How deep is the power forward position in the NBA these days? So deep that Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka (pictured), the league leader in blocks last season, doesn't crack our top 10. Neither do Utah's Paul Millsap, Memphis' Zach Randolph, Indiana's David West or Golden State's David Lee, all of whom would be elite power forwards in earlier eras. The top 10 all have multiple skills and the ability to dominate a game — some with power, some with finesse, and many with both.
Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
The greatest power forward in NBA history ain't what he used to be. But his low-post skills and smarts on both ends of the court remain intact. Duncan also deserves his share of credit for leading San Antonio to the Western Conference's best record the past two seasons.
Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks
He scores (18.8 ppg), he rebounds (9.6 rpg), he passes (3.9 apg) and he's an outstanding defender. So what's not to like? Well, there's his lousy shot selection — please, please stop shooting 3-pointers — and his often-surly attitude on the court. At 26, his temper and immaturity are the only things preventing him from becoming a star.
Amar'e Stoudemire, New York Knicks
It wasn't long ago that Stoudemire was the toast of New York and averaging 25.3 points in his first season with the Knicks. Then Carmelo Anthony came along and Stoudemire seemed completely lost. No longer the No. 1 option, his scoring dipped by eight points and his limitations as a defender and rebounder were exposed. Still, he's a tremendous talent. Only question is whether he can mesh with 'Melo.
Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers
Gasol took a step back, literally, last season by moving his game to the perimeter and clearing the lane for Andrew Bynum. It hurt his stats and probably cost him a fifth All-Star nod, but it speaks to the Spaniard's unselfishness and versatility that he could make the move. Gasol still has terrific post moves and a soft shot, but he'll again be asked to accomodate a dominant center (Dwight Howard) in order to make the Lakers' new chemistry experiment work.
LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers
Tucked away in a small market and without a flashy game, Aldridge gets easily overlooked. Yet he's quietly developed into a wonderful player and leader on a team devastated by the injuries to Greg Oden and Brandon Roy. He's especially adept at facing the basket, shimmy-shaking and draining his high-release jumper from anywhere inside 20 feet.
Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics
At 36, he can't summon his trademark energy and intensity for every game. But KG showed during the playoffs last season that he's still a force to be reckoned with. Moving to center, he dominated the Hawks, Sixers and Heat in the postseason and earned a fat new contract with Boston.
Chris Bosh, Miami Heat
LeBron James wasn't the only member of Miami's championship team to earn some redemption. Bosh, an easy target when things are going poorly for the Heat, returned from injury and played well in the NBA Finals. He'll probably never be the kind of defender and rebounder that Miami could use, but he willingly moved to center in the Finals, neutralized Oklahoma City's size advantage and did what it took to win a title.
Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
Even at a position full of spectacular athletes, Griffin is extraordinary. The league's most explosive dunker is good for 20 points, 10 rebounds and two highlights per game, but there's still plenty of room for improvement. He's a mediocre defender and passer and a lousy free-throw shooter. The sky's the limit, but to get there he must get better with his feet on the ground.
Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
Dirk slacked off after his long-awaited, hard-earned title in 2011. He emerged from the lockout out of shape and missing his edge, but by the end of the season he was the same devastating offensive force that he's been for more than a dozen years. There's still no power forward as hard to guard as Nowitzki.
Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
Given his limitations as an athlete and his below-the-rim game, it's remarkable that Love could surpass the high fliers and all-time greats at his position. Yet he's done so with a unique skill set. Not only is he the best rebounding power forward in the league, he's the best 3-point shooter. With an improved supporting cast in Minnesota, Love now must prove he can lead a playoff team.