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doughboy90650
08-22-2009, 03:54 PM
Here's the one absolute in comprising a "Top 5" list these days: not everyone is going to leave a winner.

Richard Jefferson and Gerald Wallace will cry do-over. Memphis (Rudy Gay) and Golden State (Corey Maggette) won't like what they read. And even the Shawn Marion loyalists will question the end results. Because not only did those small forwards not make the "Top 5" cut here, but their positions at the "Honorable Mention" table aren't even reserved.

So what's a guy to do?

In this case, it's examine the five best small forwards in the league today – complete with a combination of fact and opinion - while using the upcoming season to engrain them into stardom.

Debate, discuss or disagree, here is HOOPSWORLD's list of "Top 5 Small Forwards":

1. LeBron James, Cleveland: As if there was any doubt whom would be mentioned first in this discussion. At 24-years-old and an MVP candidate, James is the best player at his position and averaged 28.4 points per game, shooting 48 % from the field for the Cavaliers while also being named to the NBA All-Defensive Team for the first time in his six-year career. While confiscating dunk tapes and defending snubbing handshakes dominated James' summer, this coming season – and with the help of Shaquille O'Neal in Cleveland – LeBron will once again be all about chasing a ring. But for now, he's simply the best small forward in the NBA. No question about it.

2. Carmelo Anthony, Denver: Following "King James" is never easy. Yet if there was one guy who is familiar with the role (after he was selected two spots after James in the 2003 NBA Draft) and capable of playing second fiddle at small forward in this league to LeBron, it's Melo. Last season, Carmelo not only led Denver to the second-best record in the Western Conference, but he did so with his most well rounded season as a pro. He showed improvement defensively (even though no one is going to confuse him with Ron Artest) and averaged 22.8 points per game, while putting up his best numbers from beyond the arc at roughly 37%. How the Nuggets fair this coming season though – and towards a playoff push - will once again be a reflection of Anthony and his ability to keep adding to an already impressive resume. Something says Carmelo will be down for raising his game.

3. Paul Pierce, Boston: In this "Top 5" list – and excluding honorable mentions – Pierce is the lone player with a championship ring, not to mention NBA Finals MVP honors. An eight-time all-star and one of Boston's "Big Three, Pierce's numbers are simply impressive throughout his 10-seasons in the league. With a career-average of 22.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game, Pierce is one of the more complete players in the game today given his ability to defend, rebound and score. If – and that is the key word here – Kevin Garnett sheds his fragility and Rasheed Wallace adjusts well to the Celtics, it's possible Pierce – who shot 45% from the field and averaged 20.5 points per game last season - could be in-line for another ring fitting. And that's "The Truth."

4. Ron Artest, Los Angeles: You may not like him or the way he plays, but you sure as heck have to respect and appreciate Ron Artest for what he brings to the small forward position. At 6'7 and 260 pounds, he is still the league's best defender. No doubt about it. As for his offense, Artest shot 40% from 3-point land despite his scoring average dipping to 17.1 points per game (which is down from his two previous seasons). Yet Artest's smothering defense remains his calling card and certainly gives the Los Angeles Lakers a leg-up in coming out of the West again next season. Right now, they are the team to beat. And while the Lakers lineup of Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol was outstanding last season, the addition of Artest makes Los Angeles a team poised to repeat.

5. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City: The Portland Trail Blazers will never admit they should have selected Durant with the first overall pick back in 2007. But the way this kid put up numbers in his second year, it's worth arguing someone missed the boat. The 2007-08 NBA Rookie of the Year, Durant averaged over 25 points per game last season and easily made his mark at all-star weekend in Phoenix by taking home the MVP trophy from the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam. It was that February that Durant blew up: for the month, he averaged 30 points per game, shot 54% from the field, 51% on 3-pointers and 88% from the line. Now many will debate Durant's place on this list, likely arguing a number of honorable mentions should be here instead. But after seeing what the 6'10 small forward has done in two years, and knowing he'll only get better with age and experience in Oklahoma City, Durant is worthy of a perfect pick.

Honorable Mentions: Danny Granger, Caron Butler, Tayshaun Prince, Hedo Turkoglu, Shane Battier.

