5. Kevin Garnett
KG is one of the most intense and passionate players this game will ever see. Garnett was one of the more complete bigs of all time. He could score, rebound, pass, and defend at a high level most of his career. He was EXTREMELY versatile in his prime and could dominate the games in many different aspects. What throws a lot of people sour about KG is his playoff prior to becoming a Boston Celtic. He didn’t make it out the first round of the playoffs until his 8th playoff appearance in 2004. But in his defense he was playing in a very very tough Western Conference those seasons with teams like the Kings, Lakers, Blazers, Suns etc. However, Garnett did win a championship with the Celtics as their best player and had his famous “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLEEEEEE” when he won.
Peak Numbers (PTS/REB/AST/STL/BLK/FG%): 21/11.5/4.5/1.4/1.6/49%
4. Charles Barkley
The Round Mound of Rebound. At 6’6 250/260lbs he was unstoppable after rebounds on his one man fastbreaks. Barkley’s efficiency on offense was a HUGE reason why I have him at #4. Chuck never shot below 47% for an entire season. KG’s PRIME fg% average is 49% just for reference. Him and Kevin Garnett are quite similar actually as it comes to why they are lower on the list as both had limited playoff success. Barkley only made it to one conference final in his prime. That year was 92-93 where his Suns lost to the Michael Jordan and the Bulls in 6 games.
Peak Numbers: 23.9/11.7/4.2/1.7./0.9/54%
3. Dirk Nowitzki
The greatest European player of all time and it’s not even close. He cracks the top 3 for me. I know I’m gonna get the “oh, he was soft, he didn’t play defense, he wasn’t a good rebounder for his size”. Soft? What does that have to do anything with your basketball ability? He’s not a BAD defender he’s just not a good one. Rebounding? Prime Dirk averaged 8.3 rpg. That isn’t bad at all. In the playoffs he averaged 10 rpg. Dirk raised his level of play in the playoffs averaging 25p-10r opposed to 22p-8r in the regular season. Nowitzki is also 1-1 in the finals. Losing in 2006 to the Miami Heat and winning in 2011 against the Miami Heat. Dirk carried a team with Josh Howard and Jason Terry as the other two best players to a 67 win regular season. I know, the lost in the first round of the playoffs BUT 67 wins and a first seed in the west is pretty impressive.
Peak Numbers: 23.9/8.5/2.7/0.9/1.0/47%
2. Karl Malone
The Mailman. Easily the best scoring power forward of all time. He’s second all time in total points, 6th in offensive win shares, and averaged 25 ppg in THREE (3) different decades! That’s freaking insane. His efficiency makes his scoring prowess even more mind-blowing. 51% career shooter was Malone. So let’s be real here, Malone did benefit from playing alongside a HOFer like John Stockton. But in my opinion Malone made Stockton more than Stockton made Malone. Karl also stepped his game up in the playoffs, averaging 26.3 ppg, 10.7 rpg, and 3.2 apg. Malone was just very unfortunate to run into Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the finals two times in a row.
Peak Numbers: 26.9/10.7/3.4/1.4/0.8/52%
This was a no brainer for me. Duncan was the driving force behind the Spurs winning culture since he has arrived he has arrived in the league. The Spurs haven’t won less than 50 games (barring lockout seasons) with Duncan as the franchise player. Duncan led the Spurs in win shares 12 times over his career. He also has 5 championships. I’m not a rings are the most important” kind of guy but it had to be said. 15x All defensive selection screams for him to be in the GOAT defender conversation as well. I mentioned playoff success with every player. Duncan obviously has had the most success team wise winning 5 championships. His 03 playoff run was one of the absolute best ever. This man was putting up 23.9 ppg, 15.4 rpg, 5.3 apg, and 3.3 bpg. Crazy numbers. In the finals against the New Jersey Nets he was even better than that. 24.2 ppg, 17 rpg, 5.3 apg, 1 spg, and 5.3 bpg on 49% shooting. Greatest Power Forward ever.