The power forward position features three potential MVP candidates when all players are healthy. The position is so versatile these days as power forwards in the modern era can score, rebound, and now playmaker. That is why two players at the top are favored to win the MVP this season, as well as contend for Defensive Player of the Year.
This list altogether features two of the last four Most Improved Players of the Year, two former Defensive Players of the Year, and a candidate for becoming the next face of the league. At the top, Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo’s seven-game series in the playoffs were a foundational step in what is becoming one of the league’s top rivalries.
2020-2021 Stats: 21.4 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 4.5 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.7 BPG
Siakam has a lot more growing up to do if he is going to be considered a top-10 power forward in this league. When Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green left after the Raptors won a championship in 2019, the team was looking at their 2019 Most Improved Player of the Year to take over as the primary option on the team. That was even with Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, and future retired jersey member Kyle Lowry on the team.
Siakam made the All-Star team in 2020, but last year, when it was just Lowry and Siakam formed as a dynamic duo, they both failed to lift the Raptors to the playoffs. Now, Lowry is gone and this is truly Siakam’s team. Can he lead a team by himself, or is he truly a third-best player on a very good team?
10. Draymond Green
2020-2021 Stats: 7.0 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 8.9 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.8 BPG
We should not expect Green to win a Defensive Player of the Year ever again, but in a way, don’t we believe he has what it takes to win? Green remains one of the best big men defenders in the NBA. He is also the perfect example of what a role player will do. Green’s stats never pop out but averages a great value triple-double at the end of the day.
With Klay Thompson back, it feels like the 1996 Chicago Bulls are coming back reincarnated with the 2021 Warriors. There were two years within the six championship dynasty teams in Chicago that didn’t feature championships. Now, the Warriors are healthy. Green should be primed for a big season and has a very high ceiling in regards to these rankings.
9. John Collins
2020-2021 Stats: 17.6 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 1.2 APG, 0.5 SPG, 1.0 BPG
After averaging over 20 points the year before, we thought Collins was going to have a breakout campaign in a contract year. Collins produced a solid season despite not averaging a double-double. Collins saved his best performances for the playoffs, especially when Trae Young was inactive. Collins brings double-double potential but stretches the floor out.
Last year, Collins shot 39.8% from the three-point range. With a 6-foot-11 frame, that is very hard to stop. Assuming that Collins can revert to his 2019-2020 version of himself, he will be worth every penny that the Hawks spent this offseason. While Collins is not on the same level as a player like Kristaps Porzingis, he provides a lite version of that game, which could be an All-Star player this year.
8. Domantas Sabonis
2020-2021 Stats: 20.3 PPG, 12.0 RPG, 6.7 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.5 BPG
Speaking of All-Stars, Sabonis is entering his best years at the age of 25. In the last two years, we have seen a double-double machine, which ranked in the upper tiers in season double-doubles. Sabonis was also ranked in the top five for triple-doubles last season.
The Pacers rely on Sabonis completely in their offense. He is the focal point that gets everything going. Without Sabonis, the Pacers would not be as efficient. Last year, Sabonis averaged over 20 points for the first time in his career. Coming out of college, Sabonis was compared to Luis Scola and Marc Gasol. He is flat out better than either of these and could be better than his father by the end of his career.
7. Kristaps Porzingis
2020-2021 Stats: 20.1 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 1.6 APG, 0.5 SPG, 1.3 BPG
Assuming Porzingis is healthy, he is one of the best power forwards in the league. Again, that is assuming that he is healthy. Porzingis has not played over 60 games in a season since 2016-2017. He has played a combined 100 games for the Mavericks the last two years. When on the court, he is a 7-footer that shot 37.1% from three-point range and can defend the post.
Before Porzingis tore an ACL in 2018, he was averaging 22.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.4 blocks, and shot 39.5% from outside. This is the potential ceiling for the Mavericks if he can stay on the court. The next question is his relationship with Luka Doncic. Jason Kidd has a unicorn to work with, so which version will we get this season?
6. Julius Randle
2020-2021 Stats: 24.1 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 6.0 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.3 BPG
The 2021 Most Improved Player of the Year was the focal point of the team’s offense. What stands out is his ability to shoot outside now. In his first season with the Knicks, Randle shot 27% from the three-point range. Last year, that percentage grew to 41.1%. Combine that with a 20-point, 10-rebound, six-assist slash line, you have a borderline top-5 power forward in this league.
