NBA Draft 2012: Who's the Better Small Forward, MKG or Harrison Barnes?

Steven Slivka@@StevenSlivkaCorrespondent IIIJune 25, 2012

Two of the most exciting small forwards in this year's draft are UNC's Harrison Barnes and Kentucky's Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

Both of them come from prestigious college basketball programs, and both made headlines last season as two of the most dominating players in college basketball.

Though both men are more than worthy of being top-five picks in this year's draft, which one is the better small forward?

Let's start with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

MKG averaged almost 12 points and 7.5 boards per game. Although he put up consistent numbers, he only faced a total of six ranked teams during the regular season.

He also put up three double-doubles in those six games, including his 24 points and 19 rebounds against then-No. 4 Louisville.

MKG stands out as the better defender out of the two. He had 24 more blocks than Barnes and almost as many steals.

Both men stand similar in stature, as they're both within one inch and five pounds of each other.

Even though Kidd-Gilchrist averaged five points per game less than Barnes, his defense makes him more deadly on the other side of the ball.

He also has the advantage in the rebound department, averaging 7.6 per game to Barnes' 5.2.

It is said that MKG will be taken as high as No. 4 to Cleveland.

Now let's talk about Harrison Barnes.

The UNC sophomore led the stacked Tar Heel offense in scoring at 17 points per game. Even with John Henson and Tyler Zeller on the same team, Barnes remained the top dog in the scoring department.

MKG was fourth in scoring for the Wildcats.

Barnes scored in double-digits for the Tar Heels in his their first 10 games of the season, and only had four games all year long where he didn't score at least 10 points in a game.

Though his rebounding skills aren't on the same level as MKG's, his ability to put more points on the scoreboard give him the advantage offensively.

Even though Barnes faced tougher competition than Kidd-Gilchrist, he was unable to get the better of the Kentucky freshman when the two teams squared off in the beginning of December.

Not to mention the Wildcats walked out of Rupp Arena with the hard-fought win.

I give the edge to MKG in the overall talent department. If he was able to put up championship caliber numbers like that as a freshman, who knows what he's capable of doing in the NBA.

Both men will without a doubt be top-five picks. It's just a matter of where they end up.

They could go back-to-back at  No. 4 and No. 5 with Cleveland and Sacramento.

Either way, both are extremely talented and have the potential to have great NBA careers.

Only time will tell.