The power forward position today is not what it once was. Initially branded as players who operate near the rim and as an extension of the center, power forwards now struggle to stay on the court if they cannot stretch the floor.
What solidified this list of players is their ability to impact the game and help their team in a variety of ways. Additionally, they all have the accolades to support their ranking.
It was hard to leave several names off this list. Aaron Gordon, Kyle Kuzma, and Wendell Carter Jr. are just a few that come to mind.
But those are the tough decisions we have to make when cutting our list down to 10. That said, here are my top 10 power forwards in the NBA entering the 2023-24 season.
Top 10 NBA Power Forwards
10. Paolo Banchero, Orlando Magic
Paolo Banchero entered the league with high expectations after the Orlando Magic selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, and he didn’t fail to deliver.
Banchero earned the 2022-23 NBA Rookie of the Year Award because of his impressive first season, in which the Magic made a 12-win improvement.
The former Duke Blue Devil averaged 20 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game. He demonstrated an ability to operate with the ball in his hands and create plays for his teammates while also contributing immediately as a polished scorer.
After spending his offseason representing Team USA at the FIBA World Cup, Banchero is primed to enter the 2023-24 campaign with momentum.
9. Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers
Another highly drafted player coming out of college, Mobley is just scratching the surface of his potential and still warrants a spot on this list.
The No. 3 overall pick of the 2021 NBA Draft has quickly established himself as one of the best defenders in the league. Mobley finished third in last season’s Defensive Player of the Year voting, and his defensive prowess made the Cleveland Cavaliers one of the best units in the league. He led the NBA in defensive win shares (4.8) and averaged 1.7 blocks and nearly a steal per game.
At 6-foot-11, Mobley has great ball-handling skills and uses his size to his advantage on the boards (nine rebounds per game). However, he has plenty of room to improve on the perimeter after shooting 23.2% from three through his first two seasons, but he connected on 30% of his attempts from beyond the arc during his lone year at USC.
8. Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz
Last season’s NBA Most Improved Player of the Year Award winner, Markkanen broke out in a big way in 2022-23.
The Jazz were firmly in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race until much later in the season than people expected, and he nearly dragged a Utah team that wasn’t even necessarily trying to make the playoffs into the postseason.
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Markkanen posted averages of 25.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per game on remarkably efficient shooting splits. He shot 49.9% from the field, 39.1% from three, and 87.5% from the charity stripe, nearly recording the historic 50-40-90 shooting season.
Last season was the first of several All-Star appearances for the Finnish forward, also known as “The Finnisher.”
7. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
It is hard to believe that it has been eight years since the Minnesota Timberwolves selected Towns with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. He has gone on to have a decorated career, with three All-Star appearances, two All-NBA selections, and a Rookie of the Year Award to show for it.
Towns also won the 2022 Three-Point Contest at NBA All-Star Weekend, solidifying himself as arguably the best-shooting big man in the league. His 20.8 points per game in the 2022-23 season was the lowest since his rookie season (18.3), showcasing how consistently dominant of a scorer he has been.
The Wolves’ power forward has averaged at least 1.1 blocks per game in seven of his eight seasons and 10-plus rebounds in six of eight, proving he can also bring the physicality needed at times to play the position.
Towns is also a great passer for his size, putting up a career-high 4.8 assists per game last year.
6. Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
When you play such a pivotal role for one of the NBA’s greatest dynasties and win four NBA Championships, there is no questioning your place as one of the league’s best power forwards. Green is a future Hall of Famer who will have his jersey hanging in the rafters of the Chase Center.
Green is a four-time All-Star, two-time All-NBA, eight-time All-Defensive selection, and a former Defensive Player of the Year Award winner. While he leaves much to be desired as a scorer, he can make up for it by contributing to other facets of the game.
Not only is Green one of the best defensive players of all time, but he also has amazing court vision and an incredible basketball IQ. His ability to operate as a coach on the floor has propelled him to average at least 6.8 assists per game each of the past eight seasons.
