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Thread: Ranking the games best small forwards

  1. #1
    Fear my small avatar Gyron's Avatar
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    Default Ranking the games best small forwards

    LeBron king of the small forwards
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    Mike Kahn / Special to FOXSports.com
    Posted: 35 minutes ago

    Never before has a player been anointed "The Next" before the end of his junior year in high school, but LeBron James never was ordinary.


    By the time he graduated and was ready to leave the comfortable confines of Akron, Ohio, he was already bound for the Cleveland Cavaliers just up the street as the winners of the "LeBron Lottery."

    Now what?

    The next step for LeBron James is to make the Cavs a contender. (David Liam Kyle/NBAE via / Getty Images)


    Well, for starters, he averaged better than 27 points, seven rebounds and seven assists last season. He also improved to 47 percent shooting from the field and hung around 40 percent from 3-point range most of the season before slipping back to 35 percent. Nevertheless, we're stuck wondering about his overwhelming numbers and the inability of the Cavs to make the playoffs in his first two season.

    The odds seem much better this season, which is why there is no doubt that James is easily the best small forward in the game today. He's extraordinarily strong, athletic and his shooting ability continues to amaze.

    Perhaps more importantly, the rest of the list has grown to exceptional proportions after a five-year lull when it was causing people to wonder if there would ever be an effective group of small forwards in this league again.

    Just consider the list, from the obvious growth of players like Shawn Marion, Richard Jefferson and Rashard Lewis; to the potential of Andrei Kirilenko, and the possibilities from Lamar Odom and Carmelo Anthony.

    Then there is confusion surrounding three very talented small forwards in their prime and responding erratically. What of Ron Artest, Paul Pierce and Peja Stojakovic? They were blossoming stars in this league and entering this season, nobody is quite sure what to expect out of them other than explosive games, but the dependability quotient has slipped dramatically.

    Even more curious will be what we'll see from Grant Hill. He was a great story last season after four year of virtual non-existence in basketball due to repeated ankle surgery and a near death experience from a subsequent infection. But he played 67 games a year ago and was effective as can be until late, when he prematurely called it a season. He could be an All-Star again, or he may not have much left at all after a season filled with excitement and adrenaline.

    That's the irony of what this season offers, particularly at this position, and we haven't even gotten to the potential of Atlanta Hawks rookie Marvin Williams.

    All we know for sure is it won't be dull from LeBron to Marvin, to call these forwards small certainly is a misnomer.

    1. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

    Ht./Wt.: 6-8, 240
    Numbers: 27.2 pts., 7.4 reb., 7.2 ast.
    He has performed at a level from Day One that only Oscar Robertson and Michael Jordan realized. The next step is to lead his team into the playoffs and become serious contenders. Lest we forget, he's still only 20.

    2. Shawn Marion, Phoenix Suns

    Ht./Wt.: 6-7, 230
    Numbers: 19.4 pts., 11.3 reb., 1.9 ast.
    Outside of the nightmare against Bruce Bowen in the 2005 conference finals, Marion showed how special he is playing out of position at power forward the entire season. This season will be even better as he moves back to his natural spot.

    3. Andrei Kirilenko, Utah Jazz

    Ht./Wt.: 6-9, 215
    Numbers: 15.6 pts., 6.2 reb., 3.2 ast.
    Provided he stays healthy, Kirilenko is the most dynamic all around defensive player in the game and continuing to blossom on the offensive end as well. He can do everything and the Jazz need to play through him as much as possible.

    4. Richard Jefferson, New Jersey Nets

    Ht./Wt.: 6-7, 225
    Numbers: 22.2 pts., 7.3 reb., 4.0 ast.
    This should be Jefferson's best season. He had to carry the team last season until he ruptured a ligament in his wrist, but surprisingly returned for the playoffs and a glimpse with Jason Kidd and Vince Carter potentially awesome.

    5. Ron Artest, Indiana Pacers

    Ht./Wt.: 6-7, 245
    Numbers: 24.6 pts., 6.4 reb., 3.1 ast.
    He should be at the top of the list with his dominant capabilities on both ends of the floor. But he has to prove he can be effective without losing it emotionally. The Pacers need him on the court. This is a key year for his future.

