Top 30 NBA small forwards — 15. Gordon Hayward, Hornets
Gordon Hayward remains rock-solid whenever he’s actually on the floor. Injuries have derailed two consecutive seasons for the veteran, but his combination of basketball I.Q., shooting touch, and versatile defense is at the heart of what Charlotte does. He was gravely missed in the Hornets’ embarrassing play-in loss to Atlanta. While the future for Hayward is unclear, he’s still good enough to demand respect.
Top 30 NBA small forwards — 14. Bojan Bogdanovic, Jazz
The Jazz are in free fall, so no one is safe. Bojan Bogdanovic still deserves credit for his consistency year after year, however. He’s an excellent bomber from 3-point range and Utah’s most credible big wing defender next to Royce O’Neale. Perimeter defense (or a lack thereof) sunk Utah in the playoffs, but Bogdanovic has proven he can impact both sides of the floor. He is Utah’s No. 2 most nights due to Mike Conley’s decline and Rudy Gobert’s inability to create his own offense.
Top 30 NBA small forwards — 13. Michael Porter Jr., Nuggets
Injuries have struck again for Michael Porter Jr., who dealt with copious issues all throughout high school and college. It’s a shame, as Porter was on the verge of breaking out for the contending Nuggets. At 6-foot-10, he boasts one of the purest jumpers in the sport. That alone makes him a very tricky matchup for opposing defenses, especially when he’s stationed opposite of arguably the most dominant post threat in the game.