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NBA

Who are the top 10 small forwards in the NBA entering the 2019-20 season?

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LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard (NBA Getty Images)

Having ranked the top 30 players in the NBA, it only makes sense that we now break down the league's best players at each position.

Up to the task are four members of our NBA.com Staff: Myself, Gil McGregor, Kyle Irving and Carlan Gay.

Below you'll find our rankings for the best small forwards in the NBA entering the 2019-20 season.

The two players who received votes but didn't end up making our top 10 were Andrew Wiggins of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Gordon Hayward of the Boston Celtics. For the sake of this exercise, we classified Giannis Antetokounmpo as a power forward. We also settled on Jimmy Butler and Danilo Gallinari being small forwards, not a shooting guard in Butler's case and a power forward in Gallinari's.

With that in mind, onto the rankings!

10. Bojan Bogdanovic, Utah Jazz

Stat to know: Bogdanovic averaged 20.7 points per game after Victor Oladipo's injury in 2018-19.

The Jazz signed Bogdanovic to fill more of a complementary role next to Mike Conley, Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, but he's proven he can handle a bigger load on offence if needed. That could come in handy in the playoffs when teams begin to load up on Utah's newly-formed star trio.

9. Danilo Gallinari, Oklahoma City Thunder

Stat to know: Galinari made 43.3% of his 3-point attempts in 2018-19.

Injuries will always be a concern with Galinari, but he's coming off of a career year with the LA Clippers in which he averaged 19.8 points per game. He did a lot of his scoring from 3-point range, where he ranked behind only a handful of players - two of them being the Curry brothers - in shooting efficiency.

8. Tobias Harris, Philadelphia 76ers

Stat to know: Harris generated 26.6% of his offence as the ball handler in pick-and-rolls with the Clippers in 2018-19.

That number fell to 18.8% after he joined the 76ers. Harris is expected to run more pick-and-rolls this season, which could turn out to be an efficient source of offence for the 76ers - he ranked in the 87th percentile with 0.99 points per pick-and-roll possession prior to the trade that brought him to Philadelphia.

T-6. Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks

Stat to know: 41.3% of Middleton's shot attempts were 3-pointers in 2018-19.

That marked a new career-high by a large margin, and Middleton converted 37.8% of those opportunities. Middleton used to be one of the most midrange-dependant scorers in the league, but he turned far more of his long 2s into 3s in his first year under head coach Mike Budenholzer.

T-6. Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

Stat to know: Tatum averaged 4.6 free throw attempts per game in the month of October (7 games) in 2018-19.

Tatum averaged 2.7 free throw attempts the rest of the regular season. Knowing how important it is for him to establish himself as a go-to scorer, the 21-year-old is focused on getting to the line much more this season. If he does, it could be the key to him unlocking his All-Star potential.

5. Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

Stat to know: Doncic ranked 19th in our list of best players entering the 2019-20 season.

Our NBA.com Staff is expecting the Slovenian to make a big leap this season, and for good reason: Doncic joined Michael Jordan, Oscar Robertson, LeBron James and Tyreke Evans last season as the only players in NBA history to average at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists as a rookie.

4. Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat

Stat to know: Butler averaged 23.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game in 2016-17.

Butler's numbers have declined since that season, largely because he's had to share the floor with All-Star teammates in Karl-Anthony Towns in Minnesota, then Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons in Philadelphia. As the man in Miami, we might be seeing the Jimmy Butler of old this season.

3. Paul George, LA Clippers

Stat to know: George led the league with 3.8 deflections per game in 2018-19.

George also led the league with 2.2 steals per game. He and Kawhi Leonard have a scary amount of potential defensively, so much so that there's a case to be made that they're the best defensive wing duo since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.

2. LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

Stat to know: James has scored 32,543 points in his NBA career.

James passed a number of legends on the NBA's all-time scoring list in his first season in Los Angeles, including Wilt Chamberlain, Dirk Nowitzki and Michael Jordan. Next up on the list? Kobe Bryant. James should pass Bryant at some point this season, which would move him into third place all-time.

1. Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers

Stat to know: Leonard scored the fourth-most clutch points in the NBA in 2018-19.

The only players to score more clutch points were James Harden, Kemba Walker and Kyrie Irving. Leonard, however, led the league with nine shots to tie or take the lead with under a minute remaining in the fourth quarter or overtime in the regular season. You may have heard that he hit some rather clutch shots in the playoffs as well.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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