NBA

B/R NBA 200: Ranking the Top Small Forwards of 2013-14 Season

Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistMay 5, 2014

B/R NBA 200: Ranking the Top Small Forwards of 2013-14 Season

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    Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

    Kevin Durant's incredible season has captured the world's attention, as the Oklahoma City Thunder small forward not only led the league in scoring, but he also became an all-around superstar capable of challenging for ultimate supremacy throughout the Association. 

    But he's not the only big name at small forward. 

    Paul George joins him at the position, as do a number of other standouts and household names. Plus, there's a large group of underrated players whose play merited more attention than their seasons actually received. 

    There's a lot to be excited about in this positional ranking. As a caveat, though, don't go into it expecting to receive the answer to the Durant vs. LeBron James question. The Miami Heat standout was a combo forward this season, so he will not be appearing in this particular segment of the series. 

    The NBA 200 metric identifies the players who performed best during the 2013-14 season. Potential doesn't matter, and neither does reputation. It's all about what happened this season and this season only. All positions are graded using the same criteria (though rim protection was added into the equation for bigger positions), but the categories are weighted differently to reflect changing roles, with max scores in parentheses: 

    • Scoring (20)
    • Non-Scoring Offense: Facilitating (10) and Off-Ball Offense (10)
    • Defense: On-Ball (20) and Off-Ball (20)
    • Rebounding (10)
    • Intangibles: Conduct (5) and Durability (5)

    For a full explanation of how these scores were determined, go here. And do note these aren't your father's classification schemes for each position. Players' spots were determined not by playing style, but by how much time they spent at each position throughout the season, largely based on data from 82games.com, and we're expanding the traditional five to include four combo positions.

    In the case of ties, the order is determined in subjective fashion by ranking the more coveted player in the higher spot. That was done by a voting committee comprised of myself, NBA Lead Writer D.J. Foster, National NBA Featured Columnist Grant Hughes, NBA Lead Writer Josh Martin and Associate NBA Editor Ethan Norof

     

    Note: All statistics come from Basketball-Reference.comNBA.com's SportVU Databases and Synergy Sports (subscription required). They're current as of March 28. 

Coming Soon

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Below, you can find the publication schedule for the rest of the NBA 200 series. Remember that we're not using traditional positions, but rather subdividing those to account for the positionless schemes used by many NBA teams. 

    • Power forwards: Wednesday, May 7
    • Combo bigs: Monday, May 12
    • Centers: Wednesday, May 14
    • Combo forwards: Friday, May 16
    • Top 200 Players: Monday, May 19

     

19. J.R. Smith, New York Knicks

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    Wilfredo Lee

    Scoring

    14/20

    A fairly strong second half of the year spared J.R. Smith from producing a field-goal percentage in the 30s, but he still wasn't a very efficient player. Perhaps because of his weak knees, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year often settled for jumpers instead of attacking the rim, and his overall performance suffered accordingly.  

    Non-Scoring Offense

    14/20

    Even though he had trouble connecting on shots inside the arc, Smith excelled as a spot-up threat, primarily because defenses knew he was also athletic enough to cut to the basket and finish the play above the rim. On top of that, the mercurial forward did a nice job distributing the rock to his teammates, even if they often couldn't finish the play.

    Defense

    26/40

    Mike Woodson got Smith to play defense in 2012-13. In 2013-14? Not so much. Smith fell asleep throughout the year and at times seemed more focused on untying shoelaces than actually preventing points.

    Rebounding

    6/10

    Chalk this up to effort as well. Though Smith still has great rebounding tools, he was an unenthusiastic player on the boards. The result was a set of numbers that pale in comparison to anything else he's produced during his time with the New York Knicks.

    Intangibles

    6/10

    Where do we start with the negative stories? How about a list: a suspension to open the year for violating the substance policy, making inappropriate and threatening tweets to Brandon Jennings, the shoelace saga, refusing to pass and taking ill-advised end-game shots, subsequently refusing to shoot at all and getting benched for entire games as discipline.

    Overall

    66/100

    Smith was more of a distraction than an asset for the 2013-14 Knicks. Though he's still a great basketball talent and had a solid offensive season, he experienced a precipitous fall from winning a major award last year to barely making the cut in the NBA 200 this season.

