Fave Five: Favorite Small Forwards of All-Time
The small forward is easily the most versatile player in basketball. Small forwards can have the agility and athleticism of a guard or the power and touch of a big man. They are so fun to watch because of their ability to beat the opposing defenders in many ways. Small forwards can torch a defense from behind the arc or use a pump fake to blow by a defender and throw down a ferocious dunk.
Note: This list features my favorite favorite small forwards, not nessecarilly the five best small forwards ever.
5. Julius Erving (Virginia Squires, New York Mets, Philadelphia 76ers)
Who can deny the talent and highlight reels of Dr. J? He lacked a great shooting touch and was inconsistent from behind the arc, but Erving excelled close to the basket. His athleticism and ball handling allowed him to get to the rim at will and make acrobatic dunks and lay-ups. Dr. J was truly a treat to watch play.
4. Dominique Wilkins (Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtic
Wilkins is another high-flying acrobatic small forward. Nicknamed "The Human Highlight Film," Wilkins is well known for his ability to drive to the hoop and throw down violent dunks. An inconsistent jump shooter, Wilkins got the majority of his points close to the rim. I enjoyed watching him throw it down over defenders or throw down creative dunks in the slam-dunk contest.
3. Alex English (Milwaukee Bucks, Indiana Pacers, Denver Nuggets, Dallas
English's game epitomizes the word smooth. A player with a great jump shot and sweet moves with the ball, English used his shooting skill to torch teams nightly. A one time NBA scoring champion, English had all the tools to be a great small forward. He may not have been the athlete that Dominique Wilkins was, but English could still use his deceptive athleticism to make acrobatic shots and high release jump shots.
2. Elgin Baylor (Minneapolis/ Los Angeles Lakers)
Baylor was truly a player ahead of his time. An acrobat and highly skilled player, he helped to define what the small forward position is today. Baylor had the grace and shooting touch to score off the jump shot, and the hard working attitude to grind it out in the paint. Watching Baylor's highlight tapes make you think he could have really been a star in today's League with his arsenal of moves.
1. Larry Bird (Boston Celtics)
An Indiana boy born and raised, Larry Bird was one of my childhood heroes. Even though his career had ended when I was old enough to watch and remember basketball, I still loved watching highlights of Larry Bird from back in the day. I enjoyed watching him make up for his athleticism with his high basketball IQ, exceptional passing, and smooth ways on the court. Who can forget his clutch performances and plays that made him the legend he is today?