Top 10 Small Forwards In NBA History

In the world of NBA, small forwards are depended on to do pretty much everything on the court, they are considered to be some of the most versatile players on the court. Typically, the small forward will play the roles of the swing men and also the defense specialists.

Here at, we have ranked the top 10 small forwards in the whole of NBA history. These are the guys who are vital on the court and they are known for making a pretty big impact on the court. So, let’s get into our top 10…

1. LeBron James

It is arguably pretty unfair to label LeBron as a small forward, and this is due to the strength and the power that he plays with. James plays with the strength of a power forward and he has exceptional ball handling abilities that mirror that of a point guard.

James arguably has no weaknesses – and this is evident through the way in which he runs the offense as a point forward whilst still dropping almost thirty points in each game. James has more honors than you can imagine, and is best known for playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat.

2. John Havlicek


Known for playing for the Boston Celtics from 1962 right up until 1978, Havlicek or Hondo as he is best known, was a star sixth man. This was before anyone came up with giving out awards for this kind of thing – and he was one of the best examples for playing at a level of excellence. Above all, Hondo was commended for being one of the most consistent players on the court.

However, Hondo tends to get overlooked when we come to thinking about the greatest scorers in the whole of the game. This is crazy because there are not all that many players in her era who scored more points than him, so this is why we have put Hondo near the top of our table.

3. Elgin Baylor


Baylor is known for being the forerunner of practically all of the high-flying small forwards in the whole history of the NBA. In fact, Baylor is recognized for being one of the NBA’s original acrobatic players and underappreciated rebounders. In fact, Baylor is recognized for having more career rebounds opposed to anyone else.

Baylor has been undervalued throughout the course of history and this is because he played in an era alongside Wilt Chamberlain and also Oscar Robertson and also Bill Russell. Baylor is arguably one of the greatest NBA players who has never won an MVP award.

He is best recognized for being in the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers from 1958 until the year of 1972. Safe to say Baylor definitely secured his place in the team.

4. Larry Bird


This guy is known for being a pretty incredible shooter, but it was actually his own mentality and focus while playing that distinguishes him from all other small forwards. Bird was perceptive and he could anticipate what exactly his team mates and his opponents were planning on doing, before even they knew.

Bird had impeccable passing, shooting and rebounding – and he is also commended for the way that he could break and then kill you as the trailer. In his peak, he received 146 out of 156 votes for the first place MVP between the consecutive seasons of 1984-85 and 1985-86.

5. Rick Barry


Barry is known for being one of the best and the most skilled perimeter talents that the game has actually witnessed. This is something which Barry could actually do in an offensive position – and he is regarded as being one of the most underrated players in the whole history of basketball.

6. Kevin Durant

So, Durant has been recognized for being completely impossible to guard – and he is a player that can be seen for having an unlimited and unrestricted range. Durant is the key example of being a player who has worked hard in order to get to his full potential.

Durant is best known for playing for the Seattle SuperSonics or the Oklahoma City Thunder, and he has some impressive honors by his name. All of which he is totally deserving of, and the most commendable is being awarded the MVP in the 2013-14 season.

7. Scottie Pippen


Best known for playing for the Chicago Bulls, Pippen is an incredible defender who has huge scoring and also playmaking capabilities. In addition to this, Pippen made the standard for what the second-best player on a championship team should strive to be like.

Pippen is known for his great defensive skills, along with his impeccable passing abilities – and Pippen can be recognised as being one of the least selfish players within a team setting which is an admirable quality to have.

8. James Worthy


Best-known for playing for the Los Angeles Lakers between then years of 1982 and 1994, Worthy is commended for having the speed to beat his opponents and he had the range of motion and ability to beat his opponents in the low post.

Ultimately, Worthy is commended for running the floor significantly better than anyone for the Showtime Lakers and this is because of the efficient and the smooth playing style that he had.

9. Julius Erving


Erving, or Dr. J, as he is nicknamed, is regarded as being the father of the modern NBA – he is the player who is recognized for taking the game off the court and for transforming it into its own airborne league. In addition to this, if you add in his ABA statistics to this then he is a top six scorer in the history of the whole sport.

Dr. J is best known for playing for the New York Nets between 1973-76, and some might say that this is where he really left his mark. Ultimately, Dr. J’s up and under layup from behind the backboard whilst palming the ball is one of the most well-remembered plays in league history.

10. Dominique Wilkins


Wilkins might be the last on our list, but he is by no means least. He is best recognized for his dunking and he is also known for being able to score in a lot of different ways. Here’s the thing, there are not many players who have actually been as explosive as him – in his prime playing time he was pretty much unstoppable.


Overall, there are a lot of small forwards that you should take note of – and they have shaped the NBA playing for the better. These players have influenced basketball players for generations to come, and have left a pretty strong legacy behind.