5. Julius Randle, New York Knicks
While he has struggled in his last two postseason appearances, Randle’s body of work speaks for itself.
Since signing with the New York Knicks in 2019, Randle has been one of the most consistent power forwards in the NBA. He has two All-Star appearances and two All-NBA selections in his last three seasons. The 2020-21 NBA Most Improved Player of the Year Award winner has been a cog for the Knicks.
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Last season, he averaged a career-high 25.1 points per game and averaged 10 rebounds and 4.1 assists per contest. He also ranked eighth in three-pointers made last season, earning himself a spot in the Three-Point Contest and proving he is one of the NBA’s best-shooting big men.
Randle has his flaws, but at his best, he is exceptionally tough to stop, plays with a relentless motor, and uses his physical stature to his advantage. His contributions to the Knicks, who have become a legitimate threat in the Eastern Conference, entrenches him on this list.
4. Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors
There is a trend beginning to form here. Toronto Raptors star Pascal Siakam is the third power forward on this list to have been named the NBA’s Most Improved Player.
Siakam has been mentioned in trade rumors for quite some time, and any team acquiring his services is receiving one of the most well-rounded power forwards in the NBA.
The Cameroonian is a two-time All-Star, two-time All-NBA selection, and 2019 NBA Champion. He played a major role in the Raptors’ run to the title, averaging 19 points, seven rebounds, and one steal per game as a 24-year-old who was the second option on a championship team. Since then, Siakam has blossomed into a terrific player.
In 2022-23, Siakam averaged career highs in points (24.2) and assists (5.8) while also grabbing 7.8 rebounds per game. His ability to facilitate an offense and create plays in transition using his blend of size and athleticism makes him a handful for opposing defenses.
3. Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans
It is not a question of talent for New Orleans Pelicans power forward Zion Williamson. It is a matter of availability and commitment to being one of the game’s greats.
Williamson has played in 114 combined games through his first four NBA seasons, but he has been dominant in those 114 games.
The 22-year-old has already established himself as a historically efficient scorer. Williamson has averaged 25.8 points per game while shooting 60.5% from the field in his young career.
Williamson is 6-foot-6 and weighs nearly 300 pounds while moving like a gazelle with a basketball in his hands. Not many players can take over a game like the No. 1 overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft can.
If he can stay healthy, the sky’s the limit for this young man.
2. Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies
Another young yet remarkably talented young power forward who has battled his fair share of injuries, Jaren Jackson Jr. is one of the most elite power forwards in basketball.
His defensive aptitude and ability to stretch the floor on the offensive end make him a no-brainer on this list. His incredible athleticism enables him to dominate on both sides of the floor.
Jackson Jr. took a major step forward to become an All-Star for the first time in 2022-23 and won NBA Defensive Player of the Year honors. He averaged 18.6 points per game, shot 35.5% from beyond the arc, and led the league with three blocks per game. The scary part is he did all this while playing less than 30 minutes per game.
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The 23-year-old represented Team USA alongside Banchero at the 2023 FIBA World Cup. Based on his performance, it seems he has another gear he has yet to hit at the NBA level.
Last season was only the beginning for Jackson Jr. and the first of many All-Star appearances.
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
While Draymond Green has the most championship rings on this list, Giannis Antetokounmpo is the most decorated.
In addition to winning two MVPs, Antetokounmpo is a seven-time All-Star and All-NBA selection. He also was the 2020 Defensive Player of the Year and 2021 NBA Finals MVP and is a member of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team.
His jump shot leaves plenty to be desired, but the “Greek Freak” is a human battering ram on the offensive end. He has averaged at least 26.9 points per game while shooting 52.9% or better from the floor in each of his past six seasons.
Last year, Antetokounmpo averaged a career-high 31.1 points per game to go with 11.8 rebounds and 5.7 assists, leading the Bucks to the best record in the NBA. He is the league’s premiere two-way player, dictating the outcome of a game on both ends of the floor on any given night.