Sports

The Best Small Forwards of All Time 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated November 22, 2018 119.1k votes 17.3k voters 212.3k views 135 items

List Rules Only NBA players who played small forward for most of their career

Who are the best small forwards of all time? A small forward serves a critical role in any basketball game, whether NCAA or pro, but this list is primarily concerned with the top small forwards in the NBA. Fans of the game know how important the small forward is: he is often one of the main scorers on the team. The small forward is also versatile, able to fill many roles for a team. Which small forward deserves the title of the best ever? That's for you to decide, with your votes. You can also add any small forwards who are missing from this list, and rerank it any way you want.

When it comes to deciding the best small forwards in the NBA, well, arguments might ensue. Everyone has a favorite -- whether it's LeBron James and his incredible size, strength and versatility, Larry Bird and his extraordinary shooting abilities or a modern era shooter with amazing shooting ability like Kevin Durant. Arguments can be made that virtually any one of the players listed here could be the best ever; certainly they are all among the top NBA players of all time, too.

If you're up for more voting, check out these lists of the greatest power forwards and the greatest shooting guards in NBA history, too. These are the top 10 small forwards in the NBA.
list ordered by
back to page 1
26
Larry Johnson is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
wiabux added Power forward from Tyler, Texas, United States of America

Teams: Charlotte Hornets, New York Knicks

Age: 50

More Larry Johnson 

#207 of 858 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #8 of 31 The Best Power Forwards of the 1990s

27
Glen Rice is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
wiabux added Shooting guard, Small forward from Flint, Michigan, United States of America

Teams: Houston Rockets, Charlotte Hornets, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Clippers, + more

Age: 52

More Glen Rice 

#34 of 178 The Greatest Shooting Guards in NBA History #6 of 22 The Best Small Forwards of the 90s

28
Dennis Rodman is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
tom-charbono added Small forward, Power forward from Trenton, New Jersey, United States of America

Teams: Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers, Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls

Age: 58

More Dennis Rodman 

#37 of 158 The Best NBA Player Nicknames #1,417 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time

29
Alex English is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
wiabux added Small forward from USA, South Carolina, Columbia

Teams: Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks, Denver Nuggets

Age: 65

More Alex English 

#5 of 28 The Greatest Small Forwards of the 1980s #29 of 151 The Best NBA Players with No Championship Rings

30
Detlef Schrempf is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
slaft added Small forward, Power forward from Leverkusen, Germany

Teams: Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers, Portland Trail Blazers, Seattle Supersonics

Age: 56

More Detlef Schrempf 

#8 of 22 The Best Small Forwards of the 90s #306 of 858 The Top NBA Players Of All Time

31
Robert Horry is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
Small forward, Power forward from Maryland, United States of America

Teams: Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers

Age: 49

More Robert Horry 

#46 of 158 The Best NBA Player Nicknames #14 of 22 The Best Small Forwards of the 90s

32
Anthony Davis is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
Power forward, Center from Chicago, Illinois

Teams: New Orleans Pelicans

Age: 26

Number: 3

More Anthony Davis 

#64 of 80 The Most Overrated Players In The NBA Today #1 of 155 The Greatest Kentucky Basketball Players of All Time

33
Gordon Hayward is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
StacyWolfe added Small forward from Indianapolis, Indiana

Teams: Utah Jazz, Boston Celtics

Age: 29

Number: 20

More Gordon Hayward 

#45 of 61 The Most Hated Active NBA Players #314 of 858 The Top NBA Players Of All Time

34
Glenn Robinson is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
wiabux added Small forward from Gary, Indiana, United States of America

Teams: Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks

Age: 46

More Glenn Robinson 

#30 of 55 The Best No. 1 Overall NBA Draft Picks of All Time, Ranked #108 of 258 The Greatest Offensive Players in NBA History

35
Toni Kukoč is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
Small forward from Split, Croatia, Yugoslavia

Teams: Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, Chicago Bulls

Age: 51

More Toni Kukoč 

#587 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #250 of 858 The Top NBA Players Of All Time

36
Blake Griffin is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
Power forward from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Teams: Los Angeles Clippers, Detroit Pistons