    6. Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics

    Ht./Wt. 6-6, 230
    Numbers: 21.6 pts., 6.6 reb., 4.2 ast.
    Despite his obviously immense talent, a lot of people are split on what Pierce's value is because of his moody, erratic play that always affects his play and his teammates. He could play at a superstar level again, but most people doubt it.

    Paul Pierce needs to stop being moody and start playing like he did a few years ago. (Elsa / Getty Images)


    . 7. Peja Stojakovic, Sacramento Kings

    Ht./Wt. 6-10, 230
    Numbers: 20.1 pts., 4.3 reb., 2.1 ast.
    Often considered the best perimeter shooter in the game, he is coming off his worst performance in several years. It's hard to figure where he's coming from because he's been such a disappointment in the postseason and last year it seeped into the regular season. Like Artest and Pierce, this is a crucial year.

    8. Rashard Lewis, Seattle SuperSonics

    Ht./Wt.: 6-10, 225
    Numbers: 20.5 pts., 5.5 reb., 1.3 ast.
    He stepped up to be an All-Star last season, but once again injuries ruined his season. Whether it's his shoulder, knees or toe, there always seems to be something with him and at 26, this is a disturbing trend.

    9. Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets

    Ht./Wt.: 6-8, 225
    Numbers: 20.8 pts., 5.7 reb., 2.6 ast.
    The beginning of last season was a nightmare for Anthony, but when coach George Karl rescued the team from disaster, Anthony snapped out of his funk and began to perform at an All-Star level. If he continues to grow up, stardom is inevitable. 10. Lamar Odom, Los Angeles Lakers

    Ht./Wt.: 6-10, 230
    Numbers: 15.2 pts., 10.2 reb., 3.7 ast.
    If playing point forward in coach Phil Jackson's triangle offense doesn't turn him into an All-Star, nothing will. He was on the brink in Miami, but last season was a mess because he couldn't fit in with Kobe Bryant. That should be remedied this year, and Odom should blossom like never before. Remember, he's still only 25. Also receiving consideration: Grant Hill, Orlando Magic; Tayshaun Prince, Detroit Pistons; Shane Battier, Memphis Grizzlies; Bobby Simmons, Milwaukee Bucks; James Posey and Antoine Walker, Miami Heat; Corey Maggette, Los Angeles Clippers; and Wally Szczerbiak, Minnesota Timberwolves.


  2. #2
    Member Frank Slade's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ranking the games best small forwards

    AK -47 is a very good player, but I am not sure why everyone is always GA-Ga over him.. is really that elite of a player to be in the top few ? Did I miss something... Great shooter at times, I am not convinced that is the shut down defender that he is touted to be ?

    Why Not Us ?


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Ranking the games best small forwards

    RJ at number 4 is quite funny.

  4. #4
    All is full of Orange! Mourning's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ranking the games best small forwards

    "Not perfect, but still a LOT better than this AWFULL list from Mejia:

    "Positional Rankings: Small forwards
    By Tony Mejia
    CBS SportsLine.com Staff Writer


    The free-agent market is dwindling and training camp remains weeks away, and even though we're as giddy as everyone else that football is back, there is still the matter of satisfying our audience's never-ending hoop jones.

    What can stimulate and inspire debate during the dog days of summer? What can keep conversation and interest in the game becoming as flat as LeBron James' jumper looked during Sunday night's Hurricane Relief game?


    Over the next six Tuesdays, CBS SportsLine will unveil the top 20 players at each position, culminating with an overall Top 50 list that will no doubt have message boards filled and my inbox overflowing with hate mail.

    The first position we'll examine is perhaps the deepest, with nearly half the field having logged All-Star credentials. Let the countdown, and conversations, begin:

    1. Tracy McGrady, Houston: Not that the top 10 names on this list aren't all uniquely blessed, but T-Mac is currently the most gifted and developed of the group. This is a guy who can drain 40-foot jumpers like water, get to the rim at will and finish at his whim. He has been doing all that over the past few seasons, but last year, becoming the leader of the Rockets under demanding Jeff Van Gundy, he grew into a complete player. For maybe the first time in his career, he cut no corners on defense, which wasn't hard to notice when he frustrated Dirk Nowitzki into poor outing after poor outing in the first round of the playoffs. Yes, he's failed to win a series, with his teams blowing substantial leads in his past two appearances, but to point the finger at him is not only short-sighted, it's far-fetched. Expect him to help push Yao Ming into the next stage of his development while guiding the Rockets to heights that haven't been reached since the days of "Dream." Houston is his town now, and he represents it well.

