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Power forward (basketball)

File:Tim Duncan.jpg
Tim Duncan, a power forward, warming up before a game in 2009

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, one of which is rebounding. Many power forwards are noted for their mid-range jump-shot, and several players have become very accurate from Script error: No such module "convert".. These skills are more typically exhibited in the European style of play.

In the NBA, power forwards usually range from 6' 8" to 6' 11" (2.03–2.11 m) and Script error: No such module "convert". 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.


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, Mirza Teletovic, Charlie Villanueva, Antawn Jamison, Rasheed Wallace, Ersan Ilyasova, Ryan Anderson, Al Harrington, Channing Frye, LaMarcus Aldridge, Serge Ibaka, Andrea Bargnani, Jared Sullinger, Terrence Jones, Paul Millsap, Markieff Morris, Pero Antic, 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 7 inches (2.00 m) tall. Likewise, Charles Barkley was one of the most dominating power forwards, despite being 6 feet 6 inches (1.98 m). Barkley's playing weight of roughly Script error: No such module "convert". 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 Joakim Noah/Pau Gasol, David Robinson/Tim Duncan, and 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.