Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James? Ranking The NBA's Top 10 Small Forwards

Matt RavidaCorrespondent IAugust 22, 2010

So this is the third installment of the six articles that I will be writing.

Today's topic is small forwards.

Small forwards are a very key position in the NBA, because many of the top scorers in the NBA are from the small forward position.

Whether it is LeBron, Carmelo, Durant or Granger. 

When it comes to top scorers in the league, these guys are your best options.

So here is a list compiling the top ten small forwards.

Ones to Watch For Next Season

Michael Beasley: Minnesota Timberwolves

Beasley is a very good player and no one gives him any credit because of his off court troubles, and his lack of production apparently? 

I do think that 15 points and 7 rebounds is not bad for a player, playing only 29 minutes a game, and playing as the second option to one of the best players in basketball, Dwyane Wade.

Beasley is very quick and athletic for a forward. He does have the tools to put up monster numbers if he is given the chance, as we saw when he played for Kansas State. He is a excellent leaper, which helps with his tenacious rebounding skills. 

Does have the ability to play both forward positions, but his natural position is playing the small forward position. His shooting stroke is improving since his rookie season and will continue to do so.

Of course, the one thing that really does hurt Beasley is his off court troubles.

But I hope for his sake that a fresh new start in Minnesota, can and will really help.


Ryan Gomes: Los Angeles Clippers

Gomes is a very underrated player in this league. But then again, I guess playing in Minnesota does help the situation. But a new start in Los Angeles could really help his case. Because he will get a chance to start for the small forward position.

Gomes is a very hard working player that is not afraid to get down and dirty under the boards and risk his body for the good of the team. 

He is not a player that will wow you when seeing him play. This is because he does all the little things that coaches just love.

He rebounds terrifically, does not turnover the ball and make careless mistake. And Gomes does have the ability to shoot the three, but he is a better attacker than shooter.

His really only weakness is that he is a great defender, but just does not put up the stats to prove anything. As well he lacks the explosiveness to be a star small forward.


Donte Greene: Sacramento Kings

Greene is a very talented player, and he should be able to get his chance to shine next season with the Kings needed someone to step up into the three position or the two position.

Green is a very good scorer, and a player that can score in bunches form anywhere on the court. He has the body physique to the play the forward position, but also has the guard skills to play shooting guard.

Greene's weakness does come on both ends of the floor.

He does tend to shoot more three then what he should, even his driving abilities and the open lane. Greene will still opt to shoot.

As well he does need to contribute more and play harder on defense if he really wants to push to get good minutes next season.


Damion James: New Jersey Nets (Rookie)

The rookies James is one of the most mature and NBA ready players in this years draft class. Part of this reasoning is because he did stay all four years at Texas. A rarity nowadays.

James is a good scorer and uses his big frame to power throw defenders for the easy basket. Or take the contact, and get free throw attempts.

James is a very good rebounds, he is quick and fast, which helps him a lot being when he is able to start the break from the rebounding position. 

James has a solid mid-range game and has a great wingpsan, that comes useful when grabbing those boards.

What James needs to work on to become an elite player for the Nets is his shooting stroke from behind the three point line as well as the free throw line.


The Top 10

10. Luol Deng: Chicago Bulls

Deng had a breakout season last year and was starting to become a consistent player that the Bulls could rely on for support.

Deng is a smart and skilled player that is very patient on the offensive side and hardly ever forces the issue.

He knows when he needs to take the shot and knows when he needs to attack the rim. Deng is a good rebounder for a small forward and uses his big frame to knock people over if they are in his way.

Deng's weaknesses are his defense. He is not the defender that he could be. As well he does have the drive to take over games like he should.

9. Corey Maggette: Milwaukee Bucks

This pick of Maggette may come as a surprise to many, but Maggette had a stellar season last year playing alongside scorers in Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry, in which Maggette still put up good numbers.

Now with Maggette being shipped to Milwaukee, the Bucks will have one of the most dynamic guard/wing players in the NBA.

Maggette is a fantastic athlete and is so powerful when attacking the basket. He can create his own shot, either off the dribble or off a screen. 

Maggette loves driving to the basket, and is not afraid to take the hits or pain that comes with when banging with the big boys down low. Maggette can be a dominating scorer from anywhere on the floor. Playing with Don Nelson in Golden State, he has developed a low post game, that can really help if the Bucks ever want to go small.

Maggette's few drawbacks are his proneness to injuries when attacking and playing so hard. As well as, he is not the best defensive player as he should be. Whether he is lazy and just wants to play offense, or he actually is not a good defender. 


8. Andre Iguodala: Philadelphia 76ers

Iguodala is an incredible athlete and an even better dunker. He can probably out jump almost any player in the league. As we saw on his steal and his forceful dunk against the French a few weeks back.

He was always known as the attacking wing player who just always drives to the basket for the flush. But as his career is maturing, he is starting to develop that mid-range jump shot, as well as the tree point shooting stroke.

Iggy, is an exceptional passer for his position and a top tier defender in this league.

But he does struggle in the role as being the "main guy" type player. Or the go to scorer down the stretch. And he is not a great free throw shooter.


7. Gerald Wallace: Charlotte Bobcats

Wallace is the all-around player that is an above average scorer, great defender, terrific leaper and athleticism, and is always making the highlight real for a thunderous dunk or a monstrous block.

Wallace is a slasher that uses his athleticism to elevate over all and any defenders. He is a great player to have on your team mainly because of his defensive attributes, but he also is a good offensive threat. 

