NBA / Aug 28, 2009 / 4:00 pm

Five Small Forwards to watch for 2009-10

Vince Carter

Vince Carter

After putting together the modified Top-50 list of players from ’08-09, I had about 50 leftovers who just missed the cut. And from that, there could’ve been a whole sub-category titled “Wait ‘Til Next Year.”

We’ve gone over the centers and two-guards. Now here are five small forwards who look the most ready to crack the 2010 Top-10 with their performances next season:

Michael Beasley — Before his summer turned into a troubling documentary segment, Beasley was being groomed to shift from power forward to Miami’s full-time starting small forward. If he gets his head together (he’s expected to be out of rehab and ready before training camp), the best form of recovery will be doing what he does best; balling out of control, and putting up the monster NBA season we’ve been expecting from him since he first appeared on the high school scene. As a rookie Beasley put up 13.9 points and 5.4 rebounds in just over 24 minutes per game, and as he earned more PT over the course of the season, was peaking as a 20-and-10 guy on the regular. With his multi-faceted post game, smooth mid-range and long-range jumper, and ability to handle the ball, he was a problem for a lot of power forwards, and will be the same threat for the League’s small forwards.

Gerald Wallace — One of the best raw talents in the League, Wallace posted a career-high 7.8 rebounds last year, along with 16.6 points and 1.7 steals. While he’s still pretty terrible beyond the arc (29.8% 3PA), he raised his other percentages to 48% from the field and 80% from the line. In other words, “Crash” is learning to take better shots and convert when he gets fouled. After missing the playoffs by just four games in ’09, the Bobcats went into this summer as a realistic postseason pick for 2010. While the Emeka Okafor trade, the Allen Iverson rumors, and the fact that Ray Felton is still unsigned have put a cloud of uncertainty over those predictions, Wallace is the staple who will be at the forefront if Charlotte does make a playoff push. And just imagine how good he’d be if he watched film.

Vince Carter — At the moment, it looks like Stan Van Gundy will keep Rashard Lewis at power forward, start Mickael Pietrus at two-guard, and replace with Hedo with Vince at the three. Earlier this year I wrote that Vince would be the missing piece to a championhip in Orlando, and that was before the rest of the core group gained valuable postseason and NBA Finals experience. All Vince has to do is be Vince, and the Magic won’t miss a beat as a championship contender.

Richard Jefferson — Recent forgettable seasons in Jersey and Milwaukee allowed RJ to fall off the map, but at 29 years old, he’s still a borderline All-Star talent who will shine in San Antonio. The Spurs are a perfect team for Jefferson at this point in his career. He’s not expected to be the second-best or even the third-best player on the team, and with Duncan, Parker and Manu commanding so much attention, RJ will thrive on one-on-one situations, wide-open jump shots and one of the most lethal three-man fast breaks in the game alongside TP and Ginobili. Think Trevor Ariza in L.A., but with more experience and scoring ability.

Rudy Gay — A full year of getting used to playing with O.J. Mayo, some kind of stability on the bench, an extra 20 pounds on his frame, and he’s going into a contract year? Rudy is stepping into the blocks for a Usain Bolt District 9 kind of season.

(Editor’s note: Because they made last season’s Top-10 list, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Hedo Turkoglu, Danny Granger, Kevin Durant, Paul Pierce, Ron Artest, Terrence Williams, Caron Butler and Trevor Ariza aren’t eligible for this list.)

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  • nisanth

    ummm…..hedo turkoglu? u guys would rather watch rudy gay on the grizzlies then hedo on the raps? wtf lol

  • Ashlov

    I’m sure Beasley will be a scoring nightmare at the 3, I just wonder if he can stop anyone from scoring. If Beas comes out of rehab with his head on straight, watch for a big season.

    In unrelated news, Riley just confirmed today that he won’t be making any free agent signings to address the point guard position, so scratch off Iverson or Tinsley. He says he’ll address that void via trade.

  • http://allthatjazzbasketball.blogspot.com/ Amar

    if/when boozer gets traded, and if millsap does not make the shift from energy guy to potential all-star (which is highly possible), expect Andrei Kirilenko to make some noise.

  • http://twitter.com/PoppiGEE POPPI GEE

    Oh see I had V.C. as a shooting guard.

  • Bron42 aka Had Springs before Slamball

    ya cuz the grizz have alot of young talent while the raptors have older soft guys who still havnt proven much…hedo was decent in orlando but its not like hes suddenly an allstar on the raptors or suddenly a more exciting player than rudya gay.

