NBA prospect primer: Top 10 small forwards

NBA prospect primer: Top 10 small forwards
April 24, 2014, 4:15 pm

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BOSTON — Jeff Green set career highs in a number of statistical categories this past season, but near the end both Green and Celtics brass indicated the need for more talent going forward.

That help may come in the form of a small forward, Green's position, in June's NBA draft.

It has become the marquee position in the NBA and to the same degree, in this year's draft.

The Celtics are guaranteed to pick no worst than No. 8, but if they're fortunate enough to land one of the top 3 picks -- and they decide to keep it -- there's a very good chance  the selection would be a small forward.

Here are CSNNE.com's top 10 small forwards in this year's NBA draft.

1. Andrew Wiggins, 6-8, 200, Kansas

STRENGTHS

* Best athlete in the draft

* Has elite defensive skills

* His first step + his long strides = long night for most defenders

* Got better as the season progressed

WEAKNESSES

* Tends to float in and out of games at times

* Needs to get stronger

* Has yet to develop the killer instinct that the great ones possess

* Long range shooting very much a work in progress
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2. Jabari Parker, 6-8, 235, Duke

STRENGTHS

* Has an NBA body

* Versatile scorer

* High basketball I.Q.

* Extremely competitive

WEAKNESSES

* Struggles defensively, especially in pick and rolls

* Shot selection sketchy at times

* Lateral quickness may be an issue at both ends of the floor

* Settles for jumpers too often

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3. Rodney Hood, 6-8, 215, Duke

STRENGTHS

*  Lefty who shoots well from all points on the floor

* Makes good decisions with the ball in his hands

* Recognizes mismatches and often exploits them

* Excellent shooting mechanics

WEAKNESSES

* Defense lacks intensity, consistency

* Needs to get stronger

* Rarely attacks the rim

* Below-average rebounder for his size
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4. Kyle Anderson, 6-8, 233, UCLA

STRENGTHS

* Arguably the most versatile player in the draft, can play at least three positions

* Has 7-2 wing span

* Great court vision

* High basketball I.Q.

WEAKNESSES

* Below-average athleticism (hence the nickname, 'Slo-Mo')

* Creating his own shot challenging at times

* Perimeter shooting needs work

* Defense not bad, but potentially problematic against smaller guards
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5. Dario Saric, 6-10, 233, Croatia

STRENGTHS

* Can play multiple positions in the frontcourt

* Good rebounder

* Handles the ball well enough to initiate transition offense

WEAKNESSES

* Below-average athleticism

* Defensive tweener (too slow for NBA 3s, not strong enough for NBA 4s)

* Turnover prone

* Shooting mechanics, touch both need work

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6. Doug McDermott, 6-7, 225, Creighton

STRENGTHS

* High basketball I.Q.

* Prolific scorer

* Plays well without the ball

WEAKNESSES

* Below-average athleticism

* Tweener (too slow to play SF, not big/strong enough to play PF)

* Below-average ball handler

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7. T.J. Warren, 6-8, 225, N.C. State

STRENGTHS

* Come hell or high water, he finds a way to get buckets

*  Runs the floor extremely well

* Excellent mid-range shooter

WEAKNESSES

* Below-average lateral quickness

* Tweener (Is he a super-sized small forward, or  undersized power forward?)

* Not much of a passer

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8. Jerami Grant, 6-8, 210, Syracuse University

STRENGTHS

* Has 7-2 wing span

* Excellent shot blocker for his size and position

* Good offensive rebounder

WEAKNESSES

* Extremely raw talent

* Below-average ball handler

* Perimeter game, a major question mark
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9. Cleanthony Early, 6-8, 220, Wichita State

STRENGTHS

* Good slasher, finisher around the rim

* Excellent strength for his size and position

* Does a good job of exploiting mismatches in his favor

WEAKNESSES

* Mechanics (his jumpers have little to no arc on them)

* Below-average passer

* At 23 years old, upside seems somewhat limited going forward
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10. C.J. Fair, 6-7, 215, Syracuse University

STRENGTHS

* Lefty with a solid mid-range game

* Great mechanics, fluid release on his shooting form

* Moves well without the ball

WEAKNESSES

* Defense hard to project at the next level coming out of Syracuse's zone system

* Creating own shot at next level will be challenging

* Not a deep range threat despite really good shot form