Randle is the closest productive big man the Knicks have had since Patrick Ewing. The difference between the two is that Randle has evolved his game to the modern day. If Randle can pick it up a little bit more on the defensive side, the Knicks will have a pretty dangerous team this season.
5. Jayson Tatum
2020-2021 Stats: 26.4 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 4.3 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.5 BPG
When looking at Tatum’s game, you have to see elements of a younger Kevin Durant. Tatum is not on the same level as Durant right now, but he is a lite version of him. Tatum has shot over 40% from outside two of his four seasons in the league, while his lowest overall percentage is just over 37%. The ceiling for Tatum is becoming the next Durant given his age at 23 years old and what the numbers say.
Every season since coming into the league, he has increased his production at points, rebounds, and assists. His overall shooting percentage has hovered around 45%, making him one efficient player. Tatum was a small forward last year and has been moved to power forward with the addition of Dennis Schroder. He was the fourth-most efficient small forward in the league, giving him a prime chance to repeat that this year.
4. Zion Williamson
2020-2021 Stats: 27.0 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 3.7 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.6 BPG
Williamson could be the most efficient power forward this season the way his track record is talking. The most important issue is that his health has sidelined him from being a full participant in a full season in either of his two seasons. Last year, his 27.17 player efficiency ranking were second-best in the league among power forwards. Williamson also had the second-most points at the position and led the league in field goal percentage at 61%.
With the parts surrounding him, will his overall stats go down? The Pelicans want to contend for a playoff spot. In theory, Williamson will have help getting this team over the hump. The third year is usually when we see young prospects take off. The talk surrounds Williamson as the next greatest player in this league. Let’s see if it will be true.
3. Anthony Davis
2020-2021 Stats: 21.8 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.2 SPG, 1.6 BPG
Davis played just 36 games last year, which was the fewest of his career. Outside of last season, Davis has been a consistent starter in the league. When healthy, he is a contender for being the best two-way power forward in the league. The previous year when the Lakers won the title, Davis did it all. Scored, rebounded, blocked, and even shot a three-point shot every so often. He was the Defensive Player of the Year runner-up, anchoring a top-3 Lakers team defense.
This year, Davis remains a top-3 power forward because he is not normally injury prone. Davis could also be moved to the team’s center position when the Lakers want to go small too. With that said, Davis is so versatile and can do so much on both sides of the court. We could see him potentially win the Defensive Player of the Year Award this season.
2. Kevin Durant
2020-2021 Stats: 26.9 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 5.6 APG, 0.7 SPG, 1.3 BPG
Had Durant not missed significant time, we might be talking about the best overall power forward and last year’s MVP. Durant was playing out of his mind last season before injuries limited him to 35 games. It was also his first season back after tearing his Achilles and missing all of 2019-2020. When Durant came back to the playoffs, he was just a toe length away from sending the Bucks packing, forcing Mike Budenholzer out of a job, and continuing the 50-year drought in Milwaukee.
Instead, Durant comes in as the runner-up given his health history, but make no mistake that Durant could easily be No. 1 by the end of the year. With doubts about Kyrie Irving’s availability, Durant has an even larger role. Durant is a leading favorite to win the MVP this season. Among power forwards, Durant was third in points, fifth in field-goal percentage, fifth in assists, and second in player efficiency (not counted on stat standings due to games). Keep an eye on the Nets, not only as championship favorites but also on what Durant is cooking each night.
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo
2020-2021 Stats: 28.1 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 5.9 APG, 1.2 SPG, 1.2 BPG
The most efficient player in the league last season and the 2021 Finals MVP tops our list as the best power forward in the 2021-2022 season. The two-time MVP and former Defensive Player of the Year displayed his greatness in the NBA Finals, including a 50-point game in Game 6. Giannis is going to be an MVP favorite once again and looks to lead the Bucks back to the Finals.
Last year, Giannis led all power forwards in points per game, was second in rebounds, second in field goals made and percentage, and was fourth in assists. He can do it all, but can also defend at a high level. Giannis is the best two-way player at the position. He is also the best overall player at the position until someone dethrones him this season. Will it be Durant and the Netz? That is why this rivalry game will be must-watch television.