Tim Duncan is regarded as a top power forward in the history of the National Basketball Association (NBA).[1][2][3]
Breanna Stewart is regarded as a top power forward in the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA).[4]

The power forward (PF), also known as the four, is one of the five traditional positions in a regulation basketball game. Traditionally, power forwards have played a role similar to centers and are typically the second tallest player on the court. When on offense, they typically play with their backs towards the basket. When on defense, they typically position themselves under the basket in a zone defense or against the opposing power forward in man-to-man defense.[5] The power forward position entails a variety of responsibilities, including rebounding, screen setting, rim protecting, and scoring.[6]

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). Earlier, these skills were more typically exhibited in the European style of play. Some power forwards, known as stretch fours, have since extended their shooting range to include three-point field goals.[7]

In the NBA, power forwards usually range from 6' 8" (2.03 m) to 6' 11" (2.11 m) while in the WNBA, power forwards are usually between 6' 0″ (1.83 m) and 6′ 3″ (1.91 m). Despite the averages, a variety of players fit "tweener" roles which finds them in the small forward or center position depending on matchups and coaching decisions.[8] Some power forwards, such as Draymond Green and even 6' 5" (1.96 m) P. J. Tucker, have played at the center position, possessing the skills, but lacking the height that is usually associated with the position.[9]

Power forwards who have been inducted in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame include Karl Malone, Lauren Jackson, Vern Mikkelsen, Tina Thompson, Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Webber, Kevin Garnett, Dolph Schayes, Kevin McHale, Charles Barkley, Dennis Rodman, Elvin Hayes, Bob Pettit, Jerry Lucas, Dave Debusschere, and Tim Duncan.


  1. ^ "ESPN.com's Greatest Power Forwards". ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures. June 2, 2005. Retrieved December 11, 2023.
  2. ^ Rosen, Charley (July 18, 2005). "Best all-time power forwards". Fox Sports. MSN. Archived from the original on July 19, 2005. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  3. ^ DuPree, David (June 7, 2007). "Tim Duncan: Best power forward ever?". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved June 17, 2007.
  4. ^ "Who are the top five power forwards in the WNBA?". ESPN. ESPN. June 28, 2018. Retrieved June 3, 2024.
  5. ^ "NBA.com - Players and Positions". NBA.com.[dead link]
  6. ^ "How to Play Power Forward in Basketball". Hoops Addict. 25 May 2022.
  7. ^ Stankovic, Dusan (October 2018). "RELATION OF POWER, SPEED AND AGILITY IN BASKETBALL PLAYERS BY POSITION". ResearchGate. Retrieved November 26, 2023.
  8. ^ Burns, Scott (January 11, 2013). "Ranking the NBA's Best "Tweeners"". Bleacher Report. Retrieved March 26, 2020.
  9. ^ Stein, Marc (10 September 2020). "Rockets' 'Microball' Puts P.J. Tucker at the Center of Chaos". The New York Times.