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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Ranking the decade: Top ten NBA power forwards of the 2010s

Ranking the decade: Top ten NBA power forwards of the 2010s

The best of the bunch
Publish Date: 12/30/2019
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster

During the 2010s, an elite trio of power forwards, all ranking among the top ten in the position’s history, retired. Even with several legends and long-time stalwarts of the spot retiring, the power forward position is still in good hands. Plenty of walking-highlight reels still staff the post today.

While as many as four future Hall of Fame power forwards retired in the 2010s, younger players still left their mark during the decade. This piece ranks the ten greatest power forwards of the 2010s along with several honorable mentions.

Accomplishments, such as accolades, championships, and statistics, are the primary justification for the upcoming rankings. Raw talent also plays a factor in close decisions between players, but the list favors players with more experience.

The statistics and accolades used in this article come from the 2010-11 season and end with the numbers players accumulated by the morning of Dec. 21, 2019. The back part of the 2009-10 season does not count.

The Grueling Truth already published articles covering the top ten point guards and centers of the decade. Articles for the other two positions are in the works, so make sure to check back regularly. Now, it’s time to dig into the best power forwards from the past decade.

*Statistics accurate as of Dec. 21, 2019

Honorable Mentions

15. Kristaps Porzingis (2015-present)

2015-16 All-Rookie 1st Team

2017-18 All-Star

213 games, 3,786 points, 287 assists, 1,574 rebounds, 151 steals, 435 blocks

The young Latvian followed in Dirk Nowitzki’s footsteps, immediately contributing as a stretch four. Porzingis scored 3,312 points during his first three seasons and even averaged 22.7 points per game during his third year in the NBA.

However, injuries limited him to 66 games in 2016-17 and just 48 in 2017-18. Porzingis missed the entire 2018-19 season with an injury, and the New York Knicks traded him to the Dallas Mavericks during that time. Now, Porzingis plays second fiddle to Luka Doncic.

14. David West (2010-17)

Two-time NBA Champion

574 games, 6,666 points, 1,395 assists, 3,266 rebounds, 435 steals, 477 blocks

West cracked the 1,000-point mark three times during the decade, but his best years came during the late 2000s. By the mid-2010s, West wanted a championship ring. He sacrificed financially and statistically to play for the San Antonio Spurs in 2015 and the Golden State Warriors for the following two seasons.

Other teams would have given West a more significant role and more money, but the two-time All-Star wanted to go out as a champion. He got his wish, winning back-to-back rings with the Warriors.

13. Zach Randolph (2010-2017)

2010-11 All-NBA 3rd Team

2012-13 All-Star

529 games, 8,437 points, 1,063 assists, 5,059 rebounds, 391 steals, 130 blocks

Z-Bo hasn’t played since the 2017-18 season, and he officially announced his retirement on Dec. 27, 2019. The traditional power forward amassed 18,578 points during his career. While Randolph was never a superstar, he put in work with the Memphis Grizzlies during the 2010s.

During this decade, Randolph scored 1,000 points in six different seasons and served as a critical member of several Grizzlies playoff teams. With masterful footwork and a dominant inside presence, Randolph put together an above-average career. He is still Memphis’ career leader in offensive rebounds and rebounds per game.

12. Serge Ibaka (2010-present)

2018-19 NBA Champion

Three-time All-Defensive 1st Team

698 games, 9,082 points, 558 assists, 5,231 rebounds, 307 steals, 1,548 blocks

Drafted in 2008, Ibaka didn’t see the court until the 2009 season. He didn’t start a game his rookie year but made 44 starts as a sophomore. Originally just a defensive player, Ibaka developed an offensive game over time. While he served primarily as a defender and fourth wheel during the OKC3 days, Ibaka played a prominent role during Toronto’s 2018-19 championship run.

Ibaka opened the decade by leading the NBA in blocks four consecutive times. While in Oklahoma City, he led the playoffs in blocks three times. However, he only earned a championship ring by filling a balanced role with the Raptors last year. With Kawhi Leonard and company, Ibaka posted his fourth 1,000-point season of the 2010s.

11. Kevin Garnett (2010-15)

2010-11 All-Defensive 1st Team

2011-12 All-Defensive 2nd Team

Two-time All-Star

338 games, 3,804 points, 726 assists, 2,474 rebounds, 346 steals, 247 blocks

Garnett turned 34 during the 2010-11 season. Despite still making two All-Star games during the 2010s, his decline was obvious. Garnett’s declining production led to the infamous trade that sent him and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn.

Garnett played just 96 games with the Nets before he was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves. After one final season with the team that drafted him, KG retired.

