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Top 10 NBA Small Forwards 2023 Rankings

Ranking the best Small Forwards of the 2022-2023 NBA season as Jayson Tatum leads the way. Also where LeBron James, Jimmy Butler, Kyle Kuzma and more rank

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By admin | March 7, 2023

The battle for the best small forward in the NBA comes down to two of the NBA’s top stars battling for that title. On one hand you have the 19-time NBA All-Star and four-time NBA MVP LeBron James.

On the other hand, you have one of the game’s top young stars Jayson Tatum who is just 24 years old and has been a four-time NBA All-Star.

As the 2022-23 NBA regular Season gets set to start their second half of the NBA schedule, Tatum, and James both are currently averaging at least 30 points per game. The two land on the Top 10 NBA Small Forward rankings list.

With Tatum and James ranking atop the list of the best small forwards in the NBA in 2023, a solid group of talented small forwards slot in behind them among the best in the small forward position of the NBA.

A group of talented small forwards to include Kyle Kuzma of the Washington Wizards, DeMar DeRozan of the Chicago Bulls, Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat, Bojan Bogdanovic of the Detroit Pistons, and Keldon Johnson of the San Antonio Spurs.

In addition, a few fresh young faces are emerging as well including Scottie Barnes of the Toronto Raptors, and Franz Wagner of the Orlando Magic. Here is a look at the Top 10 NBA Small Forwards 2023 Rankings.

Honorable Mention

Mikal Bridges

Team(s): Brooklyn Nets (Current Team) / Phoenix Suns (Former Team)

Just missing the Top 10 NBA Small Forwards 2023 rankings list is the newly acquired Brooklyn Nets small forward Mikal Bridges.

Bridges was acquired in the trade that sent Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns. Prior to being traded to the Nets Bridges was performing well for the Suns averaging 17.2 points per game to go along with 4.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists.

However, his play since arriving to the Nets has outperformed expectations averaging 25 points per game to go along with 6.3 rebounds and three assists per game.

Dillion Brooks

Team: Memphis Grizzlies

One NBA small forward that is often overlooked on the list of the best small forwards in the NBA is the Memphis Grizzlies Dillon Brooks.

Brooks, who was a second-round pick back during the 2017 NBA Draft has turned into a solid small forward who plays at a high level. Brooks has been with the Grizzlies since being drafted is solid on both ends of the floor posting nearly one steal per game.

In addition to his defense, Brooks has averaged 14.8 points per game to go along with 2.6 assists, and 3.3 rebounds per game this season for a Grizzlies team that is in second place in the NBA Western Conference. 

Top 10 NBA Small Forward

10. Jerami Grant

Team: Portland Trail Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers are loaded with talent across their lineup with Jerami Grant landing among those performing at a high level this season.

The former Syracuse Orange small forward currently ranks 38th in the NBA in scoring at 20.8 points per game while ranking 8th among all small forwards in the NBA.

Currently Grant is posting his second 20 plus point per game mark of his career with his first coming back during the 2020-21 NBA season.

To go with his scoring Grant has posted 4.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game while posting nearly one blocked shot and one assist per game.

9. Scottie Barnes

Team: Toronto Raptors

As you start to look at the next generation of NBA stars Scottie Barnes of the Toronto Raptors lands atop the list among small forwards.

The former Florida State Seminoles small forward who put together a strong rookie season has continued that trend with a very deep Raptors roster during the 2022-23 NBA schedule.

In 56 games this season Barnes is averaging 15.6 points per game to go along with 7.1 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game while posting the third most double doubles among all small forwards (14).

In addition, the Raptors second year star is solid on the defensive end of the floor posting just below a block per game and one steal per game. 

8. Franz Wagner

Team: Orlando Magic

One team that is loaded with young talent is the Orlando Magic who have seen the rewards from struggling over the past few years with multiple draft picks of recent years performing at a high level.

A group of prospects that include Franz Wagner who was selected by the team with the 8th pick during the 2021 NBA Draft.

Wagner, who played his college basketball with the Michigan Wolverines is posting a career high 18.9 points per game this season while shooting 48.4 percent from the field and 36.6 percent from behind the three-point line.  

7. Keldon Johnson

Team: San Antonio Spurs

Despite the San Antonio Spurs struggling for most of the 2022-23 NBA Season the team’s talented small forward Keldon Johnson has not. Johnson is currently ranked 4th in the NBA in scoring among all small forwards while averaging 21.8 points per game this season.