Indiana's Danny Granger was this close to cracking the "Top 5" list. He is coming off a career-year with the Pacers where he averaged 25.8 points per game, leaving one question to be asked: where does last season's Most Improved Player go from here?….Washington's Caron Butler is perhaps one of the most underrated players in the league today, let alone at small forward. Hopefully a return to all-star status will change that perception….With everything Detroit went through last season, Tayshaun Prince stayed an iron man. He appeared in all 82 games for the sixth straight season and started every game for the fifth straight season....Even though Hedo Turkoglu went sideways on the Portland Trail Blazers this summer, finishing last season as Orlando's best offensive threat was no joke. But can he do it again for Toronto?....Shane Battier, Shane Battier, Shane Battier.

Disagree?... make your case below.


http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=13628

Lee
08-22-2009, 03:57 PM
One is obvious and not even close, but 2-6 is debateble and you can make a case for all 5 to be number 2 behind Lebron.

Hydroponic3385
08-22-2009, 04:14 PM
I don't know if I'd put Artest ahead of all of Granger, Durant, Butler, or perhaps even Turk.

blommen
08-22-2009, 04:37 PM
artest? really???? i wouldn't think of him as a better player granger, or durant. i know about the defensive aspect but still...

Sawduzt
08-22-2009, 04:42 PM
I agree with hydro people have forgotten how good caron butler is and obviously durant and granger go without saying

zoomlebron
08-22-2009, 04:55 PM
Should be:
1.) LeBron
2.) Melo
3.) Pierce
4.) Durant
5.) Granger

Walter White
08-22-2009, 05:10 PM
2. Carmelo Anthony, Denver:

Last season, Carmelo not only led Denver to the second-best record in the Western Conference, but he did so with his most well rounded season as a pro.
Wrong the person that lead them to that record was acutally Chauncey Billups. Melo hasn't gotten them anywhere but first round exits.


He showed improvement defensively (even though no one is going to confuse him with Ron Artest) and averaged 22.8 points per game, while putting up his best numbers from beyond the arc at roughly 37%.
Sure Ill give it to him he has gotten better defensively. But only averging 22.8 points? Is that right? His best attribute is offense and he averaged pretty much the same scoring he did as a rookie?


How the Nuggets fair this coming season though and towards a playoff push - will once again be a reflection of Anthony and his ability to keep adding to an already impressive resume. Something says Carmelo will be down for raising his game.
Something tells me Carmelo won't raise his game. He hasn't raised it his whole stint in the NBA. Melo has done the same thing since his college days and that is score. He has proven he can't lead the Nuggets. I would put Granger ahead of Melo and Durant isn't far behind if not in front. Durant has shown he can make progress with a young team while Melos Nuggets have been at a stand still(before Chauncey). LeBron has made big progress with the Cavs every year he has been here.

That is my 2 cents on Carmelo.

1.Lebron
2.Granger
3.Durant
4.Melo
5.Pierce

Cmon if we are talkin about Pierce right now he is just gettin older and has Rondo,KG,Rasheed,Ray,Perkins etc..... Pierce is a vet and is still clutch and a few years ago I would say he is number 1 or 2 but now it is a different era.

Mdog1
08-22-2009, 05:42 PM
Artest is on this list soley because he is a Laker IMO. His D is vastly overrated IMO and it is only because he is allowed to use his body unlike any other player that he is as good as he is. I'd personally put Granger, Butler, and PERHAPS GWall above him on this list.

Rimage
08-22-2009, 05:51 PM
Ron Artest is not a top 5 sf. What a joke? Hoopsworld is too easily influenced by the popular opinion. Igoudala, Durant, Jefferson, Granger, Butler...those are guys right off the top of my head that are better than Artest. He is an inefficient scorer, his D is not what it once was and he is still a basketcase.

This is the same reason Okafor (whom I love) is in the top rankings among center...because he is current and fresh.

Rimage
08-22-2009, 05:55 PM
Shane Battier, another guy I am a fan of, in the honorable mentions, but not Igoudala:

http://i140.photobucket.com/albums/r19/Serendipper/putheaddownstk.gif

ice cream man
08-22-2009, 06:03 PM
Artest is underrated.
Granger is just behind Melo.
Tayshaun has always been extremely overrated.
I actually think now, that other than midrange shots, Pierce kinda sucks. He's not a very good defender anymore. He's just too slow now. He should not be as high as #3.