Top Ten

10. Paul Millsap (2010-present)

2015-16 All-Defensive 2nd Team

Four-time All-Star

648 games, 10,442 points, 1,789 assists, 5,058 rebounds, 962 steals, 667 blocks

Millsap made all four of his All-Star appearances during a four-year stint with the Atlanta Hawks. Atlanta made the playoffs all four years and even reached the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2014-15 season. However, LeBron James stopped Atlanta’s run there.

During his time with the Hawks, Millsap amassed 5,177 points and 2,462 rebounds. He opened the decade with a seven-year 1,000-point streak that ended during his first season with the Denver Nuggets.

Now, in his third year with Denver, Millsap averages less than 15 points per game. However, he is still a sturdy defender and reliable scorer, especially with an improved three-point shot.

9. Kevin Love (2010-present)

Two-time All-NBA 2nd Team

2010-11 Most Improved Player

Five-time All-Star

541 games, 10,667 points, 1,369 assists, 6,276 rebounds, 390 steals, 239 blocks

If Love stayed in Minnesota, he might have won an MVP. Fans forget he came in sixth for the MVP voting for the 2011-12 season. However, Love left the Timberwolves and assumed a lesser role with the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James.

While in Minnesota, Love shot fewer threes than in Cleveland. He focused more on inside scoring, and the offense ran through him. Love played inside more, which allowed him to lead the NBA in rebounds during the 2010-11 season. Moving to Cleveland was a sacrifice for a star power forward in his prime. Now, at 31 years old, Love is searching for his former dominance.

Love posted seven 1,000-point seasons during the 2010s. Despite all of the hate he received as the third wheel in Cleveland, a strong opening to the 2020s might push Love toward the Hall of Fame.

8. Draymond Green (2012-present)

Three-time NBA Champion

2015-16 All-NBA 2nd Team

2016-17 All-NBA 3rd Team

Three-time All-Defensive 1st Team

Two-time All-Defensive 2nd Team

2016-17 Defensive Player of the Year

Three-time All-Star

553 games, 5,004 points, 2,703 assists, 3,816 rebounds, 765 steals, 587 blocks

Golden State’s enforcer is controversial for several reasons. A lot of NBA fans despise Green, quickly pointing out Golden State’s struggles without their two more beloved stars. Despite all of the spite Green draws, he helped pioneer championship-level small ball.

During the 2010s, Green was routinely one of the best defenders in the NBA, constantly drawing the toughest assignments. At the very least, that’s commendable for a smaller power forward.

Green also played an understated role in Golden State’s offense. For instance, his defense led to transition scores, and he often pushed the ball forward on fast breaks. His facilitation and passing are elements most people overlook when analyzing the Michigan St. product.

7. Chris Bosh (2010-15)

Two-time NBA Champion

Six-time All-Star

384 games, 6,914 points, 680 assists, 2,816 rebounds, 333 steals, 332 blocks

While fans don’t associate Bosh with the other three all-time great power forwards on this list, he’s headed for the Hall of Fame as well. The 11-time All-Star had plenty of basketball left in his tank when blood clots forced his career to end abruptly. He played his final NBA games during his age 31 season.

Fans overlooked Bosh as the third wheel in Miami’s championship machine, but he made one of the greatest plays in NBA history possible. The rebound he kicked to Ray Allen for a clutch three-pointer during the 2013 Finals is legendary. While fans never appreciated Bosh enough during his career, the big man earned a lot of respect after LeBron James left South Beach.

Even while battling injuries, Bosh posted five 1,000-point seasons during the 2010s. If not for the blood clots and other injuries, he would have eventually reached the 20,000-point mark and might even still be in the league today. He’s only 35 right now.

6. Blake Griffin (2010-present)

Three-time All-NBA 2nd Team

Two-time All-NBA 3rd Team

2010-11 All-Rookie 1st Team

2010-11 Rookie of the Year

Six-time All-Star

619 games, 13,445 points, 2,740 assists, 5,483 rebounds, 552 steals, 320 blocks

Griffin opened the decade with five consecutive All-Star appearances. During those first five seasons, he amassed 8,052 points. However, as his flashy dunks no longer mesmerized fans and his injuries continued stacking up, Griffin fell out of favor. He played just 35 games during the 2015-16 season. Griffin rebounded the following year, but NBA fans no longer paid much attention to him, and he missed several All-Star games.

In 2017-18, Griffin unveiled a new playing style. Instead of focusing on flashy dunks and close shots, he extended his range beyond the three-point line. The Oklahoma product also displayed ball-handling and playmaking skills that made him one of the game’s best weapons once again.

In 2018-19, Griffin returned to the All-Star game. If he can stay healthy, this will be a great second chapter for the famed dunker.

