First off, let's take a look at Palmer's top-5. #1--Blake Griffin, last year's rookie of the year is already considered the NBA's top power forward? Are you serious? Sure, Blake Griffin is going to be an incredible power forward and he already is one of the top 4's in the League. There are plenty of others deserving of the top spot. #2--Dirk Nowitzki, how could you watch Dirk in the playoffs just a few mere months ago and not give him the #1 spot? Dirk is the greatest power forward in the NBA, right now!! Will that change in the next couple years? Definitely! #3--Amar'e Stoudemire, I don't see how someone who is incapable of playing defense is still plopped #3 on the list. I'd say Amar'e is #5 at best! #4--Kevin Love, I won't lie, I really like Kevin Love, he's got a great all-around game, I hope he'll develop a better back-to-the-basket game and of course--low-post defense, but at only 22, he's far from his prime and he's going to be a special player in this League for years to come (hopefully in Minnesota). #5--Pau Gasol, the Lakers big man is a solid player--an offensive and defensive threat. In October & November of 2010 he was a beast, he'd be rated #1 at that time--the man was killing it, I could see him being a bit higher, but following his lackluster playoff performance and his knack for disappearing at times and not exerting himself, #5 makes sense.
So, there you have it, the top-5 NBA power forwards in the NBA today...I'd have to disagree, let's take a look at our top-5!
#1--Dirk Nowitzki: he's the best power forward in the NBA today, that'll change in the coming years, but after those 2011 NBA playoffs, I don't see how it could even be an argument.
#2--LaMarcus Aldridge: How can you forget about LA and the incredible year he had in 10-11? He carried the injury-plagued Blazers to a #6 seed in the playoffs--lost to the eventual NBA champion--Mavericks in the first round. Aldridge was snubbed in the All-Star vote and then K-Love was picked over him to replace the injured Yao Ming. LA hasn't garnered much respect, but here's mine!
#3--Pau Gasol: He's a little inconsistent and a little soft under the basket, but when he's on, he's unstoppable, Pau Gasol is one of the best in the League and, like Dirk--that'll change in the coming years (with the emergence of Griffin, Love, LA etc.).
#4--Zach Randolph: Randolph, like LA got the snub in the all-star votes in 10-11, after making his first appearance in 09-10. He is the hear and soul of the Memphis Grizzlies and was the key cog in their defeating the Spurs and of course taking the young Thunder to the limit, before being ousted in 7-games in the Conference Semis! Randolph is only 29 and is clearly in the prime of his career!
#5--Blake Griffin: I debated whether I thought Griffin or Amar'e should be #5, but inevitably Amar'e's lackluster defense is a big negative. What can be said about Griff though...he's the future of the NBA power forward and in the coming years he'll be the best of the best...if he can stay healthy! His reckless playing style is fun to watch and all, but let's hope he's taking better care of his body going forward, or it could be another Clipper career destroyed by injury.
So, there it is. Yeah, I realize I don't have Kevin Love on my list, but I really don't think he's quite there yet. To me, you have to be solid on both sides of the ball and until I see Love making the improvements on his defensive game, he'll be merely an honorable mention to these other guys. Same goes for Amar'e, but if he's not committed to playing defense at this stage in his career, he'll never be! I also realize a lot of you will think LA is way to high, but I got a chance to see him pick apart the TWolves game after game last season (I realize the TWolves defense is atrocious), but his size, quickness, athleticism, jump shot, defense & shot release are just incredible! Furthermore, I strongly believe that if Al Horford would/could play the 4, he'd be one of the best in the League. KG & Tim Duncan would have made the list 3 years ago, but Old Father Time is catching up quick (the same will happen soon enough to Dirk & Pau)!! Chris Bosh would be on the list if he wasn't in the shadows of the Big 2, he'd be one of the tops if he was still playing in Toronto however. Serge Ibaka's stock is rising fast and the guy is a defensive dynamo, he'll be moving up the list very soon as well.
#10--Tim Duncan & Serge Ibaka
Back to Kevin Love though. Like I said, if he can improve his back-to-the-basket game and more importantly his low-post D, he could easily shoot to the top of the list in the coming years. At 22, he could be scary good! But (brace yourselves Wolves fans), if the TWolves can't win more than 30 games next season, I'd expect him to opt in for one more year (2012-13), so that in the summer of 2013 he can become and unrestricted free agent and bolt (my stomach churns just thinking about it).
That's all for now, thanks for reading, you can check out the article by Chris Palmer at espn.com/nba And remember to check back daily for all your up-to-date TWolves news, information & updates all year round! GO WOLVES!