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Ranking the best starting power forwards in the NBA for 2014-15

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Sonics Rising staff (and guests) weigh in on who we think the best NBA power forwards to be.

LaMarcus Aldridge may be as confused at his ranking as I am.
LaMarcus Aldridge may be as confused at his ranking as I am.
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The term power forward has faced quite the evolution from the early days in the NBA. I grew up watching the "classic" power forward: back to the basket, rarely ventured out to mid-range. Rebounding was his forte', and he was the enforcer on defense. Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, Charles Oakley, Dennis Rodman, of course Shawn Kemp.

My, how things have changed. The NBA's power forwards today are mobile, athletic, and as adept at playing down low as they are out behind the three-point line. With spacing a priority, the "Stretch-4" is all the rave in today's game. Though some things never change, the best power forwards in the league still rebound, defend, and enforce, just in different ways.

The rankings are a consensus of the SonicsRising crew and a few quests. Do you agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Tier 5: The Questionable Crew

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
30
bargs

Andrea Bargnani
27 30 29.0

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
29
evans

Reggie Evans
21 30 27.8

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
28
nerlens

Nerlens Noel
24 29 27.2

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
27
tjones

Terrence Jones
16 30 25.8

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
26
zeller

Cody Zeller
21 26 24.2

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
25
kg

Kevin Garnett
15 28 24.1

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
24
mmorris

Markieff Morris
17 29 23.8

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
23
mcbob

Josh McRoberts
18 30 22.7

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
22
jabari

Jabari Parker
17 29 22.2

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
21
kanter

Enes Kanter
18 30 21.8

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
20
sullinger

Jared Sullinger
14 26 21.3

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
19
boozer

Carlos Boozer
9 28 20.9

Notice the commonalities with this tier of players. They were at once high level starters (Carlos Boozer, Kevin Garnett), have yet to prove themselves consistently but are budding with potential (Nerlens Noel, Jabari Parker, Enes Kanter), or we think we know what they are, but we're just not sure (Jared Sullinger, Josh McRoberts, Markieff Morris, Terrence Jones).

Oh, then we have the Nutcracker, Reggie Evans and "Il Terribile" Andrea Bargnani (Who apparently thought the photographer was hot. Why else would you wink in your profile picture?).

They all have glaring questions coming into this season. Do KG and Boozer (who looks like your grandfather) have anything left to contribute to the the Nets and the Lakers respectively? Will Noel be more ready having sat out and watched a full NBA season? Can McBob (who looks like he's trying to out-sexy you) Sullinger, and Morris, Jones prove themselves as high level starters or are the destined for bench fodder? Can Kanter (aka the next James Bond villain) develop in the post and on defense enough to prove he's worth an extension?

This is a make or break year for almost everyone except the young ones in this tier.

Tier 4: The Underrated Ones

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
18
amir

Amir Johnson
16 22 17.9

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
17
frye

Channing Frye
15 21 17.3

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
16
thaddeus

Thaddeus Young
13 23 16.3

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
15
nene

Nene
12 18 16.2

When Nene is healthy, his teams consistently win (Denver, Washington). He brings an underrated intelligence to the game. Many will tell you that Channing Frye was a major catalyst in the Phoenix Suns' surprising play last season. Amir Johnson has become one of the best defenders in the NBA, and you probably don't even know it, yet. Thaddeus Young has never been seen as a star, but he's one of the most underrated and versatile players in the league.

You know what's you're getting with this group, even if no one else notices.....yet.

Tier 3: The Consistent Starters

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
14
pau

Pau Gasol
11 18 13.3

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
13
faired

Kenneth Faried
10 14 11.9

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
12
west

David West
9 16 11.8

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
11
milsap

Paul Milsap
8 14 11.5

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
10
milsap

David Lee
9 15 11.3

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
9
monroe

Greg Monroe
5 16 10.2

Night in and night out this group brings it to the table. Even with their shortcomings, they're dependable with the skills that they possess, no matter the circumstance.

The "This is my GQ look" Spaniard, Pau Gasol may not be the defender he once was, but he still can distribute the ball like no other, he's crafty and dependable in the paint, and he's not going to muck up the flow of any offense. Faried is the epitome of an energy guy, with issues on the defensive end. David West is still a load down low and on defense, though he's growing older by the minute. Paul Milsap probably belongs a little higher in the rankings, even if he's never going to be that rim protector that would make him a true star.

David Lee and Greg Monroe are near double-double threats that may be living off their reputations this high in the rankings rather than their true games. Both have glaring weaknesses at that end, even if they put up numbers night in and night out.

Tier 2: The Steady Veterans

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
8
z-bo

Zach Randolph
7 12 8.3

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
7
ibaka

Serge Ibaka
5 8 6.8

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
6
dirk

Dirk Nowitzki
5 9 6.0

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
5
duncan

Tim Duncan
5 7 5.8

Zach Randolph still looks like a version of Malcolm Jamal Warner (of "the Cosby Show" fame) and he's still throwing up 17 points and 10 rebounds in his sleep. Dirk and Duncan are going into their 18th and 17th seasons respectively of putting up 20s and 10s (especially in the playoffs). Steady, dependable and though they are getting older, it certainly doesn't seem like it.

Serge Ibaka may be the only one that can leap into the upper tier of power forwards we'll look at next. He's developed his jump shot to the point of it being near-automatic from mid-range. He's nearly creating a new category of player by himself.

Tier 1: The Cream of the Crop

Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
4
unibrow

Anthony Davis
1 4 3.1
Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
3
love

Kevin Love
1 4 2.4
Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
2
Griffin

Blake Griffin
1 4 2.3
Rank Team Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
1
aldridge

LaMarcus Aldridge
1 4 2.3

How LaMarcus Aldridge is number one is beyond me. Technically he had one more first place vote than Blake Griffin (hence the same ranking average). Looking at the case for Aldridge, he killed it in the first round of last year's playoffs. His 23 points and 11 rebounds were......ok, that's probably about it. I will give credit for stepping up and increasing his workload to great results. He was a no-brainer All-Star and should be a starter given Kevin Love's migration to the Eastern Conference.

Though I have to nitpick with this ranking. Kevin Love had the better stats, Blake Griffin scored more and carried the Los Angeles Clippers when point guard Chris Paul was out with a shoulder injury, and Anthony Davis is widely seen to inherit the next "Best Player in the League" title after LeBron James and Kevin Durant.

Now this isn't to discredit LMA, but his hold on best power forward is going to be a fight all year.