Detroit Pistons: Eastern Conference small forward rankings
The middle tier
This is the largest group of the three and shows just how talented the East is when it comes to small forwards. Most of these players are young, up-and-coming guys or players who were once All-Star level but fell off due to injuries.
Here they are, in order from best to worst:
- OG Onunoby-Raptors
- RJ Barrett- Knicks
- Saddiq Bey-Pistons
- Franz Wagner-Magic
- Gordon Hayward-Hornets
- Lauri Markkanen-Cavaliers
- Will Barton-Wizards
- De’Andre Hunter-Hawks
There are plenty of arguments to be had over this one, especially at the top, as the players are fairly equal. I gave Onunoby the top spot because he is a great two-way wing who has played on winning teams.
RJ Barrett averaged 20 per game last season and added 5.8 rebounds and three assists, so certainly has a case for the top spot himself. But unlike Onunoby, he’s done it mostly on bad teams.
I’m sure Magic fans would argue Wagner over Saddiq Bey, and he may get there soon, but Bey averaged more points, rebounds and assists last season and both were on teams at the bottom of the East.
Hayward and Markkanen are both fringe All-Stars when healthy (Hayward has made it once) but have both slid into more of a role player tier at this stage of their respective careers, and neither of them can defend.
Both Barton and De’Andre Hunter are good role players who do their job, but probably are what they are at this point in their careers.
This tier could definitely be shaken up by the end of this season, as Onunoby, Barrett, Bey and Wagner could all improve and make a case for the All-Star team or even to climb into the next group.