The small forward position has become arguably the most important in modern basketball. If you have a great wing that can play on both sides of the ball, the flow of the offense is likely to be way easy for the rest of the team.

Also, most of the best players in the world happen to be small forwards, as their scoring ability and capacity of making the most of their mismatches is what makes them stand from most of the crowd.

Some small forwards offer the versatility and the capacity of guarding and playing multiple spots on the court, from running the offense to playing center in small-ball lineups: the small forward is always the focus of attention.

So, there’s no wonder why the last 8 Finals MVP have all been small forwards, as Dirk Nowitzki was the last non-small forward to win the accolade way back in 2011. Today, we’re going to talk about them:

 

2012 – LeBron James

Following a failed trip to the NBA Final, LeBron James and the Miami Heat vowed to get back at the league and certainly did so, beating the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games led by some monstrous performances from the King.

James led all scorers with 28.6 points, 10.2 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.4 blocks per game on 47% from the floor, winning his first of three NBA Championships.

 

2013 – LeBron James

Dwyane Wade, left, and LeBron James celebrate after defeating the San Antonio Spurs 95-88 in Game Seven of the 2013 NBA Finals at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami.

LeBron James wanted another taste of glory after already knowing what it felt like to be an NBA Champion for the first time ever, so, once again as the best player in the world, he led the Heat to the league’s ultimate stage.

Bailed out by a huge rebound by Chris Bosh and a clutch three from Ray Allen, the Heat forced the 7th game and won their second straight Championship, with LeBron averaging 25.3 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game.

 

2014 – Kawhi Leonard

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

We didn’t actually know much about Kawhi Leonard until his breakout performance in the NBA Finals, and he’s done nothing but get better ever since leading the Spurs to their last NBA Championship.

Leonard played lockdown defense on LeBron James and Dwyane Wade and hit clutch shot after clutch shot. Averaging 17.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.2 blocks per game, Leonard showed glimpses of greatness and the Spurs won in 5 games.

 

2015 – Andre Iguodala

Credit: USA Today

Even though the Golden State Warriors were Stephen Curry’s team, it was Andre Iguodala the one who delivered when it mattered the most during the Warriors’ first Finals run.

Andre played outstanding defense and stepped up in the offensive end as well, rather coming off the bench or starting. With his 16.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 1.3 steals per game, the Warriors got past the Cavaliers in six games.

 

2016 – LeBron James

The Cavaliers got back to the NBA Finals, this time with a fully healthy squad. LeBron had way more help with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love and the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead to lose the ring in 7 games.

LeBron played lights out throughout the entire series, averaging 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds, 8.9 assists, 2.6 steals, and 2.3 blocks per game, including an iconic chase-down block on Andre Iguodala in the clutch.

 

2017 – Kevin Durant

The Golden State Warriors somehow got Kevin Durant in free agency so obviously, they had a cakewalk back to the NBA Finals, where they’d have to face LeBron and the Cavaliers once again. As you may know by now, they beat them in 5 games.

Durant made sure to make the most of his second trip to the Finals and stepped up as the Warriors’ go-to-guy in both ends of the floor, averaging 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.0 steals, and 1.6 blocks per game, there was no stopping him.

 

2018 – Kevin Durant

The Golden State Warriors had done it all. They were the team to beat, and they knew it. They had already beaten LeBron twice, but they wanted to go for the sweep this time, and they pulled it off.

The Warriors were a vastly superior team to the Cavaliers that time, but Kevin Durant was merciless once again. With averages of 28.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 7.5 assists, and 2.3 blocks per game, he made sure nobody said again that the Warriors were carrying him.

Read More

Full Player Comparison: Kobe Bryant vs. Dwyane Wade (Breakdown)

Ranking The Best Small Forwards In The NBA By Category

NBA Rumors: Houston Rockets Can Create A Big Three With Kevin Love

2019 – Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard proved this year that he’s the best player in the world. He took the Toronto Raptors and turned them from pretender to actual contender, and put an end to the Warriors dynasty by beating them in 6 games.

Leonard had one of the most impressive runs in the history of the playoffs, beating Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and the Golden State Warriors. He averaged 28.5 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 2.0 steals, and 1.2 blocks per game in the Finals, and the crown is his to lose now.

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