NBA 2018-19: Top 3 Small Forwards so far
Small forwards are arguably the most versatile players on the court. They are expected to score points, defend with high-intensity and also grab rebounds as backups to the center and power forward present.
They are expected to be capable enough to score in a plethora of ways, including perimeter shooting as well as points in the paint. A small forward is generally quicker and leaner than the power forward on the team, and should also pack a punch when it comes to physicality in the post.
Their agility and strength makes them competent to guard varied positions as and how the game demands, making them the most adaptive defensive entity for their coach to exploit at will. The NBA is filled with talented small forwards from top to bottom, with the best player on the planet -- LeBron James making a living at this position.
However, as a disclaimer, the following list of the three best this season (so far) does not include 'The King'. He missed 18 games due to an unfortunate groin injury, and even though he is still posting impressive numbers, there are other phenomenal talents currently justifying the small forward position in ways unimaginable.
Let's take a look at the top three SFs this year who have outmatched LeBron at this spot in their quest to be the best.
#3 Kawhi Leonard (Toronto Raptors)
In the 43 games he has started for the Raptors, Kawhi has made up for the lost time from last season. He is back to being one of the best two-way players the game has ever produced.
The Claw is averaging a career-best 27 points a game this season so far, along with averaging 1.9 steals (5th best in the league) on the defensive end. His career-high average of 7.7 rebounds shows he is really holding true to the multifaceted needs of the small forward position.
Leonard has provided a much-needed assurance of a deeper playoffs bid to Ujiri and co. this year, and expectedly so, they'll be willing to pull out all stops to make him stay.
Highlight: In the very first game of 2019, Kawhi dropped a season-high 45 points on 16-of-22(72.7%) shooting, in a 122-116 win against the Jazz.