In the current NBA world, it is often quite difficult to differentiate between shooting guards and small forwards. In some systems, the two positions are completely interchangeable and, in others, there are only marginal differences. In this space, though, small forwards are players who can effectively (or at least theoretically) defend big, physical wings and even flash into the small-ball four conversation when needed.
Nothing is rigid in terms of positional characterization at this point but, when taking this year’s NBA Draft class into account, there is some real talent at the 3 spot. Today’s goal will be to uncover the top five available small forwards but, before we get there, let’s get it started with five honorable mentions that warrant consideration at a later point in the draft process.
Honorable Mention (In Alphabetical Order)
- Jaron Blossomgame, Clemson – As a junior, Blossomgame shot 44.6 percent from three. As a senior, Blossomgame shot 25.5 percent from three. Which is real? That is the big question for a highly productive player in the ACC that will be 24 before his rookie season begins.
- Dillon Brooks, Oregon – Brooks is more famous than the average NBA Draft prospect, simply because he was an effective and prominent player at Oregon for quite some time. His measurables won’t do him any favors, though, as Brooks checked in at 6’6 with a 6’6 wingspan. Given that he already wasn’t an elite athlete or floor spacer, that lowers his ceiling considerably.
- Wesley Iwundu, Kansas State – Iwundu is the polar opposite of Brooks in that he flashes insane length (7’1 wingspan) with far less polish. If you buy his three-point shooting (38 percent) from his final college season, it is easy to be seduced by Iwundu’s 3-and-D profile. If you don’t, he probably isn’t a prospect at all. Sometimes, it is that narrow of a margin.
- Devin Robinson, Florida – Robinson is an insane athlete with big hands and a wingspan north of 7’0. The big question is whether he can actually play at this level but it seems likely that an NBA team will be seduced by the mere possibility that everything clicks.
- Sindarius Thornwell, South Carolina – Thornwell is highly divisive after an impressive NCAA Tournament run. He measured at less than 6’5 and isn’t a tremendous athlete or shooter. Thornwell does bring a certain intensity level defensively, though, and his 6’10 wingspan and competitiveness can level the playing field. He’s an intriguing second-round pick.