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Heatcheck: Who plays power forward in an NBA all-time starting five?

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Tuesday 23 June 2020 15:48, UK

Kevin Garnett challenges Kevin Durant's shot during a 2012 Thunder-Celtics game 5:15
This week, Mo and Ovie debate who would take up the power forward role in their all-time starting five

Heatcheck regulars Ovie Soko and Mo Mooncey are no strangers to a disagreement and sparks predictably flew when the pair were asked to pick a power forward for their all-time NBA starting five.

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On the latest edition of Heatcheck, available to watch online now and broadcast on Sky Sports Arena on Wednesday at 8pm, the pair approached the task of picking the game's greatest power forward from opposing angles.

While players like Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki and Karl Malone traditionally dominate the all-time power forward debate, Soko selected Brooklyn Nets' forward Kevin Durant as the 'four-man' in his all-time line-up.

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"I'm putting Kevin Durant in at the four," he said. "He is versatile. In recent years, he has become an absolutely terrific defender. He has won every major award, except for Defensive Player of the Year which, before his injury last year, I feel he was capable of winning too.

"In Kevin Durant, we are looking at one of the greatest scorers of all-time, one of the best the game has ever seen. Ever since his move to Golden State in July 2016, we have seen him take it up a notch, a sort of 'no-nonsense KD'.

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"Defensively, I see a player you can switch onto many different players. Offensively, he is one of the better shooters. I feel like he has changed the game. I don't know many 6ft 11in players with that level of guard skills the game had seen before Durant. Before him, you never had guys 6ft 9in or above who could shoot like two-guards. He made doing that very cool and took the game to a new level in his own way."

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While Soko picked a current-day NBA superstar, Mooncey looked back a little further, selecting a 2020 Hall of Fame inductee at the power forward position in his all-time starting five.

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"I agree with you but only 50 per cent," he said. "It's not KD, it's KG!

"You are talking about before KD there being no tall players with guard skills, did you never watch Kevin Garnett's career? If you want to play Durant at the four, that's cool. Garnett revolutionised the power forward position. If you watch him throughout his career, he was bringing the ball up, handling the ball, shooting outside jump shots, he was doing it all.

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"You have picked the man (Durant) who couldn't play with Russell Westbrook (at the Oklahoma City Thunder), a man who was so upset playing with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson that he left the Golden State Warriors.

"I am picking the 'Big Ticket', the greatest power forward of all time. If you match Garnett and Durant up on the court for a whole game, Garnett would take Durant's lunch money, eat his lunch and send him home crying! There is nothing you can tell me to dispute that.

Heatcheck: Mo's all-time starting five

  • Point guard: LeBron James
  • Shooting guard: Michael Jordan
  • Power forward: Kevin Garnett
  • Small forward: ?
  • Center: ?

"Yes, Durant is a great scorer and that is undeniable but you are basing your argument for the greatest power forward of all-time on guard skills! Garnett was the much better rebounder, a better defender, a better leader, a better team-mate (than Durant). These are all skills for the power forward position."

Soko defended his pick, saying: "You have just brought up leadership and Garnett. (In my all-time five), I don't need Durant to be a leader. I already have great leaders in Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan."

Heatcheck: Ovie's all-time starting five

  • Point guard: Magic Johnson
  • Shooting guard: Michael Jordan
  • Power forward: Kevin Durant
  • Small forward: ?
  • Center: ?

But Mooncey fired back, questioning how Durant would mesh with the iconic guards previously selected by Soko.

"With Magic and MJ on your team, you're picking the bloke (Durant) who didn't like playing with Westbrook or Curry and left because he didn't feel like the superstar (on those teams) and didn't feel appreciated. Your team isn't going to work! My all-time team is going to be a well-oiled machine that destroys yours," he said.

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"There is no way on God's Earth you can tell me Durant is a better power forward than Garnett. No way on this planet. He is a better scorer but he is not a better power forward."

Did Ovie or Mo make the right choice? Would you take Durant or Garnett as your all-time starting power forward? Or would you favour Duncan, Nowitzki, Malone, Charles Barkley or even Dennis Rodman? Have your say in the comments below.

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