Heading into this NBA season, the skill level for the small forward position is at an all-time high. The skillsets of the players on this list range across every spectrum of the game. In this article, we will take a look at the top ten small forwards entering the 2021-2022 NBA Season.
Check out the top ten shooting guards list here!
Top Ten Small Forwards Entering the 2021-2022 NBA Season
10. Jerami Grant
Last season was Jerami Grant’s breakout year. Prior to last year, Grant was viewed as a perfect 3-and-D player who would fit perfectly on a championship-contending team. However, Grant showed there was much more to his game. Jerami Grant averaged a career-high in every major statistical category, averaging, 22.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game. Grant as previously mentioned, was also a great defensive player typically guarding the opposing team’s best wing player. Grant will likely continue to improve and craft his game with the Detriot Pistons.
9. Michael Porter Jr.
Michael Porter Jr. at the age of 23 is the youngest player on this list. Standing at 6-10 on the wing, Porter Jr. is a bucket getter. He can fill it up from any spot or range on the floor and will only continue to improve. Last season Porter Jr. averaged 19.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. However, when Jamal Murray went down with his injury, Porter Jr. showed even more of his offensive game averaging 23.5 points per game. With more of an expanded role, the Nuggets and Michael Porter Jr. will be on the rise.
8. DeMar DeRozan
DeMar DeRozan had one of the most underrated seasons of his career last season. Much of this was overlooked because he was playing for the San Antonio Spurs. But, with the new and revitalized Chicago Bulls, DeRozan will get more of an opportunity to show his skills. DeRozan took on a point forward role for the Spurs, initiating many of their offensive sets. Because of this DeRozan averaged a career-high 6.9 assists. In the scoring facet of his game, DeRozan averaged 21.6 points mostly from the mid-range area.
7. Brandon Ingram
Brandon Ingram had a very solid 2020-2021 campaign averaging almost the same statistics from the year before. This was crucial for Ingram to do so because it showed consistency in his game. Ingram averaged 23.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, and a career-high 4.9 assists per game. It will be important for Ingram to maintain this level of play for himself and the Pelicans to succeed.
6. Khris Middleton
Khris Middleton was one of the biggest breakout players of the 2020-2021 NBA playoffs. Many people recognized Middleton’s greatness but were skeptical if he could be the number two on the Milwaukee Bucks. Middleton showed that and more guiding the Bucks in clutch situations all the way to an NBA championship. In the playoffs, Khris Middleton averaged 23.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game. With Middleton officially arriving as the number two for the Bucks they will once again be contending for a championship.
5. Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler, the ferocious and fiery leader of the Miami Heat had a great season. When Butler was on the court the Miami Heat were a solid team with a record of 33-19 but when Butler didn’t play they were an abysmal 7-13. Butler averaged 21.5 points, 6.9 rebounds, and a career-high 7.1 assists per game. Butler essentially played the point guard position for the Heat a year ago, initiating most offensive sets. Jimmy Butler also averaged the most steals per game. With a fresh Jimmy Butler, the Miami Heat will be in the heart of the championship push.
4. Jayson Tatum
Every season that Jayson Tatum’s been in the NBA he was improved his game. Last season for the Boston Celtics, Tatum averaged 26.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 4.3 assists. All of those stats were once again career highs. Tatum is an offensive juggernaut who had a 53 and 60 point game this past season. If Jayson Tatum continues to improve at this rate, I believe he will be in the running for the MVP award next season.
3. Kawhi Leonard
Even though Kawhi Leonard may not play a game next season with his injury, he had to make this list due to his greatness. Kawhi Leonard is one of the best two-way players that we have ever seen. Last season Leonard averaged 24.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, and a career-high 5.2 assists per game. Leonard also shot an amazing 51.2% percent from the field on very high usage. In the playoffs before his injury, the Clippers were poised to make it to the NBA Finals after steamrolling through the one-seeded, Utah Jazz.
2. LeBron James
It is insane that entering year nineteen in the NBA, that LeBron James is still this dominant. James had a great statistical season a year ago almost averaging a triple-double with 25.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 7.8 assists per game. It will be very interesting to see how the combination of LeBron James and LeBron James work this season. One thing that we do know is that you can never count out a LeBron James-led team.
1. Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant is arguably the best basketball player currently in the world. Durant is also likely the best scorer of all-time standing at a whopping 6-10. Durant can literally score from any point on the basketball court. Last season Durant averaged 26.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 5.6 assists. If Kevin Durant can remain healthy the Brooklyn Nets will be the prohibitive favorites to win the 2021-2022 NBA Championship.
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