NBA Tier 1: MVP-level small forwards
In a tier all to himself is superstar LeBron James, who will be entering his 21st season in 2023–24. That is incredible, not just because of his longevity but because he is clearly still the best small forward in the NBA at the age of 38. Lebron showed signs of slowing down during the 2023 playoffs but still managed to average an impressive 24.5 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 6.5 assists.
There was still a sharp decline from his 2022–23 regular season, but it was perhaps injury-related. Still, even if he plays at that playoff level next year, he would still be in a tier all to himself. The Los Angeles Lakers are still built to have him be one of their two best players, but they have also worked to improve their supporting cast.
The best-case scenario is that LeBron can still play at a high level but doesn’t necessarily need to average nearly 30 points per game for the Lakers to make the playoffs. Relying on him less means that he could still take over games but won’t have to do so nearly as often.
Shooting guard is arguably the most talented position in the NBA, and here are all 30 starting shooting guards, ranked into five tiers.
If that happens, then LeBron might top this list next fall. Still, there is a chance that he may not be alone in the top tier by then.