Sir Charles In Charge writers Michael Saenz, Andrew Melnick, Jalen Bishop and Hardeep Sahota rank the top players at each position in the NBA for the 2013-2014 season. This week long series will also include ranking the top sixth men and head coaches.
1. LeBron James
In a shocking revalation, I have chosen LeBron James as the best small forward.
It’s no longer entertaining to discuss why LeBron is the best small forward(Or, better yet, player). Anything that can be said, has already been mentioned somewhere on the internet. LeBron has been the driving force of two straight Miami Heat championship runs, earning him two straight Finals MVP’s. He’s won four of the past five MVP’s regular season MVP’s.
Now he’s chucking tires and looking terrifying while doing rope training.
As he continues to add more to his legacy, a more provocative debate is where he ranks among the NBA’s greats. However, don’t even compare him to Jordan or you’ll be stabbed!
2. Kevin Durant
This ranking doesn’t do him justice. He’s the second best player in basketball. In any other non-LeBron or Jordan era of basketball, Durant’s likely the top dog.
Durant knows he is overshadowed by LeBron’s eminence over the league. If not for the Heat’s 27-game winning streak as well as LeBron’s 2013 campaign, Durant’s historically great season turns into a bigger story. Only six players are in the 50-40-90 club, which is shooting 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three and 90 percent from the foul line: Steve Nash(4 times), Larry Bird, Mark Price, Reggie Miller and now Kevin Durant.
Durant’s all-around improvement is moving at a super fast pace; he’s turning into a scary passer as well as a defender. With Westbrook out for some time, we will get to watch Durant’s powers as a ball-handler along with post-ups, mid-range jumpers and spot up threes. I’m excited.
3. Carmelo Anthony
Similarly to Durant, Carmelo at the third slot doesn’t do him justice. He’s one of the ten best players in the league along with being in the elite class of scorers. Anthony won his first scoring title in 2013–averaging 28.7 points, not to mention a great month of April that propelled him past Durant–35.6 points per game and 53/46/83 shooting splits. Even though he had a disappointing postseason–subsidiary shooting stats and lost the head-to-head matchup against Paul George, Anthony piloted the Knicks past the Celtics in six games.
Now in his third season(Well, second and a half season), accompanied by an improved roster on paper, Anthony must power the Knicks to the Conference Finals. If it’s another first or second round exit, his rank as the third best small forward will be taken by the next person this list.
4. Paul George
Following the events of Indiana beating New York in six games and having Miami on the brink of elimination, the basketball world recognized George coming forth as a budding superstar. Some scouts believe he can become not just a superstar, potentially a top three player in the league. That’s a high praise for a 23 year old who just landed a juicy contract.
However, he has strides he needs to take; George was not an accurate shooter in either the regular season(41%) or post-season(43%) plus an ugly 3.9 turnovers per game in the post-season. And that number went up to 4.6 when he played Miami.
In due time, George will refine those parts of his game. He’s an underrated passer and this is an understatement, a frightening defender. George may make another leap this season as well as perhaps guiding Indiana to a NBA Finals appearance.
5. Paul Pierce
No Josh Smith, Rudy Gay or Kawhi Leonard(he may be here after the first month of the season)? Nope. Not yet.
His stats will likely drop, due to the fact that Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez all need the ball at some point, but Pierce is still a very effective player.
Try to remove the Knicks playoff series from your memory, where Pierce collapsed due to heavy many regular season minutes that ultimately wore him down. Post All-Star Paul Pierce was brilliant, shooting 48% from field and 42% from three(which was better than Durant), while being the lead assist man with Rondo out, averaging 5.6 per game plus 6.2 boards.
The old label is getting OLD. Pierce will still be a potent two-way player until the day he retires.