- Chris Palmer, ESPN the Magazine
Here's a hot topic: Who is the best power forward in the game? A handful of players of varying experience levels can make a case for top dog, but none stronger than the ones for Blake Griffin and Kevin Love.
Love recently stated that he thinks he is the best 4 in the NBA right now. "It's me," he said. "If you want to be the best you've got to believe you're the best." That's one vote for Love. But is he right? We'll break this one down by looking at how the two players stack up in different key skill areas.
Love is emerging as one of the best deep-shooting power forwards in recent memory. He is currently third among power forwards in 3-point percentage, and it appears he's finding his rhythm (9-for-11 in his last two games). Last season, Love shot 41 percent from behind the arc. (By comparison, only once in 14 seasons has Dirk Nowitzki shot a better percentage.)
One of Griffin's points of emphasis this season was improving his outside shooting. While his 10-foot jumper has shown considerable improvement, his outside shot (and shot selection) continues to be the weakest part of his game. From 16 to 23 feet, no power forward is shooting more from that range at a lower percentage. Griffin attempts a whopping 4.7 shots per game from this distance. Translation: Nearly a quarter of his shots come from an area where he's shooting a paltry 30 percent (down from 33 last year).