Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
We continue our weekly fantasy analysis of the 2010-11 NBA season with our evaluation of the small forward position.
A top small forward frequently handles the ball like a point guard, shoots like a No.2 guard and can match power forwards rebound-for-rebound. Their versatility is what makes them great and that's why the top names at this position are also frequently mentioned as MVP candidates.
LeBron James - James finished second to Kevin Durant in scoring, but posted better statistics in four categories - rebounds, assists, steals and field goal percent. As a perfect example of the previous definition of a small forward, James can handle the ball, make the pass to a teammate and haul down a rebound as well as score. In the end, James just did too many things well to be denied the 2010-11 TSN Award for Best Fantasy Small Forward,
Kevin Durant - Durant led the NBA in scoring, edging out the Miami Heat duo of James and Dwyane Wade. He can hit the shot from anywhere on the floor, be it slashing to the rim for a slam dunk or a 28-foot bomb. And don't foul him because he hits 88-percent from the charity stripe and led the NBA with 594 made free throws.
Carmelo Anthony - Anthony gets downgraded in many circles for not playing defense, which admittedly he only does in small doses, but that has a much smaller effect on his fantasy value where "offense is king." In our world, Anthony finished in the top-three and just a little more effort in the two defensive categories (steals, blocks) might earn him a second-place spot next year.
Danny Granger - There is a big gap between the top-three small forwards and the remainder of the field. Granger is the "best of the rest" with solid numbers across the board.
Paul Pierce - Pierce doesn't score like he used to in the "lean" years before the Celtics obtained Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen (24.8 ppg from 2000-2006 vs. 19.3 ppg from 2007-2010), but he's still a valuable fantasy property and a boxscore filler.
Rudy Gay finished just outside the top-five but would have been a favorite for "best of the rest" had his season not end prematurely due to injury (left shoulder). Unfortunately, watching games in street clothes precludes you from putting statistics in the boxscore.
Lamar Odom, Luol Deng, Andre Iguodala and Dorell Wright complete the top-10.