Age: 30

Number: 32

More Blake Griffin 

#234 of 243 The Hottest Men Of 2019, Ranked #21 of 55 The Best No. 1 Overall NBA Draft Picks of All Time, Ranked The Best Blake Griffin Dunks

37
Tom Chambers is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
Power forward, Center from Ogden, Utah, United States of America

Teams: Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz, Philadelphia 76ers, Charlotte Hornets, San Diego Clippers, + more

Age: 60

More Tom Chambers 

#213 of 858 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #106 of 151 The Best NBA Players with No Championship Ringslisted on College & Professional Athletes Who Were Raised Mormon

38
Sam Jones is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
Point guard, Shooting guard from Wilmington, North Carolina

Teams: Boston Celtics

Age: 86

More Sam Jones 

#32 of 178 The Greatest Shooting Guards in NBA History #9 of 133 The Best Boston Celtics of All Time

39
Mark Aguirre is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
NaroSlp added Small forward from Chicago, Illinois

Teams: Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers, Detroit Pistons

Age: 60

More Mark Aguirre 

#1,813 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #107 of 858 The Top NBA Players Of All Time

40
Kyle Korver is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
devenharris24 added Shooting guard, Small forward from Lakewood, California

Teams: Cleveland Cavaliers, Utah Jazz, Philadelphia 76ers

Age: 38

Number: 26

More Kyle Korver 

#315 of 858 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #42 of 178 The Greatest Shooting Guards in NBA History

41
Connie Hawkins is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
Power forward, Center from New York City, New York

Teams: Phoenix Suns, Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Lakers

Age: 77

More Connie Hawkins 

#1,717 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #75 of 168 The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time #63 of 858 The Top NBA Players Of All Time

42
Shawn Marion is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
Small forward, Power forward from Waukegan, Illinois, United States of America

Teams: Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, Miami Heat

Age: 41

Number: 0

More Shawn Marion 

#64 of 158 The Best NBA Player Nicknames #341 of 858 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #75 of 175 The Greatest Power Forwards in NBA History

43
Latrell Sprewell is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
wiabux added Shooting guard, Small forward from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States of America

Teams: Minnesota Timberwolves, Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks

Age: 49

More Latrell Sprewell 

#355 of 858 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #53 of 178 The Greatest Shooting Guards in NBA History

44
Luka Dončić is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
TRENT13 added

Teams: Dallas Mavericks

Number: 11

More Luka Dončić 

#397 of 858 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #26 of 239 The Best White Players in NBA History

45
Andrew Wiggins is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
Small Forward from Markham, Thornhill, Canada

Teams: Minnesota Timberwolves

Age: 24

Number: 22

More Andrew Wiggins 

#137 of 158 The Best NBA Player Nicknames #40 of 71 The Best Sleeper Picks For Your Fantasy Basketball Team In 2019-2020

46
Jimmy Butler is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
Small forward from Houston, Texas

Teams: Miami Heat

Age: 30

Number: 21

More Jimmy Butler 

#70 of 80 The Most Overrated Players In The NBA Today #10 of 25 The Coolest Hairstyles In The NBA Today

47
Jamaal Wilkes is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
Shooting guard, Small forward from USA, California, Berkeley

Teams: Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers

Age: 66

More Jamaal Wilkes 

#17 of 28 The Greatest Small Forwards of the 1980s #6 of 37 The Greatest UCLA Basketball Players of All Time

48
Andrei Kirilenko is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
slaft added Small forward, Power forward from Izhevsk, Russia

Teams: Utah Jazz

Age: 38

Number: 47

More Andrei Kirilenko 

#25 of 158 The Best NBA Player Nicknames #495 of 858 The Top NBA Players Of All Time

49
Joe Johnson is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
Shooting guard/Small forward from Little Rock, Arkansas, United States of America

Teams: Detroit Pistons

Age: 38

Number: 7

More Joe Johnson 

#37 of 178 The Greatest Shooting Guards in NBA History #142 of 320 The Top 100+ NBA Players Today

50
Sean Elliott is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
NaroSlp added Small forward from Tucson, Arizona, United States of America

Teams: Detroit Pistons

Age: 51

More Sean Elliott 

#10 of 22 The Best Small Forwards of the 90s #18 of 28 The Best NCAA Small Forwards of the 80s