NBA Draft 2008 Prospects: Small Forwards

There are a number of directions that the Nuggets can go with the 20th pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, including the small forward position. With Carmelo Anthony, a 23-year-old two-time NBA All-Star, as your starting small forward, landing a top-flight small forward is not an absolute necessity. With that in mind, however, that doesn't mean Melo couldn't use any help at the small forward position in the years to come.

This past season, Linas Kleiza was really the only other full-time small forward besides Anthony on the Nuggets roster, despite still learning the ins and outs of the position after spending his college career at Missouri as a power forward. With another solid campaign in 2007-08, Kleiza is garnering more and more attention around the league, which means that he could be looking at an expensive price tag when his rookie contract runs up. There is a very good chance that the Nuggets lock him up to a multi-year extension before that, but drafting another young small forward as an insurance policy in the meantime might not be such a bad idea.

Having said that, there are a few extremely good small forwards who may wind up being available in the mid-to-late first round of this year's draft. Here is a look at the forwards that will definitely be on the Nuggets' radar if they are still available when the 20th selection rolls around:

Height / Weight: 6-8 / 190
Country: France
Hometown: Lisieux, France
Age: 19 Video | Profile
Career Highlights:
Has grown up playing for MSB Le Mans in his native France and made his French ProA League debut during the 2005-06 season ... A member of the French U19 National Team ... Helped France win the bronze medal at the 2007 U19 World Championships held in Novi Sad, Serbia, averaging 11.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists ... Averaged 14.3 points and 7.9 rebounds in helping France capture the gold medal at the 2006 European U-18 Championship held in Amaliada, Greece, earning Most Valuable Player honors ... Averaged 5.4 points and 4.0 rebounds with France at the 2005 European U-18 Championship held in Belgrade, Serbia ... Helped lead France to the 2004 European U-16 Championship held in Greece ... Scored 23 points on 9-for-13 shooting for the World Team at the 2007 Nike Hoop Summit held in Memphis, Tennessee.
What Scouts Are Saying:

  • According to, his strengths include: Has great size for a wing player with an outstanding wingspan and freakish athleticism. Has a good mid-range game, good transition play, good finishing abilities, makes great cuts to the basket and has the ability to create separation from his defender. He has a strong basketball IQ, good court vision, is very unselfish and a strong perimeter defender. He has terrific experience playing at the highest level of European basketball and has huge upside/potential to become a stat-stuffing role-player in the NBA.
  • lists his weaknesses as: Needs to put on a lot of weight, right now he's at least 15-20 pounds below where he needs to be in the NBA. Getting stronger will allow him to go inside and finish, as well as make him stronger defensively. He must continue to develop and gain experience. He must gain more defensive intensity. Although he is one of the top prospects in his age group in Europe, he must prove himself on the senior level. And at 19, he is still just a kid.
  • Chad Ford of has Batum listed as the No. 4 ranked small forward in the draft and the No. 25 overall prospect.

  • Height / Weight: 6-11 / 226
    College: Syracuse
    Hometown: Baltimore, MD
    Age: 20 Video | Profile
    Career Highlights:
    Earned Second Team All-Big East honors and was named to the league’s All-Rookie Team ... Also named All-District by the NABC and USBWA ... Earned Big East Rookie of the Week honors five times ... Averaged 4.3 points and 1.5 rebounds on the silver medal-winning United States team at the 2007 FIBA World Championship for Men in Novi Sad, Serbia ... Scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the USA Basketball Junior National Select Team that defeated the World Select Team at the 2007 Nike Hoop Summit held in Memphis, Tenn ... Averaged 3.5 points and 1.0 rebounds for the gold medal-winning United States team at the 2006 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Men in San Antonio.
    What Scouts Are Saying:

  • According to, his strengths are: A long and versatile player that possesses tremendous perimeter skills. Deadly player out of the triple threat, where he utilizes jabs and pump fakes to attack the opposition. A shot maker with the ability to convert on a variety of acrobatic and off-balance shots. His leaping ability and body control allow him to finish over and around people in the lane. Also shows great form and range on his shot, and shows a nice pull-up off the dribble. Has a good feel for the ball, combined with his length make him a dangerous shot blocker as well as a disruptor in the passing lanes. He attacks the offensive glass aggressively.
  • lists his weaknesses as: Doesn’t have an above-average wingspan for his size. He played mostly zone defense at Syracuse, so can he guard NBA small forwards or power forwards? Needs to work on his ball-handling. Is inexperienced with only one year of college under his belt. Needs to cut down on turnovers – had more turnovers than assists during his freshman year. Shoots way too many three-pointers – almost eight a game. Needs to get stronger and bigger. His three-point accuracy (less than 35%) needs to improve. He is all-around inconsistent.
  • Chad Ford of has Greene as the No. 3 ranked small forward in the draft and the No. 20 overall prospect.

  • Height / Weight: 6-6 / 220
    College: Kansas State
    Hometown: Cincinnati, OH
    Age: 20 Video | Profile
    Career Highlights:
    Earned Third Team All-Big 12 honors from The Associated Press and the league coaches as a redshirt freshman ... Also named All-District by the USBWA and Second Team All-District by the NABC ... Earned Big 12 All-Rookie Team honors and was twice selected as Big 12 Rookie of the week.
    What Scouts Are Saying:

  • lists his strengths as: Crazy leaper who can jump out of the gym. Brings a toughness/aggressiveness to the court. Can play on both the wing or the post. Has a good, strong body. Is a great slasher – can break down his man off the dribble. Three-point range on his jumper. A good rebounder for a wing player. Is capable of explosive scoring games – topped 30-points three times this season.
  • According to, his weaknesses include: Walker has to work on his perimeter shooting (he shot just 31% from behind the arc this season). He’s had a tendency throughout his career to rush his release and not fully set his feet. Ball-handling is another part of his game that is still a work in progress. Despite having the strength to get to the basket at a very good rate thanks to his powerful strides, he needs to improve his ability to change directions with the ball and cut down on turnovers.
  • Chad Ford of has Walker listed as the No. 5 ranked small forward in the draft and the No. 32 overall prospect.
  • Other SF Prospects to Watch: Davon Jefferson (USC); Gary Forbes (UMass); Keith Brumbaugh (Hillsborough CC); Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (UCLA).

    Other Prospect Pages: Point Guards | Shooting Guards | Power Forwards | Centers