2011 Fantasy Small Forward Rankings

Three of the past four scoring champions have been small forwards.

As centers continue to have their roles in the offense diminished, small forwards have benefited with the influx of scoring opportunities.

The position also has players with an array of talents. The top small forward led the league in PER, a statistical calculation for player efficiency rating, PER strives to measure a player’s per-minute performance, while adjusting for pace.

The average is 15, a feat exceeded by 21 small forwards throughout the league last season.

Small forwards have been making major contributions to their NBA teams and will enter the 2011-12 season as the favorites to win the scoring title and MVP award.

30. James Johnson– Toronto Raptors

Acquired from Chicago at the trade deadline, Johnson averaged 9.2 points, 4.7 rebounds and three assists per game in 25 contests with Toronto. Johnson may not have the starting position for long, after a trade for Mickael Pietrus fell through, Toronto isn’t done changing its roster.

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29. Travis Outlaw– New Jersey Nets

The most significant signing during last season’s epic free agent period, Outlaw has yet to live up to the five-year $35 million contract that brought him to New Jersey. Outlaw averaged just 9.2 points, four rebounds and one assist per game and he failed to rank in the top two of any statistical category.

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28. Marvin Williams– Atlanta Hawks

Given an opportunity to rid itself of Williams, Atlanta refused to part ways with one of his worst draft day decisions. Williams averaged 10.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game, but no matter what he does, Hawks fans will always view him as the player that was selected instead of Chris Paul.

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27. Al-Farouq Aminu– New Orleans Hornets

Trapped on the bench throughout his rookie season, Aminu played less than 18 minutes per game. Even though his time on the floor was limited, he managed one 20 point game, against the team he was traded to on Wednesday night.

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26. Mike Dunleavy Jr.- Milwaukee Bucks

A two-year $7.5 million contract brought Dunleavy Jr. from division rival Indiana to Milwaukee. In his ninth season, Dunleavy Jr. shot a career best 40.2% from three point range. Twice during the season, he connected on six three-pointers, topping 30 points in both contests and more importantly, carrying his team to victory.

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25. Rashard Lewis– Washington Wizards

Widely expected to be cut by Washington with the newly instituted amnesty clause, Lewis and the two years $45.8 million remaining on his contract are still with the Wizards. During his 32 game stint with Washington, Lewis averaged 11.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and two assists per game.

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24. Omri Casspi– Cleveland Cavaliers

Entering his third season in the NBA, Casspi has shown flashes of being an explosive scorer. Four times he topped the 20-point plateau last season, including a 20 point, eight rebound effort to lead Sacramento to a win over the Lakers.

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23. Metta World Peace– Los Angeles Lakers

Changing his name from Ron Artest, Peace is hoping to revamp his game this season. His shooting dipped to below 40% for the first time in his career and his scoring average of 8.5 points per game marks the lowest of his 12-year career.

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22. Kawhi Leonard– San Antonio Spurs

The player that slipped out of the top-10 of the 2011 NBA Draft found a home to San Antonio with the 15th pick and will be given a chance to start immediately. The 6-foot-7 former San Diego State star can shoot from anywhere on the floor and is a strong contender for Rookie of the Year.

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21. Chase Budinger– Houston Rockets

In his second season in the league, Budinger showed flashes of becoming a consistent scorer. Against Minnesota, he scored 35 points along with six rebounds, four assists and two steals to lead Houston to a victory. During the lockout, Budinger considered playing in Russia but the Rockets are glad to have him back to provide a scoring punch.

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20. Hedo Turkoglu– Orlando Magic

A return to Orlando didn’t have the impact both the team and he were looking for following the trade. Although he is among the best ally-oop throwers in the league, Turkoglu did increase his assist average to 5.1 per game since rejoining Dwight Howard.

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19. Tayshaun Prince– Detroit Pistons

The extended downtime as a result of the NBA lockout had Prince consider leaving the franchise that selected him in the first round of the 2002 NBA Draft. An extended talk with new coach Lawrence Frank convinced him to remain in Detroit.

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18. C.J. Miles– Utah Jazz

Miles started just 19 games a year ago, but with Utah’s young roster, the 24-year-old with six years of experience will be counted on to become a leader. Posting a career best 12.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game, Miles is likely to become the third scoring option for the Jazz.

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17. Dorell Wright– Golden State Warriors

The league leader in three-point field goals attempted and made, Wright topped 30 points six times last season along with seven double-doubles. Playing in the highest scoring offense in the league, Wright averaged a career best 16.4 points per game.

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16. John Salmons– Sacramento Kings

Rejoining Sacramento as a result of a draft day trade, Salmons is hoping that the change of scenery will have a positive impact on his play. When he was dealt to Chicago, he responded by averaging 17.5 points, then posted 19 a game after a deal sent him to Milwaukee.