Those who think Igoudala is in the top 5...:rolleyes: The man doesn't know how to shoot a basketball.

Pioneer10
08-22-2009, 06:18 PM
It's pretty pathetic how much better Lebron is compared to the other prototypical SF's:
Lebron's PER 31.8
Granger 21.8
Durant 20.7
Melo 19.1
Artest 15.6

The next highest PER SF is a whole 10 points lower then James!!! The difference is actually laughable: I hope Durant improves so at least Lebron feels a breeze on his back. Usain Bolt doesn't even beat his competition this badly. I guess it's not suprising: James will go down in history as the best SF of all time w/o question is he just adds a title or two. It's the only thing that really Bird or Dr. J have over him

elcheato
08-22-2009, 06:19 PM
Melo is not the #2 SF, he is one dimensional, he cant play D, he doesn't pass much, and he turns the ball over a lot. All he does is chuck up shots.

xAusT1n
08-22-2009, 06:34 PM
Melo is not the #2 SF, he is one dimensional, he cant play D, he doesn't pass much, and he turns the ball over a lot. All he does is chuck up shots.
I think you ment to say Kobe there, not Melo...

Mdog1
08-22-2009, 06:50 PM
Melo is not the #2 SF, he is one dimensional, he cant play D, he doesn't pass much, and he turns the ball over a lot. All he does is chuck up shots.

I know that we are Cavs fans and generally we don't really watch all of the other teams. But I did watch Melo quite a bit this season and the one before. The leaps and bounds that melo made far exceed the basketball court. First off his leadership took a large jump, as did his character IMO without AI around. His D got better, as did the teams (not a coincidence IMO), he got smarter with the ball, and he was clutch as always. Melo is the second best SF in the game even though he is no where near Bron (heck nobody is).

Rimage
08-22-2009, 06:57 PM
Those who think Igoudala is in the top 5...:rolleyes: The man doesn't know how to shoot a basketball.

The man scores efficiently, who cares if it is on a dunk or a 17 footer. Wad Anyway, not making case for AI as much as I am tearing down one for Artest.

di0p
08-22-2009, 07:05 PM
Durant behind Pierce and Artest? Please. Durant is on his way to being a top 5 player in this league.

1. LeBron
2. Melo
3. Durant
4. Pierce
5. Granger

Doctor K
08-22-2009, 07:46 PM
Melo is a more polished offensive player than LeBron, yet LeBron blows him out of the water... Goes to show how much talent LBJ has...

FlightNo.23
08-22-2009, 07:50 PM
I know that we are Cavs fans and generally we don't really watch all of the other teams. But I did watch Melo quite a bit this season and the one before. The leaps and bounds that melo made far exceed the basketball court. First off his leadership took a large jump, as did his character IMO without AI around. His D got better, as did the teams (not a coincidence IMO), he got smarter with the ball, and he was clutch as always. Melo is the second best SF in the game even though he is no where near Bron (heck nobody is).

Agreed. Did some of you guys not watch the Western Conference playoffs?? Even Kobe said Melo was "stronger than LeBron." Melo was knocking guys like Ariza and Kobe around like they were nothing. I know he kind of faded at the end of that series, but man, if the Nuggets won that series I would have been ready to put Melo in my top-6, if not top-5 players in the league. There were times in the playoffs where he was downright unstoppable.

Giambiwannabe7
08-22-2009, 10:02 PM
Agreed. Did some of you guys not watch the Western Conference playoffs?? Even Kobe said Melo was "stronger than LeBron." Melo was knocking guys like Ariza and Kobe around like they were nothing. I know he kind of faded at the end of that series, but man, if the Nuggets won that series I would have been ready to put Melo in my top-6, if not top-5 players in the league. There were times in the playoffs where he was downright unstoppable.

'Melo may be a lot of things, but "stronger than LeBron" is definitely not one of them. If Kobe actually did say that, I'd imagine he had the world's fattest blunt in his mouth at the time.:rolleyes:

Mdog1
08-22-2009, 10:04 PM
'Melo may be a lot of things, but "stronger than LeBron" is definitely not one of them. If Kobe actually did say that, I'd imagine he had the world's fattest blunt in his mouth at the time.:rolleyes:

Yeah stronger than Bron isn't one of his claims to fame lol. Better shooter, better pure scorer, more moves to get it in the hole yes, but stronger no.

