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2013 NBA Draft: Top 10 Small Forward Prospects

Tue, 09/25/2012 - 11:29am

1. Shabazz Muhammad 6-6 220 SG/SF UCLA Fr.

Shabazz MuhammadShabazz MuhammadWhat makes Shabazz so unique in terms of young NBA prospects is his physical balance and complimentary skill-set. He meshes explosive strength with disruptive length, and thunderous power with finesse. Muhammad has a two-guard scoring mindset, a slashing small forward body and a power forward's aggressiveness in the paint. With scoring skills and instincts capable of producing half-court points, and the mobility and hops to produce off the ball, Muhammad offers a complete offensive package and number one overall upside.

As a college basketball nation of one, let's all pray for this kid's eligibility, which still remains in question.

2. Otto Porter 6-8 200 SF Georgetown So.

Awkwardly skinny, shaky handle and ugly looking jumper, Porter is evidence that the eye-test is not a reliable form of evaluation. He shot 61% on two-point attempts, seemingly hitting every midrange jumper that was kicked his way. He averaged 7 rebounds in 29 minutes, using his motor, length and nose to track down loose balls on the glass. He's more of an off-the-ball player who can slash in the half court, drift to open space for a jumper and run in transition. With a great feel for the rim down low, an accurate midrange stroke and solid defensive instincts, Porter presents a versatile package to offer an NBA team.

As Porter's game and body continue to develop, scouts will view him as a potential top 10 pick in a weak year for talent.

3. Alex Poythress 6-8 225 SF Kentucky Fr.

Whether for the better or worse, Poythress is a combo-forward with size and athleticism. His ability to face up out to the three-point line and put it on the floor increases his upside as a perimeter scoring option. He sports rhythm as a spot up shooter and the explosiveness to catch and finish at the rim. If he can hover around that 35% three-point shooting mark, Poythress will be a multidimensional threat and a difficult defensive assignment.

He turned heads at the McDonald's All-American game, and should fit right into Calipari's system as a replacement for Terrence Jones.

4. Adonis Thomas 6-6 240 SF Memphis So.

An absolutely terrorizing athlete, few can slow down Thomas when he's given space to explode off the ground and launch his body at the rim. He's also shown some nice touch down low on his one-handed push shots, using a pivot step to separate from his defender. His spot-up jumper also appears to be improving (40% from 3), and his basketball IQ remains relatively high. Thomas has a reputation for being a high-character guy, and packs the upside worthy of lottery consideration.

Reports surfaced that he has blown up to 252 lbs over the summer. A concern for certain as he would be much better served in the 230 range with better speed and fluidity.

5. Doug McDermott 6-7 225 SF Creighton Jr.

McDermott averaged 23 a game last year scoring from practically every spot on the floor. From the high post he can attack the rim going left or right, and has a number of counter moves on the interior. But it's his shooting stroke that has the most NBA appeal, when you consider his lack of size and athleticism as an under-the-rim forward. He shot a blistering 48% from downtown, but only on 3.2 attempts per game. He'll need to show he can excel behind the arch on a more full-time basis in order to satisfy coaches looking for another Kyle Korver.

6. CJ Fair 6-8 232 SF/PF Syracuse Jr.

CJ FairCJ FairDespite lacking a true position, Fair got burn as a freshman because of his nose for the ball and feel for the rim. Realizing he needed to diversify his offensive package, he came back as a sophomore with a newly added baseline jumper while increasing his range on the perimeter. Facing up from the midrange, he can put the ball on the floor, sweep through the lane and finish using touch. Fair has terrific basketball instincts to go along with length, size and a consistent motor. I'm expecting first round attention by year's end.

7. CJ Leslie 6-8 220 SF/PF NC State Jr.

Leslie's bounce and interior instincts allow him to make plays off the ball at the rim, but his perimeter game still needs polish. Offensively, he's probably more of a 4, but guys with similar games like Hakim Warrick seem to struggle with physical interior play at the NBA level. Leslie has loads of athleticism which at almost 6'9 gives him upside, but he'll need to improve his face up game to maximize his potential services.

8. Robert Covington 6-9 235 SF Tennessee St. Sr.

Covington was a standout at this year's adidas Nations, after improving his upper body and continuing to shoot lights out. He knocked in threes at a 45% clip in back to back years-- whether he's playing Morehead State or Kentucky, the size of the rim doesn't change. He's got the potential to be an NBA stretch-3, and should be set up for a monster senior year in the OVC.

9. Kyle Anderson 6-9 230 SF UCLA Fr.

Slo-mo's throwback style is like a breath of fresh air in a game that's evolved into power athletes and breakdown speed-guards. The quintessential point-forward, Anderson has the size of a three and the vision and orchestrating qualities of a point. Where he lacks in quickness and explosiveness, he makes up for with timing- knowing when to dish, pull-up and attack. Despite Larry Drew being tagged as UCLA's starting quarterback, Anderson will fit nicely into a system that can allow him to facilitate from the wing.

