Sports
18.9k voters

The Best Small Forwards of All Time

Updated July 13, 2020 132.2k votes 18.9k voters 221.3k 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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  • Larry Bird1
    7,260
    2,430

    Larry Bird

    Boston Celtics

    PositionSmall forward, Power forward

    Age64

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

  • LeBron James2
    8,921
    3,460

    LeBron James

    Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat

    PositionSmall forward, Power forward

    Age36

    BirthplaceAkron, Ohio

    Number23

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  • Kevin Durant3
    5,168
    2,236

    Kevin Durant

    Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City Thunder

    PositionSmall forward

    Age32

    BirthplaceWashington, D.C.

    Number35

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  • Kawhi Leonard4
    2,901
    888

    Kawhi Leonard

    Toronto Raptors, San Antonio Spurs

    PositionShooting guard, Small forward

    Age29

    BirthplaceRiverside, California

    Number2

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  • Scottie Pippen5
    4,216
    2,081

    Scottie Pippen

    Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets

    PositionSmall forward

    Age54

    BirthplaceUSA, Hamburg, Arkansas

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  • Tracy McGrady6
    2,163
    1,231

    Tracy McGrady

    Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic

    PositionShooting guard, Small forward

    Age41

    BirthplaceBartow, Florida, United States of America

  • Rick Barry7
    1,573
    1,134

    Rick Barry

    New York Nets, Houston Rockets

    PositionSmall forward

    Age75

    BirthplaceElizabeth, New Jersey, United States of America

  • Paul Pierce8
    2,400
    1,877

    Paul Pierce

    Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtics

    PositionSmall forward

    Age43

    BirthplaceOakland, California, United States of America

    Number34

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  • Charles Barkley9
    1,542
    540

    Charles Barkley

    Phoenix Suns, Philadelphia 76ers

    PositionSmall forward, Power forward

    Age56

    BirthplaceLeeds, Alabama, United States of America

  • John Havlicek10
    1,693
    1,353

    John Havlicek

    Boston Celtics

    Age79

    BirthplaceMartins Ferry, Ohio

  • Vince Carter11
    1,945
    1,335

    Vince Carter

    Sacramento Kings, Memphis Grizzlies

    PositionShooting guard, Small forward

    Age42

    BirthplaceDaytona Beach, Florida, United States of America

    Number25

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo12
    879
    415

    Giannis Antetokounmpo

    Milwaukee Bucks

    PositionSmall forward, Point forward

    Age26

    BirthplaceAthens, Greece

    Number34

  • Paul Arizin13
    901
    490

    Paul Arizin

    Philadelphia Warriors

    AgeDec. at 78 (1928-2006)

    BirthplacePhiladelphia, Pennsylvania

  • Dominique Wilkins14
    2,519
    2,325

    Dominique Wilkins

    Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics

    PositionSmall forward

    Age60

    BirthplaceParis, France

  • Toni Kukoč15
    392
    142

    Toni Kukoč

    Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers

    PositionSmall forward

    Age52

    BirthplaceSplit, Croatia, Yugoslavia

  • James Worthy16
    2,024
    1,913

    James Worthy

    Los Angeles Lakers

    PositionSmall forward

    Age58

    BirthplaceGastonia, North Carolina, United States of America

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  • Elgin Baylor17
    2,437
    2,461

    Elgin Baylor

    Los Angeles Lakers

    PositionSmall forward

    Age85

    BirthplaceWashington, D.C., United States of America

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  • Clyde Drexler18
    1,183
    1,051

    Clyde Drexler

    Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets

    PositionShooting guard, Small forward

    Age58

    BirthplaceNew Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America

  • Paul George19
    1,454
    1,386

    Paul George

    Oklahoma City Thunder, Indiana Pacers

    PositionShooting guard, Small forward

    Age30

    BirthplacePalmdale, California

    Number24

  • Carmelo Anthony20
    1,846
    1,888

    Carmelo Anthony

    Oklahoma City Thunder, New York Knicks

    PositionSmall forward, Forward

    Age36

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

    Number7

  • Michael Jordan21
    852
    741

    Michael Jordan

    Washington Wizards, Chicago Bulls

    PositionShooting guard, Small forward

    Age56

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

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  • Jimmy Butler22
    124
    25

    Jimmy Butler

    Miami Heat

    PositionSmall forward

    Age31

    BirthplaceHouston, Texas

    Number21

  • Luka Dončić23
    122
    63

    Luka Dončić

    Dallas Mavericks

    PositionGuard, Small forward

    Number11

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  • Anthony Davis24
    287
    204

    Anthony Davis

    New Orleans Pelicans

    PositionPower forward, Center

    Age27

    BirthplaceChicago, Illinois

    Number3

  • Grant Hill25
    1,072
    1,243

    Grant Hill

    Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic

    PositionSmall forward

    Age47

    BirthplaceDallas, Texas, United States of America

    Number33

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