18. Jae Crowder, Dallas Mavericks

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    Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    9/20

    Perhaps Jae Crowder would look better on a team willing to give him offensive touches, but that's just not his role with the Dallas Mavericks. He's been fairly effective with these limited opportunities, but he's not involved enough to make much of a scoring impact. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    5/20

    Though Crowder is most involved in the Dallas offense as a spot-up shooter, he's not exactly a player who draws much defensive attention. On top of that, the Marquette product is extremely limited as a passer, even if that's once more the product of opportunity. 

    Defense

    36/40

    This would be why Crowder earns minutes. He's a fantastic defender, both on and off the ball, and the Mavericks are significantly better at preventing points (over 10 fewer per 100 possessions) when he's on the court. No matter the situation, the long-haired forward can handle himself. 

    Rebounding

    7/10

    Crowder is a solid per-minute rebounder who helps keep a good number of possessions alive on the offensive end of the court. He tends to go for the boards with reckless abandon, and he'll have to get a bit smarter about picking and choosing his spots as his career progresses. 

    Intangibles

    10/10

    Some players with such a stellar collegiate resume would complain about being limited to a speciality role, but not Crowder. Instead, he's embraced the minutes he's given and done everything in his power to reward Rick Carlisle for putting him on the court. 

    Overall

    67/100

    Crowder already looks like a second-round steal for the Mavericks, solely because of his defensive abilities. And chances are, his all-around game would fare even better if that's the type of style he was asked to play. He may be a role player, but he's a valuable one who might not always be locked into that limited spot. 

17. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte Bobcats

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    Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    11/20

    Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's jumper may actually be the ugliest thing in the NBA. The way he curls his elbow up and places his hand on top of the ball prevents him from becoming even a decent perimeter shooter, but he does have some scoring value because of his ability to finish plays around the basket. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    5/20

    With the ball in his hands, MKG isn't going to do much for his teammates. He generates assists only by finding wide-open players, not by putting them in a position to thrive or legitimately creating offense for them. Off the ball, he's limited to cutting, as no sane defender needs to worry about his jump-shooting. 

    Defense

    33/40

    It's on the less glamorous end of the court that Kidd-Gilchrist thrives, as he's an individual stopper and a competent off-ball defender who always looks to insert himself within the proceedings. MKG still needs to work on his discipline in isolation settings and when being posted up, but all the tools are there. 

    Rebounding

    10/10

    Being big (6'7", 232 pounds) and athletic tends to help on the boards, particularly when a player convinces himself that he's able to grab every missed shot. Such is the case for this particular Kentucky product, who continued what he started as a rookie on the glass. 

    Intangibles

    8/10

    MKG doesn't talk enough to merit negative points for his intangibles; only his health comes into play here. A hand fracture knocked him out of the lineup during the early portion of the season, though it seems like more of a fluke than a sign of future injury problems. 

    Overall

    67/100

    While his offensive development has been rather disappointing for a No. 2 pick, MKG has been a key part of the Charlotte Bobcats' turnaround. His scoring makes him a bit of a liability on one end, but his defense and rebounding fit right in with the team's grind-it-out mentality. 

16. Corey Brewer, Minnesota Timberwolves

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    David Sherman/Getty Images

    Scoring

    13/20

    Corey Brewer has a terrible shot from the perimeter, but he's been able to hone in his scoring game and focus only on the areas in which he excels. Those are threefold—corner threes from either side and plays at the rim, particularly those that come in transition. Not many players can drop 51 in a game, though, so there's obviously some serious upside. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    11/20

    While the small forward isn't a spot-up threat, he's dangerous as a cutter and a top-notch threat in transition. His leak-outs that get fast breaks started and allow Kevin Love to throw stellar outlet passes are nearly unsurpassed throughout the entire Association. 

    Defense

    31/40

    Brewer fared much better when his man was right in front of him during his first season with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He was particularly adept when faced with a pick-and-roll set, as he could shut down either the ball-handler or the roll man, giving the 'Wolves plenty of options in their defensive schemes. 

    Rebounding

    2/10

    Some players don't even bother pretending to make contributions on the defensive glass, and Brewer is one of them. As soon as a shot is fired up, he's going to take off and sprint down the sidelines, just waiting for that full-court heave from Love. 

    Intangibles

    10/10

    Brewer hasn't created any distractions in Minnesota, and he's played in virtually every game. It's more likely that he misses a contest for family reasons—as he did against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Feb. 5—than sits one out due to injury. 