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15. Caron Butler– Los Angeles Clippers

Once the calendar flipped to 2011, Butler’s season came to an end because of a knee injury. Hoping to come back during the Mavericks championship run, he never recovered in time. Butler agreed to join the Clippers on the first day of free agency after averaging 15 points and 4.1 rebounds per game prior to rupturing a tendon in his knee.

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14. Grant Hill- Phoenix Suns

After considering joining a few other teams, Hill announced he signed a one-year deal to remain in Phoenix for $6.5 million. Since joining the Suns, Hill has just missed 13 games in four years. As Phoenix lacks a go-to scorer, Hill’s involvement increased significantly, taking 10.3 shots per game.

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13.  Danilo Gallinari– Denver Nuggets

Dealt to Denver as part of the blockbuster trade for Carmelo Anthony last season, Gallinari missed a majority of his time with the Nuggets due to a foot injury. Without an explosive scorer on the roster, Gallinari will be counted on to produce more than the 15.6 points per game he averaged a year ago.

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12. Corey Maggette– Charlotte Bobcats

Charlotte brought in Maggette to become the leading scorer on the team. Last season, Maggette joined Milwaukee as a free agent, but managed to score just 12 points per game, his lowest total in eight seasons. The Bobcats acquired Maggette during the 2011 NBA Draft and expect him to have his eighth career season averaging at least 17 points per game.

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11. Luol Deng– Chicago Bulls

The third scoring option in Chicago, Deng flourished, scoring 17.4 points per game to go with 7.3 rebounds and two assists per game. With defenses keying in on his MVP teammate, Deng connected on a career best 1.4 made three-pointers per game.

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10. Michael Beasley– Minnesota Timberwolves

A talented but troubled scorer, Beasley may be on his way out of Minnesota. With the selection of Derrick Williams, the second overall pick of the 2011 NBA Draft, has a similar skill set to Beasley. The Timberwolves may be interested in moving Beasley soon, as there is still some value for a player that averaged 19.2 points per game last season.

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9. Lamar Odom– Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks newest acquisition not only has to embrace a new team, but a new role. The reigning Sixth Man of the Year started just 35 contests a year ago, but still managed to average 14.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and three assists a night.

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8. Andre Iguodala– Philadelphia 76ers

The 76ers completely changed their offensive philosophy under coach Doug Collins. Even though Iguodala is no longer the primary focus of the offensive attack, he has embraced his new role, averaging a career high 6.3 assists per game.

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7. Gerald Wallace– Portland Trail Blazers

Shipped to Portland at the trade deadline a year ago, Wallace was revitalized once he joined a playoff contender. Wallace recorded six double-doubles in 23 regular season appearances with the Trail Blazers, including a 40 point effort against Oklahoma City to help clinch a playoff spot for his team.

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6. Danny Granger– Indiana Pacers

Granger saw his scoring average dip for the third straight season, although he remained the team leader in points and steals. Granger recorded just five double-doubles last season, his best performance came against Golden State, when he scored 32 points, along with 13 rebounds, six assists, three steals and a blocked shot.

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5. Rudy Gay– Memphis Grizziles

Memphis has championship aspirations this year and they mainly rest on the play of its small forward. The Grizzlies reached the Western Conference Finals even after their franchise player suffered a shoulder injury halfway through the season. Gay scored 19.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game prior to the injury.

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4. Paul Pierce– Boston Celtics

Even with limited attempts, Pierce remains an effective scorer. His lone triple-double last season saw him score 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field along with 12 assists and 10 rebounds during a victory over Indiana. The game reflected what he was able to accomplish all season, as Pierce scored 18.9 points per game on just 12.8 attempts per game.

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3. Carmelo Anthony– New York Knicks

Finally receiving his wish to be traded from Denver to New York last season, Anthony took advantage of the opportunity, averaging 26.3 points in 27 games. On Monday, Anthony hyper-extended his left knee and was forced to miss practice the following day. Once he is able to return to the Knicks, he should contend for the scoring title in 2012.

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2. Kevin Durant– Oklahoma City Thunder

After capturing consecutive scoring titles, Durant spent his off season increasing his popularity by dazzling fans in summer league contests. Durant scored 66 points at Rucker Park and NBA defenders will have an equally tough time preventing him from winning a third straight scoring crown.

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1. LeBron James– Miami Heat

Without question, James is the most valuable fantasy basketball player. A triple-double threat every night, James averaged 26.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, seven assists and 1.6 steals per game. His shooting accuracy and ability to get to the free thrown line make him the toughest player to guard each night. Plus, after an extended off-season full of bashing James, he has something to prove this year.

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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