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Power forward (PF) is a position in the sport of basketball. The position is referred to in playbook terms as the four position and is commonly abbreviated "PF". It has also been referred to as the "post" position. Power forwards play a role similar to that of center in what is called the "post" or "low blocks". They typically play offensively with their backs towards the basket and position themselves defensively under the basket in a zone defense or against the opposing power forward in man-to-man defense. The power forward position entails a variety of responsibilities. Many power forwards are noted for their mid-range jump-shot, and several players have become very accurate from 12 to 18 feet (3.7 to 5.5 m). These skills are more typically exhibited in the European style of play.
In the NBA, power forwards usually range from 6' 8" (2.03 m) to 7' (2.13 m) and 240 to 260 pounds (110 to 120 kg) or more. Despite the averages, a variety of players fit "tweener" roles which finds them in the small forward and/or center position depending upon matchups and coaching decisions. Some "natural" power forwards often play the center position and have the skills but lack the height that is associated with that position.
Examples of today's power forwards include Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki, Blake Griffin, Chris Bosh, Amar'e Stoudemire, Zach Randolph, Josh Smith, and LaMarcus Aldridge. Great power forwards of the past include Bob Pettit, Dennis Rodman, Ralph Sampson, Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, Chris Webber, and Kevin McHale.
While Dirk Nowitzki, for example, is not noted for his strong inside game or his physical post play, many of his skills, particularly his strong reliance on the jumper, compare favorably to those of a typical small forward. Other power forwards who add 3 point shooting to their skillset include Kevin Love, Charlie Villanueva, Rashard Lewis, Antawn Jamison, Rasheed Wallace, Ersan Ilyasova, Ryan Anderson, Channing Frye, Troy Murphy, Andrea Bargnani, Lamar Odom, LaMarcus Aldridge, Chris Bosh, Al Harrington, Kevin Garnett and many others.
Another example of an effective power forward who does not fit the standard template is Dennis Rodman, who was able to out-rebound and defend rival power forwards despite being only 6 feet 6 inches (1,98 m) tall. Likewise, Charles Barkley was one of the most dominating power forwards, despite being generously listed at 6 feet 4 3/4 inches (1.95 m). Barkley's playing weight of roughly 252 pounds (114 kg) was, however, typical for the position. Likewise, relatively short-statured Shawn Marion ranks among rebounding leaders; he is often listed as a small forward, but defends against many power forwards. Power forwards are not necessarily undersized; the duos of Andrew Bynum / Pau Gasol, David Robinson / Tim Duncan, & Ralph Sampson / Hakeem Olajuwon are notable pairs that could play either Power Forward or Center, and are often called Center-Forwards. Teams who possess two Center-Forwards have the advantage of having more possible lineups, thus enabling them to adjust better during the season (when one player is injured, for example).
Players who can be classified as "power forwards" and were named to the NBA's 50 Greatest Players list include Bob Pettit, Dave DeBusschere, Elvin Hayes, Jerry Lucas, Wes Unseld, Kevin McHale, Charles Barkley and Karl Malone.
- "Rashard Lewis Player Stats". Sports.espn.go.com. Retrieved 2012-05-18.
|Guards||1. Point guard||Combo guard (PG/SG)|
|2. Shooting guard||Guard-forward / Swingman (SG/SF)|
|Forwards||3. Small forward||Stretch forward / Cornerman (SF/PF)|
|4. Power forward||Point forward (PG/SF or PG/PF)|
|Center||5. Center||Forward-center / Bigman (PF/C)|
|Backcourt (PG/SG) | Frontcourt (SF/PF/C) | Captain | Head coach | Referees and officials|
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