5. Tim Duncan (2010-15)

2013-14 NBA Champion

2012-13 All-NBA 1st Team

2014-15 All-NBA 3rd Team

Two-time All-Defensive 2nd Team

Three-time All-Star

415 games, 5,855 points, 1,132 assists, 3,756 rebounds, 291 steals, 785 blocks

While he is a top-ten player of all-time, Duncan’s best seasons were far behind him by the time 2010 rolled around. Despite being in his mid-30s, Duncan compiled four 1,000-point seasons before dramatically falling off in his final season. Even as his career dwindled, Duncan and San Antonio’s big three put together a final push and defeated LeBron James’ Miami Heat in the 2014 Finals.

4. LaMarcus Aldridge (2010-present)

Two-time All-NBA 2nd Team

Three-time All-NBA 3rd Team

Seven-time All-Star

677 games, 14,291 points, 1,454 assists, 6,032 rebounds, 492 steals, 779 blocks

In an age where the three-point shot rules, Aldridge is surprisingly old-fashioned. He led the NBA in two-point shot attempts four times this decade, including last season. However, relying on mid-range and close shots has not negatively impacted Aldridge’s overall scoring. The former Portland Trail Blazer’s 1,000-point streak is at 12 seasons and still running. He’s already more than halfway to that mark this season. Over the past two years, Aldridge posted two of his three career 1,700-point seasons.

Even at 34 years old, Aldridge is a steady force in the NBA. He is less than 1,000 points away from the 20,000 mark. Combine that milestone with Aldridge’s other achievements, and he has a Hall of Fame resume. Now, if only he could add a championship.

3. Dirk Nowitzki (2010-2018)

2010-11 NBA Champion

2010-11 Finals MVP

2010-11 All-NBA 2nd Team

2011-12 All-NBA 3rd Team

Five-time All-Star

602 games, 10,449 points, 1,186 assists, 3,687 rebounds, 364 steals, 345 blocks

The German was already in his early thirties at the turn of the decade. However, Nowitzki’s prime extended into the 2010s as he averaged 20 or more points in three seasons during that decade. One of the 25 best players in NBA history, Nowitzki revolutionized the power forward position by stepping beyond the three-point line and mastering the one-legged fadeaway.

In 2011, Nowitzki delivered Dallas its first and only NBA championship by defeating LeBron James and Miami’s big three. During that playoff run, he led the NBA in points, defensive rebounds, free throws, and made field goals. Dallas and Nowitzki never got out of the first round of the playoffs again.

2. Giannis Antetokounmpo (2013-present)

2018-19 All-NBA 1st Team

Two-time All-NBA 2nd Team

2018-19 All-Defensive 1st Team

2016-17 All-Defensive 2nd Team

2013-14 All-Rookie 2nd Team

2018-19 MVP

2016-17 Most Improved Player

Three-time All-Star

493 games, 9,634 points, 2,071 assists, 4,201 rebounds, 594 steals, 660 blocks

The Greek Freak played every position, except for center, during the 2010s. This season is his third consecutive year at the power forward position, and it seems like a good fit for the reigning MVP. Antetokounmpo’s physical development since he entered the NBA as a skinny 19-year-old is amazing. His bag of tricks is immensely more diverse now, and he’s even working on a viable three-point shot.

Last season, Antetokounmpo won basically every award imaginable, and his portfolio reflects his unique career arc. Milwaukee made it to the Eastern Conference Finals and captured the first two games before Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors won four in a row and sent the Bucks home.

At this point, Antetokounmpo is where Derrick Rose was during the former Bulls’ MVP season. He’s a great player, but there are still holes in his game, and he is not a champion. Hopefully, the rest of Antetokounmpo’s career goes vastly different from Rose’s.

1. Anthony Davis (2012-present)

Three-time All-NBA 1st Team

2017-18 All-Defensive 1st Team

Two-time All-Defensive 2nd Team

2013-14 All-Rookie 1st Team

Six-time All-Star

493 games, 11,807 points, 1,072 assists, 5,159 rebounds, 678 steals, 1,192 blocks

The Kentucky product does everything possible at the power forward position. He dribbles, he shoots threes, his post control is great, and his defense is superb. With the Los Angeles Lakers, Davis’ name is in both the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year conversations.

Davis’ rookie season was decent, but he exploded in his sophomore year. That season began Davis’ streak of six consecutive All-Star appearances. During that time, he led the NBA in blocks and scored over 2,000 points twice.

Davis only went to the playoffs with the New Orleans Pelicans twice, but he averaged over 30 points per game in both short runs. He also led the NBA in blocks and rebounds per game during the playoffs in 2018. Expect Davis to add more playoff experience this season.

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