Schayes, also known as ‘The Rainbow Kid,’ was drafted fourth overall by the Knicks in the 1948 BAA Draft. He made his NBA debut with the Syracuse Nationals in 1949 and averaged 16.8 points per game his first year. It was a fine start to what would be an incredible career.
Schayes went on to average a double-double in each of the next 12 seasons. In that time, he led the league in rebounding once with 16.4 rebounds per game, he won a championship, he averaged at least 20 points per game six times in a row, and led the league in FT% three times.
12. Giannis Antetokounmpo
Years: 2013-present (9 seasons)
Teams: Milwaukee Bucks
Career Stats: 610 games, 32.5 minutes, 21.1 points, 9.2 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.3 blocks per game
Giannis Antetokounmpo, also known as the ‘Greek Freak,’ was drafted 15th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2013 and was largely featured off the bench his rookie season. He showed signs of improvement his second year, averaging 12.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.
The improvement continued in 2015 and he broke out as a star in 2016. He has averaged at least 22.9 points per game in six straight seasons and more than 26.9 points per game in five straight seasons. He has also averaged a 26+ point double-double in five straight seasons.
11. Dave DeBusschere
Years: 1962-1974 (12 seasons)
Teams: Detroit Pistons, New York Knicks
Career Stats: 875 games, 35.7 minutes, 16.1 points, 11.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 43% field goal percentage
Dave DeBusschere, also known as ‘Big D,’ was drafted fourth overall by the Detroit Pistons in the 1962 NBA Draft. He made an immediate impact his rookie season and averaged 12.7 points per game. His second year was disappointing after playing just 15 games due to an injury.
Things started clicking when he returned in 1964 and he would go on to average a double-double in each of the next 10 seasons before retiring in 1974. He was effective all the way up until that final year, averaging 18.1 points and 10.7 rebounds per game in 1974 with the New York Knicks.
10. Dennis Rodman
Years: 1986-2000 (14 seasons)
Teams: Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks
Career Stats: 911 games, 31.7 minutes, 7.3 points, 13.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.6 blocks per game
Dennis Rodman, also known as ‘The Worm,’ was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in the second round of the 1986 NBA Draft. He made an immediate impact as a rookie, but didn’t earn a full-time starting role until the 1990 season — which is when he truly started to find himself.
From 1990 up until he retired in 2000, Rodman averaged at least 11.1 rebounds per game each season. In that time, he led the league in rebounding seven straight times and averaged north of 18 rebounds per game in back-to-back seasons. He’s arguably the greatest rebounder ever.
9. Chris Webber
Years: 1993-2008 (15 seasons)
Teams: Sacramento Kings, Washington Bullets, Washington Wizards, Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors, Detroit Pistons
Career Stats: 831 games, 37.1 minutes, 20.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.4 blocks per game
Chris Webber, also known as ‘C-Webb,’ was drafted first overall by the Orlando Magic in 1993. It didn’t take long for him to mark his territory, averaging 17.5 points and 9.1 rebounds his rookie year. He would go on to average at least 20 points per game in each of the next nine seasons.
Throughout his 15-year career, Webber was a five-time All-Star, was named an All-NBA player five times, was named Rookie of the Year in 1993, led the league in rebounding in 1998, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2021. He’s one of the greatest power forwards of all-time.
8. Elvin Hayes
Years: 1968-1984 (16 seasons)
Teams: Baltimore Bullets, Capital Bullets, Washington Bullets, San Diego Rockets, Houston Rockets
Career Stats: 1,303 games, 38.4 minutes, 21.0 points, 12.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.0 steal, 2.0 blocks per game
Elvin Hayes, also known as ‘The Big E,’ was drafted first overall by the San Diego Rockets in 1968. He immediately established himself as one of the greatest power forwards of all-time after leading the league with 28.4 points per game his rookie year. He also grabbed 17.1 rebounds.
Over the next 11 seasons, Hayes averaged more than 19.7 points and 11.0 rebounds each year. In that span, he won his only championship, led the league in rebounding twice, and was one of the best rim protectors in the league. He made 12 All-Star appearances in his career.
7. Kevin Garnett
Years: 1995-2016 (21 seasons)
Teams: Minnesota Timberwolves, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets
Career Stats: 1,462 games, 34.5 minutes, 17.8 points, 10.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.4 blocks per game
Kevin Garnett, also known as ‘KG,’ was drafted fifth overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1995. After a decent rookie year, Garnett was a full-time starter and broke out in 1996 with 17.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. He then had 18.5 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 1997.
Over the next nine seasons, Garnett averaged more than 20 points and 10 rebounds per game each year. He led the league in rebounding four consecutive years during that span. While his numbers started to slowly decline in 2007, he won his only championship with Boston in 2008.
