The small forward position is a versatile position; we are talking about a position that can do it all; score, defend, and be a playmaker. You talk about a player who can either score the ball really well, use their court vision for other players or guard any position on the floor, When you think some the best small forwards to ever play game you think about LeBron James, who has changed the game immensely but you also have to believe about players Julius Erving, Scottie Pippen, Larry Bird, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard. Today’s young players are still trying to add the complete package to their game; each player specializes in one or two things, and when they finally add the final missing piece, they can be the ultimate player. Lets the top 5 small forwards under 25.
Brandon Ingram came into the league in 2016 and was said to be the next Kevin Durant. Ingram, in his first year, did not get to the start he imagined. The year after improved by scoring 16.1 points per game and last season averaged 18.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 3 assists per game. The one thing with Ingram is his ability to stay healthy as last season he only played 52 games the year before that 59 games. Ingram was part of the Anthony Davis that sent him alongside Josh Hart and Lonzo Ball to New Orleans. Ingram is listed as 6’9 with a 7’3 wingspan, he length makes complements his ability to get to the rim. He has excellent shooting ability. Ingram just needs to stay healthy and stay consistent.
Jayson Tatum was drafted with the third pick in the 2017 NBA draft, and he came in surprising everyone with his performance on the floor. Tatum came into the league as a starter after Gordon Hayward went down with a gruesome leg injury in the first game of the year. Being the starter helped him grow into a valuable player for the Celtics. Tatum a great wing player with the ability to finish at the rim and in transition. With his excellent size he can use that to advantage. Tatum has been working on his shooting ability and became a better shooter. Last season he averaged 15.7 points, 6 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game. Tatum improved his field goal percentage from 45% to 47% and his three-point percentage from 37% to 43%. Tatum will look to improve as he approaching year three.
3. Ben Simmons
This one could be argued, Ben Simmons was the number one pick in the 2016 draft. He did not start playing till the 2017-2018 season. He won the rookie of the year award that year over Donavan Mitchell. Ben Simmons is a point guard but came into the league as a small forward. Simmons is a prototypical point ahead. Meaning that he is ahead with great playmaking. Simmons is listed at 6’10, so it can use the ability to bully other point guards, especially in the low post. He can rebound the ball very well since he is 6’10 and his playmaking ability is exceptional being able to find players at any moment makes Simmons a high I.Q player. One thing about Simmons he cannot shoot from the outside he did not attempt a single three in two seasons. Last season Simmons averaged 16.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 7.7 assists per game. If he can develop a jump shot, Simmons might be a hazardous player.
2. Luka Doncic
The rookie of the year last season, Luka Doncic, is coming off an impressive first year in the league averaging 21.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 6 assists per game. Luka showed off his all-around game last season, he was put at point guard for a bit and showed his playmaking ability, he was put shooting guard he showed his ability to shoot the ball at a high rate. Now he’s a small forward and is showing off his all-around game, including his defense. Doncic averaged a steal per game. Doncic has the potential to be a fantastic all-around player and impact the game on both ends of the floor.
This guy is only 24 and has made an All-NBA team three times won the most improved player in 2017, three-time all-star, and last seasons MVP. Antetokokounmpo has been taking the league by storm using his size and strength to overpower defenders on the floor. When he is down the lane, it does not matter who is in front of him; he is getting to the rim at will. His nickname is The Greek Freak”. Antetokokounmpo averaged 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game. His defense is not lacking; either he has been named to the NBA All-Defensive team twice. Antetokoumpo is a complete player, and that has made a top 10 player in the league; if he can develop and outside shot and knock it down consistently, nobody will be able to stop him.