    2. LeBron James, Cleveland: Undoubtedly, the "King" will eventually claim his throne as the best at his position and the most superior performer in the game, but right now, he's still 20 (won't be 21 until Dec. 30) and has yet to reach the playoffs. Similar to McGrady, that's not his fault, but facts are facts, and until he proves himself on the league's big stage, the top spot can't be bestowed upon him. This is the year we'll see him blossom, armed with a truly dangerous supporting cast for the first time and two years of excellence under his belt. He's the truth, no question about it, and eventually we'll see him routinely rack up triple-doubles in addition to his ever-lasting presence on nightly highlight films. He's the new generation's Michael Jordan/Magic Johnson, and you'll find few in the league who would disagree. Let's not forget though, he's still in a developmental stage, fighting his way through the grind and improving to get that "J" down consistently. Hey, it took M.J. a while to perfect his craft, too.

    3. Andrei Kirilenko, Utah: Nowitzki is phenomenal, Manu has rings and a unique flair, but the league's top international is the "Russian Rocket," a super-freak the NBA hasn't seen the likes of. It's rare to see a wing have such an impact defensively, not by shadowing a man but by altering shots, doing so with a sick combination of a ridiculously long frame and remarkable instincts. He's why, if healthy, the Jazz will get back to the playoffs, thanks to his ability to help mask the holes in their perimeter defense. Only 24, he's yet to grasp a mastery of the game on the offensive end, but consider the fact he's averaged more than two blocks a game through his career and take into account Utah's freefall in his absence last season, and his value becomes undeniable. His 3-point shooting percentage has improved every year, and once he makes the perimeter shot a weapon, he'll be unstoppable.

    4. Shawn Marion, Phoenix: His disappearance in the latter stages of last season's playoffs put a damper on a phenomenal All-Star season, but his value remains unquestioned. For starters, he played out of position all year, lined up at power forward despite standing barely 6-7. That hasn't stopped him from consistently averaging more than nine boards per game throughout his career, utilizing crazy hops and a strong instinct to work his way into position. With the departure of Quentin Richardson and the acquisition of Kurt Thomas, he'll get to man his natural position and should be dominant. Even his jumper, not the prettiest thing to look at, has developed into a dependable weapon, making him a matchup nightmare.
    5. Paul Pierce, Boston: With four consecutive All-Star berths under his belt, it's hard to say he's disrespected, but you know he's not one of the first names that rolls off your tongue when discussing the league's standout performers. A natural scorer, he gets a bad rap for losing his head with teammates and refs, but you never have to question where his heart is. Because of his shortcomings on defense, it's hard to label him a complete player, but you can never argue him being one of the elite at his position.

    6. Ron Artest, Indiana: If it weren't for last year's Palace debacle, he'd be higher on this list, right there with Kirilenko given his impact on both ends of the floor. This is a man who doesn't back down from anyone -- remember, he broke Michael Jordan's jaw as he got into shape for his last comeback. He's rugged, yet savvy, schooled in the playgrounds of Queensbridge, where if you weren't both tough and smart, you'd be upsetting somebody, which wouldn't have been a good idea. His perimeter stroke and scoring have improved as a professional, but his biggest attribute remains the ability to guard anyone on the floor, a skill that will undoubtedly push the Pacers to greater heights now that's he's back.

    7. Rashard Lewis, Seattle: Last year's breakout season was awarded with an All-Star berth, but he's still this far down because his chronic knee problems can't be overlooked. It cost the Sonics down the stretch and was an issue during the playoffs, though you have to admire his courage in playing through pain despite the tendinitis. No doubt he's a standup guy, but until he conquers the injury woes, he can't be considered among the top five at such a loaded position. That said, he's among the top inside-outside threats at small forward, and at 26, has his best days ahead of him if he can stay healthy.

    8a. Corey Maggette, L.A. Clippers: Maybe it's because he's playing for the Clippers, but you'd be hard-pressed to name a player who has averaged over 20 points a game in consecutive seasons who remains as overlooked as Maggette. He's made a living off using his superior strength and athleticism to get to the line, shooting over 80 percent from there over his career. He'll be 27 when the year begins, so he'll be entering his prime at a time when the other L.A. team feels it has to make its move.

