As a former power forward, I take great pride in teaching my players the subtleties of the position. The position is in a bit of recession after the western conference battles of Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan have conceded to father time, but a new breed, with the likes of Kevin Love, Blake Griffin and Lamarcus Aldridge are ushering in the new era with style!
Power is the operate word here. Your power forward should be big and strong, the enforcer of your back line. Typically an aggressive and rugged player, who wants to rebound and defend first, shoot second. Not concerned about stats, and a sound post up player and passer. They also need a good mid-range game to help keep the floor spaced as well as an innate sense for offensive boards.
They should be one of top two defenders on team, strong on the low block, but more importantly strong mentally. They should play and be mentally tough, controlling the trenches, barking out commands like the middle linebacker in football.
If they don’t fully understand the concept behind help defense rotations, I wrote a great post on the intricacies of off-ball defense.
They don’t need to be a great scorer, but they should have at least one go to move in the low post. They should be doing the dirty work down low, trying to get an offensive rebound every single possession. And if they are an option on the low block, they should be able to make the pass out to the opposite wing to find shooters if the double comes.
A nice mid-range jumpshot is a huge asset, and though they shouldn’t live out at the three point line, a deadly three point shot can’t hurt either!
This is the power forward’s bread and butter. If there is one aspect of the game that they need to be absolutely dominant at, it’s rebounding. Everytime the ball goes up into the air, they should immediately start fighting for position. 10+ rebounds in a game shouldn’t be anything special – It should be the norm!
Often times, power forwards can end up as tweeners as they grow older – too small to play the four, and not skilled enough to play the three – make sure that doesn’t happen by giving them the tools to learn both forward spots!