    Overall

    67/100

    Another niche player, Brewer found himself in a perfect situation with the 'Wolves. Though his individual numbers—at least the box-score ones—declined, he was valuable because of his defense and ability to stretch out the other team with his transition offense. 

15. Wilson Chandler, Denver Nuggets

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    15/20

    For whatever reason, Wilson Chandler spent the 2013-14 season forgetting that he should be attacking the basket and making use of his athleticism. He was completely reliant on his three-point stroke, which gave him a decent amount of value to the Denver Nuggets but made him more of a limited player than Brian Shaw expected. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    10/20

    Versatility helps here, as defenses have to respect Chandler's shooting, cutting and distributing skills. The last portion of that mini list doesn't often get discussed, but Chandler is actually a fairly decent distributor given his limited number of opportunities to shine in that area. He doesn't generate many assists, but the court vision is there. 

    Defense

    26/40

    Chandler had emerged as a solid defender during his first few seasons with the Nuggets, but 2013-14 didn't follow that same pattern. He struggled to play off-ball defense, often forgetting about his man and failing to position himself properly within Denver's defensive schemes. 

    Rebounding

    8/10

    An aggressive rebounder, Chandler isn't afraid of using his elite athleticism to grab a missed shot over the outstretched arms of another player. Contact has the same type of effect on him, as he doesn't shy away from it very often. 

    Intangibles

    8/10

    Chandler played for the Nuggets in 2013-14, which means he almost had to get injured at some point. For this small forward, the maladies hit multiple times, with the most recent one coming courtesy of a strained groin that kept him out for a substantial portion of the closing stretch. 

    Overall

    67/100

    There were flashes of the well-rounded brilliance that once made the 26-year-old small forward such a promising player, but Chandler never put all the pieces together. A lack of aggressiveness and injury woes prevented him from becoming quite as valuable as expected. 

14. Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks

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    Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    14/20

    Khris Middleton got an opportunity to stick in the Milwaukee Bucks lineup when injuries created a need for another wing player, and he stuck because he could flat-out stroke the basketball. The second-year pro out of Texas A&M was one of the more potent marksmen in the Association, which helped make up for his relative inability to finish plays in the paint. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    11/20

    While defenses were forced to respect Middleton's shot, he couldn't punish them with his passing all that often. Though he was by no means a liability with the ball in his hands and could find the open man when trapped, he didn't actively create opportunities for his teammates. 

    Defense

    28/40

    Discipline was the primary culprit behind the 22-year-old's defensive woes. Though he was solid on the ball, he often acted confused when he was chasing a cutter or player using screens to free himself, and having him switch on a pick was just asking for trouble. 

    Rebounding

    6/10

    Middleton has decent size for his position, and he puts it to use on the boards. His numbers aren't anything special, but he's a consistent contributor who can generally be relied on for at least three rebounds in any given game. 

    Intangibles

    10/10

    Why would the former Aggie complain? His playing time rose dramatically during his second season in the NBA, and he established himself as a valuable rotation member. Plus, he stayed healthy all year. 

    Overall

    69/100

    Middleton didn't get many opportunities to thrive as a second-round pick for the Detroit Pistons in 2012-13. But he broke out after being traded to Milwaukee this past summer, showcasing a consistent three-point stroke that gave him the niche he needed to crack—and remain in—an NBA rotation. 

13. Nick Young, Los Angeles Lakers

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    Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

    Scoring

    17/20

    Nick Young may celebrate prematurely on some occasions, but he does tend to make shots when he takes them. Thanks to a solid three-point stroke and a level of basket-attacking aggressiveness that we haven't seen from him in the past, Swaggy P turned himself into a highly effective volume scorer for the Los Angeles Lakers. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    8/20

    Passing? What's that? I remain convinced that Young isn't 100 percent sure what the word "assist" means, instead lucking into his dimes when his missed shots are particularly off the mark. That's obviously an exaggeration, but it wouldn't hurt for him to involve his teammates slightly a lot a whole lot more.  

    Defense

    32/40

    The Lakers had a terrible defensive reputation in 2013-14, but Young actually played some decent on-ball defense. He benefited from almost refusing to play off the ball (which makes this overall grade a bit deceptive), but he was difficult to get around when faced with a one-on-one situation. 

