Top 5 Small Forward Prospects: Pre March Madness
The 2017 NBA Draft class is very obscure in some fashions. Most of the top talent in the draft are primarily focused around two positions being point guard and small forward. It is not like a traditional draft where talent can be scattered across the position field as well as the draft board. This very well may be a draft where teams genuinely focus their boards on value instead of need. As we take a look at the top prospects at their respective positions, you will start to see overwhelming talent in some areas whereas others will be scarce.
5. Dillon Brooks- Oregon 6’6”/225 lbs.
Brooks is a little undersized as a three man, but can also play the two. He has decent potential as an all-around spark player. Good athleticism with decent scoring ability, but he will get drafted due to his defense. Plays well in big moments. Should become a solid role player at the NBA level.
Pro Comparison: Richard Jefferson
4. Rodions Kurucs- Latvia 6’8”/200 lbs.
Kurucs is going to be a risky pick for someone late in the first round. His upside is relatively high, but when and how he’ll come to the NBA is uncertain. Good size for the position with long arms and a good shooting stroke. Can rebound well and does well on second chance possessions. Struggles a little bit on defense at times, but he does have defensive upside due to his size. Would be a good pick for someone picking late in the first.
Pro Comparison: Gordon Hayward
3. Justin Jackson- North Carolina 6’8”/210 lbs.
Jackson has definitely improved his draft stock this season and could increase to lottery level by the time the tournament is through. He gives you a good all-around game with solid scoring ability and the willingness to defend multiple positions. He would be a very versatile forward that has the potential to be a starter. He is relatively raw still and will require good coaching, but his upside is good and worth the chance.
Pro Comparison: Tayshaun Prince
2. Jayson Tatum- Duke 6’8”/205 lbs.
Tatum is arguably the best small forward in the class, but he is slotted at the two spot for now. His stock could go up depending on how good Duke does in the tournament. He is a superior shot maker with fantastic scoring ability. Can score from all over the floor and can definitely take over a game. Defends well against multiple positions. Has an NBA body and should be able to start right away. Potential all-star as a scorer alone.
Pro Comparison: Paul Pierce
1. Josh Jackson- Kansas 6’8”/205 lbs.
Jackson has the biggest upside of all the small forwards in the draft and is a definite top five player coming into the draft. He has a well-rounded game that should contribute at the NBA level right away. He has a lot of growing to do as a scorer and an overall offensive player, but should grow mightily year by year. Good finisher at the rim and a solid passer. He is a great transition player and a great defender which should expand his career. He has the potential to be a franchise cornerstone for a team picking in the top three. Pro Comparison: Andrew Wiggins