The small forward position is deep in talent but we all know who number one is.
#5 Luol Deng, Chicago Bulls
2012-2013 Stats: 16.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.1 spg, 15.1 PER
Deng may be the most underappreciated player in the NBA. He has the ability to play both sides of the ball and is extremely unselfish. With the return of Derrick Rose this season, Deng will have less attention focused on him offensively. With the responsibility of guarding LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony in the Eastern Conference and holding his own, Deng has earned his top 5 spot.
#4 Paul George, Indiana Pacers
2012-2013 Stats: 17.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 4.1 apg, 1.8 spg, 16.8 PER
With his performance against the Miami Heat in last years Eastern Conference Finals, George certainly has put himself on the map. This young forward has room to grow which is a great sign for the Pacers and bad news for the rest of the NBA. George is long, athletic and can shoot the ball but must work on being more consistent and closing out games for his team. It will be interesting to see how he plays the shooting guard position with Danny Granger returning to the team this season.
#3 Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks
2012-2013 Stats: 28.7 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 2.6 apg, 24.8 PER
Carmelo is the best pure scorer in the NBA. Last season, Anthony helped the New York Knicks have one of their best seasons in recent memory. Having said that the expectations for Carmelo this season will be high and anything less then at least a trip to the NBA Finals will be a failure. Anthony averaged 43.7 points per game during an eight game stretch at the end of the regular season. While his offense is never in question, Carmelo must improve on the defensive end if he wants to sniff the top spot. Oh and a championship wouldn’t hurt ;).
#2 Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
2012-2013 Stats: 28.1 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 4.6 apg, 1.4 spg, 1.3 bpg, 28.3 PER
Kevin Durant is no question the second best basketball player in the world and won’t be happy until he dethrones the “King.” Durant averaged 30.8 points, 9.0 rebounds and 6.3 assists without Russell Westbrook last season but had a hard time carrying the Thunder in the playoffs. Durant will get Westbrook back this season and hope to return to the NBA Finals. With the Clippers adding Doc Rivers and JJ Redick and Dwight Howard signing with Houston, it wont be a cakewalk though.
#1 LeBron James, Miami HEAT
2012-2013 Stats: 26.8 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 7.3 apg, 1.7 spg, 31.6 PER
There is no question who number one is. James is coming off his second straight NBA championship and looking to earn a fifth MVP to his trophy collection. With James adding a post game to his arsenal and his confidence at an all time high, LBJ is a force. While Dwayne Wade is a year older and the competition is getting better around the league, James has done more with less in the past and won’t be denied. Not only is he the best small forward in the NBA, he’s the best player in the world.