NBA preview: small forwards
Finding a small forward who can contribute in numerous categories can pave a fantasy team's way to a title. Who should you be targeting this year. Here's thw top 12, led off by some guy named Lebron.
(If you're looking for more about LeBron everything you need to know about the fantasy season ahead, check out the
To LeBron or not to LeBron. Do you draft him No. 1 overall like countless others have done over the past few years because his potential is limitless? And if you pick him, do you surround him with 80 percent free-throw shooters and cross your fingers, or do you draft
Butler has missed at least 19 games in each of the past two seasons, and he's never played 80-plus games in his six-year career. So it will take
If you want to know how valuable Granger's fantasy game is, just ask anyone who won their league last year in large part thanks to him. He doesn't get assists, but Granger does everything else extremely well, and at 25 years old, is just entering his prime. He's one of the most accurate free-throw shooters in the league, he's deadly behind the arc, he doesn't commit many turnovers and he's one of the most active steals and blocks guys around. Don't sleep!
Anthony has always been a top-notch scorer, but now he's well-rounded enough to be considered a fantasy stud. He's on the verge of shooting 50 percent from the floor and 80 percent from the line, which is very solid for a guy who shoots as much as he does. His steals and threes have improved in recent years, and he should set a career-high in rebounds now that
After a solid but unspectacular rookie year, Gay exploded in his sophomore season. His length and athleticism allows him to easily rack up steals, blocks and dunks, but he also turned into a deadly three-point shooter last season. But while I'm projecting a slight increase across the board for Gay's stats, I'm a little worried about him now being "the man" in Memphis. The young backcourt of
Iguodala is a freak of nature whose best basketball days are still ahead of him, which is very intriguing from a fantasy standpoint. He's among the league leaders in steals every season, he gets a decent amount of blocks and he dishes out a lot of assists for a swingman. His points are sure to fall thanks to
Pierce saw his numbers decline last year, but he's still an excellent fantasy option. He'll stuff the stat sheet in every single category, and he shot the ball much better after the All-Star break. I have him ranked No. 7 because his upside isn't as high as the youngsters ahead of him, but you shouldn't write him off just yet.
Turkoglu had a career-year in '07-08, so it will be hard for him to repeat some of last year's numbers. Still, he's an excellent offensive weapon and you could argue that he's worth more to Orlando than
Howard set career-highs in points and rebounds last season, but he was a disappointment because his steals, blocks and threes plummeted. He's capable of stuffing stat sheets and being a top 40 fantasy player, but he also has a knack for missing games and saying the wrong things at the wrong times. Feel free to gamble, but don't overreach.
It's do or die for Artest. He turns 29 in November, but he's yet to have a solid
Maggette spent the last eight seasons playing for the lowly Clippers, and while he always put up solid stats, he battled injuries and didn't always get along with his coach. Now he's playing for
After a stellar '06-07 campaign, Deng's minutes and stats declined last season. However, he's only 23 years old, so there's plenty of time for him to bounce back and improve. He collects a lot of rebounds, steals and blocks, and his shooting percentages are rock solid. Just remember that he rarely attempts threes, so be sure to draft a prolific shooter to team up with him. He should be a nice value pick since his '07-08 season was disappointing.