NBA 2K23: Best Small Forwards (SF)

Looking for a three who can shoot, dunk, and make plays for your team? Here are the best small forwards in NBA 2K23.


Small forwards are turning into the jack of all trades when it comes to the NBA with “point forwards” now being a coveted asset for teams across the league. Many of the league’s best players have been small forwards, such as LeBron James, Larry Bird, and Julius Erving. The ability to both create plays for teammates as well as score for themselves was always going to be highly desirable. Further, many small forwards have to be at least decent on defense both on the perimeter and in the post to see court time.

Below, you will find the best small forwards in NBA 2K23 by overall rating. As the most versatile position, every player listed has a secondary position. However, some of the players have small forward listed as their secondary position, yet their overall rating places them on the list. The first name on the list is arguably the greatest player in NBA history. 


1. LeBron James (96 OVR)

Team: Los Angeles Lakers
Overall:
96
Position:
SF, C
Best Ratings:
97 Layup, 91 Close Shot, 90 Pass Accuracy

“King James” is the best small forward in NBA 2K23 and is one of few who is in the conversation for the greatest of all time along with Michael Jordan. James has won four NBA Championships, multiple MVP awards, and two Olympic gold medals. The 37-year-old is the first player to accumulate 10,000 or more career points, rebounds, and assists, the three main counting statistics in basketball. It’s just a testament to his overall greatness.

James has some unbelievable ability in all aspects of his game. He is a confident shooter with 91 Close Shot and 81 Mid-Range Shot, and even his Three-Point Shot is respectable at 79. His inside game is also brilliant with 97 Layup, giving a soft touch around the rim, but he can power the ball home when needed with his 90 Driving Dunk. James has quality in the playmaking department as well with his 90 Pass Accuracy meaning he will be able to pick out teammates with great ease, a signature of James. He is a solid defender with 89 Perimeter Defence and 82 Interior Defence, making him a challenge for the best offensive players the league has to offer.

2. Kawhi Leonard (94 OVR)

Team: Los Angeles Clippers
Overall:
94
Position:
SF, PF
Best Ratings:
93 Mid-Range Shot, 98 Close Shot, 97 Perimeter Defence


Kawhi Leonard is an outstanding player on both ends of the court, having led the Toronto Raptors to their first and thus far only NBA championship in 2019. He then signed with his hometown Los Angeles and joined the Clippers that offseason. 2021-2022 saw Leonard sit out for the entire season whilst recovering from a partial ACL tear. This accounted for the Clippers missing the playoffs, so Leonard’s addition should inspire them to success.

“The Klaw” is an impressive shooter with 98 Close Shot, 93 Mid-Range Shot, and 83 Three-Point Shot, allowing him to knock down shots at will. On the inside, Leonard has great stats with his 90 Layup being a standout, but his 85 Driving Dunk means finishing at the rack is no problem at all. The defensive side of Leonard’s game is fantastic with his 97 Perimeter Defence stifling opponents beyond the arc. Add to that his Hall of Fame Menace badge and gold Clamps badge and “The Klaw” isn’t going to be easy to shake. Leonard also has 85 Steal, making him a constant threat in the passing lanes to swipe the ball away and start a fast break.

3. Jimmy Butler (93 OVR)

Team: Miami Heat
Overall:
93
Position:
SF, PF
Best Ratings:
92 Layup, 90 Perimeter Defence, 88 Close Shot


“Jimmy Buckets” is a six-time NBA All-Star and has been named to the NBA All-Defensive Team five times. Last season saw Miami reach the Eastern Conference Finals, where they faced the eventual conference champions Boston Celtics. Despite Jimmy Butler’s best efforts, Miami was eliminated. Butler will hope to take his side two steps further after losing the 2020 NBA Finals as well and win it all this coming season.

The 33-Year-old has some quality ratings and is strong across most areas of the game. Defensively, he has phenomenal 90 Perimeter Defence as well as 84 Steal. On the inside he is strong in the post with 82 Post Fade and 82 Post Hook to go with his 84 Post Control and his 92 Layup, showing his excellence around the basket. He’s no slouch with the jump shot either with 88 Close Shot, 84 Mid-Range Shot, and 71 Three-Point Shot.

4. DeMar DeRozan (89 OVR)

Team: Chicago Bulls
Overall:
89
Position:
SF, PF
Best Ratings:
98 Close Shot, 92 Layup, 90 Mid-Range Shot

There were many raised eyebrows when Chicago opted to acquire DeMar DeRozan, but he proved his biggest critics wrong with one of his best seasons after averaging 27.9 points in 2021-2022. DeRozan has some talent around him with Zach LaVine, Nikola Vučević, and Lonzo Ball (though in real life Ball is once again injured) all playing a part in Chicago’s playoff push, but the Bulls ultimately lost out to the Milwaukee Bucks in five games.

