The 10 Greatest Small Forwards In NBA History

By: 05.29.14  •  19 Comments
Kevin Durant, LeBron James

Kevin Durant, LeBron James (Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports)

The small forward used to compliment the frontcourt, but in the contemporary game it’s a position that’s turned out elite wing players with the body of a power forward from just a generation prior. Small forwards are basketball renaissance men who can do it all: shoot, pass, handle the ball and create havoc for opponents. That’s what makes this list so difficult to pin down.

A class of players far deeper than that of the shooting guard position, the small forward is a hybrid position home to many all-time great scorers and defenders. Names like Alex English, Adrian Dantley, Bernard King, and Carmelo Anthony all hold meaning for their talent as elite scorers but the position class is so deep not one made the top 10. Multiple time All-Stars like Paul Pierce and Shawn Marion are worth noting but also fell short of the all time list. Selecting just ten names from such a large pool of players makes it tough to trim the fat. Here are the 10 greatest small forwards in NBA history:

[RELATED: The 10 greatest point guards in NBA history]

[RELATED: The 10 greatest centers in NBA history]

[RELATED: The 10 greatest shooting guards in NBA history]

[RELATED: The 10 greatest power forwards in NBA history]

Honorable mention: Paul Pierce
The Truth has been getting it done with an old school game predicated on wile rather than an overwhelming athleticism. He’s just as liable to pull out an up-and-under as he is to just go up with the ball. While he’s no longer the player who made 10 consecutive all-star games between 2002 and 2012, Double P is still worthy of mention on this list.

He has a title and was the 2008 NBA Finals MVP, but he’s only ever finished within the top 10 for MVP voting once, during Boston’s followup to his only ring. Now he’s masquerading as the same big shot player in Brooklyn, but his athletic gifts — already a notch below some of the game’s contemporary greats — are in remission. Still, he’ll be inducted in the Basketball Hall of Fame, and if it weren’t for the overwhelming number of talented power forwards, he’d crack the top 10.

Subscribe to UPROXX *** *** ***

10. Kevin Durant
Career Accolades: MVP, 5X All-Star, 4X All-NBA
It’s hard to put a player this young on the list. He’s 25 years old, never won a championship, and doesn’t have as long of a resume as many players left off the list. Yet, he might’ve just had the greatest scoring season ever for a wing. The MVP award definitely helps, and it goes a long way towards his inclusion when a guy like Pierce is left off. He also just won his fourth scoring title in seven years as an NBA player. He joins Adrian Dantley as the only two players ever to average 30 plus points a game with a true shooting percentage of .630 or higher. He also just became one of three players to average 30 or more points, seven or more rebounds, five or more assists, and still shoot above 50 percent from the field. The other two guys are Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan. Durant just came off a historic season and will have a chance to really throw himself into the conversation if he can carry his regular season success deep into the playoffs.

Around The Web

Featured

DJ Jazzy Jeff Talks World Tour With Will Smith, Culture of DJing, And Academy Awards Boycotts

Follow These Eight Travelers On Snapchat And They’ll Show You The World

Nikki Glaser On Her New Series ‘Not Safe With Nikki Glaser’ And Being A ‘Curious Perv’

From Showman To Shaman: How An Assassination Attempt Changed Bob Marley’s Life And Music

From Zero To Guitar Hero, Meet The Small-Town Musician Who’s Well On His Way

Hannibal Buress On ‘Comedy Camisado,’ Animation, And Doing Stand-Up In Japan

Phil Matarese And Mike Luciano Talk ‘Animals.’ And Creating Television In Their Apartment

‘Black Sheep’ Revisited: The Farley-Spade Classic That Could’ve Been, 20 Years Later

EAT THIS CITY: Chef Callie Speer Shares Her ‘Can’t Miss’ Food Experiences In Austin, Texas

Kimbo Slice Is Down To Fight Kurt Angle And Roy Jones, Jr. As Soon As He Settles His Business At Bellator 149

By:  •  3 Comments

A Top Recruit Michigan Landed On Signing Day Isn’t Who You Think He Is At All

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. On How His Personal Ancestry Obsessions Led To ‘Finding Your Roots’