top 10 best small forwards in the nba 2014

All-Time #NBArank: LeBron James tops list of best small forwards

All-Time #NBArank rolls on with the countdown of the best small forwards in NBA history.

To create All-Time #NBArank, we put together a ballot with the 150 greatest players ever. Then our ESPN expert panel voted on thousands of head-to-head matchups, with voting based on both peak performance and career value . The result is our all-time NBA Top 100.

The Top 100 will begin to roll out next week. Meanwhile, we are presenting the top 10 by position.

On Friday, we will have the top 10 power forwards of all time, followed by centers. Click here for our all-time point guard and shooting guard rankings.

TOP 10 SMALL FORWARDS

If you want to get involved in the discussion or just follow along, #NBArank is the Twitter hashtag to use. You also can follow along @ESPNNBA and on Facebook.

1. LeBron James

Teams
Cleveland Cavaliers (2003-2010, 2014-present), Miami Heat (2010-2014)

Honors
Four-time MVP (2008-09, 2009-10, 2011-12, 2012-13), two-time Finals MVP, 11-time All-Star, 11-time All-NBA selection, six-time All-D selection, Rookie of the Year (2003-04), NBA scoring champion (2007-08)

Career stats
27.3 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 6.9 APG. 496 FG%

The player
It’s almost unfair to label him as a small forward, because he plays with the strength of a power forward and the ballhandling abilities of a point guard. — J.A. Adande, ESPN.com

No weaknesses. Runs the offense as a point forward while still dropping nearly 30 points per game. The game’s most powerful and effective force for a decade. — Chris Broussard, ESPN The Magazine

The best combination of size, speed and strength in NBA history. Combine that with a basketball IQ that’s off the charts and you have one of the greatest the game has ever seen. — Rob Peterson, ESPN.com

If LeBron retired tomorrow, he’d leave as the greatest small forward in league history based on his four MVPs, and he’s already among the top 10 in all-time win shares, according to Basketball-Reference.com. — Kevin Pelton, ESPN Insider

2. Larry Bird

Honors
Three-time MVP (1983-84, 1984-85, 1985-86), two-time Finals MVP, 12-time All-Star, 10-time All-NBA selection, three-time All-D selection, Rookie of the Year (1979-80)

Career stats
24.3 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 6.3 APG. 496 FG%

The player
Bird was an unbelievable shooter, of course, but it was his mind that really set him apart. He anticipated what teammates and opponents alike were going to do before they themselves knew. Few players have embraced pressure moments with such relish. — Bradford Doolittle, ESPN Insider

He could pass, shoot, rebound, lead the break and kill you as the trailer. Bird was whip-smart and demoralized the best of them with or without the rock in his hands. — Peterson

How dominant was Bird’s peak? In 1984-85 and 1985-86, Bird received a combined 146 of a possible 156 first-place MVP votes. That’s the largest percentage of first-place votes that any player has ever had over any two-year span. — Micah Adams, ESPN Stats & Info

He had the full array of skills and was the NBA’s top 3-point threat in his day; it makes you wonder how he’d use that weapon in this era. — Adande

3. Julius Erving

Teams
Virginia Squires (1971-1973), New York Nets (1973-1976),Philadelphia 76ers (1976-1987)

Honors
MVP (1980-81), 11-time All-Star, 7-time All-NBA selection, Hall of Fame

The player
Dr. J is the father of the modern NBA, the one who took the game off the floor and made it an airborne league. If you add his ABA stats, he’s a top-six scorer in the history of the sport. — Adande

A cultural icon. Not the first to dunk, but unquestionably the “Godfather of the Jam.” Outstanding one-on-one talent who was also a total team player. — Broussard

Dr. J’s up-and-under layup from behind the backboard while palming the ball remains one of the most recognizable plays in league history. He did things that nobody before him ever did on a basketball court. — Adams

The word “mystique” should have been invented for Dr. J. His game is as indelible as anyone’s. — Doolittle

4. Kevin Durant

Teams
Seattle SuperSonics/Oklahoma City Thunder (2007-present)

Honors
MVP (2013-14), six-time All-Star, five-time All-NBA selection, Rookie of the Year (2007-08), four-time NBA scoring champion

Career stats
27.3 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 3.6 APG. 482 FG%

The player
Absolutely impossible to guard. A near 7-footer with unlimited range, a 2-guard’s handle, and finishing ability. — Broussard

Right on schedule at age 27, he’s reaching his full potential. He’s taking his passing and defending to the next level, while making the highest percentage of shots of his career. — Adande

Keep in mind that nobody behind him on the list has won an NBA MVP. Durant has already surpassed them in peak value. — Pelton

If he can stay healthy, there might not be a better bet in terms of the player most likely to catch Kareem atop the all-time scoring list. — Adams

5. Elgin Baylor

Teams
Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers (1958-1972)

Honors
11-time All-Star, 10-time All-NBA selection, Rookie of the Year (1958-59), Hall of Fame

Career stats
27.4 PPG, 13.5 RPG, 4.3 APG. 431 FG%

The player
The forerunner of every high-flying small forward in NBA history. — Peterson

One of the NBA’s original NBA acrobats and an underrated rebounder. He grabbed more career rebounds than anyone else on this list. — Adande