Walter White
08-22-2009, 10:14 PM
'Melo may be a lot of things, but "stronger than LeBron" is definitely not one of them. If Kobe actually did say that, I'd imagine he had the world's fattest blunt in his mouth at the time.:rolleyes:

Its just LeBron doesn't do what Melo did. Melo posted Kobe up and was unstoppable. Kobe has never got the chance to feel LeBrons strength. LeBron should utilize the post more. See I watch alot of basketball outside the Cavs:chuckles:

Pioneer10
08-22-2009, 11:37 PM
Melo is a more polished offensive player than LeBron, yet LeBron blows him out of the water... Goes to show how much talent LBJ has...
If in terms of offense if you just mean more polished scorer then I might agree to an extent as Melo is much more comfortable posting opponents up. However, Lebron's eFG on jumpers is actually higher then Melo's despite that he has to create his own shot (Melo gets a lot more catch and shoot opportunities: nearly 50% of his jumpers are assisted)

Plus more polished offensive player would also presumably include things like passing and dribbling and Lebron is pretty clearly better then Melo at these aspects of offensive "skill" IMO

Karma
08-23-2009, 12:31 AM
'Melo may be a lot of things, but "stronger than LeBron" is definitely not one of them. If Kobe actually did say that, I'd imagine he had the world's fattest blunt in his mouth at the time.:rolleyes:

Whilst I do believe LeBron is stronger then Melo, he doesn't necessarily utilize that advantage as much as he should. Melo also goes away from his strengths, but like LeBron they are still growing as NBA players.

LeBron, Daylight, Carmelo and Durant are the three small forwards then Daylight once more to the others. Next tier can be flipped flopped (Pierce, Artest, Granger, Pavlovic) without too much argument from me.

Pioneer10
08-23-2009, 12:35 AM
Whilst I do believe LeBron is stronger then Melo, he doesn't necessarily utilize that advantage as much as he should. Melo also goes away from his strengths, but like LeBron they are still growing as NBA players.

LeBron, Daylight, Carmelo and Durant are the three small forwards then Daylight once more to the others. Next tier can be flipped flopped (Pierce, Artest, Granger, Pavlovic) without too much argument from me.

:faint:



I didn't catch this till I reread your post:detective

:doh:

Tizzle
08-23-2009, 12:53 AM
I know that we are Cavs fans and generally we don't really watch all of the other teams. But I did watch Melo quite a bit this season and the one before. The leaps and bounds that melo made far exceed the basketball court. First off his leadership took a large jump, as did his character IMO without AI around. His D got better, as did the teams (not a coincidence IMO), he got smarter with the ball, and he was clutch as always. Melo is the second best SF in the game even though he is no where near Bron (heck nobody is).

I agree, but don't you think most of that change came because of the leadership and veteran skills of Billups?

StoneColdLeBronSkywalker5
08-23-2009, 01:06 AM
[QUOTE=JK23]2. Carmelo Anthony, Denver:

Something tells me Carmelo won't raise his game. He hasn't raised it his whole stint in the NBA. Melo has done the same thing since his college days and that is score. He has proven he can't lead the Nuggets. I would put Granger ahead of Melo and Durant isn't far behind if not in front. Durant has shown he can make progress with a young team while Melos Nuggets have been at a stand still(before Chauncey). LeBron has made big progress with the Cavs every year he has been here.

That is my 2 cents on Carmelo.

---------------------------------------------
i guess you didn't see much of the olympics then, because he was most definitely a leader, and if he can earn the respect of thOSE teammates, and coach K, I doubt he Denver Nuggets would be too much for him.

His IQ has grown tremendously, and his points being down is a sign of his maturity. It is directly related to his acceptance of his role within the team, rather than his idea as a younger player that averaged nearly 30 before acquiring AI.

LUPE FRESH
08-23-2009, 01:38 AM
How anyone can question Carmelo's growth as a leader is crazy. Everyone pins the Nuggets success to addition of Billups, but that was not the case. He was essential to their growth, but it Melo was clearly the centerpiece.

