The role of a small forward is not negligible as the player assigned to the position has to take on different roles on the court. It is considered the most versatile player in the game, changing roles in the bat of an eye. The position is also known as The Three.
Not a Small Role
A small forward must have the ability to defend the moves of his teammates. He must be agile and strong enough to do offensive moves himself. He should also have the determination to guard key opponents in difficult one-on-one situations. A jack-of-all-trades in the court, the player in this role must also be strong enough to do rebounds and deliver shots near and far from the hoop.
Among the most famous players of the National Basketball League (NBA) who plays this role are Scottie Pippen of the Chicago Bulls, Kawhi Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers, and LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Athleticism, Speed, and Strength
The diverse basketball skills needed, a small forward need to possess some skills and physical traits to match the difficult demand of the position. It needs to possess a high level of athleticism. Playing guard against a power forward, shooting from inside where the traffic is or doing rebounds requires strength and agility.
Aside from strength and toughness, the small forward must also be quick to do defense inside the paint, considered to be one of the most difficult positions on the court. He must also be good at handling the ball. He must be able to dribble and make a pass under pressure. He should be tough enough to do a quick jump and snatch the ball in the air, for both offensive or defensive rebounds.
The small forward position is also very valuable for the team. He or she not only provides good defense and does rebounds, but one is also expected to do a score. The player for the position must be strong enough to score from the paint, and must also be capable of doing perimeter shots.
Quick Mind Good Judgment
As the functions of a small forward are diverse, moving quickly from defense to offense, it requires the player to have a quick-thinking mind that can adapt to the different roles, make swift judgments and actions like passing the ball seamlessly from one hand to another.