Top 30 NBA small forwards — 24. Bruce Brown, Nets
Bruce Brown flies under the radar despite a prominent spot in the rotation for one of the NBA’s most heavily scrutinized teams. He was essential to Brooklyn’s success last season, and not only because of durability. He was the best defender on the team, while his role on offense (screen-and-rolls, connective-tissue passes, operating out of the dunker’s spot) is probably an indicator of what Brooklyn hopes to do with Ben Simmons one day. Brown does the dirty work every night. His production might not pop in the box score, but he’s helping the Nets win games.
Top 30 NBA small forwards — 23. Josh Hart, Trail Blazers
The Blazers acquired Josh Hart at the trade deadline and were immediately rewarded. Portland seems to be looking beyond Damian Lillard to some degree, but even if Hart’s main appeal is youth, he’s certainly capable of starting (and contributing) for a contender. His versatile defense, dependable shooting, and underrated rebounding prowess will make Hart central to Portland’s future — be it the start of a long rebuild or as a key piece playing off of Lillard.
Top 30 NBA small forwards — 22. T.J. Warren, Pacers
We haven’t seen T.J. Warren in forever, so it’s easy to forget how impressive he was before the injury. Warren’s brief and explosive stint in the 2019 Bubble felt like the beginning of his stardom. Now, he will have to prove his mettle after battling back from over a year of injury rehab. The shot-making talent is there, and the Pacers have a clear need for firepower on the wing. We shall see if Warren delivers (and ultimately moves up these rankings as a result).