Melo was amazing in the playoffs. I think he had 6 games straight of 30+ points and 6+ rebounds. Billups was non-existant in the WCF and that's why they lost.


Kevin Durant is a sexy choice, but Carmelo is clearly the second best SF in the league.

kovanovich
08-23-2009, 02:30 AM
Don't forget Melo played less minutes last year than any other year in his career and was bothered by nagging injuries much of the year...Some of his dropoff in production was also possibly due to the fact the Nuggets had the strongest team during his time in Denver, though his usage rate actually increased slightly over the previous year, so it may be difficult to prove this statistically...IMHO, he's the second best SF (no, I am not a Nuggets fan).

Sawduzt
08-23-2009, 07:19 AM
I really like melos game but it always looks like hes not fully committed to play full force the whole game. I'd like to see more fire from him to confidently say he won't get surpassed by durant

Giambiwannabe7
08-23-2009, 08:50 AM
Whilst I do believe LeBron is stronger then Melo, he doesn't necessarily utilize that advantage as much as he should. Melo also goes away from his strengths, but like LeBron they are still growing as NBA players.

LeBron, Daylight, Carmelo and Durant are the three small forwards then Daylight once more to the others. Next tier can be flipped flopped (Pierce, Artest, Granger, Pavlovic) without too much argument from me.

There's no arguing neither of them has learned to utilize their entire game yet. But, I'm not sure anyone in the NBA gets fouled as hard as LeBron does. Without his unchallenged, superior strength at the SF spot, he never comes close to all those and 1's he gets. No other SF in the league could handle it the way he does. Yeah, Ron Ron is one strong dude, but he has nowhere near the finsihing capabilities that LeBron does.

If Carmello took half the hits LeBron does, he'd be a 25 year old cripple right now. LeBron has never stopped the evolution of his game. From year to year, there has always been a very noticeable growth in some facet, and more often time than not in numerous areas, of his game. I can't say the same about Carmello. His development has come with many stumbling blocks and inconsistencies, pitted with idiotic off-court indiscretions and on-court hiccups.

I'm sure that, if by some chance, Kobe gets switched to LeBron on the post he'd choke on those words. I'm also pretty sure that we're going to begin to see more and more of LeBron on the block. It will be a slow evolution, but it will definitely happen. We saw just a hint of it last year and I was pretty enticed by it. With the team Ferry has put together, the pieces seem to be in place for a more concerted effort to put LeBron at the PF more often than anytime before. That will naturally lead to a bit more opportunity to flash more of a post game than he's had in the past.

Spencer Hawes
08-23-2009, 10:04 AM
If I had to choose a SF not named Lebron to be on my team, it would be Kevin Durant. I think you pretty much know what you're gonna get from Melo, PP and Artest but Durant is improving tremendously and I can't wait to see what he's going to do this upcoming season.

Blue Magic
08-23-2009, 11:16 AM
Melo is the CLEAR CHOICE for #2 right now. I love KD as much as the next guy(nh), and granger too(nh), but how can someone say that Melo is not a leader because he couldn't get out of 1round for so many years.... But then turn around in the next line and say that, therefor Durant and Granger are better than him.....? Now Im not one to really look at team accolades & success it comes to evaluating individual talent, but I hate when people say something dumb like that. 'Melo never advance past round 1 w/o Billups, so even though KD and Granger have NEVER made the playoffs, they are still better than that LOSER Carmelo who turned a perennial lottery team into a perennial playoff team from day ONE '..... I mean, how can someone make that argument with a straight face? Just say that it's your opinion and move on, lol. Anthony may be a little rough around the edges, but he is not a loser.

Luffy
08-23-2009, 01:41 PM
1) LeBron James
2) Carmelo Anthony
3) Paul Pierce
4) Kevin Durant
5) Ron Artest

Sounds about right. Carmelo is the best #2 SF in the league, hands down. Don't let your homer eyes tell you otherwise.

LeBeast23
08-23-2009, 01:53 PM
1) LeBron James
2) Carmelo Anthony
3) Paul Pierce
4) Kevin Durant
5) Ron Artest

Sounds about right. Carmelo is the best #2 SF in the league, hands down. Don't let your homer eyes tell you otherwise.

