However, there is one debate that seems to always be overshadowed. The good Doctor also reignited interest in the NBA at a time when the league was plagued by drug scandals and massively declining ratings. His otherworldly production has resulted in two NBA Finals MVP awards and a little piece of basketball immortality than not even his many Internet trolls can take away. Join us now as we rank the top 10 small forwards in NBA history. LeBron James is the passer of all-time... Don’t @ me pic.twitter.com/9hIx38DMvE, Honorable mentions: Rick Barry, Alex English, Kawhi Leonard, Paul Pierce, James Worthy. He would dive for loose balls and pass the ball between the legs of defenders. pic.twitter.com/h7yhojw1AD. Mr. Pippen was a great defender and he could lock down the best wing player so Jordan could focus on offense even though Jordan was a great defender himself. The Slim Reaper can hit anywhere on the court. Legacies were defined to add to the all-time small forward rankings in the decade. A lot of great athletes have played the position from Larry Bird to LeBron James to Julius “Dr. The 10-time All-Star is second among all active players in career points and is USA Basketball’s all-time scoring leader. (Photo by Mark Alberti/ Icon Sportswire). You can throw the 2018 Finals team along with that. (1965) "HAVLICEK STOLE THE BALL! He was Robin to Jordan’s Batman for six championships in the nineties. King James is like a second coach that is out on the floor. The graceful 6-foot-8 forward was a two-time All-American and co-Rookie of the Year who made the NBA All-Star team five times in his first six seasons. The small forward position is always one of prestige. If you know your NBA history Elgin Baylor was LeBron James before LeBron James. he probably has the most disrespectful dunk ever when he dunk on Patrick Ewing and pushed him to the floor to rub it in. The Golden State Warriors were looking for a three-peat but their title hopes were stopped short when Durant was out for basically the whole series. Melo’s game is certainly far from perfect, but he deserves credit for being one of the greatest scorers of his generation. That became evident during MJ’s baseball sabbatical in 1993-94 when Pippen led the 55-27 Bulls in points, assists, and steals and finished third in NBA MVP voting. Copyright © ClutchPoints. Then the next year he was able to beat a 73 win team in the Finals which is probably his greatest accomplishment. Also, has been one of the most consistent players in the league. scottie pippen ahead of Larry Bird and Elgin Baylor?, you are clueless about the NBA. The small forward position has gone through an evolution since the NBA’s beginning days. It’s always hard to compare players of different eras. The future looked bright for Hill, before a series of catastrophic injuries caused him to miss 357 games during a particularly disastrous six-year stretch. He and Jordan used to light things up on the floor. The injury he suffered may slow him down though. Just look at the last eight Finals MVPs. On offense, he is known not for his ability to score but his ability to make everybody else better. His all-around talent has seen no force that can match it. The four-time MVP entered the league as a small forward, but has mastered every role on the court during his brilliant 17-year career. There are plenty of All-Stars and MVPs on our list, but only one player can claim he helped keep two leagues afloat. “I’m Kevin Durant, You know who I am” pic.twitter.com/Ked18e26Yp. He teamed up with Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West to create one of the earliest big threes in NBA history. Only NBA players who played small forward for most of their career, The Most Influential Contemporary Americans, The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World, The Coolest Kevin Durant Signature Shoes, Ranked, The Greatest Kansas Jayhawks Basketball Players of All Time, Athletes You Didn't Know Were Conservative, The Greatest Shooting Guards in NBA History, The Greatest Offensive Players in NBA History, The Best NBA Players With No Championship Rings, The Best No. At 6-foot-9 with a lethal shooting stroke and unparalleled craftiness, Bird was a threat to drop 40 every night (career 24.3 ppg) and could lock you up on the other side of the ball (three All-Defensive team selections). In 1960-61 he played 73 games and averaged 34.8 points per game and 19.8 rebounds per game. They have all been small forwards. A small forward serves a critical role in any basketball game, whether NCAA or pro, but this list is primarily concerned with the top small forwards in the NBA. He was also a 5-time All-Defensive Team selection. RELATED: The NBA's 10 Best Centers Of The 2010s He was almost the Finals MVP in 2015 when Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love