6. Kevin McHale
Years: 1980-1993 (13 seasons)
Teams: Boston Celtics
Career Stats: 971 games, 31.0 minutes, 17.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.4 steals, 1.7 blocks per game
Kevin McHale, also known as ‘Black Hole,’ was drafted third overall by the Boston Celtics in 1980. The first five years of his NBA career were spent coming off the bench, but he made the most of his opportunities and won the Sixth Man of the Year award twice during that span.
McHale earned a full-time starting role starting in 1985 and averaged more than 20 points per game in each of the next five seasons. His numbers declined in the final three years of his career, but he finished a seven-time All-Star, three-time champion, and current Hall-of-Famer.
5. Bob Pettit
Years: 1954-1965 (11 seasons)
Teams: Milwaukee Hawks, St. Louis Hawks
Career Stats: 792 games, 38.8 minutes, 26.4 points, 16.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 44% field goal percentage
Bob Pettit, also known as ‘Big Blue,’ was drafted second overall by the Milwaukee Hawks in 1954 and averaged more than 20 points per game in every season of his career — including a career-high 31.1 points per game in 1961. He was as dominant as they come at the PF position.
He ended his career as an 11-time All-Star, two-time scoring champ, one-time rebounding champ, one-time NBA champion, two-time MVP, Rookie of the Year, and 11-time All-NBA player. He averaged an impressive 16.2 rebounds per game over his 11-year career.
4. Charles Barkley
Years: 1984-2000 (16 seasons)
Teams: Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets
Career Stats: 1,073 games, 36.7 minutes, 22.1 points, 11.7 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.8 blocks per game
Charles Barkley, also known as ‘Sir Charles,’ was drafted fifth overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1984. He’s one of the biggest personalities the NBA has ever seen, but also knew how to put up big numbers on the court. He averaged 14.0 points and 8.6 rebounds per game as a rookie.
Over the next 11 seasons, Barkley averaged more than 20 points and 10 rebounds every year. He averaged a career-high 28.3 points per game in 1987 and led the league with a career-high 14.6 rebounds per game in 1986. He was an 11-time All-Star, one-time MVP, and Hall-of-Famer.
3. Dirk Nowitzki
Years: 1998-2019 (21 seasons)
Teams: Dallas Mavericks
Career Stats: 1,522 games, 33.8 minutes, 20.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.8 blocks per game
Dirk Nowitzki was drafted ninth overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1998, but was immediately traded to the Dallas Mavericks. He spent his entire 21-year career with Dallas and is widely regarded as one of the greatest power forwards of all-time. He was as consistent as they come.
Nowitzki only averaged 8.2 points per game his rookie year, but averaged more than 17.3 points per game in each of the next 17 seasons — including more than 21 points per game in 12 of those seasons. He’s a one-time MVP, one-time champion, and 14-time All-Star.
2. Karl Malone
Years: 1985-2004 (19 seasons)
Teams: Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers
Career Stats: 1,476 games, 37.2 minutes, 25.0 points, 10.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.8 blocks per game
Karl Malone, also known as ‘The Mailman,’ was drafted 13th overall by the Utah Jazz in 1985 and was named a regular starter right away. After an impressive rookie year, Malone averaged more than 20 points per game in each of the next 17 seasons — including 31.0 points in 1989.
Although he never won an NBA championship, Malone finished his career with 14 All-Star appearances, two MVP awards, and averaged a double-double 10 times. He was reliable, he was consistent, he was dominant, and he was fierce, which is why he’s a Hall-of-Famer.
1. Tim Duncan
Years: 1997-2016 (19 seasons)
Teams: San Antonio Spurs
Career Stats: 1,392 games, 34.0 minutes, 19.0 points, 10.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 0.7 steals, 2.2 blocks per game
Tim Duncan, also known as ‘Timmy,’ was drafted first overall by the San Antonio Spurs in 1997. He was an immediate starter for the Spurs and averaged 21.1 points and 11.9 rebounds his rookie season. He was named Rookie of the Year and named to the All-Rookie team.
Over the next 12 seasons, Timmy would average more than 17.9 points and 10 rebounds per game every year. His numbers started to dip in the final six years, but ended his career with five championships, 15 All-Star appearances, two MVP awards, and three Finals MVP awards.
Who Are the Greatest Power Forwards Right Now?
The greatest power forwards of all-time weren’t just instrumental in the growth and development of the position, but the overall evolution of the game of basketball. They exemplified and embodied greatness at the highest possible level, which is why they landed on our list above!
With that said, only three of the players on our list are still playing — AD, Giannis, and Aldridge. All the rest of our greatest power forwards of all-time have since retired, but that doesn’t mean the NBA doesn’t have quality power forwards today. In fact, the league is currently full of them!
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Some of the players right now that could one day be considered one of the greatest power forwards of all-time include John Collins, Domantas Sabonis, Kevin Love, Julius Randle, Pascal Siakam, Jayson Tatum, Kristaps Porzingis, Zion Williamson, and Draymond Green.
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