The NBA: January 2014 Position Battle – The Top 5 Small Forwards Right Now

In this Position Battle post, we will focus on the top five small forwardsat this point in the season. We will take into account just the players’ stats for the latest five games of their respective teams. This will, hopefully, give us a more current picture of each player’s production.

The “Big Three” – LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Kevin Durant – are predictably here, of course, but the other two guys on this list might be a little surprising. Also, no Paul George, Paul Pierce, or Chandler Parsons!

Note: All of the following stats are based on each player’s stats as computed by HoopsStats.com. They were taken on January 13, 2014 (Manila time).


5. Josh Smith (DET) – 18.8ppg, 10.2rpg, 4.4apg, 1.6spg, 2.2bpg, 23.2 EFF
The Pistons closed out last week with back-to-back wins against the Sixers and the Suns, and Smith was instrumental in both victories. He dropped a herculean 22-13-7-4-5 line against Philly and then followed it up with 25 points, 11 rebounds, 5 dimes, and the game-winner against Phoenix. If he plays his cards right, J-Smoove just might lead Detroit back into the postseason in April.
           
Josh Smith had an awesome start to 2014.
(image from the Associated Press)

4. Carmelo Anthony (NYK) – 25.0ppg, 7.2rpg, 4.2apg, 2.0spg, 45.4 FG%, 2.4 triples per game, 48.0 3pt%, 23.8 EFF
The Knicks seem to have started to turn things around after a disastrous start to the season. They’ve won six of their last seven, including going 5-1 in the new year. Melo, naturally, has been huge in that run. His best was dropping 34 points on the Pistons last January 7 before leading NYK past the Heat two days later. They might still be the contenders we al hope they can be.


3. Gordon Hayward (UTA) – 22.5ppg, 5.3rpg, 5.0apg, 1.5spg, 1.5bpg, 55.2 FG%, 2.5 triples per game, 58.8 3pt%, 25.8 EFF
Don’t look now but the Jazz have won two of three in the new year! That includes a 112-101 shocker against the Oklahoma City Thunder last week, where Hayward dropped 37 big ones, grabbed 11 rebounds, and handed out 7 assists. His player efficiency rating for that game? How about 47 EFF!!!


2. LeBron James (MIA) – 29.0ppg, 5.4rpg, 5.8apg, 1.0spg, 59.3 FG%, 1.2 triples per game, 37.5 3pt%, 28.6 EFF
Sorry all you LeBronies, your King just comes in second in this one. That’s not to say he hasn’t been tearing it up, because he has, obviously. I mean, look at his stats! Look at his FG% in particular! Still, to put up that much, and have your team go 3-3 to start 2014? Hey, don’t look at me! It’s not my fault the Heat lost to BOTH Big Apple teams.

LeBron James and the Heat need to find
their bearings soon.
(image by Frank Franklin II/AP)

1. Kevin Durant (OKC) – 36.0ppg, 6.8rpg, 6.2apg, 2.2spg, 2.0 triples per game, 90.7 FT%, 36.4 EFF
I cannot really remember a time KD’s EFF was this far from LBJ’s. Durantula has just been on a mission lately, leading OKC to a tie for second in the West. I hate the fact that, like Miami, the Thunder have gone 3-3 to start the new year, but, hey, that doesn’t mean KD’s on a quiet spell. He might still MVP when all this is over, you know.


Outside looking in:
CJ Miles (CLE) – 20.4 EFF
Nicolas Batum (POR) – 20.4 EFF
Andre Iguodala (GSW) – 18.2 EFF


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