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A power forward's job is to control the low block area -- they are able to play with their backs to the basket as well as step out to nail a mid-range jumper. Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett are known to have that skillset. Some are also known for their ability to intimidate with powerful dunks, like Blake Griffin. Then you have the Carmelo Anthony and Dirk Nowitzki types who can pretty much do it all, from inside the paint to outside the arc. How do you round out the NBA's best at the four position? NBA insider Bradford Doolittle had his say and so did the NBA 5-on-5 crew, but now it's time for SportsNation to weigh in.

Rank 'Em: Point guards | Shooting guards | Centers | NBA teams' under-25 talent

NBA Power Forwards

LaMarcus Aldridge

LaMarcus Aldridge

Portland Trail Blazers
2012-13: 21.1 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 1.2 BPG

Ryan Anderson

Ryan Anderson

Pelicans
2012-13: 16.2 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 0.4 BPG

Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony

Knicks
2012-13: 28.7 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 2.6 APG

Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis

Pelicans
2012-13: 13.5 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.8 BPG

Tim Duncan

Tim Duncan

Spurs
2012-13: 17.8 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 2.7 BPG

Kenneth Faried

Kenneth Faried

Nuggets
2012-13: 11.5 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 1.0 APG

Derrick Favors

Derrick Favors

Jazz
2012-13: 9.4 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.7 APG

Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett

Nets
2012-13: 14.8 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 0.9 BPG

Pau Gasol

Pau Gasol

Lakers
2012-13: 13.7 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 1.2 BPG

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin

Clippers
2012-13: 18.0 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 0.6 BPG

Al Horford

Al Horford

Hawks
2012-13: 17.4 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 1.1 BPG

Serge Ibaka

Serge Ibaka

Thunder
2012-13: 13.2 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 3.0 BPG

LeBron James

LeBron James

Heat
2012-13: 26.8 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 7.3 APG

David Lee

David Lee

Warriors
2012-13: 18.5 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 0.3 BPG

Kevin Love

Kevin Love

Timberwolves
2012-13: 18.3 PPG, 14.0 RPG, 0.5 BPG

Paul Millsap

Paul Millsap

Hawks
2012-13: 14.6 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.0 BPG

Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki

Mavericks
2012-13: 17.3 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 0.7 BPG

Zach Randolph

Zach Randolph

Grizzlies
2012-13: 15.4 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 0.4 BPG

Josh Smith

Josh Smith

Pistons
2012-13: 17.5 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 4.2 APG

David West

David West

Pacers
2012-13: 17.1 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 0.9 BPG

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For the first time in a long time, the Lakers will have the lineup they were planning on when they signed Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol will return to the Lakers tonight, and they will be thrown right back into the starting lineup. The Lakers have been a different team in the second half and are comfortably over .500 -- since they're finally healthy, will they actually be a team to beat come playoff time? That is, if they make the playoffs, of course.

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A week ago, the Lakers were embroiled in controversy, coming off a contentious players-only meeting, then falling to a season-worst eight games below .500. Suddenly their season seems to have turned around. They've won three in a row for the first time since Christmas, with Kobe Bryant playing distributor and Pau Gasol as a sixth man. But will it last? And did the turnaround come in time to salvage the Lakers' playoff hopes?

More: How will Steve Nash be received in his return to Phoenix?


Count on Kobe ... to pass?

Kobe Bryant has taken on the role of facilitator the past three games. Will that work long term?

SportsNation

Which Kobe Bryant is better for the Lakers?

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    81%
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    19%

Discuss (Total votes: 4,669)


Pau riding pine?

Mike D'Antoni moved Pau Gasol to a reserve role, and didn't use him in the fourth quarter Tuesday.

SportsNation

What do you make of Mike D'Antoni sitting Pau Gasol in the fourth quarter of Tuesday's 111-106 win over the Hornets?

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    59%
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    41%

Discuss (Total votes: 53,348)

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When ESPN.com's panel of experts ranked the top players in the NBA over the summer, the Heat and Lakers combined for seven of the top 19 spots. The two teams meet tonight for the first time this season, putting a combined 70 All-Star appearances and six MVP awards on the court. But how do the teams' star players stack up? Click on the images to submit your rankings. You must rank at least five for your vote to count.

All stats through Jan. 16, 2013

Best players among Heat, Lakers

Ray Allen

Ray Allen

10-time All-Star
2012-13: 11.3 PPG, 43.4% 3-pt FG

Shane Battier

Shane Battier

2012-13: 8.4 PPG, 38.3% 3-pt FG

Chris Bosh

Chris Bosh

7-time All-Star
2012-13: 17.8 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.4 BPG

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant

14-time All-Star
2012-13: 29.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 4.8 APG

Mario Chalmers

Mario Chalmers

2012-13: 7.9 PPG, 40.8% 3-pt FG

Pau Gasol

Pau Gasol

4-time All-Star
2012-13: 12.2 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 1.4 BPG

Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard

6-time All-Star
2012-13: 17.8 PPG, 12.6 RPG, 2.6 BPG

LeBron James

LeBron James

8-time All-Star
2012-13: 26.0 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 6.9 APG

Antawn Jamison

Antawn Jamison

2-time All-Star
2012-13: 7.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG

Steve Nash

Steve Nash

8-time All-Star
2012-13: 10.5 PPG, 8.9 APG

Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade

8-time All-Star
2012-13: 19.9 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 4.4 APG

Metta World Peace

Metta World Peace

1-time All-Star
2012-13: 13.6 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 1.8 SPG

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Usually, when Kobe Bryant drops 42 points on an opposing team, it results in a solid, decisive win. That's what happened on Monday night, except this time, the Thunder were the ones running away with it. The Lakers looked slow and and out of sorts throughout the series, with Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum coming under fire more than once for lackluster play. Kobe still seems to have his killer instinct, but do the Lakers need a major overhaul if he's going to get another ring?


Gasol or Bynum?

The Lakers have big decisions to make regarding the dual futures of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum.

SportsNation

What should the Lakers do with Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum?

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    11%
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    15%
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    44%
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    30%

Discuss (Total votes: 23,678)


Is Bynum essential?

Andrew Bynum showed his stuff in several games this season, looking like the best player on the court for extended periods of time.

SportsNation

How confident are you that Andrew Bynum can be a cornerstone of a championship team?

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    12%
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    37%
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    51%

Discuss (Total votes: 22,649)


Kobe's mileage?

Kobe Bryant isn't getting any younger, and some additional minutes at the London Olympics may make him that much more tired next season.

SportsNation

Should Lakers fans be worried about Kobe Bryant playing in the Olympics this summer?

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    63%
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    37%

Discuss (Total votes: 22,658)


Brown's future?

Mike Brown came under some criticism this season, but still led his team into the second round of the playoffs.

SportsNation

Is Mike Brown the right coach for the Lakers?

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    31%
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    69%

Discuss (Total votes: 22,418)

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