Who are your top five power forwards for the upcoming 2022-2023 season?
Power Forward Is Subjective
This is based on how they played this season and a bit on their upside for the future. Of course, this is also subjective position-wise, so you might think some of these guys are centers or small forwards. Most are based on ESPN’s depth charts, but a few had to be changed due to being on another list. This is also based off their current teams, before free agency or the draft.
30: Royce O’Neal, Utah Jazz
I don’t have much to say about O’Neal here. The power forward, in 31 minutes played, you averaged seven points, five rebounds, and three assists. Not precisely jaw-dropping, but he is a role-playing power forward, so there isn’t much more to be asked of him. But, looking ahead to the off-season, he might be much lonelier next year.
29: Trey Lyles, Sacramento Kings
He got traded to Sacramento at the deadline but wasn’t too bad for the Kings. In 24 games, he averaged ten points and five assists, again nothing to write home about, but you get what you paid for. Hopefully, he plays well next year, but I don’t have anything to write here. Somewhat boring career so far.
28: Dorian Finney-Smith, Dallas Mavericks
Another low finish for the mavericks. It didn’t rank incredibly high for small forwards; it organized much worse for power forwards. But Finney-Smith wasn’t that bad, in all honesty. While working as the starting power forward for the Mavs, he averaged 11 points, five rebounds, and two assists. Nothing shocking or popping off the page, but he played very well and played a decent-sized role in the Mavericks, making it to the conference finals.
27: Nicolas Batum, Los Angeles Clippers
Back-to-back high ranks, and now you have this, Clippers fans. Batum wasn’t anything special and wasn’t expected to be anything special. He had the demanding role of trying to fill Kawhi Leonard’s spot on the roster as starting power forward. He put up eight points and four rebounds, but what puts the Frenchmen above the rest below him is that he has averaged a steal pretty much every season of his career.
26: Jae’Sean Tate, Houston Rockets
The Rockets appear low on almost every list due to how young this team is. That is one of the veterans, and he is only 26. That being said, this past season, he averaged 12 points, five rebounds, and three assists. Tate is exceptionally athletic and can score the ball in many ways. I’m sure he will grow with this Rockets team and become even better.
25: Justise Winslow, Portland Trailblazers
The power forward had a tough season as he was injured for a lot of it and was traded. But in the time that he played, he averaged ten points, six rebounds, and three assists, with another steal and a half to back it up. He was reliable for the Trailblazers when needed and was shown to be a solid acquisition as we look back on it now.
24: Kyle Kuzma, Washington Wizards
The hype this man had when he was a rookie with Lonzo Ball was insane. Everyone believed that the late first-round pick out of Utah had all-star potential. Now we look back on it and realize we are pretty stupid. Granted, he did end up better than most late first-round picks. He averaged 17, eight rebounds, and four assists. Good numbers, but he almost had negative efficiency. He puts up numbers, but it isn’t pretty to watch.
23: Jarred Vanderbilt, Minnesota Timberwolves
You are probably asking yourself, “Who is this guy, and why is he over Kyle Kuzma?” and that’s a fair question, except Vanderbilt is a top ten defender in all of the NBA. He averaged seven points, eight rebounds, and one assist, but he also had a steal and a half per game. He could go out and lock up some of the NBA’s best players most nights. No highlights are being made on this man.
22: Otto Porter Jr., Golden State Warriors
Wilt Chamberlains’ look-alike was crucial for the Warriors title run at power forward. He is also the first Warriors player on any of these lists not to make the top ten. He averaged eight points, six rebounds, and two assists while having a steal per game. He also did the most Warriors thing possible and shot 37 percent from beyond the arc. He was an excellent pickup for the Warriors, which certainly paid off.
21: Darius Bazley, Oklahoma City Thunder
This is someone who not a lot of people (especially casual fans) will know. But soon enough, they will. The power forward is a part of the young core in Oklahoma City that will only improve over time. This past season he averaged ten points, six rebounds, and an assist, and to go along with that, he had a steal and a block every game. Bazley has a bright future ahead of him, don’t sleep on him.
