Sitting atop the rankings list are the two best players in all the NBA and the two most statistically well rounded players in fantasy land. However it doesn’t take long for the position to take a dip a bit. Once you get out of the top ten you start working your way into unproven talent laden with potential and chronic underachievers who you just hope will put it together.
Here are my top 40 Small Forwards in fantasy basketball this season:
1. Kevin Durant – Oklahoma City Thunder
2. LeBron James – Miami Heat
3. Carmelo Anthony – New York Knicks
4. Rudy Gay – Memphis Grizzlies
5. Paul Pierce – Boston Celtics|
6. Danny Granger – Indiana Pacers
7. Andre Iguodala – Denver Nuggets
8. Nicolas Batum – Portland Trail Blazers
9. Gerald Wallace – Brooklyn Nets
10. Luol Deng – Chicago Bulls
11. Danilo Gallinari – Denver Nuggets
12. Gordon Hayward – Utah Jazz
13. Wilson Chandler – Denver Nuggets
14. Kawhi Leonard – San Antonio Spurs
15. Harrison Barnes – Golden State Warriors
16. Andrei Kirilenko – Minnesota Timberwolves
17. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – Charlotte Bobcats
18. Jared Dudley – Phoenix Suns
19. Alonzo Gee – Cleveland Cavaliers
20. Hedo Turkoglu – Orlando Magic
21. Caron Butler – Los Angeles Clippers
22. Mike Dunleavy – Milwaukee Bucks
23. Dorell Wright – Philadelphia 76ers
24. C.J. Miles – Cleveland Cavaliers
25. Nick Young – Philadelphia 76ers
26. Al-Farouq Aminu – New Orleans Hornets
27. Michael Beasley – Phoenix Suns
28. Chandler Parsons – Houston Rockets
29. Chase Budinger – Minnesota Timberwolves
30. Marvin Williams – Utah Jazz
31. Trevor Ariza – Washington Wizards
32. Shawn Marion – Dallas Mavericks
33. Tayshaun Prince – Detroit Pistons
34. James Johnson – Sacramento Kings
35. Linas Kleiza – Toronto Raptors
36. Corey Maggette – Detroit Pistons
37. Gerald Green – Indiana Pacers
38. Carlos Delfino – Houston Rockets
39. Stephen Jackson – San Antonio Spurs
40. Austin Daye – Detroit Pistons
- The debate for number one at small forward is the same debate as number one overall. It’s a two man race and for me Kevin Durant just narrowly edges LeBron James. Durant and James both have their areas where they are better, for James it’s assists and steals, for Durant it’s 3’s and blocks. What puts Durant over the top for me is that his numbers are still improving every season, and I don’t know that he’s yet hit his ceiling.
- Last season was a bit of a coming out party for Nicolas Batum as a fantasy player. In the games Batum started he averaged 15.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 1.0 BPG, 0.9 SPG and 1.9 3PG. At 23 I think we are just scratching the surface of Batum’s potential and I could see him winding up in the top five of this last by season’s end. I would’ve liked to have ranked him higher, but he does stll have some things to prove.
- I realize I am higher than most on Wilson Chandler, and I admit I might be too high on him. But at a position this shallow a guy who has the potential to contribute a fair amount in five categories is someone you gamble on. I worry about his minutes with Andre Iguodala and Danilo Galinari in Denver as well, but Chandler averaged 26.9 MPG last season in the few games he played and Danilo has the ability to play the power forward spot in the Nuggets wide open offense. This ranking could come back and haunt me, or Chandler could deliver on his potential and I’ll look pretty good.
- It’ll be interesting to see how a year away from the NBA has affected Andrei Kirilenko, even though he has been played overseas. I don’t believe Kirilenko returns to the 16 point/8 rebound player he was five years ago, but I do see him sliding back into the 11.5 points/5 rebounds guy he was two years ago with stellar defensive numbers.
- A lot of fantasy players had hoped that a return to Orlando would’ve sparked a return to better days for Hedo Turkoglu. He wasn’t awful, but a return to better day it was not. Turkoglu is still a multi-category contributor however, and with Dwight Howard out of the picture he may step up and take on a bigger offensive role this season. If he can hold off some of the young talent behind him he could still turn in a top 20 SF season.
- Once you get to a certain point in these rankings you have to start thinking about potential and that’s why Al-Farouq Aminu came in as high as he did, higher than in most rankings. Aminu may not ever turn into a top notch scorer, but if he can hit double digits while pulling down 6 – 7 boards and at least one block and steal per game he could keep climbing these rankings.
- Last season Chandler Parsons was one of the more underrated and out of nowhere rookies in the league. Parsons ended up getting a starting role on the team and averaged 11.5 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.1 SPG and 1.2 3PG in the second half. The Rockets thought so highly of him that they traded away Chase Budinger and it should be his job and his alone this season. We’ll see what he can do with it.
- There is one reason and one reason only that Austin Daye made this list, and it’s upside. Grant Hill and Metta World Peace and several other guys like them would certainly be safer picks, but Daye is the guy with the upside. Like last year we heard about Daye’s big preseason and how good he has looked in the offseason. Last season however that led to a whole lot of nothing and so my expectations aren’t nearly as high this season. Still, you take a flier and see what comes from it.