Chart: Evolution of the power forward

  • Updated: February 15, 2014 - 8:08 PM

Evolution of the power forward

A chronological look at power forwards with Minnesota ties tells the story of the evolution of the position:

Vern Mikkelsen

Pro years: 1949-59

The Minneapolis Lakers Hall of Famer from Askov, Minn., is generally considered the NBA’s first true power forward. The 6-7, 230-pounder averaged double-double in points and rebounds four times in his career, and finished with averages of 14.4 points and 8.5 rebounds.

Mark Olberding

Pro years: 1975-87

The 6-8, 225-pound Olberding was a bull inside — the prototype power forward of his era. Olberding, from Melrose High School, played one season with the Gophers before jumping to the fledging ABA. He averaged 8.7 points and 5.2 rebounds in 12 professional seasons.

Kevin McHale

Pro years: 1980-93

The former Gopher and Hibbing High School alum was the man of a thousand post moves at the power forward position. He made good on 55.4 percent of his field-goal attempts during his 13-year NBA career, averaging 17.9 points and 7.3 rebounds.

Kevin Garnett

Pro years: 1995-present

Garnett, the Wolves’ first-round pick in 1995, was a unique talent, a 7-footer who had the skills of a shooting guard or small forward. He averaged at least 20 points and 10 rebounds nine straight seasons starting in 1998-99.

Kevin Love

Pro years: 2008-present

The Timberwolves star is the latest evolutionary phase of the position, a player skilled enough to hit three-pointers and strong enough to be one of the league’s best rebounders. He’s a double-double machine, averaging 25.8 points and 13.2 rebounds this season.







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    Long-range shots and perimeter moves place him a genre defined by versatile power forwards such as Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Garnett.

  • Mark Olberding.

  • Kevin McHale.

  • Kevin Garnett.

  • Kevin Love.

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