20: Ben Simmons, Brooklyn Nets
Well, well, well. I’m not even a 76ers fan, and I hate you. First off, you date a Jenner and think you are the best. Granted, you were an all-star then, but what happened afterward? You played the worst playoff series, seemed to miss every free throw, and single-handedly cost your team a trip to the conference finals. So you wanted a trade; you got it. But then proceed to sit out the entire season claiming injuries with your back? We hadn’t heard of those before. Then, as soon as it looks like you’ll suit up to keep your new teams season alive, you claim “back soreness” and sit out again. You suck, Ben Simmons.
19: Jonathan Isaac, Orlando Magic
While checking out his stats and everything for this article, I learned his nickname is the “Minister of Defense,” which is one of the nicknames I’ve heard. If you didn’t get from the handle, the power forward is an elite defender. Although, he hasn’t played in the last two seasons due to a torn ACL. But when he is playing, he can luck up just about anyone. I’d also still rather have him than Ben Simmons.
18: Aaron Gordon, Denver Nuggets
This man ran the world when he and Lavine competed in the dunk contest. But sadly, he competed twice, and he was robbed twice. He is now out in Denver playing the second option for Jokic while Jamal Murray is hurt. He averaged 15 points, six rebounds and three assists this past season. More than likely his role will reduce next year, but has nonetheless been very solid.
17: PJ Tucker, Miami heat
Did you know his real name was Anthony Leon Tucker? That’s crazy. But he was notable for the Heat this year, being very important to their run to the conference finals this season. He averaged eight points, six rebounds, and two assists this year. But he is also known as one of the most annoying players in the NBA to guard you. He also shot 41 percent from three for the Heat this season. This man deserves his ranking.
16: TJ Warren, Indiana Pacers
Does anyone else remember in the bubble when he turned into Michael Jordan and averaged 27 points and ten assists per game? It was an insane thing to watch. However, he did not play this year due to an injury to his left foot. Regardless, he has consistently averaged 15 to 20 points per game for the last five seasons before this.
15: Julius Randle, New York Knicks
I hate this man with all the passion in my body. Julius Randle should have been traded while he at least had some value. He has nothing now because he stopped getting lucky. In 2021, every shot he threw up went it. Now, they didn’t, and people realized he sucks. He averaged 20 points (on 17 shots) and ten rebounds, and six assists. Regardless of the stats, he is a low-effort player, and the Knicks should trade him.
14: Jae Crowder, Phoenix Suns
Considering everything here, he gets the nod ahead of Randle because of the winning. Julius Randle has been to the playoffs once and decimated by Trae Young. It would be weird not to see Jae Crowder in at least the second round. He also had around ten points, five rebounds, two assists, and a steal and a half to complement it. Winning is what matters, kids.
13: Patrick Williams, Chicago Bulls
Many people (including me) were surprised when the Bulls selected him fourth in the 2021 draft. I thought it was a stretch. But it wasn’t until he got hurt. He only ended up playing 17 games this season due to an injury. But that doesn’t mean we forget how talented he is. He isn’t ball-dominant, he can score in the paint, but he is an all-around elite defender. He will be a defensive player of the year candidate in no time.
12: Miles Bridges, Charlotte Hornets
First off, Bridges is by far the best rapping NBA player, and it isn’t particularly close. The power forward is elite with the mic in his hand. But who knew? All it would take for him to shine is a valid point guard. After bringing in LaMelo Ball, his numbers drastically spiked, and he’s shown his true colors dunking on people left and right. He averaged 20 points and seven rebounds this year, and I think it’s possible he could make an all-star campaign next year.
11: Jerami Grant, Detroit Pistons
Grant is one of the least talked about players in the NBA for two reasons. One, he started slow. Most superstars come out of the draft as a high name and then keep going or start producing immediately. Or two, he is on the Pistons. They tend not to be spoken about. But this past season, Grant averaged 19 points, four rebounds, and a block per game. Grant is solid and is deserving of this spot.