    Rebounding

    5/10

    Young has been aggressive attacking the hoop with the ball in his hands, and that mentality carries over after a shot is missed. Though he doesn't have great feel for actually grabbing rebounds, he does make a concerted effort to put himself in a position conducive to padding those stats. 

    Intangibles

    7/10

    Young always seems to be in the news, but it's for silly reasons, not ones that are actively detrimental to the efforts of the Purple and Gold. The bigger problem is health, as a twisted knee kept him out of the lineup for quite some time.  

    Overall

    69/100

    Young has been one of the league's most valuable scorers off the bench, but he still needs to improve his all-around game if he hopes to gain an even bigger role. Though his on-ball defense was on point, more effort guarding someone without the rock would help, as would a willingness to distribute the ball to open teammates. Swaggy P should never change, but Nick Young should. 

12. DeMarre Carroll, Atlanta Hawks

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    Rocky Widner/Getty Images

    Scoring

    12/20

    DeMarre Carroll's previous career high in points per game was just six, a number he achieved during his final season with the Utah Jazz. He nearly doubled that in 2013-14, an improvement that can largely be credited to his willingness to fire away from downtown and connect on those looks. Of course, a severe uptick in playing time helped as well.

    Non-Scoring Offense

    9/20

    Though he's a dangerous shooter, Carroll hasn't been enough of a spot-up threat to cause nightmares for opposing defenses. He's adequate at doing so, but not much more, a statement that also seems to apply to his distributing skills. 

    Defense

    33/40

    This is why Carroll has stuck in the Atlanta Hawks' rotation. Both on and off the ball, he's played above-average defense, particularly when he's asked to cover pick-and-roll sets. Whether he's shutting down an opposing ball handler or roll man, Carroll understands how to make the most beneficial play, thereby giving the Hawks a bit more versatility in their defensive schemes. 

    Rebounding

    9/10

    Standing at 6'8" helps out a bit, as Carroll enjoys a distinct size advantage over most matchups he faces, especially since he's had experience at the 4 in the past. The 27-year-old is a tremendous player on the glass, and the per-minute numbers he generated earlier in his career didn't decline when he received plenty more playing time. 

    Intangibles

    9/10

    He's suffered his fair share of minor, nagging maladies—sprained right thumb, hamstring woes and a brief spat with illness—but Carroll has managed to avoid any major blows. He's right on the verge of earning the perfect score here, but the accumulation was just enough to dock a point. 

    Overall

    72/100

    One of the more underrated contributors in the Association—because, let's be real here, not many people watch the Al Horford-less Hawks—Carroll has become a nice glue guy who specializes on the defensive end. And with a developing three-point stroke, he now qualifies as a three-and-D player. 

11. P.J. Tucker, Phoenix Suns

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    Bart Young/Getty Images

    Scoring

    12/20

    P.J. Tucker was a fairly effective sniper during his first season with the Phoenix Suns, but he showed so much more confidence during the second. All of a sudden, he was firing away much more often and hitting with higher frequency, which gave him a true role in a potent offensive scheme. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    12/20

    Tucker is an excellent off-ball threat due to his marksmanship and athletic cuts to the hoop, but he's still limited as a distributor. While he's capable of making the necessary passes within the confines of a play, you rarely see him ad-libbing and creating offense for his teammates. 

    Defense

    29/40

    While he's a great on-ball defender who loves showing off his intelligence and willingness to take on the toughest matchups, Tucker still has room to grow when faced with more complicated situations. It's too easy for a cutter to lose him amongst the big bodies in the paint, and he can often get caught out of position when he's not dealing with a strict one-on-one scenario. 

    Rebounding

    10/10

    It's tough to find a better rebounder at this position. Tucker constantly flies in from the wings and collects boards above everyone else, and he seems to possess a genuine love for making contributions in this area. 

    Intangibles

    10/10

    Tucker stayed completely healthy throughout the 2013-14 season, and he created nary a negative headline for the surprising Suns. There just aren't any complaints whatsoever in this section. 

    Overall

    73/100

    It's players like Tucker who can change the fortunes of a franchise on a single-season basis. He's not a superstar and never will be, but by emerging as a contributing rotation member who makes above-average contributions in multiple areas, Tucker can swing at least a few games. 

