NBA Fantasy Preview: Top 15 Small Forwards

Posted on 15. Aug, 2009 by Tarun Joseph in Fantasy Hoops, NBA, Top 15 by Position

1. Lebron James (CLE) – 2008/09 Stats: 28.4 PPG/ 7.6 RPG/ 7.2 APG/ 1.7 SPG/ 1.1 BPG

As the reigning MVP “King James” has taken up his throne in the fantasy world and, with apologies to Chris Paul and Dwayne Wade, should be the top pick in next year’s draft. What makes James so special in fantasy terms is his ability to dominate a game in so many different ways. Though James ranked 2nd in the NBA in scoring, he was 9th in assists and still managed to grab over 7 boards a game with great defensive numbers to boot. James has a rare combination of freak athleticism, brute strength and excellent basketball instincts that make him a threat at any point in the game. Expect his scoring to drop slightly with the new additions of O’Neal and Parker but his supreme all around numbers should keep him the King for years to come.

2. Kevin Durant (OKC) – 2008/09 Stats: 25.3 PPG/ 6.5 RPG/ 2.8 APG/ 1.3 SPG/ 42.2 3P %

Kevin Durant exploded last year and not only emerged as a difference maker for fantasy owners but also stepped into the elite class of fantasy production. With a long athletic frame Durant is a versatile scorer with a deadly mid range jumper and slashing ability. What makes Durant’s year more impressive was that he had very little help offensively in Oklahoma and was often the focal point of opposing defences facing double teams on the regular. With the young dynamic core the Thunder have in 2009-10 look for Durant’s numbers to rise next year and his fantasy production at the SF slot should be good enough for a 1st round selection.

3. Danny Granger (IND) – 2008/09 Stats: 25.8 PPG/ 5.1 RPG/ 2.7 APG/ 1.0 SPG/ 1.5 BPG

Last year Danny Granger took the opportunity in Indiana to become the No.1 option and did not disappoint by winning Most Improved Player while becoming a top end fantasy option at the SF slot. Granger’s all around numbers are stunning and have improved every single year. Strong and athletic Granger uses his long frame to get the basket at will while his long range shooting improved quite a bit as well. Aside from points Granger represents excellent value on the defensive side with strong shot blocking skills to go along with his improving rebounding numbers. Look for Granger to continue his ascent into the cream of the crop of the fantasy world and like Durant will warrant a top 10 selection.

4. Andre Igudoala (PHI) – 2008/09 Stats: 18.8 PPG/ 5.7 RPG/ 5.3 APG/ 1.6 SPG

Though Iggy represents the beginning of the second tier of Fantasy small forwards he is no slouch at the SF slot and should provide solid all around production for owners. Though Igudoala won’t threaten too many defences with his jump-shot, his fantasy value lies in his immense athleticism and ability to finish on the break. Igudoala provides owners with very good supplementary numbers and his assists should rise slightly due to the loss of Andre Miller. Look for Igudoala to continue to solidify himself as a quality option at the SF slot should provide good value if you miss out on the top 3.

5. Carmelo Anthony (DEN) – 2008/09 Stats: 22.8 PPG/ 6.8 RPG/ 3.4 APG/ 1.1 SPG

With arguably the best mid range game of any player on this list Anthony is a consistent scoring option at SF and uses a quick first step with added strength to get to the basket easily. Anthony also uses his strength to develop a solid post up game against smaller defenders. Though Anthony is known primarily for his scoring he is an underrated rebounder and still manages to average around 3.5 assists a game. Anthony is as consistent as they come at the SF slot and with relatively the same core set in Denver Anthony is a solid option to repeat close to the same numbers.

6. Rashard Lewis (ORL) – 2008/09 Stats: 17.7 PPG/ 5.7 RPG/ 2.6 APG/ 220 3PM

Lewis began to earn his max contract last year by providing excellent long distance value from the SF slot. Lewis ended 2008-09 as the most prolific 3 point shooter leading the league in that department and often times winning owners the 3 point category all by himself. Lewis is essentially a 3 Cat fantasy player with top production from long range, but can also help out owners by using his size to provide above average rebounding for his position. With Vince Carter replacing Hedo Turkoglu, Lewis’s numbers should more or less stay the same with a slight dip in points.

7. Caron Butler (WAS) – 2008/09 Stats: 20.8 PPG/ 6.2 RPG/ 4.3 APG/ 1.6 SPG

Though Butler’s top notch all-round production from last year might indicate he should be higher up on this list, the addition of a healthy Gilbert Arenas will cause a dip in most categories on the board. Nevertheless Butler is a talented offensive player who knows how to score when needed and though he might not be as flashy as some of the other players on this list at the end of the night he finds a way to fill the box score. Bulter also has very good court vision using smart passes to rack up assists for owners while his rebounding numbers make him a very good 3 cat option.

8. Gerald Wallace (CHA) – 2008/09 Stats: 16.6 PPG/ 7.8 RPG/ 2.7 APG/ 1.9 SPG/

Though Gerald Wallace has always been known for spotty heath which makes him a somewhat risky fantasy player, he played over 70 games last year and will provide owners with all around production at the SF slot. As one of the most athletic players on this list Gerald Wallace`s fantasy value lies in his defensive talents on the court where his rebounding average is top notch for a SF along with his ability to intercept passes. Though Wallace is a poor long distance shooter he shot 48% last year from the field and can be counted for 3-cat production.