The Spurs star has also posted 4.7 rebounds per game and 2.7 assists per game while doing everything he can to help the team succeed on the hardwood night in and night out.

Since arriving in the NBA Johnson has steadily improved his overall game, increasing his scoring totals from 9.1 points per game in 2019-20 to 12.8 points in 2020-21, 17 points in 2021-22 to his career high this season.

6. Bojan Bogdanovic

Team: Detroit Pistons

The versatile small forward who can do it all for the Detroit Pistons has bounced around since arriving in the NBA back during the 2014-15 NBA season.

Since being drafted Bojan Bogdanovic has played for five teams including the Pistons who signed him to a two-year deal prior to the start of the 2022-23 NBA Season.

With the future looking bright with a young Pistons team, the veteran has played well this season while shooting 40.7 percent from behind the three-point line and 49.1 percent from the field.

As teams continue to look for big men that can shoot the three ball, the Pistons small forward ranks among the best within the position. Overall Bogdanovic is averaging a career high 21.8 points per game this season to go with 3.7 rebounds and 2.6 assists.

5. Kyle Kuzma

Team: Washington Wizards

Rounding out the top five on the Top 10 NBA Small Forwards 2023 rankings list is the Washington Wizards small forward Kyle Kuzma.

Kuzma, who has shown his potential as a top tier small forward since landing in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers has played at a high level for most of the 2022-23 NBA Season.

The Wizards star is averaging 21.4 points per game this season to go along with 7.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists and the fourth most double doubles (12) among the positions. Kuzma is a tremendous rebounder who can attack the glass among the best small forwards in the NBA.

4. DeMar DeRozan

Team: Chicago Bulls

When you start to look at some of the best small forwards in the NBA one well deserving of a mention is the Chicago Bulls veteran DeMar DeRozan.

When it comes to the top five on the list all are very talented while being key contributors on their current roster. DeRozan is one of those key stars that has played a key role in the Bulls success over the past few seasons.

His play on the court this season has continued as he is currently ranked 3rd among all small forwards while averaging 25.4 points per game. The long time NBA veteran has posted at least 20 points per game in 10 straight seasons dating back to the 2013-14 NBA Season.

3. Jimmy Butler

Team: Miami Heat

The aging veteran continues to rank among the best small forwards in the NBA year in and year out. Butler who is currently averaging 21.7 points per game is a tremendous defender who prides himself in shutting down opposing players while possibly ranking as one of the best small forward defenders in the NBA.

While his potential to be a higher scorer is there, Butler is a versatile small forward who looks to set up his teammates while averaging 5.1 assists per game. In addition, Butler is solid on the glass while averaging six rebounds per game this season for the Miami Heat.

2. LeBron James

Team: Los Angeles Lakers

You could easily slot LeBron James atop the best small forwards in the NBA as he continues to play at an extreme level this season for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Nonetheless James lands at number two among the list of the best small forwards with Jayson Tatum landing atop the list.

James has had a tremendous season averaging 30 points per game to go along with 8.4 rebounds and seven assists while attempting to keep the Lakers in the mix for a playoff spot. In addition, James surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar this season to become the all-time scoring leader in the NBA.

1. Jayson Tatum

Team: Boston Celtics

In the end the future wave of young talent is emerging with Jayson Tatum leading the charge as one of the best young players in the NBA while ranking as the best small forward in the game. 

During the 2022-23 NBA All-Star Game, Tatum demonstrated his potential to take over the stage on the brightest stage while posting an NBA All-Star Game record 55 points.

The Boston Celtics small forward currently leads all small forwards in scoring while averaging 30.6 points per game this season to go along with 8.6 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 22 double doubles.

How would you rank these NBA Small Forwards in the 2022-2023 NBA Season Rankings? Rank below to be added in the NBA Power Rankings. Stay tuned by the links below for the best shooting guards and more up next.

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Players Count 10
  1. Jaime Jaquez Jr.

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  2. Keegan Murray

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  3. Anthony Edwards

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  4. Gabriel Deck

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  6. Henk Norel

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  7. Lior Eliyahu

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  8. Jonathan Kuminga

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  9. DeVon Hardin

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  10. Abdul Shamsid-Deen

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