Basketball Small Forward

Chapter 4.3

Who is the small forward on a basketball team? What is his/her job on the court? Get ready to learn about the small forward in basketball.


Basketball is a 5-on-5 game, so each team has five (5) players at all times on the court.

Rookie Road Basketball Team Image

REMEMBER: The same five (5) players on a basketball team play both offense and defense.

Each player has a unique role to fulfill on the court in both offensive and defensive situations.

In this chapter, we will learn about the shooting guard and his/her role on the court.

Meet The Small Forward (SF)

Also known as a wing player, the small forward is like the shooting guard, but slightly more versatile. Like the shooting guard, the small forward shoots the ball mostly from outside the three-point line. The small forward is known as player 3 when referring to play diagrams.

Rookie Road Basketball Small Forward Image

Goals And Job

Since players are constantly transitioning between offense and defense during a basketball game, so are their goals. When on offense, the small forward's jobs are:

When on defense, the small forward's jobs are:

Key Statistics

There are few important statistics that define how good a small forward is:

We'll learn more about basketball statistics in future tutorials.

Top NBA Small Forwards Of All Time

Here are some of the best small forwards to ever play the game of basketball that you should know:

  • Larry Bird
  • Julius Erving
  • Kevin Durant
  • Scottie Pippen
  • Rick Barry

PRO TIP: You may notice that some basketball players are listed under multiple positions. Like we mentioned before, the player positions are slightly archaic and the roles on the court often overlap. It is not uncommon for a player to be good at multiple positions. The term swingman refers to a player who can play both the small forward and power forward positions.

2017-18 NBA Small Forwards

Here are some small forwards in the NBA that you should know:

  • LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs
  • Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks

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