10. Andre Roberson 6-7 210 SF Colorado Jr.

Roberson's game is predicated on off-ball production and activity. He brings in an incredible 11 rebounds in 30 minutes, which can be attributed to his athleticism, timing and anticipation. There's a lot of Shawn Marion in Roberson-- two rebounding small forwards who score off slashing, tip dunks, alley oops and fast breaks, as opposed to creating offense on their own. On the flip side, so does Matt Barnes, who despite enjoying a long career, never packed much upside. He only took 50 threes last year, but nailed 19 of them (38%). Becoming more of a threat with the ball in his hands could shoot him up the draft boards.

Honorable Mention: Justin Anderson 6-5 225 SF Virginia Fr., Anthony Bennett 6-8 240 SF/PF UNLV Fr., Laurence Bowers 6-8 190 SF Missouri Sr., Branden Dawson 6-6 220 SF Michigan St. So., Daniel Diez 6-8 204 SF Spain 1993, Carrick Felix 6-6 195 SF Arizona St. Sr., Eric Ferguson 6-8 204 SF/PF Georgia Southern Jr., Amric Fields 6-9 210 SF TCU Jr., Elias Harris 6-8 230 PF Gonzaga Sr., Solomon Hill 6-6 235 SF Arizona Sr., Rodney Hood 6-7 210 SF Duke So., Danuel House 6-7 200 SF Houston Fr.Milton Jennings 6-9 200 SF Clemson Sr., Oleksandr Lypovyy 6-8 192 SF Ukraine 1991, Amath Mbaye 6-8 210 SF Oklahoma Jr., Travis McKie 6-6 190 SF Wake Forest Jr., LeBryan Nash 6-7 212 SF Oklahoma St. So., Kevin Parrom 6-6 200 SF Arizona Sr., Glenn Robinson 6-7 200 SF Michigan Fr., LaQuinton Ross 6-8 215 SF Ohio St. So., [Player: Victor Rudd] 6-8 200 SF South Florida Sr., James Southerland 6-7 220 SF/PF Syracuse Sr., DeShaun Thomas 6-7 221 SF Ohio State Jr., Christian Watford 6-8 210 SF Indiana Sr., Rodney Williams 6-7 210 SF Minnesota Sr.

druneave3
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Poythress

Alex Poythress is not a power forward, and don't compare him to Terrance Jones. Two different players. Poythress is shorter and doesn't have near the wingspan (guessing) or strength of Jones. Poythress is a much better shooter, ball handler, and can create his own shot.

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maybe not the athlete but the flat out player-

I like Kyle Anderson better than 9 for sure. Underrated.

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Savon Goodman, SF out of my

Savon Goodman, SF out of my city of Philly is gonna surprise people

Siggy
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Poythress is a better shooter

Poythress is a better shooter than Jones, but he does not have a better handle. Jones' handle was always overrated, but it was still better than Poythress' at the same age. IMO, Alex's handle is the biggest thing he needs to work on if he wants to be a SF going forward.

I think Poythress is a smarter player than Terrence. To me that is the biggest difference b/t the two.

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Kyle Anderson is better then

Kyle Anderson is better then Otto Porter and CJ Leslie is vastly underrated.

Lebryan Nash should of def made this list.

And Savon Goodman should of stayed wit Nova, UNLV is crowded at the wing

.

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Half of these guys seem like

Half of these guys seem like tweeners to me.

I'd have DeShaun Thomas in the top 10. I'd value what he'd bring to a pro team over what a guy like CJ Leslie could bring. What does Leslie even do well, especially as a SF, outside of being athletic?

Sergey Karasev definitely deserves an honorable mention IMO. Will Clyburn as well.

Good call on CJ Fair being that high. Kid reminds me of a Stacey Augmon.

I'd probably have Kyle Anderson higher as well. Yeah he's slow, but he is highly intelligent, skilled and long. The timing, pace in his game, as well as his variety of moves makes him tough to anticipate. I'd probably have him slotted at 5.

I would not be surprised if LaQuinton Ross makes his way into the first round this year. Not much his expected of him after his quiet freshman year, but hte kid is very talented and can get his shot from anywhere on the floor. I think he'll surprise this year.

Danuel House is my one and done darkhouse from this class. He's got very good physical tools. He's excellent in transition, can defend and he's got a nice shot from deep. He'll also have all the opportunity to show out for Houston.

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I just don't see CJ Leslie as

I just don't see CJ Leslie as a small forward

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I agree about Deshaun Thomas

I agree about Deshaun Thomas I wanted to edit it as soon as I sent it cuz Thomas is gonna have a big year and is a fantastic scorer.

But besides score Deshaun Thomas does nothing better then Leslie. Leslie is a rare athlete who combines length, speed, and hops with a motor that lets him affect every aspect of a basketball gamme. Leslie has the potential to guard 3 different positions and uses his length and athleticism to disrupt passing lanes and block shots. Also despite his thin build Leslie is one of the best finishers in the nation as he converts a high % of his shots around the rim.

Leslie also has an underrated perimeter game which has by all reports improved leaps and bounds since last year as he's spent the summer working out with high school teammate John Wall going one on one every night and honing his perimeter moves. So while that probably didn't help his shooting or post game he's certainly gonna be a more prolific slasher who has the ability to grab rebounds and lead a fastbreak.

