Top 10 NBA Small Forwards 2022 Rankings
Ranking the best Small Forwards of the 2021-2022 NBA season as Lebron James leads the way. Also where Jimmy Butler, Jayson Tatum, Khris Middleton and more rank
By Fan Author | April 9, 2022
The 2021-2022 NBA Season wraps up on Sunday April 10th, 2022, after an exciting season that delivered prime time performances, big time individual scoring and even a great race to the playoffs.
As we begin to look around the National Basketball Association, one position that stands out this year was the dominant play of the small forward play from across the NBA from all 30 teams in both the Eastern and Western Conferences.
Headlining the list of top small forwards around the NBA are the likes of LeBron James from the Los Angeles Lakers, DeMar DeRozan from the Chicago Bulls, Jayson Tatum from the Boston Celtics, and Jimmy Butler from the Miami Heat.
Despite the Los Angeles Lakers struggles including failing to make it into the NBA playoffs, James put together another storybook season to his long Hall of Fame career. Meanwhile the other three all played strong while guiding their team to the NBA playoffs.
With that said, here is our list of the Top 10 NBA Small Forwards in 2021-2022:
Team: Utah Jazz
Just missing taking home the 10th spot on the Top 10 NBA Small Forwards in 2021-22 rankings list is the Utah Jazz veteran Bojan Bogdanovic.
Bogdanovic is one of the veterans around the league making the list of the top small forwards in the NBA while staying consistent year in and year out including averaging at least 17 points per game in each of the past four seasons.
This season, Bogdanovic is averaging 17.9 points per game to go along with 4.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game.
Team: Toronto Raptors
One rookie is well deserving of a spot on the top small forwards in the NBA rankings list and that is the former Florida State Seminoles star Scottie Barnes.
Barnes, who the Toronto Raptors selected with the 4th overall pick during the 2021 NBA Draft, is living up to expectations in his rookie season.
In 71 games played this year, Barnes is shooting nearly 50 percent from the field (49.1%) while averaging 15.5 points per game. In addition to scoring, Barnes is averaging 1.1 steals per game while grabbing 7.6 rebounds and dishing out 3.5 assists per contest.
Top 10 NBA Small Forwards
10. Keldon Johnson
Team: San Antonio Spurs
One name that has been a big surprise during the 2021-22 NBA schedule has been the third year forward from the Kentucky Wildcats, Keldon Johnson.
Johnson, who the San Antonio Spurs found late during the first round of the 2019 NBA draft class, has seen his scoring production increase from last year to this year.
Johnson averaged just 12.8 points last season while jumping up to nearly 17 points a game this season (16.9 ppg). Overall, Johnson ranks 54th among all players in scoring (16.9 ppg) and 49th in rebounds (6.1 rpg).
9. Andrew Wiggins
Team: Golden State Warriors
Landing at number nine on the Top 10 NBA Small Forwards in 2021-22 rankings list is the former first overall pick Andrew Wiggins who has found a way to be rejuvenated after landing with the Golden State Warriors has become a key piece of the team’s success.
Wiggins, who has yet to average less than 16 points per game since entering the league in 2014, is posting 17.2 points per game through the 71 games he has played this year. Among small forwards, Wiggins ranks 9th in points per game while ranking 48th overall.
8. Miles Bridges
Team: Charlotte Hornets
The Charlotte Hornets are a surprise team this season and one who will look to make some noise during the play in round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs.
With LaMelo Ball carrying the heaviest of the loads, four-year veteran Miles Bridges has slowly emerged as Ball’s sidekick while turning around the organization struggles. Bridges has been a force on both ends of the floor as well as on the glass to this point.
On the year Bridges has posted the fourth most double doubles among all small forwards while ranking 6th in Player Efficiency Rating (18.06), 6th in points per game (20.4 ppg) and fifth in rebounds (7.1 rpg).
7. Kyle Kuzma
Team: Washington Wizards
Kyle Kuzma has had the talent all along but failed to find a role in the Los Angeles Lakers roster led by LeBron James.