Were Cavs fans not Celtics, Thunder, Pacers, and Lakers fans.:chuckles:

elcheato
08-23-2009, 02:13 PM
1) LeBron James
2) Carmelo Anthony
3) Paul Pierce
4) Kevin Durant
5) Ron Artest

Sounds about right. Carmelo is the best #2 SF in the league, hands down. Don't let your homer eyes tell you otherwise.My 'homer eyes' tend to watch Carmelo play no defense, play selfish, and turn the ball over. He is the best scorer in the league, but he has the worst defense for anyone considered a superstar.

NarlCavs
08-23-2009, 02:48 PM
Durant, Butler, and Granger all belong ahead of Artest. Butler is being underrated. Big time all around talent. I take points off for Artest's disruptive tendencies. I think you have to factor that in.

I don't have a problem with Melo at #2. Major offensive talent who has made strides in the weak areas of his game. He'll never be an all NBA defensive player but at least you see more of an effort there now.

Mdog1
08-23-2009, 04:13 PM
I agree, but don't you think most of that change came because of the leadership and veteran skills of Billups?

Even if that is so it doesn't change the fact that Melo did in fact improve in all of those areas. He did become a better defender, he did become a better leader, and he did beccome a smarter player. He played much of the year injured with some elbow injuries which could attribute to some of the scoring drop plus he played less minutes. He still played great though and that is why I think he deserves to be at the number two for right now. Durant will with no doubt in my mind take that spot from him in the future unless Melo can make some vast strides in the weak parts of his game.

LeBron is clear and away the best SF and rather the best player in the league. LeBron, Kobe, Wade, etc (all the great players) have the greatest work ethics in the league. If melo developed that he could challenge Wade for 2nd best player in the league IMO because Melo does have that talent within himself, but he just had a bad example of what a player is before (AI), but now he is finally getting a great role model, model citizen and great basetball player in Biullups.

remixxa
08-27-2009, 02:04 AM
artest is the second best overall offensively and defensively... go lakers!!!

Karma
08-27-2009, 07:15 AM
artest is the second best overall offensively and defensively... go lakers!!!
:rolleyes:

We are talking about the entire NBA not just the Lakers small forwards.

Do you have Artest behind Morrison on offense on and behind Walton on defense. I think you are under appreciating Artest then. :chuckles:

Rick Astley
08-27-2009, 08:50 AM
How you guys care who should be the top 2, 3, 4 and 5 SFs are is beyond me. :chuckles:

Kongo Time
08-27-2009, 09:21 AM
I think that melo right now is at his best that he will ever play. Durant is good but i think it's how good he will be that people think about. IMO Artest should have been lower on this list if even on it. Melo is just holding the position for Durant but imo has not passed him.

Blue Magic
08-27-2009, 12:52 PM
My 'homer eyes' tend to watch Carmelo play no defense, play selfish, and turn the ball over. He is the best scorer in the league, but he has the worst defense for anyone considered a superstar.

Did you miss the '08-'09 playoffs? He was checking Dirk & Kobe as good as anyone. Lakers wore him down, but Melo brought the goods, both offensively and defensively, when it mattered. ;) I got Melo as my #2, Durant as my #3, after that I really dont care cause you can make for alot of people for those remaining spots....

rabman_gold
08-27-2009, 08:51 PM
Let's see... Carmelo was how old when coming to the NBA? 20? Isn't he about 26 now? There's still room to get a little better, but he probably just had an off year. He's clearly capable of getting 25+ points. Personally, I know that Carmelo is putting in effort on both ends now, because the Olympics had the same impact for him as everyone else. The difference is that his b-ball iq and team support isn't on the same level of Kobe and LeBron (it's greater than Wade's at the moment), so of course it's not going to stand out like LeBron did this season.

Carmelo is easily as good as a #2, but Durant could surpass him as early as this year. We'll see what happens... Anthony is gifted, but wasn't always there mentally. It's not his fault, it's just a limitation of his.

Damage
08-27-2009, 09:04 PM
Top 5

Bron
Melo
Durant
Granger
Pierce

Durant is sick. Ron #4? Lol.

JayP146
08-27-2009, 09:12 PM
Artest doesn't belong in the top 5 ...