The NBA’s Top 10 Young Small Forwards
Posted by John Paulsen (12/15/2008 @ 5:37 pm)
Here’s a quick list of the top 10 small forwards under the age of 26, ranked in the order of a combination of current performance and trade value (regardless of salary).
I’ll also list the player’s age and his Player Efficiency Rating.
1. LeBron James, Cavs
27.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 6.4 assists on a 20-4 team – can you spell M-V-P?
2. Carmelo Anthony, Nuggets
The Nuggets are sitting atop the Northwest with a 16-7 record and with the arrival of Chauncey Billups, ‘Melo is starting to play defense, as evidenced by his career-high 8.2 rebounds.
3. Danny Granger, Pacers
His boards are down, but his points and assists are up. I bet that the six teams that drafted other guys ahead of him – Magic (Fran Vasquez), Clippers (Yaroslav Korolev), Bobcats (Sean May), T-Wolves (Rashad McCants), Nets (Antoine Wright) and the Raptors (Joey Graham) – are all wishing they could have that draft back.
4. Rudy Gay, Grizzlies
I’d like to see better assist numbers (1.7), but he’s still scoring at a terrific clip even though ROY candidate O.J. Mayo is in town. But what’s up with that three-point percentage (29%)?
5. Luol Deng, Bulls
It’s not good to see your FG% take a dive (to 43%) the season after you sign a fat contract. Even though his minutes are about the same, Deng’s production is down across the board.
6. Thaddeus Young, Sixers
Philly is asking a lot more of Young this season, which is why his run has taken a 12-minute jump. Predictably, his numbers are all up, but he’s not as productive on a per-minute basis, which has a lot to do with the dip in his FG% (-6.6%).
7. Trevor Ariza, Lakers
It’s not clear why the Knicks and Magic let him go – well, Isiah is to blame in one case – but their inability to see Ariza’s promise worked to the Lakers’ advantage. Defensively, he’s a terror. If he could only shoot the long ball, he’d be the answer to the team’s problem at small forward.
8. Al Thornton, Clippers
Thornton’s numbers are up across the boards thanks to increased minutes (+10.4) and better accuracy from the field (+2.6%).
9. Brandan Wright, Warriors
Wright is wildly productive in the 17 minutes of playing time he gets each night, but one wonders why Nellie is barely playing him? It’s not like the Warriors have a ton of great players; they’re 7-17 for Pete’s sake.
10. Jeff Green, Thunder
Green has made a big jump from his rookie season. His points (15.6), rebounds (5.5) and assists (2.4) are all up, but more importantly, he’s shooting with increased accuracy from the field (+3.2%) and long range (+13.7%). After looking like a bit of a bust last season, he now looks like he’s capable of being Kevin Durant’s sidekick for the long haul.
Who am I missing? Before you jump all over me for leaving someone off, be sure to check the player’s age – all these guys are 25 or younger.
More People taking notice of Danny!!!
If we can just add some wins, I think Danny is an All-Star t/y gaging on the press he is getting from so many different sources.