First of all, I’ll apologize to Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, two of the best Power Forwards ever. But they’re obviously way past their peak, and there are better players in the PF position than them these days. And now to business, our fourth edition of best-by-position 2009-2010 NBA season preview, this time with the Power Forwards – Chris Bosh, Dirk Nowitzki, Amar’e Stoudemire, Pau Gasol and Lamarcus Aldridge.
Number 5 – LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers
The Dallas native, along with Brandon Roy, is a big part of the hype surrounding the Portland Trail Blazers and their playoff prospects in the last couple of years and the upcoming season. Aldridge makes Chicago regret they traded him every time he goes out on the floor. Last season, his third, he scored 18.1 points per game while rebounding 7.5 per game. He’s getting better and better each year since he’s entered the league, and this season is going to be no different.
Number 4 – Amar’e Stoudemire, Phoenix Suns
Yes, he’s got no D, despite him blocking 1.4 shots in his career, but when he’s healthy, and hopefully this season will be one of those healthy years for the 2003 Rookie of the year, Stoudemire is one of the most explosive big men and players in general in the league. He averaged 21.4 points and 8.1 rebounds per game last year, in which he missed almost 30 games, mostly due to his eye injury. This year, he’ll be one of those goggle-wearing players, a-la Hakeem and Kareem, but he’ll probably look more like Horace Grant. His numbers will probably be better as well.
Number 3 – Chris Bosh, Toronto Raptors
“The Ru Paul of Big Men”, as Shaq referred to him once, is also one of the best big men in the league, whether he’s playing Center or Power Forward. He’s averaged more than 22 points per game in each of his last four seasons, with last season scoring a career best 22.7 with 10 rebounds per game. Last season the Raptors missed the playoffs and are trying to build a team around Bosh (again) so they don’t lose him in the big free agency sweepstakes next summer.
Number 2 – Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers
Now that he’s added the Eurobasket title and the NBA championship in 2009, what will Gasol do for an encore in 2010? Despite taking a supporting role with the Lakers as opposed to his alpha-dog days with Memphis, Gasol has shown he is one of the best players in the league, helping the Lakers to two NBA finals since he’s arrived and giving Kobe his Shaq-less title last season. Gasol averaged 18.9 points and 9.5 rebounds per game during the season, and his playoff performance, especially on defense, were crucial in the Lakers title run.
Number 1 – Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks’ Franchise best player ever will continue to do what he does next season, which is almost everything. Score, rebound, defend, lead, win… a complete deal in one of the most versatile and difficult (or impossible) players to guard in the league. Nowitzki averaged 25.9 points per game with 8.4 rebounds last season and had an impressive, despite a tad short, playoff performance. He’ll lead the Mavs to another, maybe final attempt with the current roster to win the title. Chances are slim, but with Nowitzki, Dallas always have a chance in any game.