Wallace's down falls are that he is injury prone, and he does sometimes force the issue to much, leading to turnovers. He is not a terrific shooter, but can be very streaky if he does hit a few.


6. Paul Pierce: Boston Celtics

Pierce has been around the league forever it seems like. Even though he has been around a while, and his production is decreasing, he is still playing at a high level and helping the Celtics win games.

Pierce is a gifted scorer and that scores from almost anywhere on the floor. He can attack the rim and he can shoot the three.

He is a team first player, that will always do what ever it takes for his Celtics to win. Pierce is a clutch scorer that has hit many key shots in his career.

Pierce is an above averaged defender, but as he is getting older his defensive abilities are starting to weaken and he is not as strong as he once was on the defensive side of the ball.

Pierce's weaknesses are turnovers, which have been his case his whole career. As well he is a very streaky player and has he has aged his defense has dropped off for his standards. 

5. Rudy Gay: Memphis Girzzlies

Gay is a very explosive scorer, he uses his quickness and long athletic arms to blow past defenders for the easy flush down the defenders neck.

His leaping ability is second to none in the league, and just utilizes to its full potential. Coming out of no where for incredible blocks, as well as magnificent acrobatic dunks.

Gay possesses a decent mid-range game that allows him to stretch the floor and always keep his opponents guessing on how he will attack them.

Gay's drawbacks are that he is a streaky player and sometimes shoots the three more than what he should. Since his three point percentages are not that high. 

4. Danny Granger: Indiana Pacers

Granger is another player that is very underrated in this league because playing for the Pacers who do not get that much credit, does not help. But nonetheless, Granger is a great player in this league.

He is a natural scorer that has terrific range, and can score from almost anywhere on the court. 

Granger is a great defender, and has the ability to guard players from the guard position, all the way up to the power forward position.

He can run the floor well and pass like point guard. He is a smoother and long player that has the ability to take over games.

The one thing that makes me wander when watching Granger, is that he has such great size, that why not use it? Instead he shoots way to many perimeter shots.


3. Kevin Durant: Oklahoma City Thunder

This many surprise many, but before you hate on this pick. You have to realize that Durant has been doing this for one season, while players like Carmelo and LeBron have been producing and putting up better numbers with better players around them who are scoring big number as well.

And do not get me wrong, Durant will be a big time player in maybe a years time. But for now he is not ahead of Carmelo nor LeBron still he can put another season up like his last.

Kevin Durant is turning into the leagues most deadly scorer. He did earn himself the scoring title last season with an average of 30.1 points a game.

Though Durant's game is all about the slashing and attacking the rim, He does have the ability to shoot the three. But his strengths are driving. Durant uses his body and wingspan very well when attacking the rim. With his long lanky arms, and his athleticism.

Durant has great height and length as well as athleticism that helps him to score in those variety of ways.

He is able to sky up above the defender and lay the ball in, or dunk on the poor defender. Durant has a great feel and instincts for the game, which is a part that helps him out a lot while playing.

Durant is great in transition and has a deadly pull up jumper that always breaks down defenders when they are backing off of Durant.

Durant's downfalls are that with his lack of meat on his body, he is kind if lanky and does get pushed around. He does take a lot, and I mean a lot of bad shots. And lastly, he is a liability on the defensive side of the ball.


2. Carmelo Anthony: Denver Nuggets

Sometimes I do think that Carmelo is the best small forward in the game. Because I always wander if he was put on a team that had no supporting case like LeBron how he would fair? 

But anyways, Carmelo is a still a terrific player.

Melo is a fantastic and gifted scorer. He has the size to play the power forward position. But the skills and ball handling abilities to play the guard position.

Melo is one of the best in the league at creating his own shot. Whether coming off of the screen, off the dribble, in the open court, or even the turn around fade-away jumper. He does have a quick and fast release that help him when defenders are on him or closing out quick.

He can score from anywhere on the court. Melo is a great shooter, but unlike LeBron and other player he does not rely on it as much as they do.

Melo uses his good quickness and great explosiveness to blow by defenders for the easy lay-up.

He is a good passer, not a great passer, but he does have above average passing skills.

Carmelo's weaknesses are that he is sometimes not always intense on the defensive side. He will play tough one possession and then not the same on the next. As well he does commit his fair share of turnovers.

1. LeBron James: Miami Heat

Everybody needs to put behind the situation of how LeBron left Cleveland and how apparently he is taking the easy way out to win a championship. But everyone needs to realize how good this guys really is.

LeBron, or "King James" is one of the most all-around/complete basketball players in the history of the NBA. 

He could really play positions one through five if he really wanted to do. He has the strength and the skills to do so.

LeBron is an extraordinary athlete who plays with rare physicality mixed with quickness and speed.

LeBron can drive by almost anyone in this league. There is not many that can actually stop him. He will just overpower you like no tomorrow.

He is an excellent passer and does have some nice highlight dimes.

LeBron can score from almost anywhere on the floor, sometimes he can be so streaky that he scored 16 points in two minutes vs the Bucks back in 2009.

LeBron is an top tier defender, well at least to none Laker and Kobe fans he is. 

He is an intense competitor and is an extremely hard-worker. Sometimes this guy is just simple indestructible. 

But yes, even LeBron James does have some flaws in his game.

His three point percentages are not that high for a player that does take a lot of them. And he is not a great free throw shooter as he should be for a player that is there more than 99% of the players in the league.


Overall, in conclusion you cannot go wrong with either Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James on your team. All have their strengths and weaknesses.

But as it stand now, LeBron just has the overall package, the everything factor, that Durant and Carmelo are yet attain.


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