Likely undervalued historically due to playing in an era with Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson and Bill Russell, Baylor is in the conversation of greatest players never to win an MVP award. — Adams

Baylor is in elite company as one of nine players in league history to make the All-NBA First Team at least 10 times — a group that could add LeBron James this season. — Pelton

6. Scottie Pippen

Teams
Chicago Bulls (1987-1998, 2003-2004), Houston Rockets (1998-1999), Portland Trail Blazers (1999-2003)

Honors
Seven-time All-Star, seven-time All-NBA selection, 10-time All-D selection, Hall of Fame

Championships
6 (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998)

Career stats
16.1 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 5.2 APG, 2.0 SPG

The player
Smothering defender with big scoring and playmaking ability. Pippen is arguably the greatest “Robin” in league history. — Broussard

Pippen set the standard for what the second-best player on a championship team should look like. Great defense, great passing and (mostly) supreme unselfishness. — Doolittle

The perfect complement to Michael Jordan. If Pippen didn’t have such an all-around game we might have called him the first 3-and-D guy. — Adande

One of the great sidekicks in NBA history and, as he proved in 1993-94, capable of being more than what was required of him during his prime years. — Pelton

7. John Havlicek

Honors
Finals MVP (1974), 13-time All-Star, 11-time All-NBA selection, eight-time All-D selection

Championships
8 (1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1974, 1976)

Career stats
20.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 4.8 APG. 439 FG%

The player
Hondo was a star sixth man before anyone thought of giving out an award for such things, and was part of most of those Celtics titles in the ’60s. Then he was the best player on a whole different group of championship-winning Boston teams in the ’70s. That’s pretty good. — Doolittle

A model of consistent excellence and an eight-time NBA champion, Hondo did a little bit of everything for the Celtics, whether it was coming off the bench earlier in his career or wining the ’74 Finals MVP. — Peterson

He often gets overlooked when discussing the game’s greatest scorers. Only a handful of players in his era scored more points than he did, and they’re all single-name guys: Wilt, Kareem, Moses, Elvin and Oscar. — Adande

It’s Havlicek — not Bird, Cousy, or Russell — who holds career records for games played and points scored in a Celtics uniform. — Adams

8. Rick Barry

Teams
San Francisco/Golden State Warriors (1965-1967, 1972-1978), Houston Rockets (1978-1980)

Honors
Finals MVP (1975), eight-time All-Star, six-time All-NBA selection, Rookie of the Year (1965-66), NBA scoring champion (1966-67)

Career stats
23.2 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 5.1 APG, 2.0 SPG

The player
One of the greatest, most skilled perimeter talents the game has seen, Barry could do it all offensively. He’s the most underrated superstar in basketball history. — Broussard

Barry led the NBA in scoring in 1967 with the highest per-game average (35.8) ever by someone not named Chamberlain or Jordan. As symbolized by his underhanded free throw style, he used whatever method he could to win. — Peterson

Barry was not just an ace shooter who shot granny-style free throws. He was a unique and dominant all-around player who made his mark in two leagues. When the NBA adopted the 3-point line for his last season, Barry was among the first to exploit the new rule. — Doolittle

He helped expand the concept of shooting range for small forwards. — Adande

9. James Worthy

Honors
Finals MVP (1988), Seven-time All-Star, two-time All-NBA selection, Hall of Fame

Career stats
17.6 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 3.0 APG. 521 FG%

The player
Worthy had the speed to beat his opponents down the floor, and the quick moves to beat them in the low post. He was the Finals MVP on the last of the Showtime championship teams. — Adande

He ran the floor better than anyone for the Showtime Lakers, could knock down open jumpers and was a great post player with a spin move that made him look like the Tasmanian Devil. — Doolittle

Efficient and smooth, Big Game James never shot worse than 53 percent in a season during the first eight years of his career. — Peterson

Worthy is the author of perhaps the best championship-clinching performance in a Game 7 in NBA history, delivering 36 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists to knock off the Pistons in a 3-point win in 1988. — Adams

10. Dominique Wilkins

Teams
Atlanta Hawks (1982-1994) Los Angeles Clippers (1994), Boston Celtics (1994-1995), San Antonio Spurs (1996-1997), Orlando Magic (1998-1999)

Honors
Nine-time All-Star, seven-time All-NBA selection, NBA scoring champion (1985-86), Hall of Fame

Career stats
24.8 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 2.5 APG .461 FG%

The player
‘Nique is known for his dunking, but he could also score in a wide variety of ways. — Adande

Few players have ever been more explosive. In his prime, he could go toe-to-toe with Bird, Jordan and anyone else. — Doolittle

For a 10-year period, the Human Highlight Film never averaged fewer than 26 points per game per season. — Peterson

It’s almost a shame that the most vivid memories many people have of Wilkins is of him dunking alongside Michael Jordan in an exhibition. — Adams

top 10 best small forwards in the nba 2014:Who are the greatest small forwards in NBA history? Is King James No. 1? We’re counting down the top 10 on All-Time #NBArank.

top 10 best small forwards in the nba 2014

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top 10 best small forwards in the nba 2014 All-Time #NBArank: LeBron James tops list of best small forwards All-Time #NBArank rolls on with the countdown of the best small forwards in NBA history. To create All-Time #NBArank, we put together a ballot with the 150 greatest players ever. Then our ESPN...