2010 Closeout: Small Forward Rankings

The superstar experiment in Miami is starting to show some positive effects and their small forward, of course, is the main reason.

Traditionally, small forwards were never the focal point of a team, but with so many talented scorers lining up at the position, scoring in the NBA has been dominated by these wing players.

The starting small forwards in the NBA have won the last two MVP awards, a Finals MVP award, have the reigning scoring champion and 11 players listed below have appeared in an All-Star game.

This generation may be dominated by point guards, but the small forward position will likely bring home all of the hardware.

30. Quinton Ross- New Jersey Nets

The Nets are looking for any production from the small forward position. Terrence Williams was dealt away, Travis Outlaw is already proving to be a free agent bust and Damion James is too young. Ross is the latest starter in for the Nets but until they make a move for a small forward, the team is going to be battling for lottery position instead of a playoff spot.

Previous ranking: unranked

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29. Luc Mbah a Moute- Milwaukee Bucks

Milwaukee has substituted offensive production for a defensive stopper by inserting Luc Mbah a Moute into the starting lineup. Trying to boost the offensive production from their bench, the Bucks decided to make Corey Maggette their sixth man. A solid on the ball defender, Mbah a Moute needs to produce better steal and block numbers to receive national attention for his efforts.

Previous ranking: unranked

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28. Donte Green- Sacramento Kings

Taking over for the struggling Omri Casspi, Donte Green has to shoot the ball better if he wants to remain a starter. Standing at six-foot-eleven, the tallest small forward on this list, Green is connecting on just 39 percent of his attempts from the field.

Previous ranking: unranked

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27. Ryan Gomes- Los Angeles Clippers

There is little doubt rookie Al-Farouq Aminu should be starting at small forward for the Clippers. Ryan Gomes is averaging 7.8 points and 3.9 rebounds, nearly identical numbers to Aminu, but takes 12 additional minutes per game to obtain those stats. The Clippers would be wise to give the rookie some playing time and send Gomes to the bench.

Previous ranking: 29th

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26. Anthony Parker- Cleveland Cavaliers

Shifting to small forward to allow Daniel Gibson to start, Anthony Parker has been equally effective from long range. Connecting on 43 percent of his attempts from three-point range, Parker is making just 39 percent of his shots from the field.

Previous ranking: 26th (as shooting guard)

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25. Sonny Weems- Toronto Raptors

Originally known as the guy throwing passes to J.R. Smith during the 2009 Dunk Contest, Sonny Weems has found a home in Toronto. Averaging a career high in points, Weems even saved his best game of the season for the Nuggets. Scoring 21 points along with seven rebounds, four assists and two steals at home against Denver.

Previous ranking: unranked

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24. Nicolas Batum- Portland Trail Blazers

Following a 19 point, 11 rebound effort on Opening Night against Phoenix, it looked like Nicolas Batum was headed for a breakout season. Instead, the 22-year-old has been just a part time starter in Portland. Batum is a solid player, but with so many injuries in Portland, the team needs more production from him.

Previous Ranking: 24th

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23. Rashard Lewis- Washington Wizards

The first causality from Orlando trying to cater to Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis was immediately sent away to the Wizards after Howard proclaimed some of his teammates “didn’t play with any toughness.” Not one to compete around the basket, Lewis is looking to find his shooting touch in Washington.

Previous ranking: 20th (as power forward)

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22. Marvin Williams- Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta fans are still waiting for that breakout season from Marvin Williams. After five years in the league, it looks like it will never happen. The second overall pick of the 2005 NBA Draft is averaging 10.8 points per game and has posted just one double-double this year.

Previous ranking: 30th

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21. Dorrell Wright- Golden State Warriors

In just 27 games with the Warriors, Dorell Wright has already topped his career record for three-point field goals. Playing in the Golden State offense will have that effect on players. Doubling his scoring total from a year ago, Wright is among the most improve players in the league.

Previous ranking: 28th

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20. Andrei Kirilenko- Utah Jazz

Once the top player in Utah, Andrei Kirilenko seems to have just given up as a defender. Once leading the league in blocks per game, Kirilenko is sending away just 1.2 attempts per game and hasn’t topped 100 blocks in consecutive years.

Previous ranking: 19th

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19. Trevor Ariza- New Orleans Hornets

The most disappointing move of the off-season has to be the acquisition of Trevor Ariza by New Orleans. Hoping Ariza would be the second scoring option for the Hornets, Ariza has barely cracked a scoring average in the double digits and is shooting just 36 percent from the field.

Previous ranking: 10th

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18. Tayshaun Prince- Detroit Pistons

It seems like when Tayshaun Prince wants to provide an impact, he has the ability. Twice topping the 30 point plateau this season, Prince has even provided some crunch time defense, swatting away a shot at the buzzer to force overtime against the Hornets. Detroit went on to win the game. For the rest of the season, Prince hasn’t lived up to his billing as a top defender, averaging .6 blocks and .2 steals per game.

Previous ranking: 21st

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17. Hedo Turkoglu- Orlando Magic

When Hedo Turkoglu left the Magic two years ago, he backed out of a deal to head to Toronto. Raptor fans would have preferred he went to the Trail Blazers. Topping 20 points just twice, he was dealt in the summer to Phoenix. Turkoglu was shipped back to the Magic as part of a roster overhaul for the Suns and Orlando is hoping he can once again lead them to the Finals.

