The small forward position in today's NBA is perhaps the most vital since the players have the size and ability to control the game absolutely in many places. It is no wonder that in the last couple of years each NBA champion has had players like LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, and Kevin Durant.

The distinction between an incredibly strong team and an NBA Champion is always made by a small forward, so every team is looking for a strong player in that position to bring them glory.

We have seen greatness throughout history in the small forward role. Before LeBron James came into the league, it was Larry Bird who was the original iconic small forward. But let's find out the Top 11 Small Forwards of All-Time.

11. Carmelo Anthony

Melo is at the end of his pro career, but he will always remain one of the NBA's top scorers. When Carmelo entered the league in 2003 with LeBron James, he averaged 21 points and 6.1 rebounds.

He went on to appear at 10 All-Star games in his career, and have an average of fewer than 20 points a game for 16 consecutive years.

10. Kawhi Leonard

A dominant two-way player is how Kawhi Leonard can be described. He can stop players and make a point in a lot of different ways.

During his time at the Spurs, he was still a youngster but he still managed to win the Final MVP. He has developed amazingly as a player ever since then.

9. Paul Arizin

The NBA fans of the new age might be very unfamiliar to Arizin. He was one of the greatest players in the NBA between 1950 and 1962 before joining the US Marine Corps.

He took ten All-Star games in his 12-year career, won the NBA with the Philadelphia Warriors. He has 22.3 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game as his career averages.


8. Paul Pierce

Pierce was one of the NBA's most engaged stars. He won the championship with Boston Celtics and completed his 15th season on the All-Time scoring list, in addition to his playoff heroics.

He has 10 All-Star appearances and he earned the Finals MVP in his only victory with the Celtics in the Finals.

7. Elgin Baylor

Before the three-point shot was introduced, Baylor was one of the top scorers of his generation and was one of the best the league had seen. He has an overall job history of 27.4 points, 13.5 rebounds and 4.3 game helps.

Surprisingly, Baylor did not win any MVP awards or titles, but the 11 times All-Star and the All-NBA team 10 times speak for themselves. The Lakers legend still owns the sixth-highest score in a single game as he made 71 points in 1960.

6. Julius Erving

Dr. J continues to be one of the NBA's most thrilling flyers in history. Erving has insane 24.2 points averages, 8.2 rebounds and 4.2 game assists.

He received 4 MVP awards and has the most All-Star appearances (16). Erving did win four championships, but all of them in the ABA.


5. Scottie Pippen

Pippen was a six-time winner in the NBA and was dubbed the ideal companion to Michael Jordan. Jordan himself said that without Pippen's contributions to Chicago's growth, neither one of his championships would have been possible.

Though Pippen was a fine all-around player, his silky-smooth scoring and defending is are by far his best attributes. Pippen was a 7-time All-Star and 10-time All-Defensive player.

4. John Havlicek

One of the most decorated small forwards is none else but Havlicek. He made 13 All-Star appearances and earned the All-Star MVP award, but he never got an MVP award.

He is also the 16th of the world's best scorers and was the most effective in his career with 8 championships. Havlicek made 11 All-NBA teams in addition to his All-Star appearances.

3. Larry Bird

The brilliance of Bird on the basketball court surpasses his scoring capacity, with him having 10 rebounds on average and 6.3 assists per game. He is also the third-largest participant on the All-Star list, with three titles with the Boston Celtics.

Bird earned two Finals MVP awards in his three championships. In addition, he was a 12-time All-Star and a 10-time All-NBA team.


2. Kevin Durant

Durant, who stands over 7 feet, is different from any athlete we ever saw. He can comfortably score from everywhere with a silky-smooth jump shot and a guard stick.

In his career, Durant has scored 27 points average per game which has helped him make 10 appearances at the All-Star. Durant dominated the playoffs and won two championships and MVPs in Finals while playing for the Golden State Warriors.

1. LeBron James

It is not a matter of whether LeBron James is the best small forward ever, but whether he is the best basketball player in the history of the game.

James is by far the best passer of his position, making 7.4 points per game per average. LeBron is still an extremely effective player with a 50.4 shooting percentage. James is a 16-time All-Star and 4-time NBA champion, in addition to his 4 MVP awards.