Ahhhh yeeaahhhhh!! I'm sure this list will spark some debate, and I look forward to it.
Top 15 Small Forwards:
2.) Kevin Durant - I tend to think KD is a little overrated, but 30 ppg is damn impressive, regardless. Every now and then I'll watch him, and moments of sheer dominance surface, where it seems like only a matter of time until he becomes the best in the league. He needs to add muscle, and become a better playmaker, but at 22, he's already a great leader on the most promising team in the NBA, a nearly unstoppable scorer, and a decent rebounded and defender.
3.) Carmelo Anthony - Our boy Melo has been forgiven for his pre-trade sins that cost us our most promising youth. Simply, when I think of he and Amar'e locked up for the next 4 years, I get genuinely excited. Melo might be the best scorer in the NBA, as he's deadly from anywhere on the court, and can get his at any time. He needs to become a better leader, a consistently fierce rebounder, a better playmaker (or at least pay attention to it more often), and a consistent defender. He's got work to do, but he's got all the skills to dominate more than he already does.
4.) Paul Pierce - Pierce isn't such a flashy player anymore, and he's getting old, but I don't think I fear anyone else more than when the ball's in his hands the clock is running down. He's a total punk, but he's a tough dude, and as clutch as they come. In my opinion, he's a real winner, and he does a lot more than score, which I think often gets overlooked.
5.) Rudy Gay - He got overpaid last summer, but I think Gay is a hell of a player. The fact that the Grizzlies did so well without him is deceiving, to me. I think the Grizzlies would have clicked even more in the Spring is Rudy was healthy. He's an athletic freak, can put the ball in the hoop in many ways, and is still growing. He's young, and will surely become a better defender than he already is, and a better rebounder and passer too.
6.) Gerald Wallace - This may raise some eyebrows, but considering that SF is a relatively weak position these days, I can honestly say Wallace is very high on my list if I had to choose a small forward to start on my franchise. Wallace isn't that great of a scorer, but he generally hovers between 15-20, and he shoots pretty efficiently. What really does it for me, is that he's a very good rebounder, maybe the best at his position, and a very good defender. I've never watched him and thought he didn't give 100%, because that guy is all over the floor during games. He's not a 1st or 2nd option, but a really good player to have.
7.) Danny Granger - Granger is a good scorer. That's all I really have to say about him. He's actually one of the better scorers in the league, and while I don't think he's a good leader, or a smart player, he's pretty clutch, and the other aspects of his game are at least average, if not better.
8.) Danilo Gallinari - The great debate amongst Knick fans: Gallo vs. Wilson Chandler. I answered it this way: Who would I rather have shoot a 3-pointer? Gallo. Who do I trust more to stop the clokc and get to the FT line? Gallo. Who's the better passer? Gallo. Who would I rather have take the last shot? Gallo.Who's the better defender? Statisticall, Chandler. Overall, it's a draw. Who's got more upside? Gallo. Though he doesn't make the game look smooth, I've always thought he's got the potential to make an All-Star Game, and I think he's not fully aware of all of his talents that he can use during a game. Much more than a shooter, and truly an interesting player to look forward to developing.
9.) Luol Deng - I think Deng is a massively overrated player, hence his relatively low position on this list. I'm not trying to trash him, though. He's a very good scorer and shooter, and I honestly think his best talent is defending. However, I just don't think he'd be very high up on my list of SFs to choose, if I could have any of them. Whatever... he's still a good wing player, on a really good team.
10.) Wilson Chandler - Chandler's a smooth criminal. I just made him sound bad in talking about Danilo, but Will is one of the smoothest players out there, and one of my favorites. I sense no ego in Chandler at all, just pride and respect. He'll do whatever is asked of him and do it well. And while he's not a guy to show emotions or get caught up in petty things, he's well aware of what he's doing when he's stuffing the ball through the hoop on someone's head. He's getting better all around, slowly but surely, and is a real steal considering his low profile reputation.
11.) Shawn Marion - He's become somewhat of a journeyman over the course of his career, but he played a vital role in the Mavs' championship. He can be put on the other team's best player and give him a tough time. He's strong, still athletic, and a crafty player, offensively and defensively.
12.) Nicholas Batum - I've hardly watched Batum, but he had a really good season in Portland, and what I've seen of him in highlights, he looks like he's got the potential to become one of the better SFs in the NBA.
13.) Tayshaun Prince - I question the dude because he was involved in all of the Detroit Piston's foolishness this season, but he's still an undeniably good player. Maybe he deserves higher on this list, but he's getting up there in years, and I'm not totally convinced that he's still a winning player. Nonetheless, he can score, rebound, and is still an excellent defender, who'll be a nice pickup for whatever team signs him this summer.
14.) C.J. Miles - I really like Miles' game, and as a FA, he'd be a great pickup for the Knicks. Miles is explosive; he's great on the break, a good slasher, and a good finisher around the basket. His 3pt shooting isn't as suspect as his averages reflect. He can knock down the open 3, but more has trouble with shot selection. As this guy gets older, and more experienced, he'll carve out a nice reputation in the league.
15.) Dorrell Wright - He also could be higher on the list, but I see him as a guy who looked a lot better than he is from playing in a fast system on a poor team. He is a good shooter though, and definitely not a bad guy to occupy the SF position on a team, as long as he's surrounded by better players.
*I know people will say something, so I wanted to make note that Caron Butler would most definitely make this list, but he missed the majority of last year, so he needs to be healthy for most of a season for him to count on my list.