The NBA's Best Small Forwards

Kyle CrawfordContributor IIFebruary 9, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 16:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Caveliers dunks the ball against the Los Angeles Clippers during the first quarter of the NBA basketball game at Staples Center on January 16, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The Small Forward position is home to some of the biggest names in basketball. These guys put up points in bunches, and, when in the zone, are not stoppable.

1. Lebron James

Lebron James is possibly the most athletic person to ever play basketball. James is averaging 29.8 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 8.2 assists per game, which is one of the most dominant stat lines we've ever seen. James can take it inside and posterize any shot blocker in the NBA, but can handle the ball as well as a point guard.

King James is an absolute highlight reel waiting to happen. With high-flying dunks, alley oops, and blocks every single night, he is the most exciting player in the league.

Lebron is doing a great job of improving his jump shot and has an exceptional game with his back to the basket, and this has shown in the fact  he is shooting over 50 percent from the field. Lebron has shown he is one of the hardest working players in the league and is looking to smash records through his career. Now Lebron just has to prove he can win a championship.

2.Carmelo Anthony

Anthony is not nearly the athlete Lebron is, but he has proved to be just as good of a scorer. Melo shows basketball savvy by knowing how he can score and taking advantage of what the defense gives him.

While Lebron can blow by you at anytime, Anthony is more likely to hit the jumper if you give him an open look. He is averaging 29.7 points, 6.5 boards, and 3.3 assists per game while shooting 47 percent from the field.

Ever since winning a gold medal Anthony has recommitted to improving his game in every way. He has improved his shot, but more importantly, he has improved his defense. Melo has a knack for hitting big shots when called upon, doing so more and with a better percentage than King James. If Melo continues to develop his work ethic, he will continue to develop a very impressive resume.

3. Kevin Durant

The long and lanky Kevin Durant is taking the NBA by storm. He is averaging 29.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game for a Thunder team that is in playoff contention. Durant, who stands at 6'9" and has a wingspan of 7'4," can shoot over anybody in the league.

He has one of the silkiest, prettiest jump shots you could ever imagine and can release it from anywhere on the court. If Durant could add some weight, he could develop a fierce game down low. Durant, who has improved his defense some this year, could still use serious improvement, specifically on defending the pick and roll. With the rate that KD is improving, the length he has, and his pure jump shot he could become one of the greatest scorers of his era.

4. Gerald Wallace

Wallace is one of the main reasons the Bobcats are finally starting to resemble a basketball team. Wallace, who is a physical 6'7" player, is averaging a double-double at 19.1 points and 10.9 rebounds per game. Wallace is the leading rebounder and second leading scorer for the Bobcats who are surprisingly in contention to make the playoffs, even if it is in the lowly Eastern Conference.

Anytime you can have your Small Forward averaging a double-double it is usually a great sign for your team's rebounding stats, and that is exactly what Wallace does, as he isn't afraid to get in the paint and bang with the bigs. At 27, Wallace has the peak of his career ahead of him, and it looks like he would be a great asset to any team he is on.

5.Danny Granger

Granger is the one piece that keeps the Indiana Pacers' engine churning. Averaging 22.3 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, Granger is a building block the Pacers would be wise to build around.

The more chances the Pacers have given Granger to take the reigns (Stephen Jackson going to GS), the more the has impressed everyone in the league. If the Pacers can surround Granger with a little more talent they would be a prime contender to make the playoffs and lose to one of the big four in the first round.

Granger would be a much better player if he could get to the basket and create shots for his teammates, because he is only averaging 2.8 assists per game. Look for Granger to continually improve, but never to the level of the first three guys on this list.


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