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Ranking The Top Five NBA Power Forwards Heading Into 2022/23

Who are the elite modern power forwards in today’s NBA, who can crash the boards, lead a fastbreak in transition, and sink a mid-range jumper, all while still striking fear in the hearts of low-post defenders?

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The power forward position, much like the center position, has evolved a great deal over the past two decades. The 1990s were highlighted by muscle-bound enforcers at the position, like Charles Oakley, Horace Grant, Rick Mahorn, and of course Karl Malone. They did the dirty work underneath, cleared the boards, and made some borderline football plays in the lane.

While there are still some “throwback” players at the position, the league is all about the “stretch-four” in today’s world. The best power forwards in the NBA can run the floor, defend virtually any position, and pop up from mid-to-long range, stretching the floor and wreaking havoc on traditional defensive schemes.

So, who are the elite modern power forwards in today’s NBA? Who are the big men down low who can crash the boards, lead a fastbreak in transition, and sink a mid-range jumper, all while still striking fear in the hearts of low-post defenders? Let’s dig a bit deeper, and nail down the top five power forwards in the NBA heading into the 2022/23 NBA season:

5. Julius Randle

Julius Randle had some seriously rough moments in 2021/22, as did the entire Knicks franchise, who went from a Cinderella-story playoff squad the year prior to an Eastern Conference bottom-feeder once again. That said, Randle still put-up elite numbers for his position, with averages of 20.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game.

Unfortunately, Randle played highly inefficient basketball at times, his three-point shooting came back down to earth, and he eventually appeared fully disengaged from the team as trade rumors began to swirl. That said, he is far from the first player to have a bit of a fall-from-grace thanks to James Dolan’s inept franchise, so I won’t put all the blame on Randle. And lest we forget, he is one year removed from an All-Star effort in which he averaged 24.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 6.0 assists.

If Randle can come close to reclaiming his 2020/21 form and the Knicks can operate like a functional franchise once again, he is a shoo-in for this top-five position. However, youngsters like ROTY Scottie Barnes and Evan Mobley are right on his tail, and a repeat of last year could push him quite a few spots down.

4. Pascal Siakam

Pascal Siakam continues to be one of the most underrated players in the NBA. The former NBA Most Improved Player, NBA Champion, and one-time All-Star has led a talented young core in keeping the Toronto Raptors on the map in recent years despite having no true “superstar” player. Siakam once again put up All-Star-caliber numbers in 2021/22 (despite not earning an All-Star nod), averaging 22.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 1.3 steals per game.

Siakam has averaged 20+ points per game for three-straight seasons and helped the Raptors bounce back in their first Kyle Lowry-less campaign to win 48 games and earn the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. They ultimately fell in six games to the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the playoffs.

Pascal Siakam gave the Raptors a great deal of flexibility in their lineups, spending time at each of three front-court positions at points during the year. He is a rock-solid player on both ends of the floor, and is supremely athletic, making him a serious threat in transition.

Siakam has made incredible strides in his game through his first six seasons, and there is no reason to think he won’t continue to improve. He may even be joined on this list by his young frontcourt running mate, Scottie Barnes, this time next year.

3. Zion Williamson

The return of Zion Williamson is one of the most exciting narratives in the league heading into the 2022/23 season. Williamson is perhaps the most electrifying player in the league when healthy. His thunderous dunks are scarier than anything a young Lebron James could have conjured up, and he is a highly efficient player when healthy.

However, those last words are the key. Through three years in the league, Williamson has played in just 85 games, including missing all of last season with a foot injury. Can Williamson’s 6’6″, 285+ frame hold up for an entire NBA season? It hasn’t yet, and he’s only 22 years old.

That said, if he does bounce back and have a healthy season, he will be one of the best players in the league as he was in his sophomore campaign. That season he averaged 27.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 3.7 assists while shooting over 60% from the field.

If he does bounce back, he may overtake the number two guy on this list and challenge a former MVP for power-forward dominance. If he does bounce back, his New Orleans Pelicans could make some serious noise in 2022/23.

2. Anthony Davis

Not unlike the previous player on this list, how good Anthony Davis will be in 2022/23 depends entirely on his health. When healthy, Davis is considered a borderline top-five player in the NBA, and the Lakers are serious championship contenders. When he is hurt, well, just look at the 2021/22 season for his team.

Davis is an eight-time All Star who has consistently had his name in the MVP conversation throughout his career. He has been very consistent with his career averages of 23.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 2.3 blocks per game. He is truly elite on both ends of the floor.

However, he has struggled throughout his entire career to stay healthy through an entire season and postseason. Last year, he played in just 40 games and the Lakers fell apart in his absence. He played in just 36 games the year before.

However, he is still only 29 years old (though he has been in the league for a decade). It is far too early to give up on A.D., and in fact, several pundits are so confident in Davis’ abilities that they have prematurely thrown his name in the MVP conversation for 2022/23 already.

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo

This one should come as a no-brainer. Giannis Antetokounmpo is just 27 years old and has back-to-back NBA MVP seasons under his belt. He is a year removed from taking the long-suffering Milwaukee Bucks franchise to an NBA championship. He is truly dominant on both ends of the basketball court.

Antetokounmpo recorded his sixth-straight All-Star campaign last season while producing truly elite numbers of 29.9 points, 11.6 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.4 blocks per game while shooting over 55% from the field. He was once again heavily in the MVP conversation, leading the Bucks to the second round of the playoffs before they fell in seven games to the eventual conference-champion Boston Celtics.

Giannis has a strong argument to be considered the best player in the NBA, let alone the best at his position. And he is only getting better, as his jump shot has gradually improved over time. Giannis once again has his Bucks as one of the favorites to reach the NBA Finals in 2023.

Written By

Raptors fan since '95, Eagles fan since I can remember. Anthropologist turned logistics professional turned hopeful sports writer. Dog dad of three. Excited to share my passion for sports!

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