NBA Power Rankings: Top 25 Fantasy Small Forwards for 2010-11

Eric FelkeyAnalyst IOctober 20, 2010

NBA Power Rankings: Top 25 Fantasy Small Forwards for 2010-11

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    Part three of NBA Soup’s position-by-position fantasy ranking preview focuses on small forwards, one of the deepest positions in this year’s class. It also features the top two fantasy picks in all formats: Kevin Durant and LeBron James.

    As we’ve done with point guards and shooting guards, we’re counting down the top 25. Looking for guys like Antawn Jamison, Rashard Lewis, Boris Diaw, and Jeff Green? Check back in the power forward rankings.

    We’ll start at the bottom…

Sleeper: Dorell Wright (Golden State Warriors)

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    Projected Stats: 46.9 FG%, 85.2 FT%, 10.3 pts, 3.7 rebs, 1.5 asts, 1.3 3pt, .8 stls, .3 blks

    Wright could get the nod as a starter for Golden State, and if he does his numbers will definitely spike from where they peaked last season.

    With so much attention on Steph Curry, Monta Ellis, and David Lee, any available shooter on the floor for the Warriors will get plenty of open looks.

25. Tayshaun Prince (Detroit Pistons)

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    Projected Stats: 45.8 FG%, 77.5 FT%, 14.0 pts, 5.3 rebs, 3.1 asts, .7 3pt, .7 stls, .5 blks

    Prince has been a model of consistency in Detroit over the last six seasons, averaging between 13.2 and 14.7 points, 4.2 to 5.8 rebounds, and 2.3 to 3.3 assists. He also played all 82 games for six straight seasons from 2003-2009 until he missed 33 games last season.

    You have to expect him to continue putting up decent numbers, but his expiring contract could make him expendable in Detroit. If he’s shipped to a contender, then his value drops.

24. Josh Howard (Washington Wizards)

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    Projected Stats: 44.6 FG%, 78.0 FT%, 13.8 pts, 5.0 rebs, 1.5 asts, .6 3pt, 1.0 stls, .4 blks

    Howard desperately needed a change of scenery in Dallas and briefly saw it in Washington last season, averaging 17.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.0 steals…in the three games before he went out for the season with a torn ACL.

    He’s playing in a contract year so if he has anything left in the tank, now is the time to showcase it. But, it’ll be tough to find consistent playing time with Gilbert Arenas, Kirk Hinrich, Al Thornton and Yi Jianlian all fighting for minutes as well.

23. Linas Kleiza (Toronto Raptors)

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    Projected Stats: 46.5 FG%, 77.8 FT%, 12.5 pts, 4.6 rebs, 1.0 asts, 1.5 3pt, .6 stls, .2 blks

    Somewhat of an afterthought after disappearing overseas for a year, Kleiza returns to a Raptors team that was one of the best offensive units in the East last season.

    He averaged 10 points and 1.0-plust three-pointers in his last two seasons with Denver, so expect relatively similar numbers.

22. Omri Casspi (Sacramento Kings)

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    Projected Stats: 45.2 FG%, 72.1 FT%, 12.5 pts, 4.6 rebs, 1.4 asts, 1.2 3pt, .9 stls, .2 blks

    The Kings have picked up some nice pieces in each of the previous two drafts, and Casspi is the one that continues to fly under the radar.

    He’ll compete with Francisco Garcia, who missed a good portion of last season with a broken arm, for playing time but Sacto had a lot of success with a Tyreke Evans/Casspi backcourt and there’s no reason to think that this trend won’t continue.

21. Reggie Williams (Golden State Warriors)

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    Projected Stats: 48.3 FG%, 84.3 FT%, 12.8 pts, 4.0 rebs, 2.2 asts, 1.6 3pt, 1.0 stls, .2 blks

    By this point you know the deal with Golden State role players—streaky, inconsistent, but more then capable of throwing up big games.

    Williams came on strong during his time as a Warrior, scoring in double-digits in 19 of 24 games and cracking 20 points eight times.

    He was equally impressive in the summer league, averaging 22.6 points (41.1 FG percent, 82.4 FT percent, 42.3 3PT percent), 4.4 rebounds, and 2.8 assists. At 6′6″ he has the size to start at SF for Golden State and could be the front-runner for that position with Corey Maggette now in Milwaukee.

