2012 Fantasy Small Forward Rankings

After battling for a championship ring in June, the top two small forwards in the league teamed up to bring home a gold medal.

The story to come out of London was how the reigning MVP was able to dominate in every aspect of the game while the league’s scoring champion was once again unstoppable overseas.  

Along the way, another at the position set an American record for points in an Olympic contest and is hoping his performance can carry over to help meet the massive expectations placed on him with his new team.

Clearly the top two players in the league play the small forward position, as two player received at least 117 of a possible 118 votes for First Team All-NBA honors and fantasy owners should expected increased production at the position with a talent influx from the 2012 NBA Draft.

30. Luc Mbah a Moute– Milwaukee Bucks

A starter simply to provide some defensive resistance in Milwuakee, Mbah a Moute has little to offer fantasy owners. The 26-year-old played the ninth most minutes for the Bucks, attempted just four shots from beyond the arc, scored more than 15 points on three occasions and never dished out five assists in a game.


29. Al-Farouq Aminu– New Orleans Hornets

In 147 career appearances, Aminu has registered just one 20-point effort, posted just two double-doubles and made just 4-of-17 3-point attempts from the corner. Inserted into the starting lineup for his ability to lock down players on the wing, the eighth overall pick from the 2010 NBA Draft has to show more consistency with his jump shot, connecting on just 40.2 percent of his attempts from the field through two seasons.


28. Chandler Parsons– Houston Rockets

The Rockets are still unsure of the direction the team is taking. With 20 players invited to training camp and only 15 roster spots, plenty of decisions must be made. As the only team with three first round picks, Houston selected three players that may compete with Parsons for the starting small forward position in Jeremy Lamb, Royce White and Terrence Jones.


27. Ron Artest– Los Angeles Lakers

Many players began last season out of shape as a result of the NBA lockout. Artest arrived at training camp weighing 268 pounds, about 15 pounds heavier than his normal playing weight it showed. Artest played just 26.9 minutes per game, the lowest of his career and shot below 30 percent from 3-point range for the first time since the 2000-01 season.


26. Omri Casspi– Cleveland Cavaliers

In nearly every statistical category, Casspi posted the lowest totals of his three year career last season, his first with the Cavaliers. Rumors swirled about Cleveland considering a buyout of his contract. For Casspi to remain in Cleveland, he must provide an impact on the offensive end as he failed to score more than 14 points in any game and didn’t register a double-double all seaeson.


25. Trevor Ariza– Washinton Wizards

Suiting up for his sixth different team in nine seasons, Ariza is part of a completely revamped front court in Washington. The Wizards managed just 93.6 points per game, 23rd in the NBA, despite playing at the ninth fastest pace. The Wizards need Ariza to return to an effective shooter, much like he was as a reserve for the Lakers during their title run in 2009 and not the player that made 41.7 percent of his attempts from the field a season ago.


24. Tayshaun Prince– Detroit Pistons

The lone holdover from Detroit’s championship team in 2004, Prince has occasionally provided a scoring punch, but not much else for Detroit. Over the past three seasons, the 6-foot-9 Prince has posted just eight double-doubles and took a step back, finishing fourth in scoring average for the Pistons in 2011-12.


23. Shawn Marion– Dallas Mavericks

When Marion provides an impact rebounding the basketball, Dallas is successful. The Mavericks went 7-0 when he posted 12 or more rebounds, an area he should focus on since his offensive skills have significantly diminished. Marion averaged 10.6 points per game, his lowest since his rookie season, shot the second lowest percentage from the field during his 13-year career and connected on less than 30 percent of his 3-point attempts for the fourth consecutive season.


22. Marvin Williams– Utah Jazz

After seven disappointing seasons in Atlanta, Williams was dealt to Utah in desperate need of a fresh start. Williams has shown flashes, such as his 29 point, 11 rebound, three block effort against New York last season and even developed into a long range threat, shooting a career-high 38.9 percent from 3-point range last season, but has to average more than 10.2 points and 5.2 rebounds to live up to the billing of his lofty draft status.


21. Kyle Korver– Atlanta Hawks

Korver’s game is pretty simple to analyze, he provides a long range shooting threat and provides little else. The sharpshooter hasn’t register a double-double since Nov.3 2007, but shot above 40 percent from 3-point range for the sixth time in his career and posted four games with five or more conversions from beyond the arc.


20. Evan Turner– Philadelphia 76ers

Philadelphia shaped its roster hoping to enable Turner to post a breakout season. The departures of Andre Iguodala and Lou Williams give the former No.2 overall pick a more prominent role in the offense. Following the All-Star break, he averaged 10.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.


19. Hedo Turkoglu– Orlando Magic

Orlando tried desperately to shed the $23.8 million Turkoglu is due over the next two seasons as part of its rebuilding process, but failed to move him. The 32-year-old has averaged just 11 points on 42.5 percent shooting over the past three seasons, but could become a viable fantasy option as the Magic need someone to score, and Turkoglu has never been shy about shooting.


18. Caron Butler– Los Angeles Clippers

A broken hand couldn’t keep Butler out of the Clippers staring lineup for more than a week. Butler took a major step backwards last season, shooting 40.7 percent from the field while averaging 12 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game, well below the usual contributions from the two-time All-Star. Look for Butler to continue his success early in games, 40 percent of his total field goal attempts came in the first quarter.


17. Harrison Barnes– Golden State Warriors

Since being selected by Golden State with the seventh overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, Barnes has taken the necessary steps to becoming an impact player. From enlisting the help of a Hall-of Fame guard, posting 16.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.8 steals and shooting over 57 percent from 3-point range in Summer League play and displaying a knack for finishing in the open court, the expectations are high for Barnes.


16. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist– Charlotte Bobcats

Kidd-Gilchrist was brought in to change the environment in Charlotte. The Bobcats set the record for lowest winning percentage over an entire season, lacked any semblance of a defense and managed just 87 points per game. While Kidd-Gilchrist won’t cure each of the Bobcats problems, the team will give him every opportunity to do so, making him an intriguing fantasy option.


15. Kawhi Leonard– San Antonio Spurs

In his first season, Leonard found his niche. During the 2012 playoffs, Leonard connected on 54 percent of his 3-point attempts from the corner, essentially filling the Bruce Bowen role on offense for San Antonio. As a rookie, Leonard started each of the 14 playoff games for the Spurs, averaging 8.6 points and 5.9 rebounds, prompting coach Gregg Poppovich to call him a future star.


14. Michael Beasley– Phoenix Suns

The talent is there for Beasley, the question has always been his ability to perform consistently. Against Oklahoma City and his former teammate Kevin Durant, Beasley averaged 25 points, posting two of his best performances of the season. Phoenix marks the third stop of his career and the Suns are just hoping he plays to his abilities on a nightly basis.


13. DeMar DeRozan– Toronto Raptors

Twenty six times DeRozan scored 20 or more points last season. He possesses an explosive first step, exceptional ability to finish at the rim but little else. DeRozan managed just three games with five or more assists, failed to post a double-double and led the team in turnovers even though he isn’t the primary ball handler.


12. Andrei Kirilenko– Minnesota Timberwolves

After spending all of last season playing in Russia, Kirilenko returns to the NBA, joining Minnesota after spending the first 10 years of his career with the Jazz. Playing for Russia at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Kirilenko led his team to a Bronze medal as he averaged 17.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, showed his shot blocking ability and shot 54 percent from the field.


11. Gerald Wallace– Brooklyn Nets

What makes Wallace such a valuable player in Brooklyn’s lineup is his versatility. As the only active small forward other than Shawn Marion to every average 10 rebounds per game for an entire season, Wallace has the ability to make up for anything the roster lacks. During his brief tenure with the Nets, he averaged 15.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.4 steals per game.


10. Nicolas Batum– Portland Trail Blazers

Perhaps no player had a more controversial off-season than Batum. The 23-year-old sparked a bidding war between Minnesota and Portland, eventually rejoining the Trail Blazers after they matched a four-year $45 million contract offer. During the Olympics, Batum served as the starting small forward for France and punched guard Juan Carlos Navarro before the final buzzer sounded.


9. Tyreke Evans– Sacramento Kings

If Sacramento wants to have all of its best players in the starting lineup, then the former Rookie of the Year will have to adjust to a new position. While his shooting percentage increased to 45.3 percent, the highest of his career, Evans has seen his role in the Kings offense diminish, as he averaged 16.5 points per game and just 34.3 minutes per game.


8. Danilo Gallinari– Denver Nuggets

Injuries forced Gallinari to miss over a third of the season last year, but when he was on the floor, he failed to provide his usual impact. Only 2.1 percent of his field goal attempts resulted in an And-1 opportunity, down from 5.3 percent the previous season. A healthy return from Gallinari should result in an increase for his long range shooting as he shot 32.8 percent from 3-point range, the lowest percentage of his career.


7. Luol Deng– Chicago Bulls

The first time All-Star will be relied on heavily, especially to begin the season. As Derrick Rose battled injuries throughout the regular season, Deng’s scoring average actually went down, to 15.3 points per game and his shooting percentage fell nearly five percent without his point guard. With Rose still recovering from his knee injury, the Bulls need Deng to elevate his game if they want to remain contenders in the Eastern Conference.


6. Danny Granger– Indiana Pacers

For each of the past four seasons, Granger’s scoring average has decreased while the win total has continued to pile up for Indiana. Grangers declared the Pacers were the second best team in the conference, behind Miami, but for that proclamation to be true, Granger must return to All-Star form and be willing to take control of the offense when necessary.


5. Rudy Gay– Memphis Grizzlies

The Grizzlies must decide if it can be successful with its current front court. Gay averaged 19 points per game, the same total he has averaged for the past five seasons, along with 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game, but following a first round exit in the post season, moving Gay may be a necessity for the team to make another run to the Western Conference finals.


4. Paul Pierce– Boston Celtics

The years may finally be taking a toll on Pierce. In 61 regular season games, he posted just four double-doubles and managed over 10 rebounds or assists on just one occasion. Once the playoffs began, his shooting touch began to diminish, as he shot 38.6 percent from the field.


3. Carmelo Anthony– New York Knicks

New York is hoping the long range prowess Anthony displayed during the Olympics will finally carry over to Madison Square Garden. Anthony shot 50 percent from 3-point range and set the American record for points in an Olympic contest, as he scored 37 points in 14 minutes. Anthony shot 33.5 percent from long range last season as he posted his second lowest scoring average of the past seven years.


2. Kevin Durant– Oklahoma City Thunder

Only Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan have won the scoring title in four consecutive years. Durant just edged out Kobe Bryant for his third straight, making it the closest race in the NBA since the 1977-78 season. The 24-year-old significantly increased his productivity with the game on the line, as his averages would equate to 34.3 points and 9.5 rebounds per game in crunch time.


1. LeBron James- Miami Heat

The only question facing James now is how will he respond after proving himself. James won his third career MVP award, thrived throughout the post season, led his team to a championship then served as the catalyst as Team USA won the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics. What will he do for an en core?

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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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