    8b. Lamar Odom, L.A. Lakers: The difference between Maggette and Odom can't be measured, even though they're such different players. Odom resurrected his career in Miami, brought his rotund package of skills to LaLa land, and struggled without having the ball as often as he would've liked because of the presence of Kobe Bryant. The implementation of the triangle offense, coupled with a year alongside Bryant under his belt, should facilitate a stronger seaspm. He's envisioned as perfect for a Scottie Pippen role, especially if he bounces back strong from the shoulder tear that cut last season short.

    10. Peja Stojakovic, Sacramento: He's still among the NBA's purest shooters, potentially the best of the group. But his inability to carry a team by himself forces him down on the list. Chris Webber, thought to be his biggest problem given how the two clashed, was dealt at the deadline, but Stojakovic's inability to come through in the clutch remained an issue. He simply may be one of those guys who can be an 18-20 point scorer as a complementary player, which would suit the Kings just fine this year considering the development of Mike Bibby and the acquisition of Shareef Abdur-Rahim.

    11. Carmelo Anthony, Denver: He's still developing, learning, familiarizing himself with the nuances of the game -- particularly defense -- but there's no question numerous All-Star berths are in his future. It would suit the Nuggets wonderfully if his jumper improves considering how badly they are in need of perimeter punch. Once he becomes a more complete player, Denver will become a title contender. He was dominant in college from the jump; in the pros, he's a fairly big fish in a gigantic pond, particularly at his position.

    12. Tayshaun Prince, Detroit: He still has his moments when he loses his head, be it confidence or rhythm, but he's still a fundamental part of why the Pistons have been so successful, which is why you can expect a contract extension to get done for him in the near future. The human spider is still among the league's top perimeter defenders, and his offense continues to improve.

    13. Bruce Bowen, San Antonio: Even at 34, he's among the most feared defenders in the game, even considered evil by many opponents. He knows what he can get away with and takes full advantage, but to consider him dirty would be to ignore his phenomenal understanding of positioning, what it takes to get under an opponent's skin and his ability to shadow the best player on the floor. Offensively, his role is limited to that of spot-up shooter, but given his impact on the opposite end of the floor, he might as well be a 20-point scorer.

    14. Richard Jefferson, New Jersey: It might surprise people to see him this far down the list, but until he becomes an effective shooter, he's just another super athlete manning this position. He can certainly defend, rise up, finish and run the floor, making him well-suited for the Nets' up-tempo game, but he still makes careless mistakes and hampers his offense due to his lack of production from the perimeter.

    15. Grant Hill, Orlando: His remarkable comeback season was cut short once again, but he still has plenty left in the tank provided he can stay healthy. There may not be many more years we can watch a player whose talents would've made him a lock future Hall of Famer, so enjoy him while we can.

    16. Jalen Rose, Toronto: There are questions about his defense, but Rose, entering his 11th season, remains a superior ball-handler who can explode for 40 on any given night. It would seem likely that his future is in Toronto, so with that secure, perhaps he'll be under less pressure with trade rumors subsiding.

    17. Bobby Simmons, Milwaukee: The league's reigning most improved player inked for the Bucks' mid-level, which should be a significant bargain if he continues his development. Simmons owns one of the NBA's most dependable mid-range jumpers and has emerged as dependable and clutch, displaying characteristics that hint of him being a special player with his best days ahead of him.

    18. Antoine Walker, Miami: Once considered among the league's premier players, Walker's reputation has taken a hit from repeated questionable decisions with the ball and the fact that he prefers to always have matters in his hands. That has to change now that he's in South Florida, where he must defer to Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade and is being envisioned primarily as a perimeter threat who can handle the ball and take a little pressure of his superstar teammates. How he handles that role remains to be seen, particularly if grumblings that he would be less than content playing the three are untrue.

    19. Mike Miller, Memphis: He has tremendous skills but has yet to put it all together and become a dominant scorer. This coming year is a big one for it; Eddie Jones, who won't need the ball, replaces Bonzi Wells, who did. Miller should emerge as a consistent 20-point scorer, and if he doesn't, that has to be considered a step backward.

