Top Small Forward Draft Prospects
While the shooting guard class of this year’s draft is a little weak, the small forward spot is like a Snickers bar—packed. Except it’s not peanuts it’s packed with, it’s stud NBA prospects. And while a Snickers bar really satisfies you, this draft will satisfy teams looking for an athletic wing player.
1. (2) Al-Farouq Aminu – Wake Forest – FR
It’s almost too close to call when trying to choose between Al Farouq-Aminu and Earl Clark. Aminu gets the slight edge at this point due to his age (he’s two years younger than Clark) and length (over a seven-foot wingspan). If he could become an outside threat he’d be the full package.
2. (1) Earl Clark – Louisville – JR
On a stacked Louisville roster, Earl Clark is a standout. Like Aminu, he needs to become more of an outside threat, but he is a tremendous, versatile athlete. His shot blocking and rebounding skills make him a special prospect.
3. (3) Chase Budinger – Arizona – JR
One player who doesn’t have to worry too much about improving his 3-point stroke is Chase Budinger. He’s improved his accuracy to over 40 percent from out deep and is still hitting about two long-bombs a game. Add to the mix his explosive athleticism and you’ve got yourself a solid NBA prospect.
4. (6) Damion James – Texas – JR
It has been a disappointing year for Damion James and the Texas Longhorns. Texas currently doesn’t find itself ranked, and James’ draft stock isn’t as high as it once was. The transition to full-time small forward didn’t go as smoothly as hoped this season, as he’s become less of a 3-point threat and his rebounding numbers have also decreased.
5. (5) Austin Daye - Gonzaga – SO
The potential is definitely there—a 6-11 small forward with long arms, the ability to hit the outside shot while also grabbing boards and swatting shots. His thin frame and off-season knee injury are big red flags, though.
Next in line:
DaJuan Summers, Georgetown; Tyler Smith, Tennessee; Omri Casspi, Israel; Sam Young, Pittsburgh; Vladimir Dasic, Serbia.
Not expected to enter draft:
Jeff Fox also writes about college hoops and the NBA draft at College Hoops Net.