Back in the day, small forwards were either slashers or spot shooters standing in the corners. Nowadays, their position is as versatile as any in the game.
The ultimate small forward remains LeBron James, one of the greatest players of all time. At the ripe old age of 36, he’s still playing the position that he reinvented as well as anyone.
James could play virtually any position on the floor, and that’s the blueprint that Giannis Antetokounmpo is following as well. As a result, the best badges for a small forward are those that cover a variety of aspects of the game.
What are the best badges for a small forward in 2K22?
As much as we’d like to build a big man with the skills of a guard, it’s still best to keep your small forward build in its natural position first before assuming other roles later on.
You’re going to need a build that can do a range of different things, from slashing through to shooting, playmaking and more.
With that in mind, these are the best badges for a small forward in 2K22.
1. Fearless Finisher
Since small forwards slash a lot, having to deal with contact is inevitable and having the Fearless Finisher badge can really come in handy, especially one set on Hall of Fame.
The Acrobat badge exists to make sure that you can finish smoothly, allowing you to score contested layups with a high degree of difficulty. A Gold should be enough to get the job done here.
3. Clutch Shooter
While perimeter game-winners are epic, the more dramatic ones are the clutch shots made after a drive. Regardless of how you try to sink your opponent, however, the Clutch Shooter badge helps out with all shots nearing the end of the game, and a Gold one should be enough.
Facing a zone defense? No problem. The Deadeye badge makes sure that your opponent will be punished for even the slightest defensive breakdown. You need at least a Gold badge to truly help your perimeter game.
5. Space Creator
The more space from your defender you can find, the better you can operate. That’s why the Space Creator badge should be on at least Silver to buy you those all-important split seconds in which you can think of your next move.
6. Difficult Shots
The Difficult Shots badge makes for quite the trifecta with the Space Creator and the Deadeye. It will be easier for you to shoot off the dribble with this badge so make it a Gold one and see the results.
The Blinders badge supports the aforementioned trifecta because it limits the defensive capability of defenders coming from the help side. It’s essentially the horizontal version of the Deadeye so make sure this one is on Gold too.
8. Rhythm Shooter
While you will rely more on willpower than breaking down your defender when playing the small forward position, it won’t hurt to have a Silver Rhythm Shooter badge.
The Sniper badge will act as a major boost for your shooting, making it easier to execute well-aimed shots. Make sure that you have this one on at least a Silver level.
10. Green Machine
Speaking of aiming, the Green Machine badge makes sure that you shoot better once those excellent releases begin to pile up. Here’s another one that you can put up to Silver level.
11. Volume Shooter
It’s a given that you will be taking a lot of shots as a star small forward. You’re going to need to sustain that as you go late into the game and the Volume Shooter badge will help you to do just that, so it’s best that you have it up to a Gold level.
12. Mismatch Expert
Since you’ll regularly be met with defensive switches and help defenses playing the small forward position, you’ll need to make sure that you can shoot over the bigs, and the Mismatch Expert badge will help with that. Get this one up to a Silver level at least.
13. Slithery Finisher
While small forwards are not expected to be as slick as a guard, it still helps to have at least a Bronze Slithery Finisher badge to enhance your ability to avoid contact.
14. Pro Touch
Small forwards should place a lot of emphasis on the Pro Touch badge, which helps to boost your layup timing. Be sure to make it a Gold badge.
15. Limitless Takeoff
The Limitless Takeoff badge is pretty self-explanatory. The earlier that you can get up in the air and attempt a shot on the drive, the better. A Gold Limitless Takeoff badge will do wonders but there’s certainly no harm in putting it up to the Hall of Fame level.
16. Putback Boss
Thinking of following your own miss? The Putback Boss badge will come in handy. Given that you’re not an official big, it’s safe to say that a Silver badge is enough.
17. Rise Up
There will be times that you might switch up to the four or five position, and if you do the Rise Up badge will make it easier for you to hit those standing dunks under the basket. Make this one worthwhile by putting it at a Gold level.
18. Fast Twitch
You’ll want to pair the Fast Twitch with the Rise Up badge to speed up standing layups or dunks around the rim. You’ll need a Gold for this one as well.
19. Quick First Step
As much as dribble animations from the Ankle Breaker badge come in handy, you don’t need it as much as you need the Quick First Step. This badge allows you to explode on triple threat and size-up opportunities, and a Silver one will do the job.
You can pair the Hyperdrive badge with the Quick First Step to boost your dribbling moves on the drive. A Silver one should be enough here too.
One thing that you need to be willing to do as a small forward is to go coast to coast. The Downhill badge will be your friend here, so get it up to a Gold level.
22. Bullet Passer
It is inevitable that defenses will tighten up when you’re heating up. Let the Bullet Passer badge help you quickly pass the ball, and put it at a Hall of Fame level to spike up that teammate grade and fan count of yours.
Speaking of teammate grade and fan count, the Dimer badge boosts the abilities of the person you pass the ball to, so it’s best that you put this up on Hall of Fame as well.
Since small forwards are technically wing players above all, you are expected to be just as good if not better at defending the perimeter compared to shooting guards. Let the Menace badge help you to harass your matchup, and get it up to Hall of Fame.
It can be frustrating when you are the best defender in 2K history but still get defeated by a simple screen. Let the Clamps badge prevent that by boosting your ability to stay in front of the ball handler, and put this up to a Hall of Fame level as well.
26. Rebound Chaser
What’s the use of your Downhill badge if you don’t have the opportunity to go coast to coast? The Rebound Chaser badge is the best way to make sure that you have that chance as often as possible, so don’t settle for less than Gold for this one.
Your presence on the court must be felt to the point that your opponents miss shots more when you’re in close proximity to them. A Gold level Intimidator badge will do wonders for you on D.
28. Tireless Defender
How long can you sustain your high-quality defense? Whatever your answer, the Tireless Defender badge will help to make it even longer. Fill your gas tank with a Gold level badge here.
What to expect when using badges for a Small Forward
There are two types of small forwards in the NBA: the all-around stars and the one-dimensional players. When playing NBA 2K, you definitely want to shoot for the former.
Mind you, it won’t be easy collecting badges from scratch on a base small forward build. Guards always have the ability to accumulate assists while the bigs can do the same with rebounds, but as a small forward your journey can be a little bit more of a struggle at first.
The good thing is that you will be rewarded for effort as you play through the season. One season is enough for you to get the necessary badges, and maybe you can even make an All-Rookie team.
Once you play in Park Mode, you will truly feel the best versatility of the position, and the above badges will really help you to dominate your neighborhood.
Subscribe to our newsletter for all the latest NBA 2K guides, gaming deals and exclusive offers.