Top 5 Small Forward Prospects, Vol. 2
Bring your water wings – the small forward prospect pool is deep.
For proof of the depth of the NBA Draft small forward class, look no further than the names on the “Next in line” portion at the bottom of this article. A few surprise underclassmen declarations for this year’s proceedings have really deepened the small forward pool. And with four of the top six onthis list sophomores in college, there is plenty of that precious draft commodity known as “upside.”
1) (Previous Ranking — 2) Al-Farouq Aminu | Wake Forest | Sophomore
The player with the most “upside” and potential on this list has to be Al-Farouq Aminu due to his size (6-8, 7-2 wingspan) and athleticism. Aminu, however, is more than just potential — he should be ready to step in and play minutes at either forward spot in the NBA next season. And with him reportedly working hard on his ball handling and shooting, he has the potential to be a star player. Look for him to go in the top five in this year’s draft.
2) (1) Wesley Johnson | Syracuse | Junior
Wesley Johnson is another small forward sniffing around the top five range in the draft. But he is three years older than Aminu and doesn’t have the same physical gifts, so he falls to slot two on this list. Johnson should be a real nice NBA player, with the ability to contribute at both ends of the court.
3) (7) Damion James | Texas | Senior
Damion James’ draft stock rose and fell more than the tide over the course of his collegiate career. At this point he looks like a mid-to-late first round pick, as he brings a solid build and great athleticism to the NBA. He seems to be without a real natural position in the NBA, however, having spent most of his time at Texas playing power forward despite being only 6-7.
4) (6) Gordon Hayward | Butler | Sophomore
Gordon Hayward was always considered a future NBA first round pick (he’s now projected in the mid-to-late first round range), even before Butler’s miracle run through this year’s NCAA Tournament. A smart, big (6-8) small forward prospect, Hayward probably won’t be a NBA star but he should have a long career.
5) (10) Paul George | Fresno State | Sophomore
Paul George is another sophomore swingman oozing with potential but, due to playing at Fresno State, George didn’t gain the level of exposure that the other guys on this list did. A 6-7 athletic freak, George can really put points on the board, hit the glass and knock down his free throws (91 percent shooter). But he tends to fall in love with the three-point shot (5.8 per game) and turns the ball over. With his potential, he’ll probably also fall in the mid-to-late first round area.
Next in line: Luke Babbitt, Nevada; Stanley Robinson, UConn; Devin Ebanks, West Virginia; Quincy Pondexter, Washington; Nemanja Bjelica, Serbia.
Next up: Power Forwards