With this roadblock, Kuzma found a new home this season after being traded to the Washington Wizards before the start of the regular season.
The move has paid off as Kuzma has been a key player for the team this season while averaging 17.1 points per game to go along with 3.5 assists. In addition, Kuzma leads all small forwards while averaging 8.5 rebounds per game this season.
6. Anthony Edwards
Team: Minnesota Timberwolves
The Minnesota Timberwolves have finally found the missing piece to pair with Karl-Anthony Towns while giving the team a legitimate chance to compete in the Western Conference.
The 2nd year star from the Georgia Bulldogs is currently ranked 24th in the NBA in scoring averaging 21.1 points per game while also adding 4.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.
While his overall numbers have been strong, Edwards has stepped up on the road all season averaging 5.5 points more per game (23.6 ppg) while also shooting 38.2 percent from behind the three-point line.
5. Khris Middleton
Team: Milwaukee Bucks
Coming in at number five on the Top 10 NBA Small Forwards in 2021-22 rankings list is the Milwaukee Bucks star Khris Middleton.
Middleton, who has been with the Bucks in all but his rookie season back during the 2012-13 NBA Season, has posted his third straight season averaging at least 20 points per game while being Giannis Antetokounmpo’s escape code for most of the season.
While Middleton is often overlooked because of the Greek Freak, it doesn’t take away how valuable he has been to the team including during last season’s NBA championship run. Middleton is averaging 20.1 points per game this season to go along with 4.8 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game.
4. Jimmy Butler
Team: Miami Heat
If you ask anyone around the NBA who is the top small forward or one of the top forwards, one name that is sure to come up is the Miami Heat’s star Jimmy Butler.
Butler, who has been a game changer and a player who could take over a game at each stop on his current journey to land with the Heat, ranks inside of the top 52 players for scoring (22nd), rebounds (52nd), and assists (24th).
As the Heat begin to look at their success, it is easy to see that the journey for the Heat starts and stops with the play of Butler. Over the teams last four wins, Butler has posted no fewer than 22 points per game while the team has gone 4-0 over that stretch. In addition to the offensive side of Butler’s game, Butler also plays solid on the back end while averaging 1.7 steals per game.
3. DeMar DeRozan
Team: Chicago Bulls
Could you imagine DeMar DeRozan and LeBron James both on the same roster? That was nearly the reality during the offseason as the team nearly acquired DeRozan to pair the team with three All-Star caliber weapons.
Unfortunately, the move did not go down and DeRozan found his way heading to the Chicago Bulls. A move that has paid off as the Bulls have made a run to the NBA Playoffs and DeRozan ranks 2nd among all small forwards in scoring averaging 28.2 and only trailing James.
DeRozan has been the staple making game winning shots, taking over games while also averaging 5.3 rebounds and five assists per game.
2. Jayson Tatum
Team: Boston Celtics
When it comes down to the final two small forwards, both make a strong case to take home the top spot. Nonetheless, only one can slot in at number two and only one can take home honor as being considered the top small forward in all of basketball.
For Jayson Tatum, he lands at number two just behind LeBron James. Tatum ranks 3rd among all power forwards in scoring this season (27 ppg), 3rd in rebounds (8 rpg) and 5th in assists (4.4 apg).
In addition, it is difficult to replace the impact he has on the Celtics roster as he ranks 24th overall in the NBA in Player Efficiency Rating (21.84). The former Duke Blue Devils star is slowly emerging into the NBA’s top small forward.
1. LeBron James
Team: Los Angeles Lakers
It is hard to derail LeBron James as the top spot on the Top 10 NBA Small Forwards in 2021-22 rankings as he continues to turn in MVP caliber performances night in and night out.
The four-time NBA MVP and 18-time NBA All-Star trails only Joe Embiid (30.4 ppg) in points per game while averaging 30.3 points per game on the year.
While James has seen a decline in play on the defensive side of the floor, the long-time veteran has the skills to run the Lakers offense while also finding ways to attack the glass. James is averaging 8.2 rebounds per game to go along with 6.2 assists per game.
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