    And props to dime for rippin off my sites where are they now idea lol

  • http://www.xxlmag.com Pathological Lier

    Shawn Marion
    Ron Artest
    Wilson Chandler
    Danillo Gallinari
    Jeff Green

  • IZ

    Watch out for Al Thornton. Third year is when players break out. Just ask Danny Granger. Clippers have depth at all positions except small forward, so Al will get plenty of time to put up stats.

  • mellmeister_straightfromShaolin

    Five Small Forwards to watch for 2009-10

    Carmelo Anthony – He’s on his way from an All Star to NBA Elite this season. Hee can still bring back the fire that we saw on his freshman year in Syracuse. like the last era where superstars were dazzlin’ us… we have ‘em now. Kobe as MJ, LBJ as Magic Johnson, Melo as Larry Bird, and D-Wade as Clyde the Glide.

    Anthony Randolph – will he get us singing, “Don’t believe the Hype”

    Shawn Marion – will he be the Matrix again, or just wonder like Morpheus?

    Trevor Ariza – He will get his opportunity in Houston, He’d be able to get his offense going, but would he still be able to contend in a championship? or the playoffs perhaps?

    Kevin Durant – This Years T-Mac of 2005, pilin’ up points in bunches… but would he be able to go to the playoffs… not yet n*gga.

  • doc

    Id rather watch Rudy than Hedo anyday of my life.

  • Dagomar

    Do you guys read?

    “(Editor’s note: Because they made last season’s Top-10 list, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Hedo Turkoglu, Danny Granger, Kevin Durant, Paul Pierce, Ron Artest, Terrence Williams, Caron Butler and Trevor Ariza aren’t eligible for this list.)”

  • jyoung4

    Gotta have Danny Granger on that list. B-Easy will come back, and break out!

    http://www.BasketballinBlog.com – NBA News/Discussion

  • K Dizzle

    @ Dagomar – pretty sad, huh?

    And I agree with Gee – If Orl plays Vince at the 3, he’s gonna get absolutely murdered on d…

    This list should have Stanley Robinson outta UConn
    Al-Farouq Aminu outta Wake Forest and Damion James outta Texas

  • http://heckler@aol.com Heckler

    first of all…
    Vince Carter is a 2-guard

  • http://heckler@aol.com Heckler

    lets see how much yall like certain SF anyway…TOSS UP:

    would you take:

    Caron Butler or Carmelo Anthony?
    Richard Jefferson or Shawn Marion?
    Josh Howard or Gerald Wallace?
    Paul Pierce or Ron Artest?
    Luol Deng or Tayshaun Prince?
    Corey Maggette or Marvin Williams?

  • http://uoregon.edu sans

    @ Heckler

    Melo
    Marion
    crash
    PP
    Tayshaun
    Marvelous (who would really want Bad Porn?)

  • http://uoregon.edu sans

    Oh, and Dagomar, I was thinking the same ish about our illiterate commenting brethren. Good call.

  • http://www.fiba.com Pathological Lier

    @ heck
    Carmelo Anthony
    Richard Jefferson
    Gerald Wallace
    Ron Artest
    Tayshaun Prince
    Corey Maggette

  • DurrtyInjun

    Just had to mention it because I saw someone mentioned Tinsley, but he was ballin at the LA fitness in Dunwoody (GA) earlier this week and dude can barely get up and down the mini court they got there, and still can’t shoot. Handle is still insane though.
    Back to the point I am trying to make, I can’t see him getting into NBA game shape anytime soon.

  • edlp

    Gallinari. Without problems could be a young turkoglu.

  • UncheckedAggression

    doc– so you’d rather watch Gay than Hedo? That’s understandable, but I hope you don’t think Gay is better than Hedo. I think any GM in the league would take Hedo in the short term over Rudy. Long-term would be a different situation due to Rudy’s potential.

  • dial up

    Lol vince would get killed at sf?? You do know lebron james is a horrible defensive player and he’s just fine there. At least vince can move his feet.

  • Jeremy

    wilson chandler blocked shots steals and rebounds, he improved 3point shooting towards the end of the season should thrive in new york and can slash to the hoop and finish

    renaldo balkman defensive minded guy should step into kleizas role in denver if he can hit the 3 consistently if he can block shots and get steals

    nic batum same as above should move ahead of travis outlaw

    gerald wallace love that guy hope he gets back to racking in heaps of steals and blocks and becomes the man for the bobcats

    marvin williams increased role and health should see a great deal of improvement

    anthony randolph, joe alexander, al thornton, thaddeous young

  • K Dizzle

    @ dial up – please tell me you’re jokin on post #21…

  • KT

    does anyone read? at all?

    This list should include

    S-Jack (whoever he plays for this year)
    Kyle Singler Duke now that Gerald is gone
    and Josh Howard (to see if he says anyhting stupid)