Ranking the Early Top 10 Small Forwards of the 2014 NBA Draft

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Ranking the Early Top 10 Small Forwards of the 2014 NBA Draft

Small Forwards
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The Small Forward position in the NBA is currently the most competitive one. With LeBron James winning back to back titles and four out the last five MVPS, teams are trying to find their own Small Forward to challenge him. In the last two rounds of the playoffs, LeBron was matched up against two athletic defenders who made him work for every point he got. Paul George of the Indiana Pacers not only covered him for the duration of the game, but also nearly matched him in the offensive categories. In the NBA Finals, Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs emerged as one of the top defenders in the league and top rebounders at the Small Forward position. He averaged 14.6 points but was able to grab 11.1 per game and shoot over 50 percent.

Those two emerging Small Forwards join a group that doesn't only include James but also some of the top scorers in the league in Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony. Anthony and Durant have combined to win the last four scoring titles and finished first and second last year respectively. In the current style of NBA play, both of those guys are listed at Small Forward but have the versatility to play Power Forward and create mismatches for a lot of teams.

Other Small Forwards that have been All-Stars or are close to being one are Luol Deng, Andre Iguodala, Rudy Gay, Paul Pierce, Josh Smith and Nicolas Batum. It is difficult to be a contender in the NBA without an above average Small Forward due to the abundance of them and the trouble they create for opposing defenses and offenses. The number one pick in the NBA Draft this year was Anthony Bennett who wasn't on most radars throughout the year to be a number one pick. The Cleveland Cavaliers thought it was more important to solidify this position than go after Nerlens Noel, who is a Center.

These 10 college players could find themselves as high draft picks in the 2014 NBA Draft and possibly even No. 1 overall.

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10. Doug McDermott

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Doug McDermott is one of the best shooters in college basketball. He is not a true small forward but not strong enough to be a Small Forward at the next level. The question for McDermott is can he be like Ryan Anderson or will he be more Adam Morrison?

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9. C.J. Fair

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C.J. Fair averaged 14.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game in 2012. His best attributes are that he shot 47 percent from the field and from the three-point line as well as 75 percent from the free throw line.

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8. Chris Walker

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At 6-foot-10, Walker is one of the tallest Small Forwards in College Basketball. Academic issues will keep him out until December, but makes it more likely that he won't want to stay in college and leave for the NBA after one year. He may not have enough time on the court to jump in the lottery but he should be a first-round pick.

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7. LaQuinton Ross

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LaQuinton Ross had his numbers jump across the board from his Freshman year to his Sophomore season. Even though he only averaged 8.3 points and three rebounds per game, he showed a lot of progression throughout the year. He has all the physical attributes to be able to contribute to an NBA team right now as a defender and hustle player of the bench.

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6. Jeremi Grant

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Jeremi Grant is a 6-foot-8 Small Forward with a 7-foot-2 wingspan. He is already a top defender and one of the most athletic players in college basketball. His biggest issues are his inconsistent jump shot and his lack of strength. He would get pushed around by most NBA Small Forwards today, so he needs to add 10-15 pounds of bulk to be a top-15 pick.

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5. Glenn Robinson III

Robinson III
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Glenn Robinson III might be the most complete all around Small Forward in college basketball. He also probably has the least amount of room to grow and progress out of all the players that will be selected in the lottery. He is a very good shooter and an explosive athlete but is not a strong ball handler and has no back to the basket game.

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4. Alex Poythress

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Poythress could have come out last year and been a first-round pick. He chose to come back and work on his ability to shoot while moving and add some muscle to his frame. If he worked on those things in the offseason, he will have a chance to be a top-7 pick in the draft.

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3. James Young

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Most years, James Young would be in the mix for the No. 1 overall pick. If he shows the smooth shot he did in high school and the ability to drive to the basket, he will be a top-5 pick in the Draft.

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2. Jabari Parker

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Jabari Parker can do it all on the court except defend athletic players. He isn't an explosive leaper and plays a position full of them. If anything holds him back at the next level it will be that he is a defensive liability and isn't quick enough or strong enough to cover another position.

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1. Andrew Wiggins

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Andrew Wiggins could sit out his Freshman year and will still be the No. 1 pick next year. He is the reason teams will tank this year to try and acquire him as their version of LeBron James and hope he can be part of a quick rebuild. The biggest defect in his game is that he is a below average passer and doesn't make his teammates better. He has never had to do that in High School, but he will have to prove he can do that at the NBA level.