10. Jeff Green, Boston Celtics

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    Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    17/20

    Jeff Green thrived as a tertiary scorer while Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce were still with the Boston Celtics. But he was thrust into a No. 1 role and exposed during the 2013-14 season. Though he can still score in volume—hence the impressive mark in this category—Green saw his percentages dip rather dramatically as he struggled to create more offense for himself. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    7/20

    He's a horrific distributor, but at least Green is a threatening off-ball presence who keeps defenses honest. He's adept both shooting from the perimeter and slashing toward the basket, which forces the opposition to remain on its toes at all times. 

    Defense

    31/40

    Green has a good defensive reputation, but the offensive burden he shouldered in 2013-14 kept him from exerting quite as much energy and effort on the less glamorous end. His athleticism and instincts kept him engaged off the ball, but he wasn't as quick to react in on-ball situations as many have come to expect.  

    Rebounding

    8/10

    On the surface, Green looks like he's improved on the boards. However, his per-minute numbers and offensive rebounding percentage have both dipped now that he's a featured player in Beantown, which prevents him from becoming truly elite as a rebounder. 

    Intangibles

    10/10

    Did Green make any negative headlines during a losing season for the C's? Nope, not really. Did he move out of the lineup due to injuries for any significant period of time? Nope, not really. 

    Overall

    73/100

    So much for the All-Star potential Green flashed in 2012-13. He was an adequate featured player for Boston, but his scoring was exposed and his defense suffered due to the extra energy he was forced into using on the offensive end of the court. 

9. Tyreke Evans, New Orleans Pelicans

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    Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

    Scoring

    16/20

    Tyreke Evans can't shoot the ball to save his life. But thanks to his point guard-esque handles, craftiness (see: Eurostep) and finishing ability around the basket, he was still able to provide a nice scoring punch for the New Orleans Pelicans. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    13/20

    Evans might not be a threat when he spots up on the perimeter, but he's an athletic cutter who doesn't allow defenses to just forget about him. That said, his experience as a point guard earlier in his career does wonders here, as Evans does a fantastic job distributing the ball when he's on the move. 

    Defense

    30/40

    There's a huge disparity between the work Evans does on and off the ball. He excels at the former, particularly when guarding isolation players or navigating pick-and-roll sets, but the latter is a major struggle. Spot-up shooters routinely abuse the slow-to-recover Pelican. 

    Rebounding

    8/10

    Evans produces an elite number of rebounding opportunities per game, but he doesn't always convert them. His grip isn't quite strong enough for him to maintain possession in traffic, and his timing when chasing a loose ball is sometimes a bit off. 

    Intangibles

    7/10

    Ankle injuries derailed the start of Evans' career by the bayou, and they affected him even when he was able to suit up. Since his game is predicated on athleticism and quick changes of directions, those troublesome joints were especially problematic. 

    Overall

    74/100

    Evans just needs to find stability so he can eventually climb back up the ranks—both the overall ones and the positional ones. After a ridiculously good rookie season in 2009-10, the Memphis product has continuously declined thanks to shifting positions, changing coaches/teammates and an undefined role. 

8. Trevor Ariza, Washington Wizards

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    Issac Baldizon/Getty Images

    Scoring

    15/20

    Trevor Ariza basically proved that it was possible to remain on fire over the course of an entire NBA season. He was unconscious from beyond the arc from start to finish, and his work inside the perimeter wasn't too shabby either. If he were just a bit better from mid-range zones, he'd be a truly dangerous scoring threat. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    10/20

    You simply can't leave Ariza open in the corners. His above-the-break shooting is terrifying enough, but he really makes defenses pay when he sneaks away to the most efficient areas outside the paint. The small forward's passing could stand to improve, but it does remain somewhat adequate. 

    Defense

    33/40

    Ariza's defensive reputation gives him a bit too much credit. Then again, his numbers also sell him a little short. He's often asked to cover for lesser defenders, and the haphazard nature of his positioning can make him a bit prone to mental lapses. Above all else, the Washington Wizards are far better at preventing points when he plays. 

    Rebounding

    9/10

    It's tough to find small forwards who are better at rebounding than Ariza, but it is possible. He's just an incredibly consistent player on the boards who can be counted on for a handful of successful haul-ins each time he receives significant run. 

    Intangibles

    10/10

    Ariza is a vocal leader who also happens to set an example with his actions. One of the reasons he's so valuable to the Wizards is his ability to serve as a mentor for the young players who figure so heavily into Washington's future. 