    20. Josh Howard, Dallas: Emerging as a dominant defender, Howard was the steal of the 2003 Draft, taken 29th after earning ACC player of the year honors and has made everyone who passed on him look silly by developing into a more complete player by the day. He's a great athlete, according to him, "loves locking up," and is among the better rebounders at his position. If his jumper improves substantially this year, he'll fill Michael Finley's vacancy quite nicely.

    Also considered: Quentin Richardson, New York; Luol Deng, Chicago; Andres Nocioni, Chicago; Jarvis Hayes, Washington; Caron Butler, Washington; James Posey, Miami; Josh Childress, Atlanta; Wally Szczerbiak, Minnesota.

    Last year's rankings
    2005 2004 Stock
    1. T. McGrady 2-SG
    2. L. James 9
    3. A. Kirilenko 7
    4. S. Marion 4 SAME
    5. P. Pierce 2
    6. R. Artest 1
    7. R. Lewis --
    8. C. Maggette 10-SG
    9. L. Odom 5
    10. P. Stojakovic 3"

    Source: CBS Sportline: http://www.sportsline.com/nba/story/8838445

    Regards,

    Mourning
    2012 PD ABA Fantasy Keeper League Champion, sports.ws

    2011 PD ABA Fantasy Keeper League Champion, sports.ws

    2006 PD ABA Fantasy League runner up, sports.ws

  5. #5

    Default Re: Ranking the games best small forwards

    "Ron Artest, Indiana: If it weren't for last year's Palace debacle, he'd be higher on this list, right there with Kirilenko given his impact on both ends of the floor. This is a man who doesn't back down from anyone -- remember, he broke Michael Jordan's jaw as he got into shape for his last comeback."

    Broke his jaw eh? Must have broken his ribs on a different day...way to go mediot.

    -J

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    Default Re: Ranking the games best small forwards

    He will be ranked even higher after the season starts.

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    Default Re: Ranking the games best small forwards

    LaBron's obviously #1 (although I think he's a better SG than SF), and I'll give you AK-47 as #2, but if Ron's got his head on halfway straight there's nobody else close for #3.

    This is bizarre... two players on our team that are top-3 at their position. And the remaining positions / bench are strongly complimentary. What other teams have had something like that?
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    Default Re: Ranking the games best small forwards

    There is very little question that we are the deepest and possibly the strongest team in the NBA.

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    Default Re: Ranking the games best small forwards

    I don't know. I have a feeling that Ronnie's stats are going to go down this year. First, the stats given are for the few games he played last year. Also, there are more scorers around this year. I have a feeling that his ppg is going to plummet. He will still be one of our best players, I just think his stats will be less impressive.

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    Default Re: Ranking the games best small forwards

    Quote Originally Posted by 3Ball
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    I don't know. I have a feeling that Ronnie's stats are going to go down this year. First, the stats given are for the few games he played last year. Also, there are more scorers around this year. I have a feeling that his ppg is going to plummet. He will still be one of our best players, I just think his stats will be less impressive.
    His stats may not be as impressive but his defense is a lot better than everyone on that list.

  11. #11
    #PacerNation 317Kim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ranking the games best small forwards

    Quote Originally Posted by Pacers#1Fan
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    He will be ranked even higher after the season starts.
    of course he will

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    Default Re: Ranking the games best small forwards

    Quote Originally Posted by Pacers#1Fan
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    There is very little question that we are the deepest and possibly the strongest team in the NBA.
    Don't forget most unstable.

    IndyToad
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    Default Re: Ranking the games best small forwards

    Quote Originally Posted by Pacers#1Fan
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    There is very little question that we are the deepest and possibly the strongest team in the NBA.
    I still don't see how people say that we are the deepest team in the league when the Spurs just added 2 players to their bench that are more proven to anyone we have. While JO and Ron combined may be slightly stronger than the combination of Duncan and Manu, The rest of the Spurs are more experienced and just, if not more, talented than the rest of our guys. I think we match up better with them than anyone else, but I don't think we are "with very little question" deeper than they are.

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    Default Re: Ranking the games best small forwards

    in my book LbJ is a SG so i wont include him here...

    Pierce, Artest (coz of the negative stuff but as soon as he proves that's all in the past he's easily my #1), Marion, AK47, Melo

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    Default Re: Ranking the games best small forwards

    Bron-bron is definitely more of a SG.

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