went down even though his team lost. Partner of iOne Digital / Cassius Network. Perhaps most impressive is what the Los Angeles Laker star is able to do in his 17th season. The NBA is full of world-class athletes, but John Havlicek stands apart because of his remarkable motor. Kevin Durant was always a star player but just like LeBron James, he wasn’t able to get that elusive title. Your email address will not be published. As you can see by his great rebounding numbers, he was great at that too. Many of the top players in the league dominated at the small forward position leading their teams to overall success. If you are going to be relevant in the NBA you need a great wing player at the three. The graceful 6-foot-8 forward was a two-time All-American and co-Rookie of the Year who made the NBA All-Star team five times in his first six seasons. I don’t care what era you played in, any time you average 38.3 points, 18.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game for a whole season, you deserve to be on this list. LeBron has magical ball handling skills and he is very powerful. 10. There's little doubt the best power forwards of all time would, in their primes, excel in the modern NBA. For his career, he is averaging 27.2 points per game, 7.4 rebounds per game and 7.2 assists per game. Just another Last Word on Sports Sites site. Nevertheless, he ranks 12th all-time in DWS with 74.09 and is the best defensive small forward in NBA history, at least for now. SCOTTIE PIPPEN!0 College Offers5th pick in the NBA Draft (Sonics)6 x NBA Champion7 x All-NBA7 x All-Star10 x All-Defense pic.twitter.com/sYeuTp5GVb. He averages at least 30 points per game. Over the first seven years of his career, Baylor averaged 30.2 points and 15.4 rebounds. His third season in the league in 2009-10 he averaged 30.1 points per game. This LeBron James vs. Carmelo Anthony battle is one of my favorite games of all-timepic.twitter.com/smLGua8Noz. James has been able to conquer (his nickname is the little emperor) all of his obstacles and he is the greatest small forward of all time. Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James is guarded by Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant. He was great around the rim. The small forward is also versatile, able to fill many roles for a team. No matter who is placed here, it’s going to cause disagreement regardless. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Fans of the game know how important the small forward is: he is … While there are a few players in today’s NBA that could one day be this list (Giannis Antetokounmpo, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard), we’re going for players who have already retired or are already 10 or so seasons into their respective careers. "Modern basketball began with Elgin Baylor..."Relive the illustrious career of 11x #NBAAllStar with the @Lakers, Elgin Baylor! Motormouth had the great transition game that all good small forwards have. That honor belongs to Julius Erving, whose electrifying play and highlight reel dunks kept the ABA alive longer after the league should have been put on life support. Sure, Nique never won a title, but his scoring prowess was a key reason why the Hawks made the playoffs in eight of the 11 seasons he played in Atlanta. He is also one of the greatest small forwards of all time. The Lakers legend averaged 38.3 points per game during the 1961-62 season despite the fact that he never practiced with his team and was only available to play on weekends due to a commitment as a U.S. Army Reservist. And yet, despite his many physical limitations, Bird was a 12-time All-Star and three-time MVP who became the unlikely face of the league during the NBA’s golden years. The difference between good players and great players is how they perform on the biggest stages, and by that measure few can compare to Kevin Durant. pic.twitter.com/P2Q20MzteD. The Durantuala is a four-time scoring champ, 10-time All-Star, two-time NBA champion, nine-time All-NBA, two-time All-Star MVP, two-time Finals MVP, 2013-14 MVP and 2007-08 Rookie of the Year. Just like Larry Bird and Elgin Baylor, Pippen is in the Hall of Fame. Baylor is one of the greatest Los Angeles Lakers players. 1 Overall NBA Draft Picks of All Time, Ranked, Birthplace: New York City, Red Hook, USA, New York, Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America, Wild Stories And Rumors About Michael JordanThe Forgotten Michael Jordan '90s Cartoon ProStars Was Even Weirder Than Space Jam, #76 of 769 The Top NBA Players Of All Time#5 of 102 The Most Likable Players In The NBA Today. From stars like Paul Arizin to modern-day superstar small forwards like Kevin Durant, there’s no doubt that the position is chock full of talented players.