    Overall

    77/100

    About as unheralded a player as you'll find in this section of the rankings, Ariza deserves a lot more recognition than he receives outside of the D.C. area. A tremendous locker room asset who provides steady contributions on both ends of the court, this small forward was a large part of the reason Washington experienced so much success in 2013-14. 

7. Luol Deng, Cleveland Cavaliers

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    David Liam Kyle/Getty Images

    Scoring

    16/20

    Luol Deng was much more effective as an oft-used scoring threat with the Chicago Bulls than a tertiary piece with the Cleveland Cavaliers. His three-point shot deserted him in both locations, but he attacked the basket significantly more often in his first home, allowing him to remain fairly efficient by virtue of easy looks at the rim and shots from the charity stripe. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    9/20

    There's not much reason to fear Deng off the ball. He's struggled as a cutter now that his age is starting to creep up near 30, and his shot isn't threatening enough to garner much attention. When he's not scoring, his lone source of offensive impact comes as a distributor, and he even struggled in that area with Cleveland. 

    Defense

    34/40

    At least this has remained steady throughout a tumultuous 2013-14 campaign. Deng excels as a shutdown wing defender, especially when opponents make the mistake of trying to post him up. That's just a recipe for disaster, although it's not exactly easy to find a method of attack that leaves the small forward all that vulnerable. 

    Rebounding

    9/10

    It's tough to find a better offensive rebounder at the 3 than Deng. He's a master at flying in, working around defenders and earning his team another possession after a missed shot. Though his work on the defensive glass declined when he was traded, he's so good in this area that he still receives a high score. 

    Intangibles

    9/10

    Deng's Achilles problems haven't kept him out for many games, but they have severely impacted his play. That's probably the best explanation for his post-trade decline, as Deng is too passionate to suddenly stop trying because he's playing for a team without a shot at a title. 

    Overall

    77/100

    Chicago Deng would've been either the No. 3 or No. 4 small forward in the NBA, as well as a player with the potential to rank in the top 30. Cleveland Deng isn't even a top-10 player at his position. And here's the average, though I suspect he'll rebound rather nicely when he's fully healthy. 

6. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    15/20

    The San Antonio Spurs' ball-sharing system prevents any one player from standing out as a scorer, but Kawhi Leonard has done his darnedest to excel nonetheless. By coupling his stellar three-point shooting with a penchant for finishing at the rim, Leonard was extremely efficient. Then he added in an excellent mid-range game, which basically maximized his level of production as a non-featured option. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    7/20

    If there's any area in which Leonard needs to improve, it's this one. He's not a player who inspires sheer terror when moving without the ball, and his passing is lackluster at best. Rarely do you see Leonard make even one pass that the average small forward couldn't have successfully completed. 

    Defense

    37/40

    Leonard entered the league as a bit of a defensive specialist back in 2011, and he's maintained that point-preventing prowess despite gaining abilities in other areas. Few players in the league are better at locking down a wing player throughout an entire game, and his effectiveness is by no means limited to man-on-man situations. 

    Rebounding

    10/10

    It's tough to find a small forward who rebounds in traffic so well that over 30 percent of his successful ventures on the glass come with another player in his vicinity. But I'll give you a hint so you don't end up trying to find one for too long: Leonard qualifies. 

    Intangibles

    9/10

    Does the 22-year-old talk enough to generate bad publicity? He just quietly goes about his business for the most part, though he's not escaping with a 10-of-10 score this year. Injuries did get to the San Diego State product, as he missed 14 games in the middle of the season with a fracture of his fourth metacarpal.

    Overall

    78/100

    The Spurs just aren't fair. Eventually, Tim Duncan is going to retire (I think...), and Leonard will step into the superstar role, leaving the model franchise maintaining its spot among the NBA elite. The small forward is only missing opportunity to thrive as a scorer, because he's already showing out in nearly every facet of the game. 

5. Andre Iguodala, Golden State Warriors

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    11/20

    It's almost inconceivable that Andre Iguodala's offense dropped off this quickly. He actually elevated his percentages, but a serious dip in usage prevented him from ever gaining much rhythm in the Golden State Warriors' system. Iggy was forced to be a last resort on the offensive end, and it was rather difficult for him to score in double digits on most nights. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    14/20

    Iguodala has remained an elite facilitator for his position, even if he doesn't have the ball in his hands enough to rack up eye-popping assist totals. Let's put it this way: Iggy is so strong as a distributor that the Dubs have actually felt comfortable letting him run the point when the other top-notch options are either injured or need a quick rest. 

