Wing players are extraordinary athletes in the NBA, as their versatility at both ends of the floor is immensely beneficial. Small forwards can dominate their teams' attacks by initiating offensive sets and also play various roles in defense.
Top 10 small forwards in the 2020-21 NBA season
The position has evolved a lot in recent times. Even though some prototypical small forwards might be listed as point guards due to their style of play in offense, their physical attributes are those of athletic wing players.
On that note, let's have a look at the ten best small forwards in the 2020-21 NBA.
#10 Jerami Grant
After a solid run with the Denver Nuggets in the 2020 NBA Playoffs, Jerami Grant hit the free agency market and signed a three-year, $60-million deal with the Detroit Pistons.
As the team's main option this season, Grant has performed tremendously, despite the Detroit Pistons' struggles. In his seventh NBA campaign, Grant is averaging 23 points, five rebounds and three assists per game with 43/36/89 shooting splits.
He is posting career highs in minutes, points, rebounds, assists and free-throw percentage this campaign.
#9 Gordon Hayward
Despite the heavy criticism aimed at the Charlotte Hornets for giving Gordon Hayward a huge deal in the off-season, the small forward has delivered for the team this season. He is also turning out to be key in the team's postseason aspirations.
Hayward is averaging 21.5 points, five rebounds, four assists and a steal per game this campaign. Moreover, Hayward has been efficient in offense, making 49% of his field goals, 41% of his triples and 86% of his free throws.
#8 Brandon Ingram
The New Orleans Pelicans have underachieved this season under Stan Van Gundy. However, players like Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram have been great offensively.
Ingram is having a strong season at the attacking end of the court, putting up a career-high 24 points per game. He is also averaging five rebounds and 4.7 assists per outing with 47/38/89 shooting splits.
#7 Khris Middleton
Though he missed a spot in the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, Khris Middleton is once again performing at a high level in offense for the Milwaukee Bucks. He has also taken on the challenge of guarding some of the best scorers of opposing teams.
A great shooter, Middleton is averaging 20.5 points per game this campaign with great efficiency from the floor and the free-throw line. He has 40/44/88 shooting splits this season.
#6 Paul George
Paul George has faced heavy criticism for his performances in recent postseason campaigns, especially last year. However, PG13 is performing at a high level this season and looks determined for a strong finish.
He has been up and down in the regular season so far, so the NBA Playoffs might offer a better measure of his impact. Nevertheless, George is averaging 23.7 points, six rebounds and five assists per game, making 49% of his field goals, 45% of his threes and 88% from the FT line.
#5 Jayson Tatum
Jayson Tatum's potential has been clear since his rookie season, and he has evolved into one of the best players in the league with his performances for the Boston Celtics.
He still has a long way to go in certain areas of his game, especially the intangibles, but Tatum is a star player in the competition.
The Boston Celtics' forward is posting 25 points, seven rebounds and four assists per game (all career highs) to earn his second consecutive trip to the NBA All-Star Game. Tatum also has 43/36/88 shooting splits in the season so far.
#4 Jimmy Butler
After taking the Miami Heat on an unlikely run to the 2020 NBA Finals, Jimmy Butler has seemingly continued from where he left of last campaign.
This season, Butler is again proving that he is a game-changer for the Heat. He has missed 14 games in the current season, with the Heat losing ten of them. However, in the 21 games he has been available, Butler has led the Miami Heat to 13 wins.
He has put up 20 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and two steals per game this NBA campaign.
#3 Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi Leonard has a lot of expectations on him this season, as his LA Clippers are looking at the player for a deep postseason run.
In the regular season, Leonard has produced 27 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals per game. Even though he has missed eight games so far, it seems like Leonard'sload management' has been less frequent in the current NBA campaign compared to that in previous seasons.
#2 Kevin Durant
Arguably one of the best active players in the competition, Kevin Durant has not disappointed since his return from the Achilles tear he suffered in the 2019 NBA Finals that forced him to miss the entirety of the last NBA campaign.
KD has returned fresh and has delivered monster performances for the Brooklyn Nets, who are emerging as a top title contender with their Big Three of himself, Kyrie Irving and James Harden. The 2013-14 NBA MVP has a key role to play for his team in this season's playoffs.
Durant is averaging 29 points, seven rebounds and five assists with 52/43/87 shooting splits. However, the 11-time All-Star has played only 19 games this campaign and has not played enough alongside Irving and 'The Beard'.
#1 LeBron James
LeBron James. What more can be said about the NBA's King? James is the greatest small forward in the history of the game and easily one of the two greatest players in the league's history.
Playing his 18th NBA season, the LA Lakers' player remains an iconic player in the league.
LeBron James has put up 26 points, eight rebounds and eight assists per game this season, doing so with 51/36/69 shooting splits. He is one of the strongest contenders for this season's NBA MVP award.