Overall Leslie gets compared to Warrick which isn't fair because.he's much faster with more wing potential then Warrick ever had. He's more like Darius Miles then anybody else.

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DeShaun has a translatable

DeShaun has a translatable skill. I don't think Leslie has one. In order for him to be a decent slasher at the next level, he'd have to become a better ball-handler and shooter. Otherwise the defense will just sag off him.

I also disagree about his motor. He's a hot or cold player who doesn't always play with great effort. It's his inconsistent effort, along with his lack of fundamentals that makes him currently a below average defender despite his physical tools.

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I'm a big fan of Leslie, his

I'm a big fan of Leslie, his athleticism is jaw-dropping, watching him up against UNC last season was an eye-opener, his workouts with Wall and another season with the right coaching should put him into the first round, if he taps into his potential he could be a surprise lottery pick.

Also, I'm surprised Bazz is a SF, I'd have thought at 6'6 he'd be more suited to SG, but honestly, his scouting report sounds reminiscent of a young Michael Jordan - not to say he's MJ, but from the way he's described they do share a certain style of play. Still, you worry when a number one overall recruit is being talked about mostly for his athleticism, not his skillset, I can't wait to see what he can do int he college ranks.

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Yeah Laquinton Ross has Evan

Yeah Laquinton Ross has Evan Turner ability, he will be a lottery pick

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Sleeper

What about Dwayne Polee as a sleeper out of San Diego State? I don't know, he showed some upside at St. Johns, so i thought i would throw his name out there.

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Ross and Turner are very

Ross and Turner are very different players though. Ross is a pure scorer with the ability to create his own shot from anywhere and has great length. Ross reminds me of a young DerMarr Johnson both in a good and bad way.

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Siggy

I agree that Alex's handle is the biggest thing he needs to work on but to say that Jones is better is absolutely crazy to me.

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Smaller

Players are always smaller year by year. A few years ago 6.6 was perfect for a SG, while 6.8 was typical of SF... today a 6.7 - 6.8 player may often go for PF position (e.g. Tony Mitchell)... i don't know if this is good...

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The game is more open and

The game is more open and free-flowing. Less post up guys and defensively there is more of an emphasis on speed so that players can help and recover more quickly. Also, length matters more than height.

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With so many great PGs

With so many great PGs there's a bigger emphasize on athletic bigs who can run the floor and guard the pick and roll. The game is more about speed then strength nowadays and wingspan and standing reach is more important then height anyway.

CJ Leslie averaged nearly 15, n 8 as a soph with a steal amd a block for a sweet 16 team. When you combine his production, team success and physical tools he's clearly one of the best forwards in the nation. I'm actually expecting a Thomas Robinson like year from Leslie. NC State is going to be very good and Leslie will become an ESPN mainstay.

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With so many great PGs

With so many great PGs there's a bigger emphasize on athletic bigs who can run the floor and guard the pick and roll. The game is more about speed then strength nowadays and wingspan and standing reach is more important then height anyway.

CJ Leslie averaged nearly 15, n 8 as a soph with a steal amd a block for a sweet 16 team. When you combine his production, team success and physical tools he's clearly one of the best forwards in the nation. I'm actually expecting a Thomas Robinson like year from Leslie. NC State is going to be very good and Leslie will become an ESPN mainstay.

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Siggy

Spot on with the Ross and Demarr Johnson comparison. and Deshawn thomas

I wish some of you guys saw T.Jones as a freshman in the early gane like the Maui Invit. Hes was playing like a true small forward and was showing tremendous versatility. Hes handlihng skills are legit for 6ft 9 defo better than A.Polythress to me. but im a closet Jones fan. He can to UK aspiring to be a 3 ended up becoming an versitile but lacking 4 man

I kinda wondered why Shabazz wasnt a 2gd in terms of prospect, I assumie its his lack of consistant range n handle issues?

Id love to see this list at the end of the season though. Lebryan Nash will be up there and Im a believer in CJ leslie too. He has decent slashing instincts just not tight enough with the handle for the speed he wants to do moves at. But to me that should come with repetition. As a basketball player he has the most star potential to me.

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All i can say is Wow!

i think this list of small forwards is really bad. Bazz should b a sg. The rest of the guys at the top are tweeners. A small forward should be one of the most versatile guys on the floor period. Most those guys cant handl the rock or create for themselves let alone someone else. some cant shoot period. im going to say this Solomon Hill is the most versatile guy in the country flat out. he avg 12.9 pts 7.5 rebs and 2.6 assist last year. Keep in mind he play power forward and only took 8.1 shoot atempts and he shot 38.6 from behind the arc. Hill is a 21yrs old Sr and Thomas is a 20yrs old Soph. I wish the NCAA will clear Bazz because i want to see Hill play Bazz. Bazz is alot of hype and another hold back. Let him play please.

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CJ Fair

I love this guys game. He always seems to be in the right position at the right time and rarely makes mistakes at critical time. And as a Cuse fan, I cannot say that about too many Orange players over the years. Similar game to former Orange Josh Pace who has had a very nice over seas career post college.

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LeBryan Nash?

LeBryan Nash?

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