ESPN.com's Greatest Power Forwards

Tim Duncan edges Karl Malone for best power forward ever.

Originally Published: June 2, 2005
ESPN.com

Editor's note: With Tim Duncan leading the Spurs back to the NBA Finals for the third time in seven years, we decided it was time to determine ESPN.com's greatest all-time power forward. This ranking was compiled using top 10 lists from a panel of ESPN.com NBA experts. The voters were: Greg Anthony (GA), Chris Broussard (CB), Ric Bucher (RB), John Hollinger (JH), Scoop Jackson (SJ), Brian James (BJ), Tim Legler (TL), Eric Neel (EN), Jack Ramsay (JR), Marc Stein (MS), Tom Tolbert (TT).

Players received 10 points for a first-place vote, nine points for second and so on down to one point for a 10th-place vote. If you don't like our rankings, click here to make your own.

Top 10 Power Forwards
Player/Voter GA CB RB JH SJ BJ TL EN JR MS TT Total
1. Duncan 10 10 10 8 8 9 9 9 8 10 10 101
2. Malone 9 9 6 9 10 10 10 8 10 9 8 98
3. Barkley 5 8 5 6 9 4 8 7 2 8 9 71
4. McHale 4 4 9 3 7 8 5 6 6 7 6 65
5. Pettit 8 5 7 10 6 6 4 5 9 3 -- 63
6. Garnett -- 7 4 7 1 7 6 10 7 4 -- 53
7. Hayes 6 6 8 -- 5 3 7 1 -- 6 7 49
8. Debusschere 7 -- -- -- 3 5 2 -- -- -- -- 17
9. B. Williams -- -- -- -- -- 2 1 -- 4 2 4 13
10. Nowitzki -- 2 -- 4 -- -- -- -- -- 5 -- 11
Others receiving votes (points): Amare Stoudemire (9), Chris Webber (9), Dennis Rodman (7), Dolph Schayes (7), Horace Grant (5), Ben Wallace (4), Spencer Haywood (3), Luke Jackson (3), Gus Johnson (3), Rasheed Wallace (3), Shawn Kemp (2), Bob McAdoo (2), George McGinnis (2), Charles Oakley (2), Connie Hawkins (1), Jerry Lucas (1), Vern Mikkelson (1)



Tim Duncan
Duncan
1. Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs, 1998-present
TD dominates at both ends of the floor. The Big Fundamental has two NBA championships with San Antonio in 1999 and 2003 (more than Malone, Barkley and Pettit combined). Stats and awards don't begin to tell the Tim Duncan story, but here are a few. MVP awards in 2002 and 2003, an all-league defender, and a 22.8 points per game average in his first seven seasons.

Karl Malone
Malone
2. Karl Malone – Utah Jazz, L.A. Lakers 1986-2004
The Mailman is simply the best low-post scoring power forward ever. And he was a lethal mid-range shooter. The 11-time NBA first-team player is second all-time in NBA scoring. The guy scored 36,928 points. That's a lot of picks and rolls and post ups. His 25.0 career average is another reason why this two-time MVP was voted onto the NBA's Top 50 squad.

Charles Barkley
Barkley
3. Charles Barkley – Philadelphia 76ers,
Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets 1985-2000

At less than 6-foot-5, Barkley is, inch for inch, arguably the most productive player ever. This top 50 player of all-time was a relentless scorer and one of the strongest in the low post. He was a first or second NBA teamer for 10 seasons. Over 16 seasons, Barkley averaged 22.1 points.

Kevin McHale
McHale
4. Kevin McHale – Boston Celtics 1981-1993
Greatest post moves ever at the four spot. One-third of the best frontline of all time. McHale not only was voted as one of the NBA's Top 50, but won three championships with the Celtics in 1981, '84, and '86. Early in his career, he became one of the greatest sixth men ever. McHale spent his entire career with Boston, averaging 17.9 points.

Bob Pettit
Pettit
5. Bob Pettit – Milwaukee/St. Louis Hawks 1955-1965
Defined power-forward position. Before him there were just forwards. Pettit's Hawks topped the Celtics with Bob Cousy and Bill Russell in the NBA Finals in 1958. This top 50 player off all-time averaged 26.4 points over his career. This is quite a feat considering the era in which he played.


Kevin Garnett
Garnett
6. Kevin Garnett – Minnesota T-wolves 1996-present
Garnett plays the right way. He brings it every night. The MVP in 2004, Garnett is a four-time All-NBA defensive team member and has made the first or second All-NBA time five times. K-G has averaged 20.2 points and 11.1 rebounds over his career, all with the T-wolves.


Elvin Hayes
Hayes
7. Elvin Hayes – San Diego/Houston Rockets, Baltimore/Capital/Washington Bullets 1969-1984
The Big E was an offensive machine. He could score from anywhere plus rebound and defend. Hayes voted one of the top 50 players of all-time. Won a championship with Washington in 1978 and is its all-time leader in points and blocked shots.

Dave DeBusschere
DeBusschere
8. Dave DeBusschere – Detroit Pistons,
New York Knicks 1963-1974

One of the links to two championship teams in New York in 1970 and 1973. DeBusschere was a strong, smart forward who could shoot with the best of them. He was voted as one of the top 50 players of all time.


Buck Williams
Williams
9. Buck Williams – New Jersey Nets, Portland Trail Blazers, New York Knicks 1982-1998
Buck played 17 seasons with three teams and was one of the toughest, hard-nosed leaders of his era. Like Garnett, he came to play every single night. Buck is the all-time leading scorer and rebounder in New Jersey Nets history and helped the Blazers get to the Finals in 1990.

Dirk Nowitzki
Nowitzki
10. Dirk Nowitzki – Dallas Mavericks 1999-Present
No power forward dead or alive could keep him from dropping 20. Maybe Rodman. Best shooting big man ever … and he can drive and dunk it like a swinger. Another revolutionary, like Malone.