To begin with allow me to throw out some names of players I believe to be the ten best power forwards to ever play the game. Our poll will consider others in addition to these but first we must give homage to the players who helped create the game we have come to love.
Elvin Hayes -He is the top scorer among our list of power forwards and the 7th best scorer among all NBA players in history. He is also the 4th leading rebounder of all time and has been voted one of the 50 greatest players of all time. No one, in my opinion, played this position any better.
Karl Malone -If you were building a team from scratch you also might want to consider him as your top pick. Karl was an 11 time all star who holds the record for consecutive 2000 point scoring seasons (11). He is the 6th best rebounder of all time and was also voted one of the top 50 greatest players of all time.
Bob Pettit -Arguably we would not even be having this discussion of greatest power forwards if not for Bob Pettit. He showed what was possible for this position while dominating the game as a player. His 16.2 rebounds per game is not only the highest average of any power forward, it is one of the highest averages for any player at any position. He also has been voted one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history.
Jerry Lucas -Not physically imposing, and no bruiser under the boards, yet somehow he finessed his way to the basketball in ways not seen before in the game and not seen again until Dennis Rodman. In the 1967-68 season, Jerry even out-rebounded Bill Russell. Most of his career he shot an amazing 50% from the field. He is our fourth player to be voted one of the 50 greatest players in the game.
Dolph Schayes -A member of the Basketball Hall of Fame as well as the NBA 25th Anniversary Team, Dolph was also a 12 time All Star. His outside shot had such a high arc on it that it was considered unblockable. He also played an entire season with his broken arm in a cast causing him to perhaps be the first player to learn to shoot with either hand. He is the final player on our list to be named one of the 50 greatest players of all time.
Dennis Rodman -The rebounding scientist, he won the rebounding title 7 years in a row while claiming 5 NBA championships with 2 different teams. Some of the games greatest shooting guards and small forwards had losing records against Rodman's teams.
Dan Issel -Perhaps the most underrated power forward on our list. From the time he left Kentucky, Dan was underestimated by those who thought he was too slow or not heavy enough. He scored 29.9 points a game as rookie of the year in the ABA and only got better after that. Never really beaten by anyone he faced, at the time of his retirement he was the fourth leading scorer in NBA history behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Julius Erving.
Charles Barkley -Many NBA watchers consider him the best power forward in history and when one weighs all statistics together one sees that he had no single weakness. He ranks just behind Jerry Lucas and Bob Pettit in rebounds and is the 18th best scorer in NBA history. At 6' 6" (and that is being generous) he may have been the most dominating rebounder for his size the game has ever seen.
Tim Duncan -If you have read what I have said before you know that I think he is actually playing center even though the program guide lists him as power forward. Whatever, he is currently one of the best players in the game and fully capable of taking his team all the way. If he continues at his current pace, and there is no reason to think otherwise, he soon will crack the top 25 scoring leaders in NBA history.
Paul Silas -Hawks fans will remember him as the flawless performer who never let his team down. Not overly flashy all he did was help lead his team to 3 championships. He is the 16th best rebounder in NBA history.
Others to consider: Kevin McHale used his "wing span" to bedevil opposing teams while using his quick moves around the paint to shoot a phenomenal 55.4% from the field; Dave Debusschere was a giant of the game and an 8 time All Star; Kevin Garnett is an 11 time All Star and still going strong; Buck Williams ranks just under Hakeem Olajuwon in rebounds; Bill Bridges is one of the all time leaders in rebounds averaging more per game than Olajuwon; Kevin Willis played until he was 44 years old and averaged over 70% from the free throw line; Larry Nance was the NBA's very first winner of the Slam Dunk Contest.
Vote for the best power forward in history
Elvin Hayes (8 votes)
Karl Malone (21 votes)
Jerry Lucas (1 vote)
Bob Pettit (2 votes)
Dolph Schayes (0 votes)
Dennis Rodman (2 votes)
Charles Barkley (14 votes)
Dan Issel (16 votes)
Tim Duncan (36 votes)
Paul Silas (0 votes)
Kevin McHale (3 votes)
Dave Debusschere (1 vote)
Kevin Garnett (13 votes)
Buck Williams (1 vote)
Bill Bridges (0 votes)
Kevin Willis (4 votes)
Larry Nance (0 votes)
122 total votes