    Defense

    37/40

    Wing players aren't typically going to garner Defensive Player of the Year consideration, but Iguodala deserves a bit for the stellar work he's done on the less glamorous end of the court. Golden State is a struggling defensive team when Iggy is on the bench; when he plays, the team's defensive rating is right up there in contention for the No. 1 spot throughout the Association. 

    Rebounding

    7/10

    Iguodala isn't particularly active on the glass, partially because he's a transition threat who can either finish the coast-to-coast play or lead a multi-player drive, but he does an excellent job capitalizing on his opportunities. His work on the offensive glass has been on par with the rest of his career, even if he's struggled a bit more than usual on the other end. 

    Intangibles

    9/10

    You'll rarely hear about Iguodala complaining, unless a bobblehead is involved. Only injuries affect him negatively here, as a sore hamstring at the start of the season forced Golden State to work from behind the eight ball right off the bat. 

    Overall

    78/100

    Consider Iguodala one of the non-stats All-Stars. His box scores aren't always pretty, but he impacts so many areas of the game that aren't going to show up as either points, rebounds, assists, steals or blocks. He did experience a slight offensive decline, but his defense keeps his value right up there. 

4. Chandler Parsons, Houston Rockets

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    David Liam Kyle/Getty Images

    Scoring

    16/20

    If you're seeking out a beautiful shooting chart, just go check out Chandler Parsons. He can knock down three-point attempts above and below the break, and he makes getting to the rim a priority. Rarely does Parsons settle for a mid-range look, because he's well aware it's the least efficient area of the court. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    13/20

    Parsons has made strides as a distributor each and every year of his professional career, and this season was no exception. Not only did he cut back on his turnover percentage—particularly by keeping his dribbling tighter—but his assist percentage rose yet again. The Houston Rockets seem increasingly comfortable when Parsons runs the show.  

    Defense

    33/40

    Already a borderline-elite on-ball defender, Parsons needs to become a bit more disciplined when he's attempting to corral scorers who are dangerous when they don't have possession of the ball. His length does allow him to close out on spot-up shooters, but he's not always in the right position when a lot of motion is involved. 

    Rebounding

    7/10

    It's hard to stand out when surrounded by players who also excel in this category, but Parsons still manages to post excellent numbers as a rebounder. Whether there's another player fighting with him for control of a missed shot, the former Florida Gator tends to do a good job pulling in the ball. 

    Intangibles

    10/10

    A sore knee in January and back spasms in December kept Parsons out of a few games, but he was still quite durable from start to finish. In fact, the only part of him that didn't really make it through the season was his hair, as he chopped it off to pay homage to a 10-year-old with cancer.   

    Overall

    79/100

    When Parsons left Florida and was the No. 38 pick in the 2011 NBA draft, he was average at everything and great at nothing. Three seasons later, he's become great at quite a few things and above average at just about everything else. He's a prototypical Swiss army knife who should make Houston feel like it does actually have a third member of a Big Three. 

3. Nicolas Batum, Portland Trail Blazers

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    Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    15/20

    Nicolas Batum made enormous strides inside the arc during the 2013-14 season. Buoyed by an insane ability to finish plays around the rim, the versatile small forward was able to eliminate mid-range looks from his arsenal and play a highly efficient brand of offensive basketball. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    14/20

    There aren't many better facilitators from this middle spot in the lineup. Batum routinely challenges the double-digit barrier in the assist column, and there was even a 10-game stretch in January where he got there three times while averaging 6.9 dimes per game. 

    Defense

    33/40

    Can you imagine how bad the Portland Trail Blazers' defense would be without Batum serving as the glue guy on that end of the court? His versatility allows him to guard multiple positions, and he routinely uses his length to erase the mistakes made by other players in the starting lineup. On and off the ball, he excels, though his numbers are tarnished by the lackluster nature of the overall Rip City product. 

    Rebounding

    10/10

    During the first 13 games of March, Batum took control of the glass for Portland. He recorded at least 10 rebounds in nine of those outings and averaged a stellar 12.2 boards per contest. How many small forwards are capable of doing that?

