Sports

The Best Small Forwards of All Time 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
118.9k votes 17.3k voters 212.1k 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
1
Larry Bird is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
2
LeBron James is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
3
Julius Erving is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
Philadelphia 76ers, New York Nets

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#1 of 153 The Best NBA Player Nicknames #6 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time

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Elgin Baylor is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
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Kevin Durant is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City Thunder, Seattle Supersonics

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#48 of 153 The Best NBA Player Nicknames #3 of 61 The Most Hated Active NBA Playersfeaturing The Best KD 10 Colorways, Ranked

6
Dominique Wilkins is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
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Scottie Pippen is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls

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#1,610 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #1 of 22 The Best Small Forwards of the 90s

8
James Worthy is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
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John Havlicek is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
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Kawhi Leonard is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
little JP Tokoto added
Toronto Raptors, San Antonio Spurs

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#65 of 153 The Best NBA Player Nicknames #161 of 175 The Greatest Power Forwards in NBA History #79 of 80 The Biggest Crybabies in Basketball

11
Rick Barry is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
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Paul Pierce is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets

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#29 of 153 The Best NBA Player Nicknames #1,757 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #16 of 22 The Best Small Forwards of the 90s

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Vince Carter is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
tbb911 added
Sacramento Kings, Memphis Grizzlies, Phoenix Suns

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#1,590 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #61 of 61 The Most Hated Active NBA Players

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Tracy McGrady is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
15
Bernard King is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
wiabux added
Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards, Brooklyn Nets

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#710 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #7 of 28 The Greatest Small Forwards of the 1980s #12 of 22 The Best Small Forwards of the 90s

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Carmelo Anthony is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
17
Charles Barkley is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
18
Alex English is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
19
Paul Arizin is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
20
Paul George is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
ZachCarlson added
Oklahoma City Thunder, Indiana Pacers

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#86 of 153 The Best NBA Player Nicknames #26 of 61 The Most Hated Active NBA Players #30 of 82 The Most Likable Players In The NBA Today

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Clyde Drexler is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
lauren-charbono added
Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets

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#9 of 28 The Greatest Small Forwards of the 1980s #6 of 178 The Greatest Shooting Guards in NBA History

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Giannis Antetokounmpo is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
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Chris Mullin is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
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Adrian Dantley is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time
JohnWade added
Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers, Utah Jazz

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#97 of 153 The Best NBA Player Nicknames #797 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Timelisted on Famous Left Handed People

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Grant Hill is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Small Forwards of All Time