Yesterday we did a piece on the top 10 Guards in the NBA. Today we will move on to the Top 10 Forwards in the NBA. Take a look at our top 10 forwards below.
10. Carmelo Anthony
Five years ago, Carmelo would have been top three in these rankings. Playing for the tumultuous Knicks has been tenuous for Carmelo, as he has seen his scoring numbers dip while the Knicks have bent toward Phil Jackson’s preferred Triangle offense. Carmelo’s ability to dominate games is diminishing as he gets older and his balky knees betray him. Yet he is still able to round out the list as a dangerous offensive threat, averaging 22 points a game.
9. Andrew Wiggins
Traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves shortly after being drafted number one in 2014, Wiggins was highly touted after one year as a guard at Kansas. But he has easily made the transition to small forward and only missed one game in his three seasons in Minnesota, improving each year—especially in scoring and defense. Playing on a young Minnesota team in a rugged Western Conference does not allow Wiggins to shine in the playoffs, despite posting career highs in points and assists in 2016-2017.
8. Paul Millsap
As the Atlanta Hawks’ most potent weapon, Millsap has had to toil in Atlanta with a team that finished fifth in a weak Eastern Conference. Millsap posted a career high in scoring as the primary Hawk scoring option and has extended his range to the three point line. He can also team up with young guard Dennis Schroder as a formidable pick-and-roll tandem, but to reach his full potential, Millsap will need a supporting cast that will do more to protect the ball and defend.
7. Giannis Antetokounmpo
The scariest part of the “Greek Freak” is that he just completed his fourth season and he’s only 22. Milwaukee Bucks coach Jason Kidd experimented with playing Giannis at point guard and the young player adapted tremendously, becoming a match-up nightmare for opposing coaches while posting career-highs in points, assists, and rebounds, per game. Outside shooting remains his weakness, but each year he improves by literal leaps and bounds. The youngest player of these top-ranked forwards, Giannis has a bright future ahead of him, and he could lead his team to dominance in the near future.
6. Jimmy Butler
Butler’s reputation with the Chicago Bulls has grown much like it did for Leonard. An elite defender in college, Butler was not drafted for his scoring abilities, but each off-season he’s worked on improving his strength and shooting ability and, since the team traded away Derrick Rose, he has become the Bulls’ chief offensive threat. Butler posted a career high in scoring this year, and with a Bulls team facing a rebuild, Butler will remain the lone reliable bright spot in a dismal near-term future.
5. Draymond Green
One of the most versatile and polarizing, players in the NBA, Green is the soul of the Golden State Warriors. Draymond is comfortable shooting from deep, scoring inside, finding one of his superstar teammates when they are open, and defending the best player on the other team to help his teammates conserve energy. Although he does not have the elite abilities of the forwards above him, his ability to contribute in several facets ranks him as a top five forward in the league.
4. Paul George
After recovering from a gruesome leg injury that wiped out one of his prime years, PG13 is back and better than ever. He has phenomenal court vision and the ability to score in a variety of ways. George willed his Indiana Pacers into the playoffs this season with a three-point shoot percentage near 40%. His rank on this list is due more to his weak supporting cast than his relative weaknesses. Now that George is back as an elite forward Magic Johnson would love nothing more than to build the new Lakers juggernaut around him.
3. Kevin Durant
KD has always shared the floor with another superstar, whether it be Ray Allen in Seattle, Westbrook in OKC, and now Steph Curry and Klay Thompson on the Golden State Warriors. Regardless, Durant is able to torch opponents, scoring in isolation and having the potential to beat a team single-handedly. While his defensive ability is not subpar, he is still not on the level of either Leonard or James, but as an offensive threat, he remains second to none.
2. Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi has exploded into the spotlight, carrying a San Antonio Spurs team that many people counted out after Tim Duncan retired last year. Although he built his reputation by defending the best perimeter players on the opposing team, his scoring ability has blossomed this year to make up for the points that Duncan used to produce. Leonard has developed into a bona fide superstar and a potential MVP candidate for many years to come.
1. LeBron James
There should be no argument about LeBron’s top ranking in any list. By all measures he should be considered the best player in the world with the uncanny ability to coast through the regular season and still dominate come playoff time. When his Cleveland Cavaliers absolutely and positively need a score, LeBron can bully his way to the rim, shoot a contested three-pointer or find the open man with a no-look pass whipped to the farthest corner. He is not only bound for the Hall of Fame but now in the discussion to be considered among the best ever, if not the best, and his consistent presence in the NBA Finals is testament to that.