    Intangibles

    10/10

    There haven't been many more durable players than Batum during the 2013-14 campaign, and he avoided any negative headlines. If you remember his episode with Juan Carlos Navarro during the 2012 Olympics, it's quite clear that he's improved his mental game and temper. 

    Overall

    82/100

    Batum is one of the more versatile players in the Association, capable of impacting a game rather significantly with either his shooting, his play at the rim, his defense on the perimeter or his rebounding. He can do it all, allowing him to establish himself as yet another player whose value isn't fully encapsulated by box-score statistics. 

2. Paul George, Indiana Pacers

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    Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    18/20

    A lengthy slump during the second half of the season prevented Paul George from remaining right near the top of the leaderboard in this category, but it can't cancel out the work he did throughout the entirety of the 2013-14 campaign. George's jump-shooting improved, and he began to make those difficult superstar shots that we normally see from players like Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    12/20

    To continue improving, George must become more of a point forward than he's been during his ascent to stardom. His assist numbers just aren't anything special for a player who controls the ball this much, as he spends so much time focusing on his handles and creating his own looks, sometimes failing to find the open man. 

    Defense

    37/40

    It's hard to look much better than this on defense. George has every tool imaginable—length, size, athleticism, instincts—and seems to enjoy putting them to use. He revels in his ability to take on the toughest matchups, and he prides himself on shutting down opposing superstars, both on and off the ball. 

    Rebounding

    10/10

    The type of rebounds that George pulls down are rather pedestrian. They're contested at a decent rate, and he's not particularly aggressive or passive on the glass. However, the sheer volume is quite impressive, especially given the fact that he spends a lot of time on the perimeter and is expected to carry a huge burden on both ends of the court. 

    Intangibles

    8/10

    Allegedly impregnating a Miami stripper and later getting catfished aren't exactly the types of off-court behavior you expect from a focused superstar. He's been a distraction, even if he's stayed healthy, and it may have affected his play during the second half of the 2013-14 season. 

    Overall

    85/100

    George appeared to be a strong MVP candidate during the opening salvo of this season, and many (myself included) were too quick to proclaim him the next "best thing since sliced bread." The rest of the season was a bit of a reality check, but it's still abundantly clear that George is a bona fide superstar who will play a large role in the NBA's present and future. 

1. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Layne Murdoch Jr./Getty Images

    Scoring

    20/20

    If you expected anything other than a perfect score, shame on you. From breaking Michael Jordan's modern-era streak of 25-point games to setting all sorts of marks while Russell Westbrook was out of the lineup, from his 54-point explosion against the Golden State Warriors to his 51-point game against the Toronto Raptors, Kevin Durant has easily been the best scorer in the league. Quite frankly, he's put up the greatest scoring season since MJ's exploits in the late 1980s. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    19/20

    There's not any chance of a defender willingly leaving Durant open when he's not touching the ball. Defensive schemes are built around preventing him from gaining possession in space, which makes him a pretty special off-ball threat. He's also improved dramatically as a facilitator, showing far more willingness to use the pass as a tool of creation rather than just trying to escape from a double team.

    Defense

    36/40

    This was a huge area of improvement for Durant in 2013-14. No longer was he hidden by Scott Brooks, but he instead took on difficult matchups and aided the OKC defense with his ability to switch onto almost any offensive player. He has—and routinely uses—the size to guard big men and the agility to take on backcourt matchups. 

    Rebounding

    10/10

    To continue breaking the "he's only a scorer" narrative, Durant thrived on the boards throughout the year. Averaging well over seven rebounds per game is something that an adequate power forward should do, not a player who primarily lined up at the 3 and carried his team's offense. 

    Intangibles

    10/10

    Though Durant can get worked up and earn a few too many technicals, those are isolated incidents. He's a passionate leader who demands excellence, both from himself and his teammates. On top of that, he's remarkably durable. 

    Overall

    95/100

    Durant submitted the best scoring season we've seen in decades, and that's not even the only thing that made him special. The OKC superstar morphed into a tremendous all-around player in 2013-14, one who could swing a game with his passing, defending and rebounding even if he was experiencing an ultra-rare off-night as a shooter. Oh, and he's still only 25 years old. 

     

    Don't forget to check back here for the latest updates to the NBA 200 series, but in the meantime, feel free to discuss any or all of these rankings with me on Twitter.  

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