Here are the 15 best small forwards of this millennium.
Here are some solid small forwards that didn’t make the final 15:
Richard Jefferson: Jefferson has had a solid, if not stellar career with the Nets and Spurs. However, he’s only finished in the top 10 in points per game once in his career.
Gerald Wallace: Wallace is the only Charlotte Bobcat ever to be selected as an All-Star, and he made an All-Defensive team the same year. He also is seventh among active players in steals per game, but he's never averaged 20 points a game.
Stephen Jackson: Seems like every year, the swingman Jackson is with a different team (with one of them, Jackson won a ring). Though he has flashes of brilliance from time to time, Jackson has never made an All-Star or All-NBA team.
Tayshaun Prince: Prince was a reserve on the 2008 Redeem Team and a small forward on those mid-2000s Pistons teams that went to the Conference finals every year and won it all in 2004. Prince has four All-Defensive selections, but he's never made an All-Star team and never averaged more than 15 points a game.
Hawks cornerman Josh Smith has never gotten any love in the form of hardware (with the exception of a single All-Defensive selection), but he's still one of the best multi-tool players in the league. He was fifth in defensive rebounds this season and had more rebounds per game than anyone else in the playoffs.
Smith is also fourth among active players in blocks per game. This season, Smith led the league in defensive win shares.
Mashburn’s long been out of the NBA, but he was one of the better small forwards in the league at the beginning of the decade.
His last hurrah came in 2003, when he was selected as an All-Star and made the All-NBA third team.
The Russian-born small forward is one of several NBA small forwards with 30 career defensive win shares, and he was fifth in the league in win shares in 2004. He is sixth in blocks per game among active players and 21st overall. He's also in the top 30 among active players in player efficiency rating.
Kirilenko is a one-time All-Star and a three-time All-Defensive honoree. However, he’s never averaged 20 points a game.
Bruce Bowen certainly wasn’t one of the most productive offensive players in the game, never offering much except a three here and there.
Good thing he was a good defender. Bowen made eight straight All-Defensive teams, including five straight All-Defensive first teams. His perimeter defense against the NBA’s greatest small forwards and shooting guards was a major factor in the three Spurs championships of the 2000s.
The journeyman Butler is 50th in career scoring among active players, passing the 10,000-point plateau this season. When with the Wizards, he made two All-Star appearances.
Butler was originally the starting small forward on the 2010-11 Mavericks squad that went on to win the championship, but he was injured midseason.
Grant Hill is 12th among active players in points and 20th in Hall of Fame probability. Much of those numbers are due to being solid in the late ‘90s. At the dawn of the millennium, Hill finished third in scoring and made the All-NBA second team.
Though he has made two more All-Star appearances since then, Hill has been primarily mired in injuries, and he hasn’t made an All-NBA team or received MVP votes in a decade.
Deng has been the primary or secondary scoring option on the Bulls for almost a decade. This season, he was an All-Star and made the All-Defensive team. Deng is also in the top 50 in defensive win shares.
Peja is 30th among active players in points, fifth in threes (sixth all time) and 26th in win shares. He played on a number of decent Kings and Hornets teams before finally winning a championship in 2011 with the Mavericks.
In 2004, he was first in points, second in threes and made the All-NBA second team. He's also a three-time All-Star.
When people think of Artest, they think of the Pacers-Pistons brawl, elbowing Harden or a number of other bone-headed things he’s done.
They should consider that he’s one of the top 50 active players in scoring and one of the top 20 active players in defensive win shares. Or that he is fifth among active players in steals and second in steals per game. Or that in 2004, he was Defensive Player of the Year, an All-Star and made the All-NBA team and one of his four All-Defensive teams.
Later in his career, he won a ring with the Lakers in a supporting role.
Shawn Marion was an integral part at both ends for several solid Phoenix teams. He is a four-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA third team selection.
A solid defender, Marion is fifth among active players in career rebounds and fourth in steals. Marion is also 18th in career points.
Last year, Marion won a ring with the Mavericks in a supporting role.
Swingman Vince Carter has been one of the more phenomenal scorers of this millennium. He was selected to eight straight All-Star games from 2000 to 2007, as well as an All-NBA second team.
Carter is eighth in scoring average among active players, and he's finished in the top eight in scoring six times. He’s also seventh among actives (and 31st overall) in career points.
Durant has only been in the league for five seasons and has yet to crack the top 50 of active players in career scoring or win shares.
However, he has done a great many things in his five years. Each of the last three, he’s led the league in scoring, been an All-Star and made the All-NBA first team.
Gold medalist Carmelo Anthony is 17th among active players in scoring and 19th in player-efficiency rating. He has finished in the top six in points in six different seasons.
‘Melo has made five All-Star appearances, one All-NBA second team appearance and four All-NBA third team appearances.
Pierce is fifth among active players (and 25th all time) in points scored. That’s more than any other small forward. He’s sixth among active players in scoring average, finishing in the top five in scoring twice. He’s seventh among active players in threes made and seventh in career steals.
Pierce won a ring with the Celtics in 2008 and has played in 10 of the last 11 All-Star games. He’s been named to three All-NBA third teams and one All-NBA second team.
LeBron is the only small forward to win an MVP since 2000…and he’s won three MVPs in four years. He’s started the last eight All-Star games and made six All-NBA first teams and four All-Defensive first teams.
LeBron has won a scoring title and in only nine seasons is ninth among active players (47th among everybody) in career points. He’s the active leader in player efficiency rating, a stat he’s led the league in in the last five seasons. He’s also ninth among active players in assists per game