Rank Them: Small Forwards

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on June 26, 2013 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment


With five days until free agency begins, it’s time to officially start naming names as ideal targets for free agency. This week, The Two Man Game will go through each position and determine who appears to be ideal fits for the Mavs.

Money is always an issue, but the Mavs will have their share of cap space to work with.

Meshing all the pieces is just as important of a part of deciding on the pieces. The number one option at shooting guard might not be an ideal match with the number one option at small forward. These rankings will be solely on my own projections. A quick blurb from Editor-in-Chief Rob Mahoney’s free agency primer on the SI.com’s Point Forward will be mentioned for each player.

The small forward position represents the strong position for the Mavs in terms of depth. That said, Shawn Marion, Vince Carter and Jae Crowder could easily be moved in a perfect trade comes.

Let’s look at the free agents at the small forward position.

1. Kyle Korver

What Mahoney said: When looking to add a perimeter shooter, why not target the best available? Korver, 32, hit 45.7 percent from three-point range this season, raising his career mark to 41.9. He doesn’t need the ball in his hands to be effective because he earns the defense’s complete attention with his potency as a catch-and-shoot option.

If you have a chance to sign the best available perimeter shooter in the game, you certainly have to consider it. Think of the Mavs desperately wanting to sign Peja Stojakovic near the end of the championship season. Having him on the floor on the opposite side of Dirk Nowitzki created a nightmare for the opposition.

Korver could easily work as a starter or a bench player for just about any team in the league. He isn’t a liability on the defensive end of the floor, making his overall ability that much better. The Mavs might have a lot of depth at the small forward position. It might even be their strongest position on the floor, but that shouldn’t entirely sway the Mavs from looking away from Korver.

2. Corey Brewer

What Mahoney said: Energy alone can help Brewer, 27, wreak havoc and create space, but much of what he does on both ends is exploitable.

Ah, Corey Brewer. Outside of Tyson Chandler, Brewer was a member of the championship squad that many fans had a hard time seeing go away due to his age and potential. It was a deal that was to create cap space and it ultimately looked silly based on how he was able to thrive in Denver. The difference is that Denver thrives on pace and Brewer is a player that plays better at a faster pace. If there’s next to nothing in terms of decisions that need to be made, Brewer can react in a way that is beneficial for the team on both ends of the floor.

On paper, he sounds like a great option but his ability to fit in a reunion in Dallas would totally depend on the pieces the Mavs add with Brewer this summer. Bench player or not, he’s reliant on the people around him to really bring out his full potential.

3. Al-Farouq Aminu

What Mahoney said: By embracing what he did relatively well and shying away from what he did poorly, Aminu edged closer to the role-player set that should define his career. He also progressed just enough defensively to show potential as a long-armed irritant, whereas last season he was a walking disadvantage.

Aminu has the ability to fill up the stat sheet in most any game he plays in. Playing under more control certainly brought his efficiency up. As a former lottery pick appears to be looking for a new home, he fits within the Mavs’ MO as they like to pick those kinds of players up.

His ability to use his long arms to snag rebounds would be a very welcomed asset to the Mavs. The Mavs could certainly do much worse than him as a second or third option at the small forward position. Playing him alongside someone like Shawn Marion when he moves up to the forward position would provide a very lengthy and athletic front line.

4. Dorell Wright

What Mahoney said: Though he lacks the off-the-dribble game necessary to make full use of his athleticism, Wright brings some interesting depth to the archetypal skill set of the spot-up shooter.

The old saying is that you can never have too many shooters. Wright shot a very respectable 37.4 percent from beyond the arc for Philadelphia this past season. At 6’9”, Wright has legit size as a small forward and that can be very useful when it comes to rebounding.

He’s become a journeyman of sorts. Teams will find a way to add a player who can hit the 3 and will play a decent level of defense. There’s not much to dislike about Wright in terms of a bench player.

5. Chase Budinger

What Mahoney said: Budinger, 25, missed more than four months this season because of knee surgery, one of several Minnesota players to sustain a major injury. He is a notable athlete even by NBA standards, but Budinger has only managed to use his quickness and bounce so far to establish himself as a functional cutter.

Due to his surgery last year, the big question revolves around where he will be a shell of his former self going forward in his NBA career. He did have a decent amount of athleticism before the injury. He built himself into a reputable threat as a spot-up shooter. Budinger used that to his advantage by giving a shot fake on the defender that was closing out on him, put the ball on the floor and went towards the rim. If he’s unable to do that anymore, that makes him a major liability.

Again, the small forward position is relatively stocked for the Mavs. You never know what could happen with free agency, so it’s possible their healthiest could get depleted in order to create strength somewhere else. Most of the options listed above could easily float between a starting or reserve small forward.

Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He also attended Ball So Hard University, studying ideologies of Clark Kent. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.