    Speaking of Maggette…

20. Corey Maggette (Milwaukee Bucks)

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    Projected Stats: 48.0 FG%, 82.3 FT%, 16.5 pts, 5.2 rebs, 2.2 asts, .3 3pt, .8 stls, .2 blks

    In the last seven years, Maggette has averaged no worse than 16.9 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. So why the predicted decline in both categories?

    He’s playing for a very demanding coach in a system where other players (Brandon Jennings, John Salmons, Andrew Bogut) are used to operating with the ball in their hands (much like Maggette), so his touches may be limited. Milwaukee has a lot of weapons and Maggette, playing on a winning team for one of the first times in his professional career, may struggle initially.

19. Thaddeus Young (Philadelphia 76ers)

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    Projected Stats: 49.1 FG%, 72.7 FT%, 13.9 pts, 5.3 rebs, 1.2 asts, .7 3pt, 1.3 stls, .3 blks

    It seems like the Sixers will play more small-ball this season and Young is a perfect player for that style since he can easily alternate between small and power forward. His percentages and points dropped last season but he gets surprisingly decent production across the board.

    If he can earn his way into Doug Collins’ favor then he could be a real sleeper.

18. Nicolas Batum (Portland Trail Blazers)

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    Projected Stats: 48.5 FG%, 83.3 FT%, 12.2 pts, 3.9 rebs, 1.1 asts, 1.7 3pt, .8 stls, .6 blks

    Batum started to make the leap last season, going from 5.4 to 10.1 points, 2.8 to 3.8 rebounds, and .8 to 1.5 three-pointers per game.

    He’s basically the uncontested starting small forward for the Blazers, and with Travis Outlaw in New Jersey and Rudy Fernandez’s future up in the air, he’ll have plenty of chances to make a fantasy impact this year.

17. Wilson Chandler (New York Knicks)

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    Projected Stats: 46.6 FG%, 79.0 FT%, 13.5 pts, 5.0 rebs, 2.2 asts, 1.0 3pt, .8 stls, .8 blks

    Chandler has averaged 14.0+ points, 5.0+ rebounds, and 2.0+ assists per game each of the last two years and often times had to do so as one of New York’s primary scoring options.

    This year, with the additions of Amar’e Stoudemire, Raymond Felton, and Anthony Randolph, as well as the expected breakout of Danilo Gallinari, Chandler got kind of lost in the shuffle. But he’s shown he can be effective in Mike D’Antoni’s “seven seconds or less” system and with defenses paying less attention to him he can continue his effective play.

16. Terrence Williams (New Jersey Nets)

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    Projected Stats: 41.7 FG%, 73.3 FT%, 12.5 pts, 4.9 rebs, 3.2 asts, .5 3pt, 1.0 stls, .3 blks

    His overall averages weren’t great last season but Terrence really came on strong in the final 20 games.

    The Nets acquiring Travis Outlaw and Anthony Morrow is a little scary but Williams is too good of a player not to get consistent minutes for a young team.

15. Andrei Kirilenko (Utah Jazz)

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    Projected Stats: 47.5 FG%, 77.2 FT%, 11.8 pts, 5.0 rebs, 3.0 asts, .3 3pt, 1.5 stls, 1.3 blks

    As it is almost every season, the main issue surrounding AK-47 is health. He missed 24 games in 2010, 15 in ‘09, 10 in ‘08, 12 in ‘07, 13 in ‘06, and 41 in ‘05. When he plays, he gets solid rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks, especially for a middle-of-the-pack SF. Can he stay on the floor and earn consistent minutes over Gordon Hayward?

    The phrase “Andrei Kirilenko’s expiring contract” is one that could be tossed around at the trade deadline quite a bit, so keep an eye on potential trade rumors as the year progresses.

14. Trevor Ariza (New Orleans Hornets)

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    Projected Stats: 45.0 FG%, 66.7 FT%, 14.2 pts, 5.5 rebs, 2.9 asts, 1.7 3pt, 1.7 stls, .4 blks

    Ariza burst out of his shell last year, averaging a career-high 14.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.8 steals with the Rockets, despite high turnover numbers and a paltry field goal percentage.

    He takes his talents to New Orleans this year where he’ll likely get the nod as starter over Peja Stojakovic. Playing with Chris Paul, he’ll get his fair share of open looks on the perimeter and his stats should be comparable to last year’s numbers.