“Deebo” is a great shooter with outstanding 98 Close Shot and 90 Mid-Range Shot. His three ball is respectable with 78 Three-Point Shot, but should be decent enough beyond the arc. He has gold Middy Magician and gold Volume Shooter badges, which should also support his great shooting stats so start hitting mid-range jumpers early and often. Inside scoring is no issue to him either with a 92 Layup and 84 Driving Dunk, so he has options when attacking the paint. The 33-year-old has great 83 Ball Handling paired with 80 Speed With Ball, enabling him to dazzle defenders or blow by without issue.

5. Jaylen Brown (OVR 87)

Team: Boston Celtics
Overall:
87
Position:
SG, SF
Best Ratings:
90 Layup, 89 Driving Dunk, 88 Mid-Range Shot

Jaylen Brown averaged 23.6 points in 2021-2022, contributing to Boston’s NBA Finals run as the two-pronged lead with Jayson Tatum. Brown was selected as an NBA All-Star in 2021 for the first time and will hope that his form will force him into the reckoning again in 2022-2023.

Brown has some strong inside scoring stats with his 90 Layup and 89 Driving Dunk. He is also a remarkable shooter with 88 Close Shot and 88 Mid-Range Shot to go with his 83 Three-Point Shot. He can shoot from anywhere on the court with relative ease. The 25-year-old is no slouch on defence either with 87 Perimeter Defence to shut down those long-range attempts, especially if he’s tasked with defending twos rather than threes, such as James Harden for the rival Philadelphia 76ers.

6. Brandon Ingram (OVR 86)

Team: New Orleans Pelicans
Overall:
86
Position:
SG, SF
Best Ratings:
95 Close Shot, 91 Close Shot, 89 Mid-Range Shot

Brandon Ingram had his best season for assists after averaging 5.6 in 2021-2022 to go along with 22.7 points, just short of his career high. He will look to carry this form and hope Zion Williamson is back to his best to make a real playoff push for New Orleans come the end of the season.

Ingram has some excellent shooting stats, most noticeably 91 Close Shot closely followed by his 89 Mid-Range Shot. His 81 Three-Point Shot shows he has quality from every range and can knock down shots with ease. He is equally as adept at playing inside with his 84 Layup for smooth finishes and 80 Driving Dunk to slam home and show the defence who’s boss.

7. Khris Middleton (86 OVR)

Team: Milwaukee Bucks
Overall:
86
Position:
SF, PF
Best Ratings:
88 Free Throw, 86 Close Shot, 85 Mid-Range Shot

Three-time NBA All-Star Khris Middleton helped the Milwaukee Bucks to their first NBA championship since 1971 along with Jrue Holiday and all-world talent and franchise player Giannis Antetokounmpo. Middleton helped his side to reach the NBA Playoffs again in 2022 only to pick up an injury early that affected the team. Eventually, the Bucks went on to lose in the second round to the Boston Celtics in seven games.

“Khash Money” has a lot of fantastic attributes at his disposal. He is a superb shooter with 86 Close Shot, 86 Mid-Range Shot, and 81 Three-Point Shot. He also has the gold Claymore badge which will give an extra boost to shooting percentage if he remains stationary before receiving the ball. Middleton is weaker on the inside, but does have 84 Layup and 80 Post Fade. Stopping threes should be no problem at all with his 85 Perimeter Defence.

All of the best small forwards in NBA 2K23

Below, you will find the best small forwards in NBA 2K23.

NameHeightOverall RatingTeamPosition
LeBron James6’9”96Los Angeles LakersSF, C
Kawhi Leonard6’7”94Los Angeles ClippersSF, PF
Jimmy Butler6’7”93Miami HeatSF, PF
DeMar DeRozan6’6”89Chicago BullsSF, PF
Jaylen Brown6’6”87Boston CelticsSG, SF
Brandon Ingram6’8”86New Orleans PelicansSG, SF
Khris Middleton6’7”86Milwaukee BucksSF, PF
R.J. Barrett6’6”84New York KnicksSF, SG
Andrew Wiggins6’7”84Golden State WarriorsSF, SG
Mikal Bridges6’6”83Phoenix SunsSF, PF
Desmond Bane6’5”83Memphis GrizzliesSF, SG
Keldon Johnson6’6”82San Antonio SpursSF, PF
OG Anunoby6’7”81Toronto RaptorsSF, PF
Kyle Kuzma6’9”81Washington WizardsSF, PF
Franz Wagner6’10”80Orlando MagicSF, PF
Michael Porter, Jr.6’10”80Denver NuggetsSF, SG
Saddiq Bey6’7”80Detroit PistonsSF, PF
Gordon Hayward6’7”80Charlotte HornetsSF, PF
Harrison Barnes6’8”80Sacramento KingsSF, PF
Dillon Brooks6’7”80Memphis GrizzliesSF, SG
Josh Hart6’5”80Portland TrailblazersSF, SG
Norman Powell6’7”80Los Angeles ClippersSF, SG

Now you know the top small forwards in NBA 2K23. Which players will you select to man the three spot in your rotation?


Anthony E

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