Previous ranking: unranked

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16. Caron Butler- Dallas Mavericks

Expected to be the explosive scorer to compliment Dirk Nowitzki, Caron Butler hasn’t lived up to the billing. Scoring over 20 points just three times this season, the team has turned to its bench for a scoring punch. Butler is in the final year of his deal, with a $10 million expiring contract, he could be part of the mid-season trade Dallas makes this season.

Previous ranking: 13th (as shooting guard)

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15. Shane Battier- Houston Rockets

The ultimate team-first player in the league, Shane Battier will likely be one of the most sought after players at the trade deadline. Even with the Rockets flirting with a .500 record, the team has suffered devastating injuries and may be willing to push the reset button and start rebuilding the team.

Previous ranking: 14th

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14. Ron Artest- Los Angeles Lakers

Still one of the top defenders in the league, Ron Artest has sacrificed his minuets for the good of the team. Splitting time with Matt Barnes, Artest has seen his minutes cut along with his offensive production from a year ago. The lighter load in the regular season will keep him fresh for the post season.

Previous ranking: 8th

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13. Richard Jefferson- San Antonio Spurs

Richard Jefferson is doing everything he can to erase the memory from an awful first season in San Antonio. Helping the new look offense of the Spurs, Jefferson has upped his shooting percentages and scoring average from a year ago and has been fully embraced by the San Antonio fans.

Previous ranking: 18th

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12. Grant Hill- Phoenix Suns

Having scored 30 points for the first time in 10 years earlier this month, Grant Hill is still producing, even at 37-years-old. The scoring outburst was no fluke, as Hill is averaging his highest point total in four years and he has eight total games with 20 or more points.

Previous ranking: 16th

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11. Andre Iguodala- Philadelphia 76ers

For the fourth consecutive season, Andre Iguodala has seen his scoring average slip. A candidate to be dealt prior to February’s trade deadline, Iguodala and his knack for scoring would make for a nice fit for a championship contender.

Previous ranking: 9th

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10. Wilson Chandler- New York Knicks

Initially losing his starting position at shooting guard, Wilson Chandler has made the decision to put him into the starting lineup an easy one. Averaging career highs in points, rebounds and blocks per game, the six-foot-eight Chandler has been among the biggest surprises throughout the league this season.

Previous ranking: unranked

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9. Luol Deng- Chicago Bulls

Fully embracing his role as the third option for the Chicago Bulls, Luol Deng has maintained his scoring average from a year ago. Playing with a high scoring point guard and one of the best low post players in the NBA, Deng has excelled with less pressure placed on him.

Previous ranking: 13th

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8. Gerald Wallace- Charlotte Bobcats

Shooting his lowest percentage since joining Charlotte seven years ago, Gerald Wallace is not having the same type of season he had a year ago. Becoming the first small forward to average 10 rebounds a game in five seasons, Wallace is down to eight rebounds a night along with 16 points, his lowest output in five years.

Previous ranking: 5th

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7. Michael Beasley- Minnesota Timberwolves

Essentially given away by the Miami Heat, Michael Beasley has responded by becoming the offensive leader for Minnesota. Already surpassing 30 points on four occasions this season, after just one such performance in two years with the Heat, Beasley has proven he can catch fire at anytime and is averaging a career best 21.4 points per game along with 6.1 rebounds.

Previous ranking: unranked

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6. Danny Granger- Indiana Pacers

Getting just a brief taste of the post season his rookie year, Danny Granger has made it his personal mission to bring the Pacers back. Falling just short each of the past four seasons, Granger has slumped a bit in December but still has the Pacers a strong contender for the playoffs this year.

Previous ranking: 7th

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5. Rudy Gay- Memphis Grizzlies

Many questioned if Rudy Gay was worth the maximum contract he received from the Grizzlies this off-season. Any questions were quickly answered as Gay rattled off eight consecutive games with 20 or more points to open the season. Averaging career highs in points, assists, blocks and field goal percentage, Gay has proven he can be the franchise player in Memphis.

Previous ranking: 6th

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4. Paul Pierce- Boston Celtics

There is nothing on the floor Paul Pierce can’t do. As one of the top crunch time scorers in the league, Pierce is in complete control of the Celtics offense at all times. When Rajon Rondo went out with an ankle injury, Pierce rattled off consecutive double-digit assist games in his absence, his first two 10 plus assist games of the year, along with his usual scoring production.

Previous ranking: 4th

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3. Carmelo Anthony- Denver Nuggets

The countdown for Carmelo Anthony to be dealt continues. With all of the attention focused on what jersey he will be wearing in the future, Anthony has continued to produce at a high rate on the court. His 24 points and 8.3 rebounds will make him an All-Star for the fourth time in his career.

Previous ranking: 3rd

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2. Kevin Durant- Oklahoma City Thunder

Just imagine how effective Kevin Durant will be when his shot starts falling. The leading scorer in the NBA is shooting four percentage points less than his total last season but is still managing 27.5 points per game. Durant will shoot better than the 43 percent he is posting this season in 2011 and continue to chase his second consecutive scoring crown.

Previous ranking: 2nd

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1. LeBron James- Miami Heat

Still the most dominant player in the league, LeBron James has started to embrace the negativity he receives on the road. After dismantling the Cavaliers in Cleveland, James posted a triple-double on national television to silence the crowd in Madison Square Garden. Miami is hoping King James can deliver in 2011 and beyond.

Previous ranking: 1st

Other Position Rankings:

Center, Power Forward, Shooting Guard, Point Guard

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About Brendan Galella

Brendan Galella founded Shatter the Glass to make the NBA even more accessible to basketball fans. Composing player rankings, team evaluations and intriguing observations, he hopes to turn every reader into a dedicated and educated basketball follower.
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