NBA Draft 2012: Best Small Forwards Available

Daniel O'BrienFeatured ColumnistJune 28, 2012

NBA Draft 2012: Best Small Forwards Available

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    The 2012 NBA draft has a deep group of small forwards available, with a few potential All-Stars and a bunch of sure-fire impact players in the mix.

    In fact, the top eight or 10 small forwards picked all have the potential to be significant contributors in the pros.

    The SEC and the Big East produced the best crop of small forwards this year, but there are plenty of other programs represented at the position.

    Keep track of this big board of the best available small forwards as the draft progresses.

Small Forward Draft Results

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    Player, Team, Pick

    1. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bobcats, No. 2

    2. Harrison Barnes, Warriors, No. 7

    3. Maurice Harkless, 76ers, No. 15

    4. Royce White, Rockets, No. 16

    5. Terrence Jones, Rockets, No. 18

    6. Jeffrey Taylor, Bobcats, No. 30

    7. Jae Crowder, Cavaliers, No. 34 

    8. Draymond Green, Warriors, No. 35 

    9. Quincy Miller, Nuggets, No. 38

    10. Khris Middleton, Pistons, No. 39 

    11. Darius Miller, Wizards, No. 46

    12. Kostas Papanikolaou, Knicks, No. 48

    13. Kris Joseph, Celtics, No. 51

    14. Ilkan Karaman, Nets, No. 57

    15. Robbie Hummel, Timberwolves, No. 58 

Hollis Thompson, Georgetown

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    Height: 6'8"

    Weight: 206 lbs.

    2011-12 Per-Game Stats: 12.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, .464 FG%

    Hollis Thompson is a prolific shooter from the field and three-point range, but other than that, he's not an overwhelming prospect.

    In college he could play on the interior in addition to the wing, but his NBA chances are definitely on the wing.

    His shooting percentages at Georgetown were superb, mainly because he didn't try to play outside his capabilities.

    Thompson could end up being a small forward spot-up shooter at the next level, especially because of his length to shoot over the defense.

Nihad Djedovic, Bosnia & Herzegovina

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    Height: 6'7"

    Weight: 211 lbs.

    2011-12 Per-Game Stats: 10.7 points, .477 FG%

    Even though he's still young, Nihad Djedovic has actually been a professional in Europe for six years.

    The Bosnian forward scored in double figures for the Italian and Turkish leagues he played in this winter, and he shot nearly 50 percent in each league.

    He has a quick, low release on his shot—definitely an unorthodox motion, but the fact that it's a quick release is a good thing. Djedovic will be the kind of forward who can handle the ball and change pace and direction while creating opportunities.

    Here's some quality footage of some 2011 action vs. Montenegro.

Tony Mitchell, Alabama

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    Height: 6'6"

    Weight: 216 lbs.

    2011-12 Per-Game Stats: 13.1 points, 7.0 rebounds

    After a terrific 2010-11 season, this past year was a bumpier one for the explosive Alabama athlete.

    Not only was his production down, but in February he ended up getting suspended for the remainder of the season due to a series of team infractions.

    As a prospect, he's more of a power forward with a small forward's height. His ball-handling and shooting ability leave something to be desired, although athletically he's NBA-ready.

Alex Young, IUPUI

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    Height: 6'6"

    Weight: 217 lbs.

    2011-12 Per-Game Stats: 20.4 points, 5.9 rebounds

    The Summit League saw Alex Young drop over 2,200 points throughout his career, as he improved significantly each year at IUPUI.

    Unfortunately, his shot selection isn't so good, and the lefty takes a high volume of shots to get his points. This could be a deterrent for second-round teams thinking about taking him.

    Tyler Ingle of NBADraft.net says Young is an "aggressive driver, which really complements his perimeter ability...Gets around the rim, creating contact and close-range opportunities for himself."

Rakim Sanders, Fairfield

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    Height: 6'5"

    Weight: 228 lbs.

    2011-12 Per-Game Stats: 16.6 points, 8.2 rebounds, .500 FG%

    The former Boston College forward lit up the scoreboard for Farfield this past season, using his energy and shooting prowess to take the MAAC by storm.

    Rakim Sanders is also a terrific rebounder for a mid-sized forward, as he ripped down 8.2 rebounds per game (about twice what he got in Boston). He could be a decent NBA defender off the bench, along with his ability to hit some mid-range shots.

    To hear more about Sanders from Sanders himself, check out this pre-draft video courtesy of the Golden State Warriors.

Chris Johnson, Dayton

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    Height: 6'6"

    Weight: 201 lbs.

    2011-12 Per-Game Stats: 12.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, .859 FT%

    He might have the build of a shooting guard, but Dayton wing Chris Johnson has the motor and the athleticism of a small forward.

    The senior Flyer stood out as a great rebounder for his size, something that the Dayton team page expounds upon:

    The long and athletic wing-man has a knack for knocking down treys and skying for the boards...One of the best rebounders of his size in the country, he was one of just three players to have a 20-point-20 rebound game in 2009-10.

Chace Stanback, UNLV

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    Height: 6'8"

    Weight: 215 lbs

    2011-12 Per-Game Stats: 12.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, .455 3P%

    Some of Chace Stanback's statistics were down from his junior to senior year, but one key number rose significantly for the UNLV standout: three-point shooting attempts and three-point shooting percentage.

    Because of this substantial long-range improvement (36 percent in 2010-11 to 46 percent in 2011-12), Stanback now has a better chance of making an NBA roster somehow, even if it isn't via draft.

    Being a spot-up shooter is pretty much his only possible ticket to the big stage.

Wesley Witherspoon, Memphis

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    Height: 6'9"

    Weight: 207 lbs.

    2011-12 Per-Game Stats: 7.2 points, 3.7 rebounds, .444 FG%

    Wesley Witherspoon stayed all four years at Memphis, but he peaked his sophomore season. His production gradually slipped from his sophomore to senior year, which really put a dent in his hopes of getting drafted.

    DraftExpress's Kyle Nelson breaks down the Tiger forward's attributes and limitations:

    He passes the eye test and then some, with excellent size for the perimeter at 6'9 and his long wingspan, but he has failed to significantly improve his skinny 209-pound frame since arriving at Memphis.

    According to Synergy Sports Tech, most of Witherspoon's possessions come as a spot-up shooter. By the numbers, he once again had a solid year, making 40 percent of his 2.5 attempts per 40 minutes pace adjusted. His mechanics are a tad compact and his release point could be higher, but he seems to have found the shooting touch that he lacked as a freshman.