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19.0k voters

The Best Small Forwards of All Time

Updated July 13, 2020 125.6k votes 19.0k voters 222.2k views135 items

List RulesOnly 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.
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  • 1
    6,868
    2,346

    Larry Bird

    Boston Celtics

    PositionSmall forward

    Age64

    BirthplaceWest Baden Springs, French Lick Township, Indiana, United States of America

    Number33

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  • 2
    8,428
    3,290

    LeBron James

    Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat

    PositionPower forward

    Age36

    BirthplaceAkron, Ohio, United States of America

    Number23

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  • 3
    4,907
    2,112

    Kevin Durant

    Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City Thunder

    PositionSmall forward

    Age32

    BirthplaceWashington, D.C., United States of America

    Number35

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  • 4
    2,785
    872

    Kawhi Leonard

    Toronto Raptors, San Antonio Spurs

    PositionSmall forward

    Age29

    BirthplaceRiverside, California

    Number2

    More Kawhi Leonard 

    #1 of 75 The Best Current Wing Players in the NBA#139 of 168 The Greatest Power Forwards in NBA History

  • 5
    4,002
    1,976

    Scottie Pippen

    Chicago Bulls, Portland Trail Blazers

    PositionSmall forward

    Age55

    BirthplaceHamburg, Arkansas, United States of America

    Number33

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  • 6
    2,052
    1,202

    Tracy McGrady

    Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic

    PositionShooting guard, Small forward

    Age41

    BirthplaceBartow, Florida, United States of America

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  • 7
    1,497
    1,096

    Rick Barry

    New York Nets, Houston Rockets

    PositionSmall forward

    Age76

    BirthplaceElizabeth, New Jersey, United States of America

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  • 8
    2,280
    1,811

    Paul Pierce

    Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtics

    PositionSmall forward

    Age43

    BirthplaceOakland, California, United States of America

    Number34

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  • 9
    1,616
    1,287

    John Havlicek

    Boston Celtics

    PositionSmall forward

    Age80

    BirthplaceMartins Ferry, Ohio, United States of America

    Number17

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  • 10
    1,843
    1,279

    Vince Carter

    Sacramento Kings, Memphis Grizzlies

    PositionSmall forward

    Age43

    BirthplaceDaytona Beach, Florida

    Number25

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  • 11
    2,391
    2,195

    Dominique Wilkins

    Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics

    PositionSmall forward

    Age60

    BirthplaceParis, France

    More Dominique Wilkins 

    #3 of 22 The Best Small Forwards of the 90s#2 of 53 The Best NBA Players Who Played Overseas

  • 12
    856
    416

    Giannis Antetokounmpo

    Milwaukee Bucks

    PositionPower forward

    Age26

    BirthplaceAthens, Greece

    Number34

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  • 13
    1,497
    535

    Charles Barkley

    Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets

    PositionPower forward

    Age57

    BirthplaceLeeds, Alabama, United States of America

    Number34

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  • 14
    878
    488

    Paul Arizin

    Philadelphia Warriors

    AgeDec. at 78 (1928-2006)

    BirthplacePhiladelphia, Pennsylvania

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  • 15
    389
    154

    Toni Kukoč

    Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers

    PositionSmall forward

    Age52

    BirthplaceSplit, Croatia, Croatia

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  • 16
    1,927
    1,823

    James Worthy

    Los Angeles Lakers

    PositionSmall forward

    Age59

    BirthplaceGastonia, North Carolina, United States of America

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  • 17
    2,297
    2,311

    Elgin Baylor

    Los Angeles Lakers

    PositionSmall forward

    Age86

    BirthplaceWashington, D.C., USA

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  • 18
    1,118
    1,018

    Clyde Drexler

    Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets

    PositionShooting guard

    Age58

    BirthplaceNew Orleans, Louisiana, USA

    More Clyde Drexler 

    #8 of 29 The Greatest Small Forwards of the 1980s#2 of 32 The Best NBA Shooting Guards of the 90s

  • 19
    1,365
    1,344

    Paul George

    Oklahoma City Thunder, Indiana Pacers

    PositionSmall forward

    Age30

    BirthplacePalmdale, California

    Number24

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  • 20
    1,751
    1,795

    Carmelo Anthony

    Oklahoma City Thunder, New York Knicks

    PositionSmall forward

    Age36

    BirthplaceRed Hook, New York City, New York, United States of America

    Number7

    More Carmelo Anthony 

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  • 21
    126
    28

    Jimmy Butler

    Miami Heat

    PositionSmall forward

    Age31

    BirthplaceHouston, Texas

    Number21

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  • 22
    122
    66

    Luka Dončić

    Dallas Mavericks

    PositionSmall forward

    BirthplaceLjubljana, Slovenia

    Number11

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  • 23
    804
    733

    Michael Jordan

    Chicago Bulls, Washington Wizards

    PositionShooting guard

    Age57

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

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  • 24
    288
    262

    Gordon Hayward

    Utah Jazz, Boston Celtics

    PositionSmall forward

    Age30

    BirthplaceIndianapolis, Indiana

    Number20

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  • 25
    269
    199

    Anthony Davis

    New Orleans Pelicans

    PositionPower forward, Center

    Age27

    BirthplaceChicago, Illinois

    Number3

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