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


In this Position Battle post, we will focus on the top five small forwards at 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.

KD is going to be the MVP, but LBJ is still the best player on the planet. That’s what the numbers show so far. Also, PG24 makes a comeback to the top five, while a fiery Frenchman and a former Aztec round out the league’s top tier swingmen right now.

The four guys up top are all aching to dethrone the King at the bottom.

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



5. Paul George (IND) - 22.8ppg, 7.8rpg, 4.3apg, 2.5spg, 2.8 triples per game, .407 3pt%, 22.3 EFF
How the Pacers have retained the top seed in the East despite losing 7 of their last 10 games is beyond me, but, hey, that’s the reality. The truth is, Indiana’s fall notwithstanding, George has seen a bit of a resurgence in his game. He has scored 19 or more in 7 of the last 10 matches, including dropping 20 points on top of 12 points and 3 triples today against OKC. Like PG24, the Pacers, as a team, have been schizophrenic lately, and that’s definitely not a good sign heading to the postseason.
           

4. Nicolas Batum (POR) - 14.2ppg, 7.2rpg, 6.0apg, 1.0spg, 1.0bpg, .536 FG%, 1.8 triples per game, 22.6 EFF
The Blazers have quietly gained some steam into the homestretch of the season. Portland has won 8 of its last 9, including an OT thriller today against the Warriors. In those games, this fiery Frenchman has been an all-around devil, playing ultra-efficient ball on both ends of the floor. Against Golden State today, he dropped 18 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 triples, 1 steal, and 1 block. Phew!

Nicolas Batum tries to drive past Klay Thompson.
(image by Cameron Browne/Getty Images)

3. Kawhi Leonard (SAS) - 17.6ppg, 6.4rpg, 3.6apg, 2.0spg, .561 FG%, 1.4 triples per game, .412 3pt%, 22.6 EFF
Leonard has really adopted the persona of the Spurs. Like his team, the former San Diego State Aztec quietly puts up the numbers and piles on the victories. By far his best game of the past few weeks was a 26-point masterpiece against Memphis, where he shot 12/13 from the field. Can he be that efficient moving forward? Probably not, but Spurs fans can definitely count on him to be the new #3 guy behind TD and TP9.


2. Kevin Durant (OKC) - 28.6ppg, 7.2rpg, 4.4apg, 1.0spg, 2.0 triples per game, .872 FT%, 25.8 EFF
The Thunder no longer have any chance to catch San Antonio for the top spot in the conference, but they still need to stave off the rampaging Clippers to keep that #2 seed. KD, however, has been playing so well that a lot of people have already conceded the MVP to him (this includes LeBron, apparently). Will he, in fact, finally get that elusive Maurice Podoloff trophy? Probably, but, more importantly, will he cement his place among the game’s all-time greats by finally winning a ring? Now that is still way up in the air.

KD has his eyes on the MVP prize, but can he catch a bigger fish down the line?
(image by Michael Conroy/AP)

1. LeBron James (MIA) - 33.4ppg, 7.0rpg, 4.6apg, 1.2spg, .553 FG%, 2.2 triples per game, .423 3pt%, 31.4 EFF
With the tie-breaker going Indiana’s way and the Pacers’ win over the Thunder earlier today, Miami is hard-pressed to win its last two games to have even a sliver of a chance to steal the #1 seed. Against the Wizards and the Sixers, though? Very doable. And with LeBron playing insanely well to compensate for the absence of D-Wade and the underwhelming performance of  Chris Bosh? We might as well book those 2 Ws. Now that should put the pressure back on Indy’s shoulders.

Can LBJ make it three-in-a-row in June 2014?
(image by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)


Outside looking in:
Chandler Parsons (HOU) - 21.5 EFF
Corey Brewer (MIN) - 20.2 EFF

Rudy Gay (SAC) - 16.3 EFF


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