13. Mike Miller (Miami Heat)

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    Projected Stats: 49.3 FG%, 81.5 FT%, 13.8 pts, 5.5 rebs, 3.5 asts, 2.0 3pt, .7 stls, .2 blks

    Mike Miller makes open shots and since he’s playing with LeBron, Wade, and Bosh, he’ll get his fair looks.

    Add in some decent rebound and assist numbers and he’s a pretty safe pick.

12. Luol Deng (Chicago Bulls)

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    Projected Stats: 48.0 FG%, 77.7 FT%, 15.7 pts, 6.2 rebs, 2.2 asts, .4 3pt, 1.0 stls, .7 blks

    Most would agree that it would be near impossible for Deng to live up to his massive contract. But from a fantasy standpoint, he’s a pretty impactful player.

    Other than 2009, when he missed nearly half the season, he’s averaged at least 17.0 points (no worse than 46.6 FG% either), 6.3 rebounds, and 2.0 assists. He fulfills his role in Chicago admirably—grabs rebounds, hits mid-range jumpers, and plays strong defense.

    With even less pressure on him this year, he could be a low-risk, high-reward player.

11. Hedo Turkoglu (Phoenix Suns)

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    Projected Stats: 42.2 FG%, 79.7 FG%, 14.0 pts, 5.2 rebs, 4.5 asts, 1.9 3pt, .8 stls, .3 blks

    Everyone is eager to see if Hedo can bounce back from a miserable year in Toronto and regain some of his swagger that he built up in Orlando. There’s a lot to be excited about in terms of fantasy value—he plays on a fast-paced, up-and-down team, he can assume some of Nash’s ball-handling duties, and he’ll get free range to put up as many three-pointers as he likes.

    He’s never been a great percentage shooter, so even if he takes a dip in that category again it’s not like it’ll be a back-breaker for his owners. Expect to see better numbers across the board from Turkoglu.

10. Michael Beasley (Minnesota Timberwolves)

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    Projected Stats: 47.5 FG%, 81.3 FT%, 15.8 pts, 7.0 rebs, 1.1 asts, .3 3pt, 1.0 stls, .5 blks

    Beasley has the potential to be one of the elite scorers in the NBA. We’ve seen countless times in the past that all it takes is a fresh start in a new city for a player to be revitalized, and this could be his chance to sign.

    The problem is the Timberwolves invested a lot of money on their post game this offseason. Granted, it was on Darko Milicic and Nikola Pekovic, but they’ll still get minutes inside with Kevin Love. And Minnesota also has an abundance of athletic wing players (Martell Webster, Wes Johnson, Corey Brewer). So the pressure will be on Beasley to perform; otherwise he could get lost in the shuffle.

9. Paul Pierce (Boston Celtics)

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    Projected Stats: 45.5 FG%, 83.3 FT%, 18.0 pts, 5.1 rebs, 3.3 asts, 1.5 3pt, 1.2 stls, .3 blks

    Since the arrival of Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, as well as the recent emergence of Rajon Rondo, Pierce saw seven straight years of 21.6+ points per game dwindle down to a 19.5 average since 2008. His rebound and assist numbers have steadily declined as well.

    While still one of the best forwards in the game, Pierce is 33 and playing on a Celtics team that will want to be completely healthy come playoff time. His minutes will probably drop a bit more, as will his overall production…but he’s still a viable option at SF.

8. Danilo Gallinari (New York Knicks)

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    Projected Stats: 43.6 FG%, 85.7 FT%, 15.8 pts, 4.5 rebs, 1.5 asts, 2.4 3pt, .8 stls, .8 blks

    Gallinari is poised for another strong season in New York and will get plenty of looks from the three-point line.

    With Amar’e Stoudemire, Ronny Turiaf, and Anthony Randolph in the middle, Gallo can roam around offensively, grab a few extra rebounds, and be one of the league’s three-point leaders. An improved post-up game will help his offensive arsenal as well.

7. Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers)

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    Projected Stats: 45.9 FG%, 75.0 FT%, 17.3 pts, 6.2 rebs, 5.2 asts, .9 3pt, 1.8 stls, .5 blks

    Iggy’s points and FG percentage slipped last season, but his rebounds, assists, three’s, steals, and blocks all improved. He was successful playing for Team USA as more of a glue guy, someone who played tough defense, grabbed offensive rebounds to keep possessions alive, and helped facilitate the offense.

