5. Elgin Baylor
One of the more underrated players of all time, Mr. Baylor. Elgin was a scoring machine during his career for the Minneapolis and then Los Angeles Lakers. Baylor wasn’t the most efficient scorer in the world but he got the job done most of the time. His rookie year he averaged 24.9 on 40% shooting. Elgin often gets slandered for never winning a championship or a single MVP award. Bill Russell and the Celtics were winning most of the damn championships during Elgin’s playing career so I give him a pass for that.
Peak Numbers (PTS/REB/AST/STL/BLK/FG%): 27.6/13.6/4.3/NA/NA/43%
Career Numbers: 27.4/13.5/4.3/NA/NA/43%
4. Kevin Durant
Durant is easily the best perimeter scorer since Jordan in my opinion. He is an absolute scoring machine. He hasn’t averaged lower than 25 ppg since his rookie year (20.3 ppg). KD has 4 scoring titles in his 9 seasons in the league. He’s 3rd all time in points per game behind Wilt and MJ in the regular season. Durant has only reached the NBA finals one time so far. That was in 2012 against LeBron and the Miami Heat. During those finals he averaged 30.6 ppg, 6 rpg on 54% shooting. Durant also had one of the better MVP seasons in recent memory even though he didn’t make it to the finals that season. KD put up 32 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 5.5 apg on 50% shooting! Durant can possibly end up in my top 3 if he keeps this scoring pace up and makes a few more really good playoff runs.
Peak Numbers: 28.4/7.4/3.9/1.2/1.0/49%
Career Numbers: 27.4/7.0/3.7/1.2/1.0/48%
3. Julius Erving
Dr.J is a basketball icon. From his high-flying dunks to his behind the backboard lay-up, he was spectacular. Some of his stats don’t do him justice because he also played in the ABA. If you combine his NBA points along with his ABA points he’d have 30,026 points. That would rank 6th all time! Erving also has 4 combined MVPs (1 NBA, 3 ABA). Along with those 4 MVPs, Erving has 3 championships (2 ABA, 1 NBA). Although he wasn’t the best player on his 83 championship team he still has that under his belt. Lots of the younger generation don’t give Julius his props because they didn’t see him play (a lot like Elgin).
Peak Numbers: 25.9/9.6/4.5/2.1/1.7/50.9%
Career Numbers: 24.2/8.5/4.2/2.0/1.7/50.6%
2. Larry Bird
Larry Legend himself. One of the most complete players of all time. We all know Larry wasn’t very athletically gifted player but he still dominated the game. Bird was an exceptional shooter/scorer , passer, rebounder and sometimes an underrated defender. One of my favorite Bird accomplishments was his 84 finals performance against the Lakers. He averaged 27.4 ppg, 14.0 rpg, 3.6 apg. Down 2-1 in the series Bird had an epic performance in-game 4. Putting up 29 points and TWENTY-ONE (21) boards. The following game he went crazy AGAIN getting 34 points and 17 rebounds on SEVENTY-FIVE percent shooting. Larry won 3 championships in his career (81,84,86) and is universally known in the basketball world as EASILY a top 10 player of all time.
Peak Numbers: 25.3/10.1/6.5/1.8/0.9/50%
Career Numbers: 24.3/10.0/6.3/1.7/0.8/49%
1. LeBron James
My personal favorite player of all time. LeBron James is the best small forward of all time. Bron gets lots of slander because of his 3-4 finals record. Some of it is deserved but most of it is just pure hate. In 2007 he played poorly but that Cavs team wasn’t going to be the Spurs anyway. In 2011 he just choked, no excuses. He won in 12, and 13 against OKC and then SAS. In 14′ he played well but Dwyane Wade was injured and playing bad so he had no help. In 15′ he had an amazing finals but his two best players Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love both were injured so they lost in 6. This year he beat a 73 win Golden State team with the back to back MVP Stephen Curry (unanimous this year) while being down 3-1. LeBron closed the series (with huge help from Kyrie Irving) with two 41 point games and a triple double. He now has 3 championships, 3 finals MVPs, and 4 regular season MVPs. It’s not a debate anymore, Bron is the greatest small forward ever.
Peak Numbers: 27.7/7.3/7.0/1.7/0.8/50%
Career Numbers: 27.2/7.2/6.9/1.7/0.8/49%