10: Al Horford, Boston Celtics
Big Al had a solid season, followed by a remarkable postseason. While having Tatum, Brown, and Smart be the heavy lifters, he showed out a few times in games where they needed him too. He had a few big games against the Bucks to get them through that series and had a good series vs. the Warriors, where they lost. I wanted to put him higher but couldn’t justify it due to the regular season stats.
9: Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers
Some might be mad that the rookie is this high, but he has earned it. He was a key contributor to one of the NBA’s most surprising teams. Most fans and analysts thought it would take another year before the Cavaliers would be good, but they showed they are here now. He averaged 15 points, eight rebounds, one steal, and one and a half blocks per game. The power forward is a defensive beast and should stay at the top of this list. Unfortunately, he isn’t the highest rookie on this list.
8: Scottie Barnes, Toronto Raptors
Here is the highest rookie on this list. Now, if you had Mobley above him, I wouldn’t hate it, but I give the slight edge to Barnes based on team success. He averaged 15 points per game, eight rebounds, four assists, and a steal. He has a promising career ahead of him in Toronto that I think could lead to multiple all-star selections. Possibly starting with next year.
7: John Collins, Atlanta Hawks
This is a true power forward as your old head grandpa wants to see. He gets rebounds, throws down lobs, and shuts up. He was also excellent in the playoff in 2021 but not so well this year. This year he averaged 16 points, eight rebounds, and two assists to go along with one block. Also, reasonably surprisingly shot 36 percent from three. If he stays with Trae Young, he can be significant.
6: Keldon Johnson, San Antonio Spurs
Some people will not be thrilled with this. But this is also the new age of power forward—a good perimeter defender who can stretch the floor if necessary. He averaged 17 points per game, six rebounds, two assists, and a steal. Not to mention he shot 40 percent from three. Johnson is excellent and will continue developing as well. I could see him in the top five next year if he keeps it up.
5: Tobias Harris, Philadelphia 76ers
I don’t believe Tobias Harris is the right player for the 76ers. He is an excellent player who could be an all-star but lacks that factor. He plays up to power forward as he is only 6’8. Last year he averaged 17 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. I expect to see a trade including Harris go down this off-season, but for now, he has been good for Philly.
4: Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans
Zion was the most hyped-up player since, arguably, LeBron James. But it seems like he is eating himself out of the NBA. He’s had foot issues since college, once breaking his shoe open during a game against North Carolina. Injuries are holding him back right now, but he is an all-star when he plays. Just wait; when he returns, he might be top three.
3: Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies
A few people’s jaws just dropped reading that. But he has more than earned a top-three spot on this list. First, this isn’t a top-heavy list; a lot of the top guys are injured, sadly. Second, he is an elite defender. While playing second fiddle to Ja Morant and arguably Dillon Brooks, he put up 16 points, six rebounds, a steal, and two and a half blocks per game. Jackson is one of the best defenders in the NBA and deserving of this spot.
2: Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers
It sucks to see a player of his caliber be hurt so much. When he is playing, he can do absolutely everything on the court. That’s also part of the Lakers struggles, as they rely on him heavily, and he is just hurt. When he played this year, he averaged 23 points, ten rebounds, three assists, a steal, and two and a half blocks per game. He is an exceptional player, and I hope he returns fully healthy soon. He is absolutely everything a power forward should be.
1: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
There was never any honest debate to start. Giannis is one of the league’s most promising stars, and if he keeps up his rate, he could end up in the “GOAT” conversation. He led the Bucks to a title in 2021, winning the finals MVP, but he followed up well this year. He averaged 30 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists. Not to mention a steal and a block per game. Giannis is by far the best, and it isn’t necessarily close. He would have also beaten the Celtics if Jrue Holiday knew how to play basketball or Khris Middleton played.