    If he embraces that role for the Sixers, he might continue to be a 16-17 point scorer, but strong numbers in all categories would make him one of the best all-around options at forward.

6. Rudy Gay (Memphis Grizzlies)

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    Projected Stats: 46.3 FG%, 76.5 FT%, 20.0 pts, 6.1 rebs, 1.6 asts, 1.0 3pt, 1.3 stls, 1.0 blks

    Fans and fantasy owners alike have been awaiting the Rudy Gay breakout season since 2008. But even if that doesn’t come, is what he already produces that bad?

    He’s peaked between 18.9-20.1 points (45.3-46.6 FG percent, 75.3-78.3 FT percent), 5.5-6.2 rebounds, 1.7-2.0 assists, 1.2-1.5 steals, and .7-1.0 blocks from 2008-2010.

    The added pressure of his contract extension shouldn’t be too much of a deterent—career-average numbers from Gay are more than likely this year.

5. Gerald Wallace (Charlotte Bobcats)

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    Projected Stats: 47.6 FG%, 77.3 FT%, 18.8 pts, 9.2 rebs, 2.5 asts, .5 3pt, 1.6 stls, 1.0 blks

    Wallace exploded from a 6.0 rebounds per game average in 2008 to 7.8 in ‘09 and 10.0 in ‘10. Expecting him to average a double-double once again may be a stretch, but outside of Stephen Jackson, Charlotte doesn’t seem to have many players with significant fantasy value.

    That means another big year from Wallace isn’t out of the question.

4. Danny Granger (Indiana Pacers)

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    Projected Stats: 44.5 FG%, 85.2 FT%, 25.2 pts, 5.3 rebs, 2.4 asts, 2.5 3pt, 1.2 stls, 1.1 blks

    One of the most balanced players across the board in the eight major categories, Granger will be one of the league leaders in points and three-pointers.

    He’s never been a great percentage shooter, but playing with a strong ball-handler at point gaurd (Darren Collison) should take some of the pressure off of him in the half-court and limit some of his turnovers as well. If it helps get him some open looks, then topping his career-high of 25.8 points per game is a possibility.

3. Carmelo Anthony (Denver Nuggets)

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    Projected Stats: 44.8 FG%, 80.5 FT%, 27.5 pts, 6.5 rebs, 3.0 asts, .8 3pt, 1.2 stls, .4 blks

    Melo had a strong season in 2010 (28.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.3 steals, 45.8 FG percent, 83.0 FT percent) but from a fantasy point of view it might not have been his best—he also had fantastic years in 2007 (28.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.2 steals, 47.6 FG percent, 80.8 FT percent) and 2008 (25.7 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.3 steals, 49.2 FG percent, 78.6 FT percent).

    With all the drama surrounding where he will ultimately end up once Denver (inevitably) deals him, his season could unfold two ways. He could sulk about being stuck in Denver and let that attitude affect his play.

    Or he could come out in “eff you” mode, constantly put pressure on defenders, and show potential trade suitors (like the Knicks) what they’re missing out on. Either way, it’ll be entertaining to watch.

2. Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)

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    Projected Stats: 49.5 FG%, 91.1 FT%, 32.4 pts, 7.3 rebs, 2.6 asts, 1.8 3pt, 1.3 stls, 1.0 blks

    Hands down one of the top two fantasy players overall, Durant is the most exciting and likable talent in the league. At 22, his game has no limit—he could go for 35 points per game this season and it shouldn’t surprise anyone.

    He seems like the most likely candidate to join the 50-40-90 club—50 percent shooting, 40 percent three-point shooting, and 90 percent from the free throw line. It’s a toss-up between him and No. 1 on the list, and no one would blame you for taking Durant with the first pick.


1. LeBron James (Miami Heat)

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    Projected Stats: 51.6 FG%, 78.0 FT%, 26.4 pts, 9.1 rebs, 9.7 asts, 1.5 3pt, 2.0 stls, 1.2 blks

    LeBron will be possessed this year. As Bill Simmons said, the days of happy-go-lucky, joking-and-messing-around-with-his-teammates LeBron is gone. This guy is all business.

    And if anyone in today’s game could average a triple-double, a pissed off James looking to shut people up and silence his critics is the most likely candidate.


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