Brian Wheeler

May 30

2012 NBA Draft By Position: Small Forwards

By Brian Wheeler Posted in: 2012draft, draft2012
So I’ve been given the responsibility of taking a look at the small forwards that figure to get a serious look come draft day. As we know, if the Blazers bring back Nicolas Batum, this would certainly not be a position of need for them. But remember, sometimes teams will select players in the draft that will then be used in a trade. So if you see the Blazers select one of these guys with a high first round pick, it won’t necessarily mean they’re choosing that player for themselves. It could be they’re making the move for another team. All part of the mystery and fun that is the NBA draft!

With that being said, here are the top small forwards as I see them:

1.)  Michael Kidd Gilchrist:  A member of Kentucky’s National Championship team, and his stock grew during the NCCA Tournament. He’s still raw offensively, leaving school after his freshman year. But his potential seems limitless. He’s wildly athletic, and unlike a lot of small forwards, doesn’t shy away from contact in traffic. In fact, he seems to welcome it. He plays hard all the time, enjoys the defensive end of the floor, and could be one of the top players picked overall at any position when this draft is rated a few years from now. A top ten pick for sure, maybe even top 3-5.

2.)  Harrison Barnes:
  He will be the top small forward on many draft lists, and an argument can be made for that. His North Carolina team didn’t fare as well as expected in the NCAA Tournament, and that brought his personal stock down in the eyes of some scouts. But in a league where solid shooters are at a premium, Barnes has range and can score with anyone in this draft. He left UNC after his sophomore year, but is already very polished at the offensive end of the floor. On a really good team, he’d be a shooter off the bench. On a team looking for scoring, he could be a starter in his rookie season. Most mock drafts have him without question in the top ten, some even in the top five.

3.)  Terrence  Jones:
  Depending on which scout you talk to, Jones is either a small forward or a power forward. He’s 6’9” and 249 lbs., and has the ability to score from the perimeter or the post. His stock was probably higher after his freshman year then his recently completed sophomore season. He was sometimes overshadowed by all the other talent that surrounded him at Kentucky, and he wasn’t always consistent with his play from game to game. Some questioned his work ethic, but his raw talent and potential will entice some team to choose him, probably in the late lottery.

4.)  Moe Harkless:  Leaving St. John’s after his freshman year and still just 19, Harkless is a guy that probably won’t fully deliver on his potential for a few years down the road. But if the team that takes him can afford to wait for that to happen, they’ll most likely be very happy with their investment. Long and lean at 6’7” and 207 lbs., he’s one of the lightest top small forwards that will be available. But he was a shot-maker in his first season at St. John’s, and his length served him well at the defensive end too. He may not be a lottery pick, but whichever team decides to take him in latter stages of the first round will in the long run be glad they did.

5.)  Quincy Miller:
  His Baylor squad had an outstanding season, and he was certainly a big reason why. At the offensive end, he was often used in isolation situations, and proved to be a creative scorer, despite only being a freshman. Some teams may be scared away from a torn ACL injury he endured back in high school, but his offensive skills still seem to be quite sound. He won’t necessarily have an instant impact for the team that takes him late in the first round, but chances are long-term he’ll be a keeper.

So those are the top five small forwards as I see them. It’s probably not the deepest position in this draft, but still one that will deliver some quality talent to teams, and one or two could go in the top ten. 

Will the Blazers take a small forward? Do you like any of these guys if you were doing the selecting for the team? And would you draft for need, or take the proverbial “best player available”? The answers to these and other questions will be answered soon enough. Stay tuned!

Interested in learning the strong players at other positions in the 2012 Draft? Check out Casey Holdahl's take on point guards and Mike Rice's thoughts on power forwards.


  1. Hey Brain: I like MKG, but assume he will be gone by the time we pick.
    Barnes is there also.
    I have read about Terrance Jones as a PF, but why not for a back-up for both.

    by Hg on 5/30/2012 12:49 PM
  2. every great team in the last decade had a hustle guy- lakers had artest/ariza, spurs had bowen, miami had haslem, dallas had chandler, det had a group effort (and prince) mkg has this ability and on top of that he really impressed me on his leadership skills, would love him here in portland and kick batum to sg

    by jamsmashers on 5/30/2012 2:12 PM
  3. Michael Kidd Gilchrist may end up being the best player in this draft

    by alanb on 5/30/2012 5:51 PM
  4. Wheels,

    What do you think about making a move to try and get MKG? Possibly packaging the two picks to move up. MKG adds length, he's only 18 and has still a ton of potential. He can also play beside batum or swap in for each other. If they also end up losing batum its not as heart breaking. But I think that together they would have a lot of length and athleticism. I believe he is absolutely worth what your giving up to move up. He is high character, high energy, and a high ceiling that he has not even come close to reaching yet.

    by Letsgozers on 6/1/2012 5:23 PM
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