Here we are on Day 3 of my Player Ranking Week! Enjoy my list of the top 10 NBA Small Forwards.
#10- Luol Deng-CHI
Luol Deng is a first and foremost, a great defender. He has guard the top small forwards in the league consistently and make it a hard night for the guys on this list who play against him. Deng is also solid from around the 3-point line and has a very nice mid-range game. He rebounds well for a small forward, grabbing around 7 boards a game last season and playoffs. There were some trade rumors surrounding him around the draft, but nothing happened and he should have big season.
#9- Ersan Ilyasova-MIL
I am well aware that Ilyasova played mostly power forward last season, but with Dalembert, Udoh, Henson, Gooden, Przybilla, and Sanders already clogging up the big man rotation in Milwaukee, Ersan will be playing small forward for the next few years. He is a tough defender and fantastic rebounder who had a big season averaging 13 points and 9 boards. With Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis dishing the ball to him, he is looking to have another big season.
#8- Gerald Wallace-BRK
Gerald Wallace is a defensive beast, he can block shots and he defends the opposing team’s best offensive player night in and night out. He is also an underrated passer who averaged 3 assists a game last season. I think the he was largely overpaid this off season by Brooklyn, but it is hard to find a guy that can average 13pts,7boards,3asts,and 1blk, as well as play killer defense. Brooklyn’s starters are scary this year.
#7- Danilo Galinari-DEN
I think that this ranking may be too high for Galinari, but as a Golden State guy, I love guys who can shoot you out of the gym. Danilo can do that, but unfortunately he had rough last season. Danilo missed 35% of the games last season and never got into a rhythm. I think he will have a big year if he can stay on the court.
#6- Rudy Gay-MEM
One thing about these position rankings is this top 6 is clearly better than the other on the list, and it starts here with Ruy Gay. Gay averaged 19pts, 6boards, and 2 assists last season and he is always a threat to throw down a highlight reel dunk on you. He rebounded very well from an injury plagued season in 2010-11 with a year where he appeared in 65 of the 66 games. Look for more from Gay this year with the Grizzles back in the hunt.
#5- Paul Pierce-BOS
Father time may not be looking to kindly on Paul Pierce, but there no other player in the league has the heart and love for playing basketball like Paul Pierce. In my opinion, he is one of the top 5 clutch shooters of all-time because you know if the Celtic are down 1 or 2 with a few seconds to go, Paul Pierce wants the ball and always delivers. The Celtics have revamped their roster and look very good going into the season. Pierce and KG have 1 or 2 more year left in the tank to go after another title.
#4- Danny Granger-IND
I hate to love Danny Granger because he is one of the biggest assholes in the league. He is always in someone’s face or talking too much trash (Example: East Semis vs Miami). With that said, the man can play. He averaged 19pts, 5boards, 2asts, and played great defense. He also was leader for that young Pacer team that gave Miami a run for their money. Look for bigger things from Granger this season.
#3- Carmelo Anthony-NYK
Melo is definitely the root of some chemistry issues for the Knicks, but he one the best scorer in the NBA. He averaged 23 points per game last season, while grabbing 6 boards and 4 assists. The Knicks don’t need Linsanity when they have Melo and Amare ready to take games over. If Melo can improve his defense and work out his chemistry issues with his teammates, the Knicks will be a title contender this season.
#2- Kevin Durant-OKC
Kevin Durant showed in Olympics that he and LeBron are just in a league of their own. Kevin Durant is the best scorer in the league and he is becoming of the best defense players as well. There are no holes in his game and his 28pts, 8board, 4ast, 1blk, and 1stl numbers from last season back it up. He is league’s 2nd best player behind the man sitting at the #1 spot on this list.
#1- LeBron James-MIA
Well well well, look who we have here… LeBron. LeBron James is the best player in the NBA, as well as the world. He is scary good in every aspect of the game. Here are his numbers for last season including the playoffs: 95 games played, 29 points- 9 rebounds- 6 assists- 2 steals, and 1 block per game. The man is a beast and he is hungry for more rings. There is no debate around the league that LeBron is the best SF and the best player. It will be interesting however to see if the Heat will transition him to the power forward position because there have been rumors they will be doing that this season. We will have to wait and see if he will win “not 2, not 3, not 4, not 5, not 6…” championships as he so famously proclaimed when joining Miami.
Thanks for reading! Come back tomorrow for Day 4, Power Forwards!