The "Durantula" is a close second as the NBA's reigning scoring champion, Young guns to watch include Nicolas Batum, who got a nice contract extension with the Blazers for his efforts last season and Derrick Williams, the somewhat forgotten up and comer and a Timberwolves team that features Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio.
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, here are the top 25 small forwards as we move into the 2012-13 fantasy basketball season:
- LeBron James, MIA
Not too many shooting guards in the world can pass like a point guard and shoot a sky-hook like a center, but this guy can. He's a threat to put up a triple double every night.
- Kevin Durant, OKC
Won the scoring title last year averaging exactly 28 points per game. He's the most prolific pure scorer in the game today and with the Thunder's roster in tact, there are no signs of him slowing down.
- Danny Granger, IND
His scoring average has dropped below 20 points per game for the first time in a few years, but that's a byproduct of being on a better team. He's still a go to guy on offense nonetheless.
- Carmelo Anthony, NY
He dealt with injuries for part of last year but he still demands the ball and can make things work with Amare enough to get his numbers. It remains to be seen whether the Knicks can progress further in the playoffs, but Anthony is still a safe bet for the regular season.
- Nicolas Batum, POR
Batum's career-high 13.9 points per game netted him a big money four year deal from the Timberwolves that Portland matched to keep him. Although he made it clear that he would rather be in Minnesota, the Trailblazers will be counting on him to produce steadily up front alongside LaMarcus Aldridge.
- Rudy Gay, MEM
A solid scoring option alongside Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, he's a good wingman that posses athleticism and the ability to get to the rim.
- Paul Pierce, BOS
Heading into his 15th NBA season, Pierce can be counted on for at least 19 points a game but since he's not the most athletic player, father time is going to catch up to him sooner or later.
- Danilo Gallinari, DEN
Gallinari has been injury plagued the last two seasons, but is part of a rare group of players who are tall enough to play center and can shoot like a guard. He's a smooth shooter on a strong Nuggets squad.
- Luol Deng, CHI
Plays almost 40 minutes a night for the Bulls and with Derrick Rose out for most of the season, all the remaining starters will be expected to pick up the scoring slack, Deng included.
- Andre Iguodala, DEN
Denver has wanted to acquire Iguodala for a while and now they've got their man. Iguodala will provide the veteran wingman the Nuggets have needed and he'll be more of a complimentary piece than he was in Philly which probably suits him better at this stage in his career.
- Kawhi Leonard, SAN
Coach Greg Popovich let him see a steady 24 minutes per game behind the Spurs' big three. No doubt this kid will learn a lot given the veteran presence around him. He should be able to improve on his 7.9 points per game.
- Gerald Wallace, BRO
Wallace will be expected to attack the rim and play with intensity after it was initially thought that the Nets would make room for Dwight Howard and send Wallace packing elsewhere. He's a proven commodity that can chip in the occasional big night on the scoreboard and also grab his share of rebounds.
- Jared Dudley, PHO
He and teammates Marcin Gortat and Goran Dragic are going to be counted on to lead a team that is now sans Steve Nash. It's definitely a year of change for the Suns and Dudley is going to have to step up as a leader.
- Alonzo Gee, CLE
Should see his minutes increase again this year after averaging close to 11 points per game last season. The Cavaliers are a team full of young talent and although Kyrie Irving will steal the headlines most nights, Gee is very talented in his own right.
- Trevor Ariza, WAS
His minutes and level of production have steadily decreased since he signed a big contract with the Houston Rockets a few years ago. It seems like Ariza might be one of those players who gets a little too comfortable after signing a big deal. That said the Hornets are a non-playoff team so Ariza is still good for 10 points a game.
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, CHR
The biggest knock on this kid coming out of college is that he doesn't have a jump shot. Luckily for Kidd-Gilchrist, he'll get plenty of the opportunity to work on it given that he'll be playing for the team that posted one of the worst records in league history last year.
- Wilson Chandler, DEN
Only appeared in 8 games for the Nuggets last year after spending the majority of the season in China. Good for at least 12 points and 5 rebounds per game this coming season.
- Andrei Kirilenko, MIN
Kirilenko spent last year in Russia and joins a T'Wolves team that boasts the likes of Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, Derrick Williams and the now un-retired Brandon Roy. Kirilenko's versatility is always a great weapon.
- Dorell Wright, PHI
Had his minutes reduced to 27 last season after averaging 30 minutes a game the year before. It remains to be seen what type of playing time he'll get on a young 76ers group.
- Shawn Marion, DAL
He has always been more of the slasher type of player and has one of the ugliest releases in the NBA. Style points aside Marion is good on the glass and has been with the Mavs long enough to know where he fits in now.
- Carlos Delfino, HOU
Going into his first season with the Rockets, Delfino can score close to 10 points a game. That said he's counted on more for his defense.
- Derrick Williams, MIN
The second overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft has a lot of upside. Has to continue to realize his potential alongside the likes of Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio and a few years from now we could all be talking about the big three in Minnesota. Gets a slight boost on this list with the team's top two stars set to miss the first six weeks of the regular season.
- Marvin Williams, UTA
Has never turned into the player that people thought he would be coming out of North Carolina. Has settled into the type of player that can consistently go out and score about 10 points a game while picking up four or five boards.
- Kyle Korver, ATL
A pure shooter who can come off the bench and fill up the bucket when needed. He didn't bring as much to the Chicago Bulls as the organization probably hoped he would, but can still make it rain when he has an open shot.
- Chase Budinger, MIN
Enters his first season in Minnesota after proving himself as an NBA regular in Houston. He'll be a good complementary piece supporting a young nucleus. Scoring more than 10 points a game is not out of the question for Budinger.
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