9. Paul Peirce (BOS) – 2008/09 Stats: 20.5 PPG/ 5.6 RPG/ 3.6 APG

As one of the most consistent players on the list Peirce provides owners with good scoring value along with grabbing over 5 boards a game. Though Peirce might have lost the explosiveness he had when he was younger, he is a crafty scorer with a great mid range game. Peirce is also very good at getting to the line and can still put up points in bunches when he wants to. With Boston knowing that their window of opportunity is slowly closing as their core is beginning to age expect Peirce to once again lead the charge as the No.1 offensive option and should see an increase in FG % with a healthy Kevin Garnett by his side.

10. Stephen Jackson (GSW) – 2008/09 Stats: 20.7 PPG/ 5.1 RPG/ 6.5 APG/ 1.5 SPG

Playing in the fantasy goldmine which is Don Nelson`s offense, Jackson has flourished in Golden State averaging quality all around numbers especially from a playmaker point of view. Much of Jackson`s career year last year stemmed from injuries to the Warriors and the absence of Monta Ellis. This year with Ellis and Biedrins coming back healthy and the addition of Stephen Curry should result in a decrease all over the board from Jackson but not without a small boost in FG%. Captain Jack`s value from long range makes him a top 10 SF option for owners.

11. Hedo Turkoglu (TOR) – 2008/09 Stats: 16.8 PPG/ 5.3 RPG/ 4.8 APG/

With the shift from Orlando to Toronto Turkoglu should enjoy a versatile and fast paced offense that thrives on the pick and roll. Expect Hedo’s numbers to dip slightly in most areas simply because he is getting older and won`t be asked to shoulder as much of an offensive role. Though Turkoglu’s scoring might dip his assists should see a boost as both teammate Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani have become quality pick and roll players. Turkoglu is a great shooter and will provide owners with solid averages all across the board next year playing in Toronto.

12. Al Harrington (NYK) – 2008/09 Stats: 20.1 PPG/ 6.2 RPG/ 1.4 APG/ 171 3PM

It’s tough to find anyone who benefitted more from a regular season trade than the owners of Al Harrington last year. Harrington had a career year in scoring and became an underrated fantasy option at SF. Harrington is a volume shooter who becomes more attractive with his fantasy value from long range. It doesn`t hurt that Harrington plays in New York where a fast paced offense is emphasized and with his above average rebounding numbers should make him a dependable 3-cat player for owners in later rounds.

13. Rudy Gay (MEM) – 2008/09 Stats: 18.9 PPG/ 5.5 RPG/ 1.7 APG/ 1.2 SPG

After a promising sophomore year Rudy Gay took a step backwards in 2008-09 where his numbers across the board dropped, much of it due to addition of teammate OJ Mayo. Still Gay is only 23 and his athleticism in combination with his age suggest he can rebound next year and find a way to regain his status as a rising star in the fantasy world. Gay has excellent slashing skills and has the strength to average more than 6 rebounds a game. Expect a comeback season for Gay as he realizes that though the offense may flow through Mayo now, he is still an extremely integral piece to any hopes of improvement from Memphis.

14. Ron Artest (LAL) – 2008/09 Stats: 17.1 PPG/ 5.2 RPG/ 3.3 APG/ 1.5 SPG

Make no mistake Ron Artest won`t duplicate the type of production he proved owners last year playing for an injury riddled Houston Rockets, but he can still be a solid option playing for a high octane Lakers offense. Artest is an excellent defensive player who can still score from both long range and inside the paint and should be a primary beneficiary of Kobe Bryant double teams. Expect Artest to slightly decrease all over the board except in FG% due to the fact he should see better shots playing in a triangle offense.

15. Al Thornton (LAC) – 2008/09 Stats: 16.8 PPG/ 5.2 RPG/ .8 SPG/ .9 BPG

It was tough deciding between Shawn Marion and Al Thornton for the final spot on the list but Thornton showed so much fantasy potential in his sophomore year it was close to impossible to leave him off this list. While it`s true there were some games where Thornton shot horrible percentages and threw out goose eggs all over the box score, for the most part Thornton took the opportunity to be the No. 1 option for the Clippers and ran with it. Thornton is a natural slasher who is improving his mid range shot and reminds me of Danny Granger on the defensive end using his long arms and smart instincts to alter shots and deflect passes. Now with a fully healthy Baron Davis and newly acquired Blake Griffin Thornton should be ready to take the next step into becoming a consistent fantasy producer at the SF slot.

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3 Responses to “NBA Fantasy Preview: Top 15 Small Forwards”

  1. Tarun Joseph

    18. Aug, 2009

    Sam is right, Hedo’s real value will lie in his long range shooting, playmaking ability and his above average rebounding on a weak rebounding team.

    Points wise though I expect Hedo to average around 15 PPG on such a versatile offense there are about 4 players that could score 25 a night

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  2. Sam

    16. Aug, 2009

    Hedo is fine where he is, he’s old and he is going to be a 3rd or even 4th option in Toronto with Bosh, Bargs and Calderon, with bosh and bargs getting 20 points a night there isn’t much left over for Turk.

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  3. Matt

    16. Aug, 2009

    Move HEDO up the list. He’s going to be a star this year.

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