Ranking the top 5 small forwards of the 2023-24 season

The small forward is a crucial swing position, helping anchor a team's offense, defense and (theoretically) championship hopes. These are the very best.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Lakers
Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Lakers / Harry How/GettyImages
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Ranking the top 5 small forwards for the 2023-24 season: 4. Jimmy Butler

There may not be a more special story in the NBA than Jimmy Butler. He went from being homeless as a kid to carrying the Miami Heat to two NBA Finals. Despite him carrying the Heat to the NBA Finals as the No. 8 seed last year, he only ranks fourth on this list.

The thing with Jimmy Butler is that there is a regular season Jimmy and a postseason Jimmy. In the regular season, Butler averaged 22.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.8 steals on 53.9 percent shooting from the floor, 35 percent from 3 and 85 percent from the free throw line.

In the postseason Butler stepped up his game averaging 26.9 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.8 steals, shooting 46.8 percent from the field, 35.9 percent from 3, and 80.6 percent from the free throw line.

Butler can do just about everything well. When he wants to be a great scorer he can give you 56 in a playoff game, he is also a very good playmaker putting his teammates in the right position and is one of the best defenders in the NBA.

There are only two weaknesses in Butler's game. The first is that he is a widely inconsistent 3-point shooter. Last season he did shoot 35 percent but for his career, he is a 32 percent 3-point shooter. For the most part, it doesn't affect the Heat because he only attempts around two 3s a game.

The second is that he can't be the best player on a championship team. Even though he's led the Heat to two finals, it was clear that he has been outmatched against his opponents where the series wasn't even close. In both Finals, as the series went on, Butler simply ran out of gas and didn't perform as well.

Butler is a great talent, but his holding out in the regular season and just not being on the same level as the guys in front of him causes him to fall to No. 4.