After going through the lists for both point guards and shooting guards, I know move to the front court and begin the top 40 list of small forwards in the league. This list arguably is the most top heavy, having many top 10 overall players in the top 10. The bottom of the list isn’t exactly the greatest though, containing mostly backups and underachievers. But what else would you expect? That’s why it’s the bottom of the list. Here it is:
40. Danny Granger, Indiana Pacers/Los Angeles Clippers
Stats: 8.2 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 1.0 APG
Granger had quite an interesting season last year. After getting injured a couple years ago and losing his job to superstar Paul George, he was no longer needed on the team. Not only that, but he wasn’t playing well anyway, suggesting maybe his time as a top player was already over. The Pacers traded this severe underachiever to clear some cap space, sending him to the Sixers for another underachieving small forward, Evan Turner. Granger then basically refused to play for them, and was bought out. He was signed by the Clippers and continued his underachieving, playing minimal minutes for them. He’s nothing more than a veteran to fill out a roster now.
39. Maurice Harkless, Orlando Magic
Stats: 7.4 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 1.0 APG
Speaking of players who were on the Sixers but never ended up playing for them, Harkless certainly fits into that category (he was drafted by Philly and then traded in the Dwight Howard deal). He didn’t do as well last year as I had expected him to, although it was a good sign that he played in 80 games. With Tobias Harris already locked in as the team’s starting SF, it will be hard for Harkless to get a ton of minutes, but he makes good use of them. He shot a very efficient 46% last year, although his FT % was an embarrassing 59%. No small forward should be that bad at free throws.
38. Omri Casspi, Houston Rockets
Stats: 6.9 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 1.2 APG
Casspi is another backup that is locked behind a very good small forward; in his case, it was Chandler Parsons. The Rockets didn’t bring back either player though, and Casspi will now play for the Kings next year. Now he’ll be stuck behind an even better SF in Rudy Gay, so I don’t expect his minutes to increase. That shouldn’t be much of a surprise though considering he’s always been a backup. He struggled last year, but maybe a change in scenery will allow him to bounce back.
37. Harrison Barnes, Golden State Warriors
Stats: 9.5 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.5 APG
I am not really sure what happened to Harrison Barnes. It’s not that he was ever a big superstar, but he was supposed to be awesome and never really lived up to that hype. That is, so far. He averaged 28.3 MPG last year and still put up mediocre stats, shooting just below 40% and totaling the worst PER on this entire list of small forwards. It’s surprising that he’s struggling this much, but with a crowded SF position in Golden State, it makes it hard to really get into a groove. I expect Barnes to have a better season next year as long as his minutes stay up.
36. Martell Webster, Washington Wizards
Stats: 9.7 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 1.2 APG
Webster had a down year last season after coming off the bench for most of his games, starting only 13 games as opposed to 62 the year before. His minutes barely decreased, but pretty much every statistical category dipped in some way. He was just under the double digit PPG, but his scoring was actually above his career average. Webster is nothing more than a rotation player at this point in his career. He has recently been thriving on the 3-point shot, so as long as he can continue to make those, he’ll get his minutes.
35. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte Bobcats
Stats: 7.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 0.8 APG
I think Kidd-Gilchrist is a year away from being called a huge bust, but he’s zero ways away from being called one of my least favorite players in the league. I never really liked him, and he’s never performed at the level that was expected of him. He missed 20 games last year due to injury, but he struggled even when he was out on the court. If you consider his rookie year underwhelming, I’m not really sure how to classify this past season’s performance. He receives a low minute total for a starter, but I don’t really see him as a starter anyway. Maybe if they bring him off the bench it’ll help him. Who knows. I don’t like him at all.
34. Kyle Singler, Detroit Pistons
Stats: 9.6 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 0.9 APG
Singler is another well-known player from the 2011 draft, but his expectations weren’t as high after not being drafted till the second round. He was underwhelming as a starter his rookie year, but mixed it up this past year by coming off the bench some nights and starting others. He actually played in all 82 games, but he didn’t really improve from the year before. I think he’s more suited to come off the bench. He’s not a bad shooter and rebounder, so he’s not worthless. He’s a solid backup that will hopefully help the very inefficient Pistons team.
33. Richard Jefferson, Utah Jazz
Stats: 10.1 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 1.6 APG
It still astounds me that Jefferson ended up as the starting SF for the Jazz last year. It’s nothing against him…he’s actually still doing pretty well for as old as he is. But the Jazz are so young and are trying to completely rebuild, so it seemed weird that they’d sign an old free agent to start. Nonetheless, he did about as much as you could expect, scoring some points here and there and shooting efficiently. He’s not what he used to be, so I think this will be his last year as a starter, but he was alright for a team that was tanking anyway. He’ll play for Dallas next year, the veteran aggregators, but his minutes will likely drop.
32. Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
Stats: 6.2 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.9 APG
Green was the slightly more successful of the backup small forwards for Golden State, coming five places higher than his teammate Barnes. His scoring is lower, but his rebounding is very good for a backup SF that only gets about 20 or so minutes per game. He’s not extremely efficient, but he’s got the best PER of the players on this section of the list, so I’d say that’s worth something. His shooting will have to improve to earn more minutes, but it’s a good sign that he played in all 82 games last year.
31. Wesley Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers
Stats: 9.1 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 1.6 APG
Yes, I think it’s fair to call Johnson a bust at this point. He was the 4th overall pick in the 2010 draft and has already played for 3 different teams, struggling to find a spot on any of them. He did a much better job this past year of filling up the stat sheet, doing a little bit of everything. In fact, it was probably his best year of his career. He ended up starting 62 games last year at SF after a slew of injuries messed up pretty much everything for the Lakers last year. He wasn’t as good as backup Nick Young, but he did his job. I think he proved that he can still play, even if it’s at a reduced role than was expected of him.