For the month of June, we will be ranking the top 10 NBA players at each position. These rankings will be based only on the 2020-21 regular season and will not include any injured players. The positions of players were determined by ESPN. Without further ado, let’s rank the top 10 small forwards from the 2020-21 NBA season.
No. 10 | Andrew Wiggins, Golden State Warriors
With Klay Thomson sidelined for the entire 2021 season, Wiggins stepped up for the Warriors and put together a solid campaign. He averaged 18.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, and one block per game on 44 percent shooting from the field.
No. 9 | Michael Porter Jr, Denver Nuggets
Porter, a finalist for Most Improved Player, stepped into a larger role for the Nuggets’ this season after star point guard Jamal Murray suffered a torn ACL. Over 61 games, Porter averaged 19 points and 7.3 rebounds per game on 54 percent shooting. He also shot a career-best 45 percent from three.
No. 8 | Jerami Grant, Detroit Pistons
Grant signed a three-year, $60 million contract with the Pistons last offseason and proved to be worth the money. Despite missing several weeks with various injuries, Grant averaged 22.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, and a position-best 1.1 blocks per game. He was also a finalist for the Most Improved Player Award.
No. 7 | Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks
Middleton dominated this season with consistent shooting and improved playmaking. Giannis Antetokounmpo’s sidekick put up 20.4 points, six rebounds, and 5.6 assists per game. Middleton also posted 48/41/90 shooting splits.
No. 6 | Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans
Despite the Pelicans missing the playoffs, Ingram was sensational in his second season in New Orleans. He finished third at the position with 23.8 points per game, while also averaging 4.9 rebounds and 4.9 assists.
No. 5 | DeMar DeRozan, San Antonio Spurs
After picking up his player option in the offseason, DeRozan hoped to play well enough to get offered a max contract next year. That’s exactly what he did. The veteran guard averaged 21.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, and a career-best 6.9 assists per game.
No. 4 | Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat
After making the NBA Finals in 2020, the Heat were swept in the first round of the playoffs this year. Their disappointing season had several bright spots, including stellar play from Butler. Over 52 games, he averaged 21.5 points, 6.9 rebounds, and career-highs in assists (7.1) and steals (2.1) per game.
No. 3 | Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
Tatum officially made the jump to superstardom this season. He led the position with 26.4 points per game, while also averaging 7.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1.2 steals. Tatum scored upwards of 50 points three times this season, including a career-high 60 point performance against the Spurs. The forward will likely be selected to one of the All-NBA teams.
No. 2 | LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
James battled an ankle sprain near the end of the season, however, when he played, the King was dominant. In 45 games, he averaged 25 points and led the position with 7.7 rebounds and 7.8 assists per outing. James’ best performance came against the Cleveland Cavaliers in which he scored 46 points and knocked down seven three-pointers.
No. 1 | Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers
Leonard was nothing short of phenomenal this season, leading the Clippers to the fourth-best record in the Western Conference. The two-time champion put up 24.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 1.6 steals per game while posting 51/40/89 shooting splits. Leonard’s top performance of the season was when he dropped 45 points on 18-25 shooting in Game 6 of the first round of the playoffs.
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