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How To Be Successful As A Small Forward

Small Forward Blueprint

In the third edition of the off-season blueprint for players we will be breaking down the small forward position. This position typically has a major impact on both ends of the floor, affecting the game with length, athleticism, and versatility. If you look historically at the position, each of the greats carved out their own niche. Small forwards won’t usually be asked to be the team’s best ball handler or shooter, but those that are able to relieve pressure from the back court by being able to handle the basketball or knock down open shots will always find a place on a team.


Great small forwards take pride in being able to help their teams in multiple ways. The career of 6-time NBA champion, Scottie Pippen, demonstrates this. He was always able to affect the game in many ways, outside of scoring, with his commitment to being versatile night in and night out.

The sky is the limit for a small forward that is willing to do the little things necessary for their team to win. It’s no coincidence that the last 3 NBA Finals MVP’s were awarded to small forwards. If you want to be considered a great small forward, take pride in bringing it on both ends every time you touch the floor!

Small Forward Points Of Emphasis

- Able to defend multiple positions!

- Rebound consistently on both ends of the floor

- Able to score in transition from an outlet pass in 3-4 dribbles max

- Knockdown 1 or 2 dribble mid-range pull-up jumper 60% or higher while unguarded

- Knockdown spot-up 3pt shots 40% or higher while unguarded

- Keep hands active and ready to receive a pass while cutting through the paint

- Finish around the rim with either hand

- 1 go-to-move in the half court off the catch and one counter to that move

- 1 go-to-move in the half court off the dribble and one counter to that move (3-4 dribble max)

- Able to push the ball comfortably in transition after getting the rebound and make a smart decision

- Able to make post entry passes from the wing

- Able to attack the defense with either hand in the half court

Grit Work

The role of a small forward may vary from team to team, but one thing that won’t change is that you will be expected to defend your position and help your team rebound night in and night out! Anything you can add to your team after that will be a bonus!


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