The NBA is becoming the land of superstar small forwards. Dominant forwards have been the NBA Finals MVPs over the last few years, including Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and especially LeBron James. The modern NBA forward can play both ends of the floor and can do everything else for their teams to win.
In order to create the best small forwards ever, it is time to take the attributes of all the best players in the league in that position. Here are the 10 major attributes of the greatest small forward of all time by taking the current NBA superstar traits.
Basketball IQ – LeBron James
No question, LeBron James has the highest I.Q out of any player in the NBA right now. LeBron can score every time at the rack, nail deep shots, and set up his teammates better than any small forward in the NBA. In terms of the all-around game, no small forward comes close.
The way LeBron James can single-handedly take over games with his basketball IQ is something that is rare to watch. He can create or score every single time down the floor which makes him #1 in this aspect.
Handles – Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant is one of the best ball handlers in the NBA, which is a scary thought. Many immediately think of Durant’s shot-making as his best trait, but his dribbling is what separates him from the rest of the pack. Durant has every crossover move in his toolbox, and that helps him level up his skills as one of the greatest scorers of all-time.
The perfect small forward will have Durant’s dribbling ability to create his own shots because no superstar matches KD right now in that aspect.
Shooting – Kevin Durant
A no-brainer here. The perfect small forward will have Kevin Durant’s shooting from beyond the arc. Durant shoots a career 38.2% from three, 49.3% from the field, and 88.2% from the free-throw line. He can make any shot from anywhere and must be defended from any range at all times.
Durant has a marksman’s eye and that means he can shoot over any player in the league. Durant cannot be stopped when he has his eye on the basket, and with his feathery soft touch, the best small forward ever will inherit Durant’s best scoring trait.
Hustle – Jimmy Butler
A superstar’s ability to hustle is arguably the most underrated aspect of a player’s impact on the court because it signals leadership and a desire to win. Jimmy Butler does this better than anyone else at his position on both ends of the floor.
The perfect small forward will have Butler’s ability and desire to fight after every loose ball, go for rebounds among the bigs, and dominate both ends of the floor at 110%.
Speed – LeBron James
In terms of raw speed, the perfect small forward will inherit the physical gifts of LeBron James. James is 36 years of age, but he still moves quicker than most of the league. But the greatest small forward ever will possess LeBron’s natural speed.
LeBron has shown on countless occasions that he can move from one end to the other, as a one-man fast break. James is extremely explosive, can’t be caught when he’s ahead of steam and ties it together with supreme physicality.
Mentality – LeBron James
The mentality of LeBron James is what is needed in building the absolute best small forward in the world. James, since his rookie season, is one of the smartest players in NBA history. In fact, he might have solidified himself as the smartest ever.
James makes every right play with the ball, makes his teammates better, and never panics. LeBron is a professional at basketball which means he is ahead of everyone in his position including Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard. LeBron’s mind is always one step ahead and the best small forward ever will have The King’s mind.
Clutch – Kevin Durant
A couple of guys have an argument here, but Kevin Durant is the most clutch small forward in the league. Durant has the scoring touch to dominate the game in critical moments, and he has shown this countless times. LeBron James is a great player to make great passes in the clutch, but Durant gets the job done himself.
Durant has countless game-winners in his Hall of Fame career, and that means his trait will be inherited by the greatest small forward ever.
Defense – Kawhi Leonard
The perfect small forward will have the defensive capabilities of Kawhi Leonard. Leonard has made the All-Defensive Team 6 times and might be making it again this season. His ability to guard 3 or 4 positions at any given moment is a testament to Kawhi’s dominance. He’s an excellent ball stopper and has the advantage of extremely large hands.
Leonard can poke away balls, grab rebounds among the trees, and block shots with his large hands. Leonard is a 2-time Defensive Player of the Year and he is the easiest selection for this attribute.
Passing – LeBron James
In terms of pure passing ability, LeBron James is #1 at the small forward spot and there is absolutely no debate. James is averaging 7.9 APG for this season and averages 7.4 APG for his career. James is literally an entire offense in one body because he dominates the game with his scoring and passing better than any small forward ever.
The perfect small forward will be able to make any pass on the floor and must read the game at the highest level. Only two small forwards come to mind, Larry Bird and LeBron James, but The King is once again the best right now.
Athleticism – LeBron James
Finally, the perfect small forward will have the overall athleticism of LeBron James. The King is still lightning quick at his age and is one of the most powerful athletes in sports history.
Standing 6’8″ and 260 lbs, James is a battering ram who cannot be stopped when he gets ahead of steam. LeBron’s athleticism completes the most dominant small forward of all-time and with his ability to dominate the game physically, no one stands a chance.