ESPN.com released its top-10 list of the all-time best small forwards on Thursday, and two of the higher ranking names still play in the NBA today.
Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder was ranked fourth, and LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers took the top spot as the best small forward of all time. Here’s the full list to compare:
- LeBron James
- Larry Bird
- Julius Erving
- Kevin Durant
- Elgin Baylor
- Scottie Pippen
- John Havlicek
- Rick Barry
- James Worthy
- Dominique Wilkins
Durant, a six-time All-Star, four-time scoring champion and MVP recipient for the 2013-14 season, hasn’t been fortunate enough to win a championship with the Thunder. But at age 27, he’s still got time, be it with Oklahoma City or somewhere else.
Here’s some of what the expert panel had to say on Durant:
“If he can stay healthy, there might not be a better bet in terms of the player most likely to catch Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] atop the all-time scoring list.”
“Absolutely impossible to guard. A near 7-footer with unlimited range, a 2-guard’s handle, and finishing ability.”
James, meanwhile, has done it all in stints with the Cavaliers and Miami Heat. He’s a four-time MVP, 11-time All-Star, and he won back-to-back titles with the Heat from 2012-13. There’s been no player in the history of the game with physical traits like his, and the expert panel made sure to highlight that:
“It’s almost unfair to label him as a small forward, because he plays with the strength of a power forward and the ball-handling abilities of a point guard.”
“The best combination of size, speed and strength in NBA history. Combine that with a basketball IQ that’s off the charts and you have one of the greatest the game has ever seen.”
ESPN.com plans to release its top 100 list next week, and it will be intersting to see where some of today’s players like James and Durant rank among the legends of the sport.